Munich is packed with buildings that are beautiful inside and out. From the imposing neo-gothic architecture of the Neues Rathaus that dominates Marienplatz to the many pretty neo-classical churches, you’re spoiled for choice. We’ve whittled it down to the best of the bunch, so grab your camera, put on your comfy trainers and start exploring the city.
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 lies 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.
Sendlinger Str. 32, 80331 München, Germany, +49 89 23687989
The new town hall is at the very heart Marienplatz, and one of the most famous buildings in Munich as a result. Built in the late 1800s, it covers a staggering 9,159 m2 and has over 400 rooms. It was designed by Georg Hauberrisser who won a competition to design the city’s new town hall. Today it’s still a working office for the city council and mayor. 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.
Marienplatz 8, 80331 München, Germany, +49 89 23300
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 an impressive 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.
Prielmayerstraße 7, 80335 München, Germany, +49 89 559703
This church’s two iconic onion domes are the most distinctive sight of the Munich skyline. Construction started in 1468, however it was badly damaged by airstrikes in World War II and has been gradually restored. Inside is fairly simple and plain in comparison to some of the other Munich churches; instead of elaborate stucco work you’ll find a series of small inner chapels as well as the grave of Holy Roman Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian. You can climb the south tower for views across Munich and on a clear day you can see right across to the Alps.
Frauenplatz 12, 80331 München, Germany.
Built to celebrate the birth of a long-awaited heir to the throne, its beautiful gardens and grand rooms mean the Nymphenburg Palace soon became a favourite of Bavarian rulers with several being born or dying here. Not as many rooms of the palace are open to tourists as you might expect; once you’ve seen everything inside get some fresh air in the extensive formal gardens. There’s even a dedicated app that uses augmented reality to help you learn more.
Schloß Nymphenburg 1, 80638 München, Germany.
Right next to the Odeonsplatz U-Bahn station 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, bought 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.
Salvatorplatz 2A, 80333 München, Germany.
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 museum and exhibitions about Bavaria’s history, and also plays host to classical concerts and music competitions. Aside from a handful of public holidays, it’s open daily until 5PM or 6PM depending on the season, but you can wander around the small public garden for free.
Residenzstraße 1, 80333 München, Germany.
For many years the Munich art scene was dominated by the Pinakothek museums. Though it’s still part of the same art museum family, Museum Brandhorst has a distinctly different look and feel. The building is covered in 36,000 tubes glazed in 23 different colours giving it a tactile look that’s almost fabric-like from far away. Inside you’ll find an equally modern space with wide open galleries and vast white walls. Permanent exhibitions include works by modern art icons such as Damien Hirst, Joseph Beuys, and Andy Warhol, including his “Marilyn” portrait.
Theresienstraße 35a, 80333 München, Germany.