When someone mentions Germany, I automatically think of Munich and Berlin. Both of which are huge attractions to people all over the world but also so very different from one another. I have outlined how to spend the perfect weekend, chillaxing in the Bavarian capital, home of Oktoberfest, beer, bratwurst and a day trip to the city of Fussen to see the Neuschwanstein Castle. But don’t be fooled, this Bavarian capital is filled with a lot more than delicious beer, juicy bratwursts and rowdy tourists during October. So regardless of when you decide to plan your trip don’t forget to enjoy all aspects that this German city has to offer, whether it be with or without your beer goggles 🙂
DAY ONE: exploring old town and beer
After a very, very early flight, we landed in Munich and settled into our hostel (Smart Stay Hostel) and then wandered to the main square of Munich to start our exploration.
The throbbing heart of Munich and vibrating energy of the center of the city. Kiosks filled with souvenirs, shopping, and restaurants to satisfy all tourists. You will also find the Old Town Hall and the New Town Hall and the most popular Glockenspiel that rings every day at 11:00, 12:00 and 17:00.
OLD TOWN & NEW TOWN HALL:
This medieval Old Town Hall was constructed in the 1400’s completed with a 180ft tower that offers intoxicating views of the square. New Town Hall, easily located overshadowing the Old Town Hall with its impressive Gothic architecture and the ever famous Glockenspiel.
GLOCKENSPIEL: the iconic motorized performance of figurines that dance and twirl, re-enacting stories from the 16th century; they begin their jousting battle and royal wedding at 11:00, 12:00 and 17:00 every day.
You can also climb the tower (for €2) inside the New Town Hall for some mighty impressive views of the squares:
After being impressed by the views from New Town Hall and purchasing a few souvenirs from the kiosks inside the square, wander a bit out of the madness and you’ll find yourself in Viktualienmarkt and the perfect time to quench your thirst and hunger with some beer and brats. This market houses many different things depending on the time year. During the winter months, it is home to the infamous Christmas Markets that German is so popularly known for. In the warmer month (particularly around Easter) you can find an assortment of bunnies and wreathes and flowers to welcome the warmth.
Explore the Churches:
Whether you are a Christian believer or don’t participate in the practice of religion; there are a number of churches inside and near the square of Munich that will impress you with the detailed interior. We didn’t go inside all of them but if you have time I would recommend taking a peek in a few: Church of our Lady Munich and St. Peters Church are two that I would recommend. I tend to feel guilty of taking photos of churches inside so I rarely take a lot.
Visit the Hofbräuhaus
The perfect way to end your first day in Munich is by visiting the famous Hofbräuhaus for a stein of German beer and the intoxicating atmosphere of authentic Germany. The Hofbräuhaus is the oldest and most famous brewery in Munich, opened in the early 1800’s; serves gigantic portions of German cuisine, endless pours of its own brew in steins bigger than your face; plus the added effect of live entertainment and German lederhosen.
DAY TWO: becoming a princess
Yes, I am talking about Neuschwanstein Castle, one of the MUST SEE sights while in Munich. Although it is not technically located in Munich, it is only a short train ride outside of the city in a town called Fussen. This fairytale castle was built by the Mad King Ludwig in the early 19th century and is the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle, the icon of everything Disney. Becoming a princess is one of my life goals; needless to say, the smile couldn’t be removed from my face while wandering around these enchanted grounds (and gathering the inspiration for my future castle wink, wink winkie, wink).
It is fairly easy to get to Neuschwanstein
in a nutshell: 9.50 train, arrives at 12, there you have to pick up the tickets, take a little bus up the hill. Tickets have to be picked up by 12.55
It take around two hours to train from Munich main station to Füssen; from there you will find a shuttle bus that will transport you to Hogenschwangy which you will then wander through the enchanted woods towards the mystical castle itself.
SOME WISE TIPS (avoid my mistakes):
1) the train departs hourly, BUT make sure you show up with enough time to figure out which platform it is and get snacks. we missed ours and had to wait an hour.
2) the castle itself is a pretty popular tourist destination (more than 1.3 million a year) despite the season or weather. don’t be like us and assume tickets will still be available when you get there. buy them AHEAD of time because if you don’t it will most likely be sold out and you won’t get to explore the interior.
We spent the majority of the day up near the castle. Bring snacks. Wear comfy shoes. Make sure your camera is charged. Check the weather beforehand. I apologize in advance for a number of photos coming your way.
From the town at the bottom of the hill, start your hike up towards the majestical castle itself. There is an adorable cafe/restaurant that smells like heavenly donuts sent down from above.
Once you reach this position, if you purchased a ticket you will have the opportunity to go inside and view the interior. If you weren’t able to get a ticket; no worries. You can walk around to the backside and view the courtyard of the castle. From here can wander up the hill towards a bridge that gives you the perfect view of the castle as a whole. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy the view. YOU are is the Bavarian Alps surrounded by the beauty of Mother Nature.
Neuschwanstein isn’t the only castle located there. Off in the distance in the town below is the childhood residence of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, the custard yellow colored castle: Hohenschwangau.
After you have full-filled your fairy tale dreams time to head back to Munich and enjoy a pretzel and stein.
DAY THREE: beer garden, the palace & roaming geese
Our last day in Munich, we decided to explore the palace and drink beer. The perfect way to end any German trip; but first breakfast with some tasty-tasty German pastries.
This palace was built in the 1600’s and this giant palace once housed Maximilian II and King Ludwig II. In order to get here, hop on a tram from Hauptbahnhof and head outside of the center for about 15 minutes. Then boom–arrived.
You are free to wander around the grounds and the gard, however, r you must pay an entrance fee to view the inside.
Located in the largest beer garden in the English Gardens (which happen to be the largest gardens in Europe), you will find the Chinesischer Turm or Chinese Tower. Not fully sure I understand the purpose of this tower but on a beautiful sunny day it is the perfect spot to enjoy some German cuisine and a beer.
We wandered back through the streets, stumbled into a EU protest and finally made it back to the hostel to pack and head to the airport.
Until next time Munich!