Mon, October 18th, 2010 - By

Spotlight Munich


You probably hear the name Munich, and you immediately think of beer.  Fair enough – the city is home to the incredible Oktoberfest festival; all across town there are beer gardens larger than city parks that operate year round, though I suspect you don’t like to be colder than your beer!

Munich also has a world-class cultural scene and lots of night-life, making it a popular place for Germans to live and a welcoming place for foreigners to visit.

Museums

BMW - München

Munich has quite a few very good museums, including several one-of-a-kind stops that really make Munich the top of your to do list.  A few personal favourites:

  • BWM Museum:  A must for petrol-heads, as you can touch/sit/virtually drive almost any BWM you want.  Unsurprisingly, the museum itself is part of the attraction.
  • National Bavarian Museum:  You always wanted to see the world’s largest collection of nativity scene sets, right?  All kidding aside, the museum’s exhibits are fantastic.
  • Pinakotheken:  A set of three art museums covering religious paintings, Impressionist & Expressionist, and modern art.
  • Schloss Nymphenburg: a palace that was once the part-time home of the ruling family of Bavaria.  It’s also home to one of the world’s largest beer gardens.
  • Photography Museum:  it’s focused mostly on German photographers, which means more than likely you’ll see some works that you just can’t find anywhere else.

Architecture

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dnevill/2901787312/

The city centre of Munich is also popular because of several iconic buildings that have stood here for centuries.  The most photogenic of all of them is no doubt the City Hall (pictured above), partly because of the beautiful architecture, but more so for the old fashioned glockenspiel that its wooden people out for a song and dance every half hour.  It’s just beautiful, and although a work of art in itself, you’ll notice that it is very touristy.

Churches are also another part of the Munich “must see” list.  Pictures of the two onion domes of the Frauenkirche can be found in every postcard rack in town, though inside it’s just as beautiful.  Be sure to find the one spot where you can stand and see no outside windows – the churches builder made a bet with the devil he couldn’t make such a feat possible.  Michaelskirche and Asamkirche are another two must-see churches, with their imposing façades and incredibly rich furnishings inside.

Daytrips

Neuschwanstein Castle - 11

Two day trips that I’d highly recommend while you’re visiting Munich:

  • Dachau:  It’s a trip of a decidedly more sombre note, but Dachau was one of the larger concentration camps used by the Nazi’s in the WWII.  It’s one of the most visited second to Auschwitz, and the tourist facilities and exhibitions are eye-opening.    The beautiful town of Dachau is not to be overshadowed, though, by its history because it is a lovely village with fantastic views over the countryside.
  • Neuschwanstein: This castle near the city of Fussen should be feel somewhat familiar as soon as you see it.  That’s because it was used by Walt Disney used it as a model for his famous fairytale castle, and Neuschwanstein itself is very fairytale-like. King Ludwig II, who contributed to most of the plans of the building, is said to have been stark raving mad, which would explain the garish array of colours inside, the placement of massive gemstones (mostly coloured glass, not precious stone) everywhere.  But you can’t disagree that Ludwig had good taste in real estate – the castle has a wonderful view of the countryside and the windows are in perfect alignment to watch the waterfall cascade nearby.

Image credit: [email protected], lastgunslinger, dnevillmatze_ott

Andy Hayes

Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Edinburgh, Scotland. When not criss-crossing the world to have his next travel adventures, he is spending time hanging out on his own website, Sharing Travel Experiences.

Posted : Monday, October 18th, 2010 at 12:04
Category : Spotlight
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