I go to Munich a lot. In fact I have a week’s worth of clothes, hiking shoes, my favourite Rituals shampoo, and my fuzzy bathrobe there. You could say that I’m a partial resident and that wouldn’t be incorrect. I visit once to twice a month because my other better half resides there. My less than part-time residency does not make me an expert but considering it’s the place I visit most outside of my American hometown, I’d say that I can offer a few suggestions on how to make the most out of a visit.
However, I’m writing this travel article with a caveat. The caveat being that my recommendations are based on how I would spend a day in Munich if I wanted a break from solely touristy activities, and if the weather consisted of limited clouds, lots of sun, and a breezy 24 degrees Celsius (70s for Fahrenheit lovers).
What would I do if conditions in Munich were absolutely perfect?
First of all, Bavarian food is very delicious but quite heavy. If I want traditional Bavarian, I don’t have to look very far. It’s all over the city and the most recommended Bavarian restaurant on all of the travel websites is Hofbräuhaus München. Which is fine and worth a look-see, but not my cup of tea (been there, done that).
The Germans take their brunch very seriously. So if I have the opportunity to go to a Sunday brunch, I’ll pop over to Arts n’ Boards for a breakfast buffet consisting of smoked salmon, American pancakes, the traditional Bavarian white sausage, a lot of eggs and potatoes and different types of cheese and bread. It’s delicious and there’s nothing better than sitting in the biergarten, chilling with friends, and just barely having room for ice cream during normal afternoon tea time.
Speaking of ice cream, my boyfriend swears by this ice cream place and frankly, he’s not exaggerating: Der verrückte Eismacher (the crazy ice cream maker). It has an Alice and Wonderland theme and a variety of wacky flavours to choose from. The Mad Hatter’s presence can be felt through out the entirety of the store between the oversized palatial chairs, the chaotic queue, and random movie theme music (like Star Wars). It’s enough to make me dizzy.
If I somehow overcome my dizziness and 3 newly gained kilos (6ish lbs), then around dinner time, I will have made a reservation at Chpoan-Schwabing, the best Afghan – with Persian, Indian, and Mongolian influences – restaurant. The atmosphere is friendly and attentive and the food is exceptional. Not too spicy and bursting with aromatic flavour. As tempted as I might be, I refrain from trying everything because it’s not the cheapest restaurant, but it is worth every penny.
If my day does not consist of solely eating, I like to spend it at the park. The Englischer Garden (the English Garden) is the most famous park in Munich because of it’s fast-moving icy streams used for surfing and its hotspots for naked frisby-playing old men. There are places away from the tourists that allow me to blend among the locals. I like to grab a picnic blanket, find an open area by the stream and sprawl out with a good book. A lot of people swim there, but my Floridian blood forbids me from entering water below 22 degrees Celsius (70s-ish Fahrenheit).
If I want something a bit more adventurous, I have plenty of options to go hiking in any nearby alpine town. All of them a train ride away from Munich’s Central Station (München Hauptbahnhof) and all of them absolutely breathtaking.
And if I want something that’s close and in between adventurous and quiet, I go to Olympiapark (Olympic Park). This is considered to be a popular activity among visitors, but I’ve never felt claustrophobic by tourists because of the enormity of the park. There are opportunities to tour old olympic sites, attempt zip-lining, rent a boat, visit the Sea Life aquarium, go to the top of the Olympic tower, etc. all of which are more beautifully described on their website. In the summer months, I recommend watching the biggest blockbusters on the grass while attempting to understand German. The Olympic Park website won’t advertise that in English, so it’s worth the attempt at cultural immersion.
I can’t comment too much on this because I have a free place to stay but as a frequent traveler, I recommend AirBnB and trying to find a place by large U-Bahn and S-Bahn subway stations like: Odeonsplatz, Marienplatz, München Hauptbahnhof, and Münchener Freiheit. And of course my recommendation for perfect getaway lodging is to find someplace cosy and close to a coffee shop because one can never go wrong with morning coffee and fresh pastries.