München (or Munich), the capital of Bavaria in Southern Germany and the home of BMW is nestled in between the river Isar and the Bavarian Alps. The city might be most known for being the home of Oktoberfest and the Hofbräuhaus am Platzl, the most iconic and famous beer hall in the world.
The city has a rich cultural history but has gone through many iterations over the years. Bavaria, and Munich, was ruled by the House of Wittelsbach from 1180-1918 with some of the most striking additions during the 1800’s when the arts was held high by king Ludwig I. After him Ludwig II commissioned several of the fairy tale castles, including them Neuschwanstein Castle, that can now be seen out in the countryside to which Ludwig II mainly retreated after Bavaria became part of the German Empire in 1870.
After World War I Munich was the starting point of Hitler’s National Socialist movement with the first concentration camp, Dachau, situated close to the city. Many bombs fell over Munich during the second world war but an ambitious plan to restore it according to the pre-war grid was initiated and completed with typical German precision. Most of the city is from the second half of the 20th century and you can clearly see this.
Tantris. Modern, contemporary cuisine built on passion, perfection, enjoyment and magic – according to chef Hans Haas. The 2 Michelin star restaurant also serves lunch. 3-course weekday lunch €95, dinner menu from €175 (five course), also serves a la carte. Reservations necessary. Johann-Fichte-Straße 7. http://www.tantris.de/en/
Restaurant Dallmayr. Part of the Dallmayr group with a delicatessen and Café-Bistro. The main restaurant has two Michelin stars and serves modern minimalist food, but the booking process is outdated and unsecure (as of 2017-01-31). Dinner menu from €145 (five courses), also serves a Saturday lunch menu and a la cart with mains around €57. Dienerstraße 14. http://www.dallmayr.com/delicatessen/restaurant-dallmayr/
Restaurant 181. Old-school “fine dining” restaurant at the top of the Olympiaturm, 181 meters above ground. Better locale than food and service, the best way to desctibe it is efficient with a a quite alright dessert. 3-course lunch menu €45.50, dinner from €75 (three courses) – ticket up the tower included. Reservations recommended. Spiridon-Louis-Ring 7 (Olympiahalle). http://www.drehrestaurant.de/181/en/
Schuhbecks in den Südtiroler Stuben. Bavarian and Mediterranean fine dining cuisine in classic dining rooms. Platzl 6. https://www.schuhbeck.de/gastronomie/suedtiroler-stuben/
Hotel Königshoff. Also a more classic restaurant in its style serving gourmet food. Dinner menu from €120 (four courses), also serving a la carte (mains from €55), breakfast and lunch. Karlsplatz 25. http://www.koenigshof-hotel.de/en/restaurants-bars/restaurant-koenigshof.html
Hofbräuhaus. The former brewery of the Hofbräuhaus and now the most iconic beer palace in the world. Regular events, such as bands playing, even when it’s not Oktoberfest. Really crowded on the weekends but incredible atmosphere, find your seat at one of the many communal tables. Food is traditional Bavarian and the beer is, of course, from Hof. Sausage from €4.90, mains from €10.90. Platzl 9. http://www.hofbraeuhaus.de/en/01/gastr_schwemme_en.html
Bars and drinks
Schumann’s Bar. International class institution. Good and nicely balanced, but a bit sloppy, drinks and traditional food (think roast beef and roasted potatoes). Odeonsplatz 6-7. Reservations recommended. http://www.schumanns.de/en/schumanns-bar.html
Zephyr Bar. Probably the best drinks in town. Baaderstr 68. http://www.zephyr-bar.de/
Fantom. Maximiliansplatz 9. http://www.fantom-bar.de/
Bar Gabányi. Beethovenplatz 2. http://www.bar-gabanyi.de/
Cafés and coffee
Mandarin Oriental Lounge. The Lounge serves good coffee (exceptional for being a hotel) and high class pastries in addition to brunch dishes from the breakfast restaurant. Afternoon tea is not a bad, but expensive, idea. Cappuccino €7, pastry €9. Neuturmstraße 1. http://www.mandarinoriental.com/munich/fine-dining/the-lounge/
Man vs. Machine. Two locations, Müllerstraße 23 and Adalbertstraße 10. https://mvsm.coffee/
Aroma Kaffebar. Pestalozzi 24. http://www.aromakaffeebar.com/
Oktoberfest is held in the last two weeks of September every year (ending on the first Sunday of October) where millions of people come to Munich for drinking beer in the beer tents and having a good time. The tradition started as a celebration of the marriage between crown prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildeburghausen in October 1810 and has continued since then.
During Oktoberfest the beer palaces around the city quickly fill up and most people attend the gigantic beer tents that are set up for the occasion. The largest is the Winzerer Fähndl with seating for 8,450 people inside. There are at least 14 tents with seating for more than 1,000 guests. In the tents the waitresses are dressed up in the traditional regional clothes, as are many of the guests.
The most well-known beer palace in the world is the Hofbräuhaus and the Hirschgarten is the biggest beer garden in the world. During mild to warm weather the beer gardens are fabulous places to just sit and relax, enjoying a nice beer and some traditional food. It’s allowed to bring your own food to them, but why not eat a wurst?
Deutsches Museum is one of the largest technical museums in the world with a wide range of exhibits. For anyone interested in construction, engineering, aerospace, and the natural sciences, this is a great attraction. The Munich Residenz is another famous museum, the palace of the House of Wittelsbach who ran Bavaria from 1180–1918 (and who’s had their family members on the thrones of many other European countries).
From the city center and stretching some 5 km north east is the Englischer Garten, a 3.7 km2 (1.4 sq mi) public park filled with streams, bridges, pathways, cultural buildings and a rolling landscape in the informal, English Garden style.
Munich is the home of Bayerische Motor Werke, or BMW for short, who has their impressive company museum and ultra modern showroom (the BMW Welt) by the Olympiahalle. The entire Olympiapark is full of activity and the price of the elevator is included when you eat at the Restaurant 181, so it could be worth a trip up the tower for this. The entire city out to the alps is visible from the top. Also in the city is the largest Aston Martin store outside of the U.K. and super car dealer SEMCO Cars, so you could say that the Bavarians take their automobiles seriously.
For shopping, the western part of Maximilianstraße is known for its luxury boutiques, jewellery stores, designer shops, and one of the city’s most classic Grand Hotels, the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten.