We’re delighted to bring you some expert advice on things to do in Munich, Germany. This guest post, and all the images, were created by the wonderful Emma, whose writing you can see on her blog, A Bavarian Sojourn.
Having lived in Munich for well over five years, I like to think I have a little “insider” knowledge. I hope you will find this little whirlwind “throughout the year” guide useful for whatever time of year you visit!
Think of Munich, and you might well imagine it to be a city full of traditions rather than your typical family holiday destination. But you’d be wrong. Spend a few days in Munich, and head out to explore a little more of Bavaria, and you have a perfect family holiday right there…
Places to visit in Munich in Spring
Spring in Munich arrives once the snows have melted, which some years can be as late as April. Make the most of the city’s masses of museums and galleries when the weather’s not playing nicely. Children will adore the vast Deutsches Museum (the largest science museum in the world), complete with experiment heaven, Kid’s Kingdom (do make sure to pop into True & 12 for the best ice cream in Munich afterwards. It’s just around the corner).
History fans will enjoy the Stadt Museum, to gain a little more insight on Munich through the centuries. Do not miss the gift shop in any event. It’s one of the best in the city, in my opinion! Art enthusiasts have plenty of options, but my favourite with children probably has to be the Moderne, which covers both art and design. Look out for the cars and motorbikes on the wall in the design section.
Speaking of cars, another great place for a rainy day visit has to be BMW Welt. Explore this iconic car’s history, watch customers picking up their brand new autos at the little presentation circuit up on the top floor, and have lunch at one of the many restaurants. Keep an eye out for the resident indoor motorbike stuntman. BMW welt also holds regular kids’ workshops and hosts amazing car design birthday parties!).
Of course, whilst you are so close you should take a closer look at the Olympia Park next door – home to the Olympics all those years ago, and playground to many a Munchener. You will find the Sea Life Museum here, as well as the huge Olympic pool that’s open to the public.
Towards Easter, festival season begins. Keep an eye out for Fruhlingsfest (Spring Festival) – Oktoberfest’s little sister – held on the same site. On the day that it starts, turf everyone out of bed super early and head there to see what treasures you can find at the biggest flea market I have ever seen.
The Viktualienmarkt is also lovely at this time of year, with stalls piled high with spring blossom and painted eggs.
What to do in Munich in Summer
Summer in Munich gets hotter than you might imagine. When it’s unbearable, head to the shade of a biergarten for one of the best places to relax and keep cool. While you might not imagine this to be all that child-friendly, most biergartens have the most brilliant playgrounds. First-time visitors should note that you are welcome to take your own picnic (as long as you buy the bier there!), but most of the biergartens provide great food. Favourite biergartens of mine include the one by the Chinese tower in the Englischer Garten (kids will also love watching the Eisbach Surfers nearby), the Hirschgarten, Augustiner and the Mariabrunn which is significantly out-of-town, but worth it for the fairytale-esque location.
You could also head to the banks of the Isar to cool down, or if you fancy a bit of lakeside refreshment, head to Chiemsee, Eibsee (which you should really see in the Autumn too – it’s glorious) or Starnberger See. While there I highly recommend a visit to the Buchheim for an art gallery that really is out of this world. Just make sure you find the car park correctly, or you might find yourself driving through the sculpture garden, like I did!
Back in Munich, Summer is also Tollwood Season. This huge art and music festival (at the Olympia Park in the summer, at Theresenwiese in the Winter) is also kid heaven, with plenty of workshops and activities to keep everyone happy.
Things to see in Munich in Autumn (Fall)
On to Autumn, when this typically green city puts on the most amazing display of colours. Now is a great time to tour the city’s parks by bike, to see the best of the display. Mike’s Bikes do a great tour!
Of course, when you think of Munich in the Autumn, most people think of Oktoberfest – a fest that typically celebrates the end of the Harvest. Parts of it are more child-friendly than you might imagine – the Oide Wiesn is so much fun, and not many of visitors even know it’s there…
For something completely different, look out for the many Kurbis Fests (Pumpkin Festivals) dotted about the place (my favourite is at Schwabhausen). Bavarians love to celebrate EVERYTHING, and these capture Autumn in Bavaria perfectly.
At this time of year, you really should visit the Viktualienmarkt to inspect the statues (they are decorated throughout the year), admire the stalls piled high with berries and wild mushrooms, and visit the market biergarten before it closes for the winter.
If you are in Munich on a warm autumn day with children, you could head out-of-town to WildPark Poing, a wildlife park complete with roaming deer (who like to be fed!), and the biggest playground ever. Tiny children will love the fairy tale park of Marchenwald near picturesque Wolfratshausen.
Things to do in Munich in Winter
Winter is possibly the most magical time to be in Munich and Bavaria generally, with the arrival of the Christkindlmarkts. If you have been good, you might spot St Nicholas on his rounds, but if you haven’t, keep an eye out for his helper Krampus. He might just carry you off to the mountains. There’s a huge Krampus Lauf (run) that starts in the Marienplatz around the second week of December, when over 500 of the hairy creatures roam through the city. Have no fear, they look much scarier than they are.
Speaking of the Marienplatz, the main Christmas tree takes pride of place here (the Marienplatz is also home to the tiny Toy Museum), and the Glockenspiel changes its everyday tune to Christmas versions.
When the weather starts to get uber cold (which it can, and inevitably will) head to beautiful Nymphenburg to skate the canals with the locals. You can also find the Museum of Mensch Und Natur – Men & Nature – here too! Or head out of town to the mountains for a day’s skiing. The closest mountains are around an hour and a half away, It would be a shame not to take a trip to the top of Germany’s highest mountain while you are visiting. You can also sleep in an Iglu at the Zugspitze if you fancy it!
Munich and its surrounds really do make for a perfect family holiday whatever time of year you visit…
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