Munich is the capital of Bavaria and often is the first stop when travelling to the region. Visit Munich to see the traditional side of Germany, with its historical buildings, numerous museums, annual Oktoberfest celebration and traditional Christmas markets in winter.
We went to Munich as part of our One week road trip in Bavaria and really enjoyed our time spent in the city. Below we’d like to share our Two-Day Munich Itinerary that includes exploring the old town, visiting Nymphenburg palace and of course tasting traditional Bavarian food.
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Day 1 – Munich’s Old Town, English Garden and German Food
Explore Munich’s Old Town (Altstadt)
Start with Munich’s central square – Marienplatz. Marienplatz has been the main city’s square since the Middle Ages and was originally called Markth (“market”) as it’s been used as a marketplace. In 1854, when the market moved to another place in the city, the square got the name of Marienplatz (‘Mary’s Square’ in English).
Marienplatz is a center of Munich’s Old Town (Altstadt). Just walk around and you will find many historical buildings and monuments in the old town.
Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) and Rathaus-Glockenspiel
Munich’s famous New Town Hall building – Neues Rathaus – stands at the north side of Marienplatz. This Neo-Gothic style building might look old, but was only built between 1867 and 1909.
Neues Rathaus features a beautiful clock with bells and dancing figures – Rathaus-Glockenspiel. The Glockenspiel comes to life every day at 11am, 12pm and 5pm (in summer time only) when the figures stand to dance and bells start to chime. It’s showing two stories from the 16th century. One is of the wedding of Duke Wilhelm V to Renate of Lorraine in 1568. And another one, below, is the Schäffler dance (the coopers dance) that cheered up the population after a terrible plague in Munich in 1517.
Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall) and Spielzeugmuseum (Toy Museum)
Next, visit the old town hall – Altes Rathaus – at the east side of Marienplatz. Even though the Old Town Hall doesn’t look that old, it was built a few centuries earlier than the New Town Hall. Altes Rathaus was redecorated a few times over the centuries, parts of it were reconstructed after being damaged during the WW2.
These days, the tall tower of Altes Rathaus is home to the Toy Museum – Spielzeugmuseum. For a small fee you can visit the museum rooms accessible by a spiral staircase to see the collection of old toys of all kinds – dolls, stuffed toys, trains, models, etc. The museum is relatively small – a 30-60 min visit should be enough to see all the expositions.
Frauenkirche, Peterskirche and St. Michael Kirche
Frauenkirche, also known as Munich Cathedral, is a well recognizable symbol of Munich. Its two tall towers rise above other buildings and are visible from many points of the Old Town.
Peterskirche (St Peter’s Church), just outside the Marienplatz is the oldest church in Munich. Its tower features a viewing platform at a height of 56m. You will have to climb approx 300 steps to enjoy the views towards the old town.
Another beautiful church to visit is St. Michael Kirche (St. Michael’s Church). It’s a Renaissance-style church with a stunning interior with lots of sculptures and paintings. Inside the St. Michael Kirche is a burial place of some of the royal Bavarian family.
Next, visit Max-Joseph-Platz – a large city square named after King Maximilian Joseph. Surrounded by the National Opera House theatre and Residenz Theatre, and few shops and restaurants on the other side there is a monument to King Maximilian Joseph in the middle.
Only 10 minutes walk from Marienplatz you will find Munich Residenz palace and Hofgarten. Munich Residenz is the former royal palace of the monarchs of Bavaria. The palace with its complex of buildings and more than one hundred rooms is huge. It’s open for visitors to admire rich room decorations, halls and various royal collections.
We didn’t go inside the palace just because we felt we didn’t have enough time. Next time we visit, we plan to spare 2-3 hours just to explore Munich Residenz and tour its rooms and halls.
Behind Munich Residenz you will find Hofgarten – park and gardens of the royal residence. It’s a nice place for a walk and a quiet green space in the old town.
After Hofgarten, head to Odeonsplatz nearby – a large square surrounded by historical buildings and monuments. There is the 17th century baroque-style Theatine Church and a monument to the Bavarian Army among other landmarks on Odeonsplatz.
Visit English Garden
Next in our Two-Day Munich Itinerary is English Garden (Englischer Garten) – a huge park in the city. It stretches from the city center along Isar river and has lots of walking tracks, ponds, playgrounds and green spaces. English Garden is a great place to walk, have a picnic or a nice day out with kids. You can easily spend several hours in the park.
Admire Royal avenue of Maximilianstrasse
After walking in the English Garden, instead of heading back to the old town, walk along the river towards Maximilian Bridge (Maximiliansbrücke).
From the bridge walk toward the old town via Maximilianstrasse – a prominent city avenue. Apart from the many historical buildings and architectural landmarks, Maximilianstrasse is known for its high-end fashion and jewellery shops. We weren’t there for its shopping, but for its grand buildings and monuments.
There is a tram line going on Maximilianstrasse from Maximilian Bridge to the old town. So if you had enough walking for the day you can take a tram and enjoy Maximilianstrasse through the window.
Königsplatz, Karolinenplatz and Maximiliansplatz
Just outside of Munich’s old city to the north, there are few nice city squares close to each other, all within walking distance.
Königsplatz is a spacious square with few monumental buildings including the Propylaea gate – the 19th century city gate. Right next to it is Karolinenplatz with its tall bronze obelisk – Obelisk von König Ludwig I.
Maximiliansplatz square has a small green park and a beautiful fountain – Wittelsbach Fountain.
Five minute walk from Maximiliansplatz is the Alter Botanical Garden. It has a playground (to have a nice break if travelling with children), a beautiful Fountain of Neptune overlooking the Palace of Justice (Justizpalast) and nice shaded green areas.
Taste German Food and Beer
No visit to Munich is complete without going to a restaurant, café or a beer garden to taste some of the traditional German food and fine German beer. Bavarian cuisine is known to have sausages, potato dishes, soups, roast, meat and dishes based on flour.
On our first day in Munich we had dinner in Ratskeller München – an old cellar (underground) restaurant with traditional Bavarian décor and dishes.
Finish the day with dinner in one of the restaurants in Munich’s old town. Next day – visit attractions a bit further from central Munich.
Day 2 – Nymphenburg Palace and other Munich museums
Visit Nymphenburg Palace and Park
Nymphenburg palace is located west from the city center and is about 30-45 min by public transport. From the city center you can take a subway (S1) to Laim station and then walk for about 20 mins to the palace. Alternatively, take a tram (N17) to the Schloss Nymphenburg stop, which is 10 min away by foot from the palace entrance.
The palace was built in the 17th century. Its first pavilion completed in 1675 and the rest of the complex added, expanded and transformed over the years. Now, Nymphenburg complex consists of the main palace, huge park, landscaped gardens, few smaller houses and a carriage museum. It’s totally worth a dedicated visit if you are in Munich.
Admission fee is relatively small and children visit for free. We purchased a combo ticket that allowed us to visit inside the palace, the park and four smaller houses or pavilions – Amalienburg, Badenburg, Pagodenburg and Magdalenenklause.
During our visit the weather was really nice and warm and we spent quite some time walking in the huge park and palace’s gardens. At summer time you can even have a ride on a gondola on the central canal of the park.
Learn BMW history in BMW Museum
Depending on your interests, spend the afternoon of Day 2 visiting either the BMW Museum or one of the other Munich museums (see below).
The BMW Museum is located near Olympia park in the northern part of Munich. To get there take the subway U3 from the city center, or if travelling from Nymphenburg palace take bus #180 from Maria-Ward-Strasse.
In the museum you will learn the history of the BMW brand and see many exhibits of cars, motorcycles, engines and other technological pieces. If you love cars, make sure to visit the BMW Museum when in Munich.
Visit one of the museums in the city
If you still have time after seeing Nymphenburg palace and the BMW Museum (or if you decided to skip BMW Museum), then visit one of the many Munich city museums.
Admire the European art collection in the Art Museum (Alte Pinakothek) or the archeological collection in the Munich Museum of Egyptian Art. Visit the huge technology museum of Deutsches Museum, the Bavarian National Museum or perhaps the Beer and Oktoberfest Museum. All these museums and many more are just within walking distance in the city. The choice is yours!
Admire Munich after dark
Finish your visit to Munich with an evening walk around the city. Many buildings in the old town are illuminated at night and look different from the daytime.
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10 thoughts on “A Two-Day Munich Itinerary”
I just love Munich. You managed to see a lot in just two days. The museums are amazing, especially the Pinakotheken art museums. They only cost 1 Euro when you go on a Sunday!
Nice Post, we missed lots of Munich as ours was a flying visit. We covered your day one basically and lots of beer at Hofbräuhaus.
Well, you’ve seen the main sights then (and the beer!) 🙂 Day 2 is mostly optional extras. Though we enjoyed visit to Nymphenburg palace a lot.
Great post about my home town. By and large what I would have recommended. Also: great to hear you talk well about Bavarian food. I’m often shocked about German food’s low reputation in the English-speaking world. I love and miss Bavarian food so much haha…
Isn’t it the best when your post gets a praise from a local! 🙂 Thank you for reading!
We haven’t visited Germany but would absolutely love to and Munich looks so beautiful. Great to learn that there’s so much to see and do. We love visiting museums and it looks as though there is a huge variety – and within walking distance. We would also love to scoff traditional German food and, of course, quaff lots of great beer! Ratskeller München would definitely be on our list to visit.
We are headed to Munich for Oktoberfest next year so this will be super helpful! You really covered so much to do in a short time!
I’m actually about to start planning our trip to Munich (and Bavaria) this weekend so this is very timely and helpful! We’ll be going over Christmas; I’m excited to see how different it all is from your beautiful photos here!
Munich in Christmas must be magical! 🙂
Wonderful itinerary of the city. We will surely refer it whenever we are going to visit it.