I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Munich. I didn’t know what to expect as my only other experience of German cities was Berlin which is completely different from the Bavarian city of Munich. However, I fell in love with the city, it’s food and the gorgeous green spaces. Trying to decide what to do in Munich in 2 days wasn’t easy, and luckily I had an extra afternoon so was able to spend nearly 3 days in Munich, with an extra day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle. However, if you are tight on time and only have two days in Munich, I’ve put together this Munich itinerary with my recommendations for the best things to do in Munich in 2 days.
How Many Days in Munich is Enough?
This is the age-old question. There are lots of things to do in Munich itself, as well as outside the city on day trips from Munich. If you only have one day in Munich, you will barely scratch the surface but one day is better than nothing! 2 days in Munich will give you more time to explore the city, but if you are able to spend 3 or 4 days in Munich you will have time for some day trips too. Here I’ll cover my suggested Munich itinerary for things to do in Munich in 2 days, as well as a couple of ideas for day trips if you have more time. Of course, it all depends on your own interests and what you like to do, but this Munich itinerary will give you a good start!
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Where to Stay in Munich
As the #wombatsTraveller ambassador for wombat’s Hostels, I stayed at the wombat’s Munich, which is in a great location close to the main train station. I’m working on a full review of the hostel, but I enjoyed my stay here and it is really convenient for getting around the city and to/from the airport. As with all the wombat’s hostels, the hostel is clean, secure and has a tasty breakfast buffet for a few euros extra. The womBAR is also a great place to hang out in the evening and meet fellow travellers so I’d recommend wombat’s Munich for backpackers and budget travellers, as well as sociable couples who want the fun atmosphere of a hostel compared to a hotel. There are dorms and private rooms available, you can check the rates directly on their website here.
Things to do in Munich in 2 Days
Munich makes a great city break and spending a weekend in Munich will give you a good taste of what the city has to offer, especially if you can take advantage of the Sunday €1 museum entry. Here are some suggestions for what to do with 2 days in Munich.
Day 1 in Munich: Explore the “New” Old Town
Much of Munich’s city centre was destroyed during WWII as Allied bombers targeted this important German city. After the war, many of the buildings were painstakingly rebuilt using the original plans and materials, to restore the city centre to what it once was. That means that the ‘Old Town Hall’ is in fact newer than the ‘New Town Hall’, and St Peter’s Church is much younger than it appears.
Take a Free Walking Tour
I don’t always recommend free walking tours, but the one I took was fabulous thanks to our funny and insightful guide. I was planning to take the free tour offered from wombat’s Hostel, but it doesn’t run every day, and of course, I chose the day when it wasn’t on offer, so I quickly headed over to Marienplatz to take the Munich free tour with Sandeman’s. Walking tours give a great overview of the city and some history to go with it. However, if you only have one day in Munich you may be better visiting on your own to save time.
Munich in 2 Days: Marienplatz
Marienplatz is the main square in the city, where you will find both town halls. Every day at 11am at 12pm (and 5pm from March-October) the famous Glockenspiel in the Old Town Hall comes to life, where figurines from Munich’s history perform a dance to the bonging chimes. You can go inside the Old Town Hall for a 4€ entry fee, which also allows access to a viewing platform in the tower, which is accessible by lift. Kids will also enjoy the toy museum in the Old Town Hall. If you’re feeling peckish, the café at Galeria Kaufhof shopping centre has lovely views of the square.
St Peter’s Church Tower
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to go inside the church as every time I walked past it was closed. However, the bell tower is open all day, and the views from the top are well worth all the stairs! Be warned though, the staircase is narrow and there is only one which is used for going up and coming down, so take your time and be aware of other people who are going up or down at the same time. From the top, you get a spectacular view of Marienplatz and the New Town Hall, as well as the whole city around you (the cover photo is from the top of the tower).
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Step in the Devil’s Footprint
Whether you’re a believer or not, I loved this story about the architect of Frauenkirche making a deal with the devil. The church was built in just 20 years, which is exceptionally quick for a church of that size considering it was built in the 1400s without modern technology. Legend has it, during construction, the devil came into the church and spoke to the architect, and agreed to help him speed up the building, as long as the church had no windows.
At the time, the church already had windows, but from where the devil was standing, he couldn’t see them, as they were hidden by the tall pillars along the aisle. The savvy architect agreed not to make any changes to the church, and construction was completed a few years later. When the devil returned to check on the work, he was furious to find the beautiful windows all around the church, and when he realised that he had been tricked, he stamped his foot in rage, leaving his footprint behind.
See the Munich Residenz and Hofgarten
The Residenz was the palace of the Bavarian Royal Family, and the Hofgarten the well-cared-for gardens of the palace. The gardens are free to enter, and the Residenz is now a large museum where you can visit the staterooms and treasury.
Learn about History in Odeonsplatz
This large square hosts many parades and public events, but was also the scene of some dark times, including in 1923 when a gunfight broke out between police officers and Nazis. When the Third Reich came to power, a memorial was erected for the fallen Nazis, and all passers-by were required to honour them with a Nazi salute. The narrow street Drückebergergasse was a way for people to avoid the memorial and the salute, and a brass cobblestones along the street now act as a memorial for the people who walked that way, showing an act of defiance against the Nazi regime, risking their lives in doing so.
Admire the Interior of Asamkirche
Even if you’re not a big church person, Asamkirche is worth a quick look inside. It is small, so won’t take up much of your time, but the baroque interior with lavish frescoes and gold leaf statues is impressive.
Day 2 in Munich: Culture and Fun
Get Your Museum Fix
There are lots of excellent museums in Munich, and there are several all in the same few blocks in the museum quarter. If you are in Munich on a Sunday, make that your museum day, as you can visit most of the museums for just €1 admission. Of course, they will be busier on Sundays but for a euro, you can’t complain! The museums are all closed on Mondays. The Glyptotek classical sculpture museum is unfortunately closed for refurbishment until 2021, as is the Neue Pinakothek but there are plenty of other museums to visit.
I went to the Alte Pinakothek which has a spectacular collection of classical artworks including Boticelli, Rafael, Duere, Da Vinci, Rubens and Tintoretto among others. Bear in mind that backpacks are not allowed inside and must be placed in lockers by the entrance which are free to use. Head to Museum Brandhorst for modern art including Warhol and Damien Hirst, the Egyptian Museum for over 2000 ancient Egyptian artefacts and the Bavarian National Museum close to the Englischer Garten is also worth a visit if you have time.
Things to do in Munich in 2 Days: Englischer Garten
This huge urban park is one of the largest in Europe and a lovely place to spend a sunny afternoon. Take your time to explore the park on foot or by bike, have lunch at the huge beer garden by the Japanese Tower and watch as surfers ride the waves which spring from the underground river. You may also spot some nude sunbathers, it’s legal and if that’s your bag you can join in if you like. I skipped that part and sat by the Monopteros (a circular Greek-style monument) for a while before going to watch the surfers at the Eisbachwelle. The food at the Japanese Tower beer garden was delicious too. If you walk up to the lake you can also hire boats on the lake, or just grab a beer or snack from the Bar am Seehaus beer garden. I only managed to see about a third of the park as it is so huge!
Go Shopping for Lederhosen and Dirndls
When in Bavaria, do what Bavarians do. Traditional Bavarian dress of lederhosen and dirndls aren’t just for the tourists, there are still plenty of people who wear these, even in the city. A fun thing to do in Munich is to buy your own traditional Bavarian clothes, especially if you are in Munich for Oktoberfest! There are various shops dotted around the city where you can pick up an outfit. In cheaper shops like Original Steindl Trachten you should be able to pick up a full outfit for under 50 € or less if you choose the second-hand ones. If you want a higher quality dirndl you can easily spend €200+. Ladies, did you know that the way you tie the bow of the apron shows whether you’re available or not? Single ladies tie the bow on the left, and if you’re not looking for any action then tie it on the right-hand side.
Foodie Things to do in Munich in 2 Days:
Eat Delicious Bavarian Food
The food in Munich is delicious if a little meat-heavy. Many dishes are quite similar to the food in Vienna or Prague, with lots of pork dishes like schnitzel, weisswurts sausages and roast pork. Vegetarians can gorge on cheesy spatzel noodles and fat bretzels (pretzels) but may struggle with traditional dishes although you should find a veggie option on all restaurant menus.
Visit a Traditional Beer Hall
Beer is synonymous with Munich, and even for someone who doesn’t drink beer like me, a trip to a beer hall or beer garden really is a must. Chances are you’ll come across an oompah band, have a few drinks and end up making friends with everyone on your shared table. As well as the beer served in huge steins, you can also get some good German white wine or fizzy apple juice as well as most regular soft drinks. To accompany your beverage, order some bratwurst, bretzels or other savoury snacks, that way you’ll have something to soak up the booze! Hofbräuhaus is the most famous although it does get busy in the evenings! A great way to experience the beer hall culture in Munich is to take a tour to learn more about them and go to the best beer halls in Munich.
Explore the Viktualienmarkt
This sprawling market has stalls selling everything from flowers to eco-friendly herbal remedies, fresh fruit, veg, meat and cheese as well as souvenirs. If you are fancy a beer there is the obligatory beer garden in the centre, one side of which has waitress service, the other is self-service. You can bring whatever food you like to sit at the tables, as long as you buy a drink from the beer garden. I took a food tour to find some of the best stalls in the market, or you can wander around as you please.
Extra Things to do in Munich in Three Days
You might struggle to fit in all of these things to do if you only have 2 days in Munich, but with 3 or 4 days then you can experience more of the city and the surrounding area.
Nymphenburg Palace & the Botanical Garden
Nymphenburg Palace, or ‘Castle of the Nymphs’ was the summer residence of the rulers of Bavaria, and the Baroque palace and gardens are worth a visit if you have time. The gardens of the Palace are free to enter and is a pleasant place to go for a run if you’re into that sort of thing! The palace is now a museum where you can visit the palatial rooms. The nearby Botanical Garden has a fee to enter and visit the 52 acres of themed gardens, greenhouses and ponds.
CCC Container Collective
I headed out here during the day to see some of the street art and it was pretty quiet. However, it seems that during the summer evenings things liven up considerably with bars, restaurants and events. It’s a bit outside the city centre but easy to reach on the underground.
Day Trips from Munich
If you have more than two days in Munich, then I highly recommend taking a day trip or two to explore more of Bavaria.
This lovely fairy-tale castle close to the Austrian border makes a wonderful day trip from Munich but check the timings and activities carefully as I felt very rushed on my Neuschwanstein Castle tour. You can also take the train yourself, which is a pleasant journey through rural Bavaria until you reach the beginnings of the Alps where the castle is nestled in the mountains.
Dachau Memorial Site
I decided not to visit Dachau on my visit to Munich, but the other backpackers I spoke to said it was well worth the trip. Dachau was one of the first Nazi concentration camps and claimed the lives of thousands of Jews and other German citizens and prisoners during the second world war. Although it certainly isn’t a happy place, it is important to remember what happened to prevent it from happening again. Guided tours of the camp are offered in English and are well worth doing to understand what you are seeing. You can find details of tours on the website here, or take a look at a tour including transport from Munich below.
Have you got any other suggestions for what to do in Munich in 2 days? I’d love to hear your thoughts, please leave your comments below.
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