Munich, the capital of Bavaria, is probably best known for hosting Oktoberfest, but even if you don't like beer or visit in the summer rather than autumn, there are plenty of other things to see to keep you entertained. Munich has a beautiful old town area (Neues Rathaus is simply stunning!), great shopping for all tastes and budgets as well as lovely parks like Englischer Garten.
Munich Old Town
Munich old town is a lovely place - you can spend hours wandering the streets and admiring the architecture, with coffee breaks in the numerous cafes and bakeries. The buildings are a mixture of architectural styles coming together to form a lovely atmosphere. Some of the must-see places in the old town are Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall), Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall), St Peter's Church, Asam's Church and Hofgarten.
Neues Rathaus is located on Marienplatz and is a massive late 19th century neo-gothic building. This is where the city government moved to from the nearby 14th century Altes Rathaus. Its numerous ornate features make is absolutely breathtaking. The tower has a Glockenspiel attaraction - there are 43 bells and 32 figures that chime and reenact two stories every day at 11am (several times a day in the summer). Even if you miss the Glockenspiel, the figures are a beautiful part of the building's fassade. While the building is where the city govenment works, the tower has a viewing platform accessible to the public with an elevator. I, however, chose to climb the tower of St Peter's church, which is what I would recommend to you for better views if you are ok with climbing lots of narrow stairs.
St Peter's church main building is accessible for free, so you can have a look inside the church. If you want to climb the tower though, you have to pay a small fee (3€ at the time of my visit). The tower has a separate entrance to the main church area. It is a long climb and very narrow in places and as the viewing platform is also very narrow and can only accommodate one row of people, you might get stuck in a traffic jam on the stairs for a while before being able to go out. But the view is absolutely worth it! You can see in all directions, including Marienplatz, Altes Rathaus, Neues Rathaus, Residenz, Englischer Garten, Viktualienmarkt and the Olympic park and tower in the distance. The viewing platform on top of St Peter's church tower doesn't have any glass, just bars, so no reflections will get in the way of your photos.
Asam's church is another architecturally interesting building, this time baroque. It is an 18th century building, created by the Asam brothers to be their private church. It is extremely ornate inside and outside.
Hofgarten is a small park between the old town and the vast Englischer Garten. If your feet are too tired to go and explore the Englischer Garten, Hofgarten is a lovely alternative to enjoy some greenery.
If there is only one museum you can visit in Munich, make it The Residenz (or The Munich Residence). It is the former royal palace of the Bavarian monarchs and the largest city palace in Germany. While the outside of the building is mainly impressive due to its size rather than architectural grandeur, the inside of the palace has an overwhelming number of stunning looking rooms, providing an insight into the life of royalty in the olden days, be it the breathtakingly beautiful Antiquarium or the elegant royal bedrooms and reception rooms.
Due to the size of the Residenz, you should not attempt a visit after hours of sightseeing elsewhere - you will need to walk A LOT to cover the over 100 rooms on display. So arrive fresh and ready to take in a lot of information (if you are after more than just the signs dotted around the museum, you can get a free audio guide before starting your tour).
Antiquarium inside Residenz, Munich
Inside Residenz, Munich
Inside Residenz, Munich
Music room inside Residenz, Munich
Ornate ceiling inside Residenz, Munich
Viktualienmarkt is a food market in the centre of Munich. What started out as a farmers' market has developed into 140 stalls selling all things from fruit and veg to tea, coffee & smoothies to other local delicacies, which makes it the perfect place for foodies. Due to its size, budget plenty of time and space in your stomach to try out the plentiful offering! I was particularly drawn to the honey stall selling, among other things, avocado honey and honey wine. The market is open Monday to Saturday.
Honey wine at Viktualienmarkt
Honey wine at Viktualientmarkt
Olympic Park & Tower
The Olympic Park or Olympiapark as it's referred to on the local maps was created for the 1972 Olympics. The area contains a beautiful green park, the Olympic village, a tower with a viewing platform and a restaurant and the stadium/sports facilities buildings. The stadium looks very futuristic even so many years later as the architect of the building complex was inspired by spider webs.
While the park is accessible for free, you do need to pay a fee to go up to the viewing platform in the tower, but if you are in the area, I would definitely recommend going up, as the views are lovely. You will be able to see the park and the Olympic building complex from above, BMW building complex as well as look towards central Munich (though it's a bit too far to make out the sights).
View from the Olympic tower, Munich
Olympic park and tower, Munich
Munich Olympic Stadium
Munich Olympic Village
BMW World & Museum
If you are into cars and visiting Munich, I am sure you will already know that Munich is the home of BMW. The company's building complex is located right by the Olympic park and includes BMW World, museum and factory.
I was very confused as to what the difference is between BMW World and BMW museum and didn't really get it until I actually arrived there. To spare you the same confusion - BMW World is kind of like a massive dealership. There is no entry fee and you can see the new models of BMW, Mini and Rolls Royce and turn to the staff with any questions you may have. Some of the cars are open, so you can get in - the option that is much loved by the numerous families with children that flock there. There are also some motorcycles both inside and outside the building that you can sit on, which is another popular spot for photos.
BMW museum is in a separate building and you do have to pay an entry fee to see the history of the company, from engines to motorcycles to cars. If you want to see M1, Isetta or Z8, the museum is where you need to be.
Apart from the cars, the building complex is notable for its architectural design. A part of the BMW World building, for example, is shaped to look like a tornado, while a part of the museum building is round and has the BMW logo on top.
BMW World, museum and factory
Looking towards BMW museum
M1 in the BMW museum
Concept car in BMW museum
This formed the basis for the i8
In the BMW museum