Believe it or not, but there’s more to Munich than just Oktoberfest. In September, I went to Germany for a week to experience not only Oktoberfest (here’s my tips on surviving that) but also check a few things off my Germany bucket list. I first went to Munich last fall (here’s my 24 Hours in Munich Guide!), but a mere weekend wasn’t enough to see all of the city. Below is what I did on my second trip to Bavaria’s capital.
Day 1: Self-Paced
Drinking Walking Tour
Since I’ve already seen a bit of the city on my previous trip to Munich, I didn’t have as crazy of an itinerary this time around. I was with friends and we were living it up on vacay and taking our time enjoying the sites, drinking all of the beer and getting lost in the town. On our first day in, we were battling jetlag and made our way to the English Garden and the Chinese Tower for some beers as a pick-me-up. In true Bavarian fashion, the beers are massive and served in 1L servings. You get a token with your beer which you return with your glass to get a euro back. With a light buzz going to help combat the rain (it rained the whole trip waaaahhh), we wandered over to where the surfers, yes, surfers were doing their thing in the park.
Next we went to Marienplatz, and this time I was able to see the Glockenspiel ring. I can imagine the giant clock tower being a fantastic attraction back in 1908 when it was built, but in this digital day and age, I found it kind of overrated. To be fair, the performance which happens daily at noon and 5pm lasts about 10 minutes with music and moving figurines and is worth seeing if you happen to be in the area.
Afterwards, we walked a few blocks to the Viktualienmarkt (an outdoor market) for another round of beers–when in Germany right? We squeezed into some picnic tables, as is the Bavarian custom to just find space wherever.
For dinner, we went to blogger recommended Fraunhofer for some traditional German food. I had a plate of schupfnudeln, which is a traditional potato noodle and nibbled on my friends sauerkraut sides. Sauerkraut comes with many plates in Germany and can be either hot or cold, usually its seasoned very nicely with rye!
Day 2: Neuschwanstein Castle
One of the first things we did when we landed in Germany was head to the Neuschwanstein Castle. This beauty is what inspired Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle, among many other things, so obviously with my Princess Anastasia alter-ego I had to go. Getting to the castle is way complicated as it is located 2 hours away from Munich. We opted to book a tour with Viator to get us there and back from the city. It was totally worth it. We just showed up on the appointed day at 10:30am and followed our guide around as we hopped on two trains and two busses to get to the castle on the hill (like I said, complicated to get there). The tour also coordinated booking tickets to the castle so we didn’t have to stand in line. Plus, the price was essentially the same if we had booked all the travel and tickets ourselves.
Inside the castle was absolutely gorgeous with loads of marble and chandeliers and paintings–everything you’d expect for a Disney castle. King Ludwig II started the construction of the castle in 1869 but it was never finished due to his untimely and mysterious death/murder (still disputed) in 1886 at Lake Starnberg. Most of the finished rooms are open to the public.
After you visit the castle, be sure to walk around and head to Mary’s Bridge for some fantastic panoramic views over the gorge. Our tour gave us plenty of time to walk around the grounds and then walk down the mountain and grab some snacks from a German fast food shop.
The whole tour takes most of the day, so when we got back into Munich around 7:30pm we went straight to dinner at blogger vetted and recommended, Occam Deli. This restaurant is located in fashionable part of town in north Munich and is absolutely fantastic. We started off with cocktails and vegetarian starter platter, which all my meat eating friends absolutely adored. For mains, I had one of the specials of the day which was a peach, goat cheese salad, while my friends enjoyed pulled pork and pastrami sandwiches.
Day 3: Art & Culture
Per the recommendation of a German friend, I went to the Pinakothek der Moderne, which is Munich’s modern art and architecture museum! I loooooved it and could have spent many hours there, if I didn’t have plans to go sailing later that day. My favorite collections included the history of the wicker chair (I know, I’m an art nerd) and seeing some John Chamberlin pieces–similar to the one’s I had seen in Marfa, Texas just a month prior! It’s located near Schellingstrasse and Turkenstrasse which are rather fashionable neighborhoods that merit a stroll. While I didn’t have time to visit them myself, some bloggers recommended LAX Eatery and Daddy Longlegs for coffee and Gratitude for vegan bites!
The beauty of traveling internationally so often is that I’ve really built up quite the network of connections between friends and bloggers around the world. After the Yacht Week, I kept up with a German friend and went sailing on Lake Starnberg–a much tamer experience than Croatia. Although there was little wind, it was a lovely day with the rain holding off for a few hours and the sun coming out! We drank local beer and sailed near the spot where King Ludwig II mysterious died! Super cool.
We then went out to a variety of his favorite places in the city including his favorite cocktail bar, Pusser’s. Perfect place to keep in mind if you’re tired of beer. If you’re looking to go out Salsalitos and Cohiva are two Latin clubs near Marinplatz that are guaranteed to be a good time.
Obviously, if you don’t have a connection with a boat this plan might not be feasible. Luckily, there’s a Plan B for the art and culture theme–the Munich Residence! This was the palace and seat of government of Bavaria from 1508 to 1918 near Odeonsplatz. Let me tell you–it’s decadent and HUGE. I got the ticket to all three exhibits–the treasury (where all the royal jewels are), the residence (all the fancy rooms) and the theatre (clap in the lobby for some serious echos!) for 13 EUR.
If you have time, I also highly recommend grabbing brunch at the blogger approved Cortidano–it’s in a super cute neighborhood filled with boutiques and cool shops and is definitely Instagram worthy. If you need a break from the carb heavy German food, we had a lovely Indian dinner at Bombay Tandoori and then walked a few blocks away to Negroni for cocktails (for when you’re tired of beer!).
The rest of trip was spent dancing on tables and singing German drinking songs at Oktoberfest, which was quite the experience and totally worth the trans-Atlantic trip.
If you’re planning a trip to Germany, be sure to check out my other travel posts:
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