Munich, the capital of Bavaria State, is home to some 1.5 million people who regularly demonstrate their passion for the region’s traditions. Never is this better demonstrated than at the world famous Oktoberfest beer festival, which sees Lederhosen-clad Bavarians drinking vast amounts of beer and devouring sausages like they’re going out of fashion.
However, there's more to Munich than this stereotypical image, and the city is one of Europe’s major cultural centres, boasting a vast amount of museums, theatres, opera houses and historic buildings. It is also one of Germany's most scenic cities, located at the foot of the Bavarian Alps.
Munich International Airport is located around 28km northeast of Munich city centre. Both buses and trains leave regularly from the airport to the city centre’s main station (Hauptbahnhof), which is shared by Munich’s rail and bus systems. The journey time on both means of transport is 40-45 minutes.
Munich can also be reached by long-distance buses and trains from London, Paris and many other European cities. The largest bus operator from the UK to the continent is Eurolines, with buses departing from Victoria Coach Station. British Rail also has four daily scheduled trains to Munich, with a journey time of around 9 hours and including a ferry connection.
Munich is a place to visit all year round, with plenty of outdoor attractions to enjoy in the warm summer months and pretty Christmas markets during the snowy winters.
September and October see the city begin to take on a new aesthetic dimension, with the trees turning yellow and red, whilst the world famous Oktoberfest and several other festivals arrive on the horizon.
For those who don’t enjoy excessively hot and dry weather, Autumn may be the best time of year to visit Munich. The days will be sunny and warm, though rain is also fairly common.
In winter, temperatures fall way below freezing point, the air is crisp and fresh, and a slower, more peaceful atmosphere takes hold of the city. Visitors should come in winter for the famous Christmas markets as well as the chance to ski in the nearby mountains.
Spring is eagerly awaited as the city emerges from its winter lethargy, with the days becoming longer and warmer, and flowers coming into bloom. This is also the perfect time to visit before the crowds arrive in the summer.
A short way from the square is the impressive St Peter Church, which offers one of the best viewing platforms in the city.
The Nymphenburg Palace draws over 300,000 tourists each year, and boasts finely manicured grounds, a gold leaf laden interior, and stunning ceiling frescoes adorning the three storey tall stone hall.
Munich is land locked but the authorities have played around with the Eisbach River, in the north east corner of the delightful English Summer Gardens – the largest urban park in Germany - to make it accessible for surfers and swimmers. If that doesn’t grab your interest, you can head further into the park to enjoy a drink and a giant pretzel in the beer garden.
Radius Tours, located in the central train station in Munich, offers a great selection of daily guided tours in and around the city.
To experience Munich’s famous beer culture, one of the best venues in the city is the Haufbrauhaus beer hall, established in 1589. This vast watering hole serves up giant 2 litre beer glasses, as well as traditional Bavarian music and a buzzing atmosphere.