With cathedrals, museums, palaces, parks and Oktoberfest Biergartens galore, Munich is a world class city. Here are ten must-see attractions in the capital of Bavaria, Germany.
The Munich Frauenkirche, or Cathedral of Our Blessed Lady, is one of the foremost symbols of the city and indeed, Bavaria. Built in the late 15th century and early 16th century, the Late Gothic church holds up to 20,000 people and is architecturally unusual. Instead of spires, as per the original plan of the Frauenkirche, the cathedral features two dome towers. The south tower offers a spectacular view of Munich and on a clear day, the Alps.
If you were a member of the royal family in Bavaria from the late 17th century to the mid-20th century, Nymphenburg Palace was your summer home. The brilliant Baroque palace is a masterstroke of design, with land that features a 200-hectare park, numerous pavilions and botanical gardens. While open to the public, the palace is still the official residence of the Duke of Bavaria.
A food market, square and congregation spot par excellence, Viktualienmarkt may be the best open space in urban Europe. The over 2-hectare Munich gem certainly deserves a place at the table. Open every day from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. except Sunday, the Viktualienmarkt also has a terrific Biergarten that opens at 9 p.m. All in all, a great place to grab a sausage and beer on the go.
Residenz, or The Residence, is royal palace in the center of Munich. The former home of Bavarian royalty for hundreds of years, as far back as the late 14th century, the massive palace complex features many beautiful rooms, wings and additions that display a multitude of styles. From the Renaissance Antiquarium to the Baroque Ancestral Gallery, Court Garden (Hofgarten) and Cuvilliés Theatre, the palace is incredible.
Built for the 1972 Summer Games, Olympiapark proves that Munich, perhaps more than any other host city, has one of the best legacy attractions left by the Olympic experience. The immense cultural, social and recreation area is a major focal point of the city, with points of interest that include the Olympic Stadium, with a capacity of 80,000 people, and Olympic Village. Every year the park hosts Tollwood summer music festival.
Munich’s Olympic Stadium is not the only UEFA five-star stadium in the city. The decidedly more modern Alianz Arena opened on May 30, 2005 at a cost of €340 million. Tenants include Bayern Munich, one of the top clubs in world football, 1860 Munich, an historic club who now play in the Second Bundesliga and on occasion, the national football team. With a capacity of just under 70,000 fans, Allianz is world class event facility for concerts and sport.
At 3.7 square km, Munich’s Englischer Garten dwarfs Manhattan’s Central Park and is clearly a pre-eminent and remarkable urban public green space. Conception for the park began in the late 18th century, with inspiration of course, from England and in 1792, the first incarnation of the Englischer Garten was born. With over 75 km of paths to explore, the park is a first-rate destination in Munich.
The Kunstareal is in essence, one of the most important museum quarters in the world. Many landmarks in one, the central Munich district contains some of the best cultural institutions in Germany. Notable museums in the Kunstareal include the world famous Alte Pinakothek art gallery, Glyptothek, home to art from the Classical period and Neue Pinakothek, whose collection of 18th and 19th century art is almost peerless.
The most immense and impressive science and technology museum in the world, the Deutsches Museum is just one more reason visitors should stay in Munich one more day. Built in 1903, the facility features well over three dozen permanent exhibits on subjects that range from aerospace to technical toys, weights and measures and marine navigation.
Opera house extraordinaire, the Nationaltheater München is the gorgeous home of the Bavarian State Opera and Bavarian State Ballet. Re-built, like many Munich landmarks, after the devastation of the Second World War, the theater dates back to 1818. No less than five operas by Richard Wagner premiered here.
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