It's easy to see why the Bavarian capital of Munich ranks so highly as one of Europe's top travel destinations. Situated on the winding banks of the lovely Isar River, and filled with lush greenery, stunning architecture, and world-class museums and restaurants, few cities in the world can match it in terms of charm and sophistication. Whether you're a first-time visitor, or returning for another stay, here are seven must-see attractions to help make your trip to Munich truly special.
Connecting Munich's historic Old Town district to its trendy new neighborhoods, the lively Leopoldstrasse Boulevard is the perfect way to experience the best of what this city has to offer in one leisurely stroll. Dozens of shops, cinemas, pubs, outdoor cafés and open air markets line this long and colorful street, making it a splendid way to spend an afternoon. As you walk along the Leopoldstrasse's wide path, keep an eye out for popular landmarks like the beautiful Siegestor victory gate and the playfully avant-garde Running Man statue.
Music at the Gasteig
A gorgeous modern concert hall overlooking the Isar River, the Gasteig is home to the famed Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition to hosting musical events throughout the year, the 2,400-seat auditorium is the site for international film screenings, dance performances and live theater, which explains why it's been one of the city's top cultural attractions since it first opened more than three decades ago. Upcoming programs in 2018 include a tribute to the music of “Game of Thrones," a concert by the Japanese drumming troupe Kodō, and a celebration of the Swedish pop group ABBA's classic hits.
The BMW Museum
Germany and automotive excellence go hand in hand, so a visit to Munich's BMW Museum is highly recommended. Located near the city's Olympic Park, and housed in one of the most strikingly designed buildings in the entire country, the museum offers visitors a guided tour of the iconic car manufacturer's fascinating history, including dozens of full-size prototype vehicles on display. One current exhibit includes a rare look at the one-of-a-kind BMW 507 roadster owned by Elvis Presley himself. The BMW Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.
If you've ever dreamed of stepping into a real-life fairy tale, then this spectacular 19th century palace perched high above the quaint village of Hohenschwangau is not to be missed. Commissioned by the King of Bavaria as a tribute to the legendary German composer Richard Wagner, the still-unfinished palace served as inspiration for Walt Disney's iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle. A variety of guided tours allow visitors to explore the opulent throne room, the fanciful turrets, a romantic carriage house, and several grand halls and chambers.
Dinner at Broeding
Head Chef and co-owner Manuel Reheis and his expert team of culinary artists reinvent the wheel each night with a fresh and inventive menu that changes every 24 hours. Wine connoisseurs will find themselves in awe of the exquisite Austrian bottles stored in Broeding's cellar, but it's the extraordinary food that has made this award-winning restaurant so beloved. Guests can choose between either a five or six-course meal, with or without wine pairing, or take advantage of Broeding's after-work special which includes a specially selected three-course dinner.
Think of this outrageously fun festival as “Oktoberfest's little sister." Held annually at the end of April, Frühlingsfest (or Springfest as it's called in English) draws thousands of visitors to Munich each year for more than two weeks of pretzels, parties, fireworks, and some of the best beer in the world. Featuring all the pleasures of Oktoberfest, but with warmer weather and smaller crowds, Springfest is an intrinsic part of Bavarian culture and a must-see event for anyone visiting the city between April and May.
Drinks at The Couch Club
One of the city's best cocktail bars, The Couch Club combines Bavarian elegance with laid-back charm, making it ideal for virtually all occasions. Offering more than 130 varieties of gin, including many rare and obscure German brands, and featuring plenty of cozy armchairs and sofas to relax in, this popular spot is like a friendly living room you won't want to leave. An extensive drink menu, tasty sandwiches, snacks and a requisite foosball table help add to the chill vibe.