A Walking Tour of Munich's Architectural Landmarks

Residenz | © Julian Herzog / Wikimedia Commons
Photo of Roanna Mottershead
24 March 2017

Munich is a city that’s made to be seen on foot. With a pedestrianised centre as well as grand roads filled with neoclassical buildings, there’s plenty to see. We’ve put together a list of the top places to make sure you don’t miss when walking around Germany’s third largest city. You’ll cover some serious ground walking to all of these, so hop on the U-Bahn for a few stops when needed – we won’t tell!

Asam Church

This tiny chapel measures just 22 by 8 metres, but is packed full of ornate marble work and statues. It was built from 1733 to 1746 by the Asam brothers as their personal chapel – they could even see the altar from their house next door. Tucked in between the buildings on Sendlingerstraße, you’d never expect that one of the most important Late Baroque buildings in Southern Germany is behind those wooden doors. By building it, the brothers hoped to secure their salvation, and the interior of the church conveys this message; the lightest part of the church is the top section symbolising the salvation of heaven, while the pews representing this earth are mostly in darkness.


Building, Concert Hall, Architectural Landmark
Panorama view of Munich city center showing the City Hall and the Frauenkirche
Panorama view of Munich city center showing the City Hall and the Frauenkirche | © Mapics / Shutterstock
This square has been the heart of the city since 1158 when it was used for markets and even tournaments. Today, it’s best known for the Christmas markets which start three weeks before Christmas. In terms of architecture, Marienplatz is dominated by the Neues Rathaus which covers 9,159 m2 and has over 400 rooms. It was designed by Georg von Hauberrisser who won a competition to design the city’s new town hall. Keep your eye on the time: one of its most famous features is the elaborate Glockenspiel cuckoo clock where a carousel of figures dance at 11AM, 12PM, and 5PM.


You’re spoiled for architectural sights around Odeonzplatz! Feldherrnhalle, or the Field Marshall’s Hall, was commissioned by King Ludwig I to honour his army and built between 1841 and 1844. The central sculpture was added in 1882 to celebrate success in the Franco-Prussian war, and the lions were added in 1906. The monument developed a different role under the Nazi regime; it was the site of the Beer Hall Putsch that saw Hitler land in jail and several of his sympathisers killed. When he took power, he made the Feldherrnhalle into a monument commemorating the 16 members of the Nazi party that had died.

Residenzstraße 1, 80333 München, Germany.

Feldherrnhalle © Tony Castle / Wikicommons

Feldherrnhalle © Tony Castle / Wikicommons


Right next to the Feldherrnhalle is the distinctive 66-metre high towers of the yellow Theatinerkirche. This seventeeth-century Catholic church was built by a Bavarian nobleman as thanks for the birth of a long-awaited heir to the throne. Its Italian architect, Agostino Barelli, brought a touch of the Mediterranean to Munich with its high-Baroque style, ornate interiors, and yellow Rococo-style exterior. Incredibly beautiful inside, you can stare up into the 71-metre high dome and admire the stucco work and sculptures.


Opposite Theatinerkirche, you’ll find the prestigious Residenz. Though it started as a modest castle in 1385, subsequent rulers continued to add to it, turning it into a grand palace and gardens. Today, it’s a vast complex of museums and exhibitions about Bavaria’s history, and also plays host to classical concerts and music competitions. Except for a handful of public holidays, it’s open daily until 17:00 or 18:00 depending on the season, but you can wander around the small public garden at your leisure.

Residenzstraße 1, 80333 München, Germany.

Residenz © Julian Herzog / Wikicommons

Residenz | © Julian Herzog / Wikicommons | © Julian Herzog / Wikimedia Commons

Ludwigstraße & Leopoldstraße

Siegestor | © Roanna Mottershead
Leading from Odeonsplatz, this street is a mini walking tour on its own! Built between 1816 and 1852, the buildings were designed in the same Italian Renaissance-style by Leo von Klenze – he even made the street his home which you can still see today in Wittelsbacherplatz. Many of the buildings belong to the Ludwig-Maximilians University, but you’ll also find one of the old city gates here; standing at 21 metres high and 24 metres wide, Siegestor was badly damaged in World War II, but was partially reconstructed and rededicated to peace.


Building, Historical Landmark
Königsplatz | © Andrew Nash / Flickr
Today, this square is the heart of Munich’s cultural life and home to many of the city’s 80 museums. Architect Karl von Fischer modelled it on the Acropolis in Athens giving it a neoclassical look. During the Third Reich, however, it became the gathering point for Nazi rallies. Two “temples” were also built to hold the remains of the 16 Nazis killed in the Beer Hall Putsch. Though both temples were destroyed by US troops, you can still see their platforms today. In the aftermath of war, Königsplatz was briefly used as a car park to cover up its Nazi affiliations before being reclaimed as the museum quarter today.


As the name suggests, this huge neo-Baroque building near the central train station is the home of the Bavarian Department of Justice and District Court I. Completed in 1897 by architect Friedrich von Thiersch, it has a 67 high glass dome at the centre. Justizpalast is best known, however, for sealing the fate of student resistance group, the White Rose, and room 253 where the verdict was passed is now a memorial with a small exhibition in German. It’s free to enter and there are occasional exhibitions about justice in the entrance.

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