When people think about Germany, what usually come to their minds are the image of German people dressed in traditional dresses holding a beer stein in one hand and a pretzel in another. What they did not realize is that the image doesn't represent the entire German culture but only one state, Bavaria. Munich is the capital city of Bavaria and wouldn't it be illogical to come all the way to Germany and not experience the rich culture of Bavaria?
After France, I went to Germany through Stuttgart and stopped in Munich for 4 days before heading up north. I was lucky enough to have a friend there and she showed me around the cool parts of Munich that not many tourists know about and this article is mostly about that. If you are looking to find a way to the touristy places like Neuschwanstein castle, then this article is NOT for you.
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Where to Stay in Munich
The 4You Hostel was where I stayed in Munich. I chose this hostel mainly because it was conviniently located within walking distance from the central train station and the central hub, the Marienplatz. All the other aspects were also amazing with free buffet breakfast, fast internet, comfy bed and a reassuring security system.
The hostel is 2 minutes walk away from both the train station and the Marienplatz area.
How to Get to Munich
The best way to get here is to fly either directly to Munich or into one of Germany's hub cities like Frankfurt or Berlin and take a bus from there. I would recommend you browse through Skyscanner or Momondo to find all the cheap flights from where you live to Germany and compare them so that you can find the one best fit for your itinerary.
Trains operated by Deutsche Bahn (DB) are very accesible in Germany through online payments via their website or mobile app. The train stations are also centrally located in the city center so if you want the easiest option, go with the trains.
For the cheapeast option, I always go with the bus operated by FlixBus. They are reliable, on time and usually cheaper than others. Munich is a big city so coming here with a bus is probably not too difficult.
For FlixBus, you can easily book it on their website and you should get the ticket through your email where you can show it to the driver at the specified bus stop. Make sure to check where the bus pick-up and drop-off spots are before you book anything. The good thing about FlixBus is that they always include maps of both pick-up and drop-off spots in their email receipt so you don't have to look it up.
How to Get Around Munich
Most of the places I mentioned in this article are in walking distance but there are a few places where you have to take a tram or a metro to go there.
Traveling here, on average, will cost you more than traveling in most countries out there. You can expect to spend around 45 - 65 USD per day per person with food, accommodation and transportation.
Keep in mind that this is just a suggested daily budget based on my style of traveling, which is leaning more toward the budget side of things. If you want to stick to this budget, expect to sleep in dorms, eat out only a few times, and be comfortable using the cheapest and most convenient way of transportation, which often times involves walking.
If you are looking for a travel insurance to go along with your trip to Germany, I would recommend WorldNomads.com, which is what I use to look for a travel insurance that fits my kind of adventure. They have a simple and flexible search system that allowed me to find the right insurance for the right amount of time at an affordable price in seconds. If you need a travel insurance, give WorldNomads.com a try.
Awesome Things to Do in Munich
Climb St. Peter's Church in the Morning
A good rule of thumb when you are in a city and not knowing what to do is to find something to climb to get the view of the whole city from the top in one go. I chose St. Peter's church because it is located at the center of Marienplatz and it is high enough to allow me to get the 360 view of the city.
You have to pay around 2 Euros to go up but I think it was worth it especially in the mornning when the square is not too crowded. I went up arond 8AM to catch the view of the quiet city when the sun is coming up.
Picnic at the Olympic Park
Olympic park is the site of the infamous 1972 Olympics. The park sports the iconic "tent-style" roofs that is way too futuristic for its time. It consisted of lakes and green rolling hills where you can sit and picnic while overlooking the stadium beautiful architecture.
The park is located on top of the highest slope north of the city. To get there you have to either take a tram or the metro by following the instruction here.
Have a coffee at the Vorhoelzer Forum.
This is hidden gem of Munich only the locals know. This is a roof-top cafe with a panoramic view of the city on top of an Arhitecture faculty building of the Technical University in Munich. For the view you get here, the price of a coffee is extremely cheap, not to mention, you will find no tourists here, only students and some locals who knows about this place. My other friend who lives in Munich did not even know about this place! No tourists will ever find it!
The location is shown above. You will have to go into the faculty buillding and get an elevator up to the 5th floor.
Try a beer and a kebab ice cream at the Der Verrückte Eismacher
This charming little place is also hip among the students and locals who lives around the Universität area. They serve all kinds of weird tasting ice cream such as beer or kebab. Yes, you heard that correct.. a kebab flavored ice cream! And trust me, the taste is mind-blowingly accurate. You can try as many as you like before you order one. I ended up getting the beer one because it tasted great whereas the kebab one was just.. wrong. This place can be packed fast especially at noon so try to come here around 11:30 AM or after 1PM.
Visit the Nymphenburg Palace
This palace is a royal residence of a former rulers of Bavaria. All the interior and exterior of the palace are lavishly decorated with baroque-style architecture through and through. Surrounding the palace are the extensive botanical gardens perfectly for a peaceful stroll and photo opportunities. It's free to walking outside in the park but you will have to pay to get in and see the rooms.
Check out the architecture in Marienplatz
Architecture-lovers will scream in joy when they see Marienplatz. The square is surrounded by old European buildings that somehow survived the destruction of World War 2. I love walking around the square early in the morning as the locals were about to set up shops and at night where the buildings were beautifully decorated with lights. Also, if you are a big fan of shopping, then there is no better place than here.
Stroll around the English Garden
If you want a peaceful nature walk, look no further than the English garden which is located a bit north east of the city. You can either walk there from Marienplatz which took me around 30 minutes or you can take the metro to the Universität station and walk a little further up to the entrance near there. Once you enter the garden from the west entrance, you are only a few minutes away from the iconic landmark of the garden, the Chinese tower.
Drink at the Hofbräuhaus
I know, I know, this is as touristy as the Neuschwanstein castle but if you want to get the Bavarian traditional experience, slamming 1 litre beers and eating an oversized pretzel, this is the place to be. The atmosphere is very cheerful and active with live traditional music playing, people chatting and drinking. It was already fun just to walk in there.
The only problem is that it is always crowded so you will have to find a spot yourself by stalking people and making awkward eye contact with those who are stalling.
Digital Nomad Friendly Cafe
I would suggest the Vorhoelzer Forum but unfortunately, they don't have wifi and so I decided to pick this one right around the corner from my hostel. Coffee Fellows is kinda like Starbucks with mildly sweet coffee and very relaxed atmosphere. The wifi is fast but limited usage time (2 - 3 hours) and only a few power outlets available. There are better cafes for digital nomads like Cafe Reed but that might be a bit to far away from the hostel.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by BucketListly where we will follow our founder, Pete Rojwongsuriya around the world as he singlehandedly travel alone and experience different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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