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Get a view over Munich's rooftops from St Peter's Church © Sarah-Rose / Flickr
Get a view over Munich's rooftops from St Peter's Church © Sarah-Rose / Flickr

How to Spend 24 Hours in Munich

With so much to see and do in Germany’s third largest city, it can be hard to know where to start – especially if you’re short on time. If you’ve only got a day or so to see Munich, it might be wise to prioritise. From bird’s eye views of the city to stunning architecture, here are the things you should not miss when visiting Bavaria’s capital.

Welcome to Munich! If there’s one thing that the city is renowned for, it’s the Englisch Garten. Walk off your journey with a stroll around the beautiful park, which sprawls across 900 acres. Start by heading to Eisbachwelle, near the Haus der Kunst on Prinzregentstrasse, to see if there are any after-work rivers surfers catching some waves and performing tricks. If you fancy a pre-dinner drink, head to one of the two beer gardens in the park at the Chinese Tower, or the Seehaus by the lake if you’re further north.

Prinzregentenstraße, 80538 München, Germany.

Surfing at Eisbachwelle © Martin Falbisoner / Wikicommons | © Martin Falbisoner / Wikimedia Commons

If you’ve only got one night in Munich then your dinner choice is set: Hofbräuhaus. The state government run brewhouse dates back to the sixteenth century, and offers the quintessential German beer hall experience with traditional food and a live brass band. Oktoberfest rules apply: you won’t get served without a seat, so expect to charm your way onto the end of a table and share space. It’s on the pricey side, but is at the heart of Munich culture.
Platzl 9, 80331 München, Germany.

The beer halls shut fairly early, usually 11-11.30pm, so you’ll need to look elsewhere to continue your night. Head to Pusser’s, which claims to have been the first venue to bring classic American cocktail bar culture to Munich when it opened in 1974. Downstairs you’ll find gifted pianists tickling the ivories every Thursday to Saturday from 9pm – but you’ll need a reservation. The best part? These guys are so passionate about cocktails that they trademarked their own: Pusser’s Painkiller™. As tasty as it is strong, you may want to be careful with this one!
Falkenturmstraße 9, 80331 Munich, Germany, +49 89 22 05 00.

The Piano Room © Pusser’s

Day two

Start the day over near Sendlinger Tor with a hidden gem. Tucked in between the buildings on Sendlingerstraße, you’d never expect to find one of the most important Late Baroque buildings in Southern Germany. The tiny Asam Church measures just 22 by eight 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.
Sendlinger Str. 32, 80331 München, Germany, +49 89 23687989

Just a short walk from Asam church, aim to get to Marienplatz slightly before 11am. The famous Neues Rathaus Glockenspiel cuckoo clock only chimes three times a day: 11am, 12pm and 5pm. This is Germany, so it’ll be bang on time! Watch the dancing carousel of figures before exploring the rest of the square. If you’re getting peckish, grab a “butter-brezl” from the Marienplatz Rischart, the most visited bakery branch in Germany, with over 1.2 million visitors a year.
Marienplatz 8, 80331 München, Germany, +49 89 23300

It’s time to work up an appetite before lunch. Just off Marienplatz on a slight hill you’ll find St Peter’s Church. From its 56-metre high viewing platform, you can look down right onto the rooftops of Aldstadt with a great view of Frauenkirche – the symbol of Munich. On a clear day, you can see over 100 km, all the way to the Alps. Such a great view takes some legwork however, there’s a winding spiral staircase with 306 steps to the top.
Rindermarkt 1, 80331 München, Germany, +49 89 210237760

After all those stairs, you may be ready for some lunch. The best-known of its kind, Viktualienmarkt is the grandfather of Munich food markets. After outgrowing its original home at the heart of the city in Marienplatz, it moved just a few streets away to the square between Frauenstraße and Heiliggeist-Kirche. Today, you’ll find everything from fresh vegetables and exotic spices to traditional butchers. Now expanded beyond just food stalls, you can pick up a range of goods from homemade toiletries to fresh flowers. Its official opening hours are from 8am-8pm Monday to Saturday, but exact times are at the discretion of the stall owner.
Viktualienmarkt 3, 80331 München, Germany, +49 89 89068205.

Time to get walking again! Head to Odeonsplatz where you’ll be spoiled for choice with beautiful Munich architecture. The first thing you’ll notice is the Feldherrnhalle monument with its grand lions. The central sculpture was added in 1882 to celebrate success in the Franco-Prussian war, but was adopted by the Nazi party as a monument to fallen party members during the Third Reich. Just alongside it, you’ll see the distinctive 66-metre high yellow towers of Theatinerkirche. This seventeenth-century Catholic church was built by a Bavarian nobleman as thanks for the birth of a long-awaited heir to the throne, and has incredible stucco work and sculptures inside. When you come out of the church, the Residenz will be directly opposite you. Though there’s not time to see the inside, admire this city-centre palace from the outside as well as its pretty gardens.
Residenzstraße 1, 80333 München, Germany.

Within short walking distance is Maxvorstadt, the city’s museum district. With over 80 different museums and galleries to choose from, there’s something of interest to everyone here. Königsplatz is the picturesque heart of the district, where you’ll find the Glypothek. This beautiful building claims to be the only museum in the world dedicated solely to ancient sculpture. Rather than hiding its exhibits away behind glass, you’re free to wander amongst them and get up close with the past. When it’s time to say goodbye to Munich, you’re just a short walk from the main central station.
Königsplatz 3, 80333 München, Germany, +49 89 28 61 00.