Munich's 10 Best-Kept Secrets

Eliza Marin

Luxurious, lively and technologically advanced, Munich is a city of countless opportunities, breathtaking views and endless enjoyment. Discover the following best-kept secrets of the Bavarian capital, all hidden from the usual touristic gaze and loaded with adrenaline, surprise and excitement to boot!


1. Bernheimer-Haus


The main provider of luxury goods to the royal family in Munich since 1888, Bernheimer-Haus is a splendid piece of new-baroque architecture and grandeur. A hidden secret of the city, the building was left going to ruin until the late 1990s, when it passed into the hands of a new wealthy benefactor: Deutsche Bank. Today, a residential and commercial complex is housed in the plaza, and the exterior frontispiece is an image of old Munich; a compound of history, taste and extravagance that hearkens back to the days of the Habsburgs.

Bernheimer-Haus, Lenbachplatz 3 München, Germany

Underground mines in the Deutsches MuseumSalt mine| © High Contrast/WikiCommos

2. Underground mines in the Deutsches Museum


The German Museum is an interesting and interactive place to visit for some incredible exhibitions ranging from technology to history, aviation and a free observatory. Yet the hidden piece of the puzzle resides underground, where a 700-meter-long gallery of the oldest motors in Europe showcases mining technologies since the Middle Ages. With some great re-enactments of the mining environments, the German Museum presents three levels of subterranean interest, going from open-cast to modern ore mining in just one visit.

3. Fish Witte at Viktualienmarkt

Bistro, Market, Restaurant

Fish Witte at Viktualienmarkt

A German tradition for over 200 years, the Viktualienmarkt is a goods market in the heart of Munich, celebrating the produce of the seasons, scattered across 110 tents, where vendors from all over the land come to present crafted beers, veg, meat, sweets and flowers. The hidden secret in the gigantic market is Fisch Witte, a delightful, petite restaurant that serves fish fresh from the Danube. Guests can savor high class catfish, pike and tench in a variety of different ways; in sushi, at the bistro or to take away.

Fisch Witte, Viktualienmarkt 9, München, +49 089 22 800 167

The Rose IslandThe Rose Island | © Starnberger Fünf-Seen-Land/

4. The Rose Island


The Rose Island

The summer residence commissioned by Bavarian king Maximillian II, and used afterwards by his son Ludwig II, The Rose Island is one of the best kept secrets in Munich and a stunning place full of surprises besides. The location on the waters of Lake Starnberg alone was breathtaking enough to attract 19th century personalities galore: like Tsarina Maria Alexandrowna and Richard Wagner, who gazed at the Alps from the southern balcony. There’s also a surprise element discovered recently by archaeologists: Near the island, four meters underwater, clusters of prehistoric pile dwellings indicate that area has been inhabited since the Stone Age.

Casino Roseninsel, Seeuferweg, Feldafing, Germany, +49 0171 7 22 22 66

5. Drehleier Theater


After 39 years of providing glamorous cabaret and incredible entertainment, Drehleier Theater is no ordinary place to spend an evening. It squeals with excitement from all corners and bursts with enchantment for the senses. Even the name of the theatre (a translation of the all but forgotten instrument, the hurdy-gurdy) stands as a metaphor for the revival of the long lost entertainment arts. The repertoire involves musicals, burlesque, cabaret and comedy, while the on-site restaurant also has exquisite cuisine and hosts regular food nights that allow visitors to indulge the taste buds while watching a show.

6. Japanese Tea house


Japanese Tea house

A gift of friendship and a sign of solidarity in the aftermath of Germany’s greatest struggles in the Second World War, Urasenke Tea House was donated by Soshitsu Dr. Sen, Grand Master of Urasenke Tea School in Kyoto, Japan, to the state government of Bavaria in 1972. The Tea House is guided by a philosophy rooted in the teachings of Zen Buddhism, paving the way for some seriously harmonious and relaxing drinking in an environment that embodies peace, solitude and good will to all. Firmly off-the-beaten-track, Urasenke Tea House opens its doors to the English Garden every second weekend of the month for the celebration of the tea ceremony.

Japanisches Teehaus Kanshoan, Prinzregentenstraße 1, München, Germany +49 089 224319

Surfing the Munich waySurfing Munich way | © Amie Becker/Flickr

7. Surfing at Eisbach

Surfing at Eisbach

Hop on the surfboard and experience the new wave of surfing on the Eisbach, a two-kilometer-long, man-made wave on the Isar River (yes, some distance from the sea!). Since 1972 people have been surfing over the river here, which is located in the famous English Garden, open for boards and swimmers alike all summer long.There have also been countless competitions on its waters, and riders are often seen honing their skills amidst the thick snowdrifts of the Bavarian winter; just don’t forget the wetsuit!

Eisbachwelle, Prinzregentenstraße 1, München, Germany, +49 089 23300

Knights TournamentKaltenberger Ritterturnier | © Dark Avenger/ Flikr

8. Attend the Knights Tournament

Attend the Knights Tournament

Excitement surrounds the gates of Kaltenberg Castle for this annual anniversary involving fantastic witches, jongleurs, magicians, dancers and the stars of the medieval come-back, the hero knights. Fighting a tournament of color, fire, music and, most of all, entertainment, the participants come from over 100 countries to show their incredible skills. With an overwhelming atmosphere of joy, the festival held within the castle walls during the second and third weekend of July each year gives the extraordinary experience of authentic time-travel back to the Olde Worlde of Bavaria.

Schloss Kaltenberg Königliche, Schloßstraße 8, Geltendorf, Germany +49 08193 / 93 31 00

9. Isarbräu


Isarbräu is one of the most interesting beer gardens in Munich, located in an antique but extremely well preserved railway station since 1890. Away from the tourist areas and with easy access to nearby S-bahn stations, the remastered space around Pullach offers out-of-the-ordinary culinary experiences; like beer soup for one! Among the customary brew assortments can be found the Hacker-Pschorr, a five-century-old crafted kellerbeer with a powerful yeast aroma.

Isartaler Brauhaus, Familie Abenteuer , Kreuzeckstr. 23b, Munich, Germany +49 089 798961

Get the blood flowing in Blomberg

Touting breathtaking panoramas over the Bavarian lands around Munich, the Blomberg amusement park is one action-packed adrenaline shock that’s perfect for adventure seekers looking to stray from the much-trodden paths of the city. Aside from the curvy summer toboggan run, a rail-coaster called Blomberg-Blitz and bungee trampoline attractions, this one boasts car tracks and water games to boot. And in the winter, ski slopes and sledging are also possible on the German snows.

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