Last month, Stew and I arranged a last minute trip to Munich, flying out of London on a Friday afternoon and returning late on a Sunday evening. Having just 48 hours in the city, meant we needed to be savvy with our time – ticking off all the sights that we wanted to see and eating all of the traditional Bavarian cuisine we could fit in!
Overall we had a fantastic weekend. Luckily, Munich is relatively small, so we were able to walk everywhere and soak up the atmosphere of this lovely city along the way. Being January, the weather was cold. Very cold. But that didn’t stop us. In fact, the snow made it even more magical!
Located close to the Austrian border, Munich is very different to Berlin – the only other German city we’ve visited. Its Bavarian architecture, cobbled streets and trams, make it a very idyllic place to spend a few days. Big on beer kellers, open spaces, beautiful squares and lots of shops, it was a city that I really fell in love with. Hence why I’m sharing our experience with you today.
We stayed in the wonderful Cocoon Hotels. There are 3 in total in Munich. The ski lodge meets Bavarian countryside farm decor, is something quite special! It’s fun, it’s cooky and the staff were a fantastic help, recommended places to eat, drink and top sights to see. The beds was possibly one of the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept in, and the rainfall shower was a dream. Just what I needed after a day of work, and travelling. Reception is decorated with a number of quirky seating options, including a ski lift chair, cow print egg chair and a gondala! But the lift is really where it’s at (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d say). The lift is also in the style of a gondala, with windows (TVs), that play moving footage of a snowy mountain and gondala lift. It’s so well done. I’d highly recommend this hotel!
It was hard to pick just 5 top sights/attractions to share, there are so many great things to do in Munich. Such as Viktaulienmarkt (Victuals Market), the largest in Munich, selling a variety of food, drink, crafts and gifts. You could spend hours wandering around the stalls and grabbing a bite to eat in one of the many cafes. A tour of Munich Residenz and Cuvilliés Theatre are a must. The Palace is vast, but extremely impressive and the theatre, well, I’ll let my photo below show you a glimpse of this majestic building.
But alas, I chose just 5 to share in more detail. These were our personal highlights of the weekend. Enjoy!
Top 5 things to do in Munch:
- St Peter’s Church, for the best views of Munich.
- Haxnbauer, for the best pork knuckle in Munich.
- Hofbrauhaus Keller or Rathaus Keller, for a traditional stein.
- English Garden, for year-round surfing!
- Augustine Keller, for a traditional Bavarian breakfast, or Cafe Stereo, for great coffee and Instagram worthy decor.
St Peter’s Church hosts possibly the best view in Munich. Climb up the few hundred steps into the tower of the Church for fantastic views across the city, and your own person view of Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall). The town hall is home to the world’s largest glockenspiel (not the instrument, but a giant cuckoo style clock), facing out over Marienplatz (another must see). The glockenspiel puts on a little show at 11am and midday, each morning. So if you time it right, head up to the top of the Church just before and get the best view.
Haxnbauer was a restaurant that we stumbled upon by chance. As guests lefts and the door opened, we were greeted with an incredible BBQ smell, stopping us in our tracks. As we perused the menu outside, we realised that it is one of (if not the) oldest restaurants in Munich serving spit roasted meats. They’ve been spit roasting pork knuckle and other dishes for over 100 years, using the same recipe to get the perfect succulent meat, crispy crackling, and smokey flavour.
Its decor depicts that of a traditional Bavarian style restaurant, and attracts both locals and tourists alike. We were told we didn’t need to book a table, but turning up 7pm on a Saturday night, we were at the back of a 15 person strong queue. However, this just proved that we’d made a good decision for dinner, and the staff work hard to get customers seated as soon as possible, and yet once seated, you’re never made to feel like you need to leave. We were here for hours, eating and drinking. It was a really fun evening and the apple strudel is to die for! (Apologies for the poor photo below, it was taken on my phone. I completely forgot to use my camera before tucking in). Pictured – pork knuckle with dumplings or mash potato and sauerkraut. Sides include salad (for some vegetables) and an warm apple and red cabbage dish, which was slightly odd but tasted really nice. Almost like an apple sauce I suppose, but red.
Hofbrauhaus Keller is the most famous, and most popular, beer keller in Munich. It’s huge, with long sharing tables, live music, plenty of steins and women in traditional Bavarian dress, selling large pretzels. It has a really great atmosphere, but can get a little rowdy. It’s definitely one to visit when you’re in Munich, especially for the band.
Rathaus Keller however, offers a traditional Bavarian beer keller and restaurant, but a much quieter atmosphere. Located underneath the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall), we popped in for a beer and pretzel in the afternoon and it was a really nice place to take a break for an hour or two. I wish we’d had time to come back here for dinner, as the plates that were whizzing by, looked amazing!
English Garden is a large park located just outside the city centre. As I said earlier, it snowed for much of the time we were in Munich, which made the English Garden look even more beautiful. All we could see for miles around was perfect white snow, and the Monopteros looked stunning, perched up on top of the hill covered in a dusting of the white stuff.
There are lakes and streams running throughout the park, with an extra special sight towards the south of the park. As we made our way back, we were greeted by a crowd gathered around a bridge. Underneath was a number of surfers taking it in turns to ride a wave that never stops! It’s the oddest thing. This continuous wave offers surfers year-round practice in a safe environment, and attracts spectators all year along with it. Definitely something you have to see for yourself.
Finally, I couldn’t not recommend a couple of places for breakfast. I often find that good breakfast spots can be hard to come by when visiting a new city. I spend hours trawling through Instagram to get an idea of what looks good, and it didn’t take me long to find Cafe Stereo, a beautiful cafe located inside a shop, offering great people watching from the large windows, delicious pastries and brioche, possibly the best coffee in Munich and decor made for Instagram!
On the flip side, Augustine Keller serves up traditional Bavarian breakfast of white sausage, honey mustard, wheat beer and salty pretzels. This is another keller that I’d recommend. Located a little bit further out of the centre, it often pops up on review sites as one of the best in Munich. From the outside, it looks as though it could be in the mountains, surrounded by skiers, but it’s actually located on a pretty busy road, surrounded by high rise offices. This doesn’t detract from it’s traditional Bavarian style though.
The white sausage was a very different experience to how we might eat sausages in the UK. Here they are boiled, and served in warm water, with a lid on to keep them hot. Once you’ve grabbed one, it’s best to gently remove the skin. This is how they eat them traditionally, and is how our waitress said they taste their best. The flavour was delicious, and I’m not even a fan of sausages, but the honey mustard is really where it’s at. Perfectly sweet and spicy, I could’ve eaten this by the spoonful!
I hope my recommendations help if you’re planning a trip to Munich. Please feel free to leave any questions in the comments below, or if you’ve been and have any other recommendations, it would be great to hear them.