A three day tour of the museums, parks, and biergartens of Munich (+ Dachau day trip)
- + 6
Europe2 days / April 2018
Highs & Lows
The English Gardens is one of the best urban parks in the world!
Little bit cold and quite expensive (especially the beer)
The city center of Munich is enchanting - the Bavarian architecture melds seamlessly with the modern additions over the last 100 years. Definitely don't miss the main town square, as well as Weiner Platz a couple blocks to the east, to get a sense of the city and grab a bite. St. Peter's Church near the city center is definitely worth seeing. I didn't have high expectations for the cathedrals, as Germany the isn't really known for religious architecture, but this turned out to be one of my favorites in all of Europe. If beer is your thing (it probably is if you're vacationing in Germany), stop by Hofbrauhaus. It's a bit of a tourist trap, but it's an authentic experience and has great food in addition to the liter beers that draw in the crowds.
The English Gardens and the art galleries were the unexpected highlights of the trip. Alte Pinakothek and Pinakothek der Moderne are right next to each other and you can squeeze in both of them in a morning. Both galleries were full of famous paintings that even I recognized (I'm no art expert), as well as several others that became new favorites of mine. Either museum could fill an entire morning by itself as well if you wanted to cut one of them out. Alte has more classics, Moderne only has art from the 20th and 21st centuries. After we'd had our fill, we took a short walk over to the English Gardens. I had no clue how gorgeous, or vast, that this park would be - it's even bigger than NYC's Central Park! We spent the whole afternoon wandering around the park, grabbing a bite or a drink here and there at the various food and beverage stands scattered throughout the gardens.
We decided to take a day trip to Dachau to visit its concentration camp memorial site. Public transit in Munich is very solid, and it will take you all the way out to Dachau where you can then take a bus to the site. This is the only thing we did in Dachau because it'll take you most of the day to get through the guided tour (which I do recommend over the self-guided exploration). Prepare yourself - you'll be presented with some uncomfortable and extremely unsavory history that isn't easy to process, but it was one of the more impactful experiences I've had in all my travels. We've all read about what happened in these camps in the 30s and 40s, but to actually lay eyes on the facilities changes your perspective entirely.
Q & A
What would you have changed?
I could have probably stayed one less day. There isn't an overwhelming amount of things to see and do in Munich, but I enjoyed everything that we did.
What tips would you give a friend?
Stay close to the center of the city. Almost everything that we did was very centrally located, and we all wished that we had stayed closer to that area.
Use the subway and buses if you need to - they were great the few times that we used them - but Munich is extremely walkable. Bring some good walking shoes and you may not even have to set foot on public transit.
I was definitely surprised by how much I enjoyed the galleries in Munich, I say that as someone who doesn't consider myself to be an art fanatic. If you're a big art person, you'll love Munich.