On my way from Spain to Croatia I had a long stop in Munich. I didn’t want to stay at the airport so I decided to explore the town and I’m glad that I made that decision – it has something definitely!
is the capital and the most populated city in the German state of Bavaria, on the banks of the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps. Munich is also the third largest city in Germany, after Berlin and Hamburg, and the 12th largest city in the European Union, with a population of around 1.5 million. The Munich Metropolitan Region is home to 6 million people.
The city is a major centre of art, technology, finance, publishing, culture, innovation, education, business, and tourism in Germany and Europe and enjoys a very high standard and quality of living.
The name of the city is derived from the Old/Middle High German term Munichen, meaning “by the monks”. It derives from the monks of the Benedictine order, who ran a monastery at the place that was later to become the Old Town of Munich; hence the monk depicted on the city’s coat of arms.
Arts and literature
Munich is a major European cultural centre and has played host to many prominent composers including Orlando di Lasso, W.A. Mozart, Carl Maria von Weber, Richard Wagner, Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Max Reger and Carl Orff. With the Munich Biennale founded by Hans Werner Henze, and the A*DEvantgarde festival, the city still contributes to modern music theatre. Some of classical music’s best-known pieces have been created in and around Munich by native composers, for example Richard Strauss’s famous tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra or Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.
YOU CAN VISIT:
- BMW Welt
- National Theatre
- The Golden Friedensengel
Hofbräuhaus and Oktoberfest
The Hofbräuhaus am Platzl, arguably the most famous beer hall worldwide, is located in the city centre. It also operates the second largest tent at the Oktoberfest, one of Munich’s most famous attractions. For two weeks, the Oktoberfest attracts millions of people visiting its beer tents (“Bierzelte”) and fairground attractions. The Oktoberfest was first held on 12 October 1810 in honour of the marriage of crown prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The festivities were closed with a horse race and in the following years the horse races were continued and later developed into what is now known as the Oktoberfest. Despite its name, most of Oktoberfest occurs in September. It always finishes on the first Sunday in October unless the German national holiday on 3 October (Tag der deutschen Einheit, i. e., “Day of German Unity”) is a Monday or Tuesday – then the Oktoberfest remains open for these days.
Beers and breweries
Munich is famous for its breweries and the Weissbier (or Weißbier / Weizenbier, wheat beer) is a speciality from Bavaria. Helles, a pale lager with a translucent gold colour is the most popular Munich beer today, although it’s not old (only introduced in 1895) and is the result of a change in beer tastes. Helles has largely replaced Munich’s dark beer, Dunkles, which gets its colour from roasted malt. It was the typical beer in Munich in the 19th century, but today it is more of a speciality. Starkbier is the strongest Munich beer, containing 6%–9% alcohol. It is dark amber in colour and has a heavy malty taste. It is available and popular during the Lenten Starkbierzeit (strong beer season), which begins on or before St. Joseph’s Day (19 March). The beer served at Oktoberfest is a special type of Märzen beer with a higher alcohol content than regular Helles.
There are countless Wirtshäuser (traditional Bavarian ale houses/restaurants) all over the city area, many of which also have small outside areas. Biergärten (beer gardens) are the most famous and popular fixtures of Munich’s gastronomic landscape. They are central to the city’s culture and serve as a kind of melting pot for members of all walks of life, for locals, expatriates and tourists alike. It is allowed to bring one’s own food to a beer garden, however, it is forbidden to bring one’s own drinks. There are many smaller beer gardens and around twenty major ones, providing at least one thousand seats, with four of the most famous and popular in the Englischer Garten: Chinesischer Turm (Munich’s second largest beer garden with 7,000 seats), Seehaus, Hirschau and Aumeister. Among locals, connoisseurs and well-informed tourists, Augustiner-Keller, near Hauptbahnhof (central station) at Arnulfstraße, is one of the most popular beer gardens in the city, since it is the only one in which Munich’s most popular beer, Augustiner, is drawn from wooden barrels. Nockherberg, Hofbräukeller (not to be confused with the Hofbräuhaus) and Löwenbräukeller are other famous beer gardens. Hirschgarten is the largest beer garden in the world, with 8,000 seats.
There are six main breweries in Munich:
- Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu (separate brands Spaten and Franziskaner, the latter of which mainly for Weissbier)
Also popular, though not from Munich and thus without the right to have a tent at the Oktoberfest, are especially Tegernseer and Schneider Weisse, the latter of which has a major beer hall in Munich just as the Munich breweries do. Smaller breweries are becoming more prevalent in Munich, such as Giesinger Bräu. However, these breweries do not have tents at Oktoberfest.
The Viktualienmarkt is Munich’s most popular market for fresh food and delicatessen. A very old feature of Munich’s Fasching (carnival) is the dance of the Marktfrauen (market women) of the Viktualienmarkt in comical costumes.
The Auer Dult is held three times a year on the square around Mariahilf church and is one of Munich’s oldest markets, well-known for its hardware, trinkets and antiques.
Three weeks before Christmas, the Christkindlmarkt opens at Marienplatz and other squares in the city, selling Christmas goods.
I want to go to Munich definitely at least one more time to explore it better! 🙂
If you have any recommendations what I can’t miss next time, drop it in the comment. Thanks! 😉