The second stop on our European adventure to celebrate our new WEEKENDER BAG was Munich, Germany. We loved exploring the historic sights of Germany's Bavarian capital, eating allllll the Oktoberfest fare, and visiting the fairytale-like Neuschwanstein Castle (the inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle!). Pack your lederhosen and check out our Munich Travel Guide for the scoop on where to stay, what to eat, and things to do + see in Munich!
WHERE TO STAY IN MUNICH
We stayed at the Hotel München Palace, a boutique hotel in the Bogenhausen Quarter in Munich. The rooms are decorated with regal furnishings, parquet flooring, and elegant bathrooms. Plus, there's a rooftop terrace that offers views of Munich and a peaceful courtyard garden where you can relax after a long day of sightseeing. We loved the location and the accommodations!
Another hotel option is the hip Cortiina Hotel. This charming hotel features cozy, stylish rooms (some with kitchenettes) and offers a common area with a fireplace where guests can warm up after exploring the town. There's also a lively bar when you can enjoy an afternoon pick-me-up or a nightcap.
If you're traveling with kiddos or friends, consider renting a private apartment for your stay in Munich. Airbnb has a handful of great options, like this downtown Munich apartment that can accommodate up to 8 guests.
WHAT TO EAT IN MUNICH
For a true taste of Bavarian fare, visit the Hofbräuhaus. Dubbed the world's most famous tavern, this traditional three-story beer hall dates back to the 16th century and serves up a variety of Bavarian beers and food. Try the refreshing Hofbräu Original beer and an order of wiener schnitzel with homemade potato salad or käsespätzle, an egg noodle dish with melted cheese and fried onions. Most nights there are traditional local bands playing too!
Other must-eats while visiting Munich include bratwurst, weisswurst (white sausage), salty pretzels with spicy mustard, kaffee and kachen (coffee and cake), and schmalzkuchen, small, doughy pastries topped with powdered sugar. You can find these items and other Bavarian goodies at local street markets throughout the city.
THINGS TO DO + SEE IN MUNICH
When in Munich, you have to visit the spectacular Neuschwanstein Castle, a real-life version of the Disney castle. The castle is about an hour and a half drive from Munich. You can rent a car and drive there on your own, or you can travel there by bus or train. Tour the castle solo or sign up for a group tour—just be sure to reserve your tickets ahead of time. Make a day of it and spend the afternoon taking in the breathtaking scenery and exploring the surrounding property.
DACHAU CAMP MEMORIAL
For a more sobering day of sightseeing, plan a visit to the Dachau Camp Memorial, the first Nazi concentration camp built in 1933. The camp offers a glimpse at the horrors of the Holocaust, including reconstructed prisoner barracks and gas chambers—not for the faint of heart. Entry is free.
MARIENPLATZ + GLOCKENSPIEL
Head to Marienplatz, the lively main square in the heart of Munich, for a dose of shopping, restaurants, and historic buildings. Check out the New Town Hall, the Old Town Hall, the Column of St. Mary, and the iconic Glockenspiel, a giant cuckoo clock. The Glockenspiel features motorized figurines that dance and twirl at 11 a.m., 12 p.m., and 5 p.m. for 12 minutes, culminating with a chirping cuckoo bird.
MUNICH TRAVEL TIPS
- Munich is very walkable and easy to get around. The city is clean and everyone we met was friendly. If you don't speak German, don't sweat—most everyone we encountered spoke English.
- It's considered offensive if you don't eat all of your food, so if you're planning to indulge in an Oktoberfest feast be prepared to clean your plate. When eating out at a restaurant, order only as much food as you can eat.
- All stores in Munich, including supermarkets and pharmacies, are closed on Sundays. So be sure to plan your shopping days on weekdays or Saturdays.
- Bring cash to exchange into Euros when you arrive in Munich. Large shopping chains and supermarkets will accept credit cards, but smaller restaurants, shops, and bars often only accept cash.
Photos: Becky Kimball Photography