Think Munich and most European’s will quote their favourite beer (or rather bier) of the moment. This fun city – Germany’s largest – is renowned the world over for its hops-ridden hospitality over two and a half weeks every year. Indeed even on touchdown at Munich Airport you’ll find a year-round beer garden courtesy of Lufthansa (just in case, for a second you landed on Deutsch soil and forgot).
But of course there’s so, so, so much more to Munich than Oktoberfest. For a start there are the museums.
Museums in Munich
The new Zentrum Neue Technologien at The Deutsches Museum will appeal to nano and bio-tech lovers everywhere. There are fabulous flying bombs in the aviation room for a start. And for those who like to be more in control of their exhibits, the latest in touch screen demos.
Kids will love the Children’s World with more than 1001 toys and activities to keep them amused for more than their customary half an hour while transportation fans – especially flying buffs – will practically drool at the sight of the first-ever engine plane produced by the Wright brothers no less.
Art and entertainment
Fancy some light entertainment? And we mean light. The acrobats and trapeze artists at the Variete-Theater on Maximilianstrasse use their surrounds as a vertical playground. It’s breathtaking, funny, fascinating and two hours 30 minutes well spent.
The artistic creations of 20th and 21st century masters such as Damien Hirst and Andy Warhol can be found in Munich’s Kunstareal.
Fairytale Castles and more
Stay in a real life fairytale castle with glittering spires and pretty turrets and which, thrillingly, once belonging to German Royalty. Indeed one of King Ludwig II’s castles – Neuschwanstein – was actually used to model the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty’s palace. There are more than 20,000 castles in Germany, most more than a century old.
For auto enthusiasts
For thrills galore head out onto the motorway or Autobahn. Yes, really. Reason is there’s NO SPEEDLIMIT. This seems strange for the European’s and American’s amongst us. But believe it, it’s true. You can go speeds of up to 300mph (and most BMW’s can) without fear of a flashing blue light descending on you.
While we’re on the subject of cars, BMW Welt (translates as ‘BMW World’) is quite simply stunning – for the design of the building alone, never mind the breathtaking exhibits. The massive 800 kilowatt solar roof panel on the huge hall gives the space a bit of an indoors/outdoors surreal experience. There’s all the latest in motor technology displayed within touching distance (indeed for most of them you can touch – even if furtively). Basically it’s a glimpse into automobile perfection.
Of course you have to have money to be able to afford a BMW and Munich is indeed a city of affluence. The envious may even say smugness. But a lot of that is attributed to its football team – the world-class Bayern Munich. I don’t follow football and even I’ve heard of this modern-day Super Team which ruled world football in the mid-1970s after winning the European Cup three times in succession, thanks to former player and footballing legend Franz Beckenbauer.
Glockenspiels and Churches
Almost Grimms fairytale like is the Glockenspiel belonging to the Marienplatz in the Bavarian capital’s New Town Hall. Between March and October the little figures on this huge clock dance their way around their two storey clock theatre three times a day and are well worth a visit.
The catholic Asamkirche – or St John Nepomuk Church – is second only in elaborate architecture (Baroque) to Rome’s Sistine Chapel, no less. No tourist is ever disappointed paying a visit to this spectacle of gilt, exquisite painting and opulence.
And then there’s the beer…
Ok, we can’t talk about Munich without mentioning beer at some point. One all-year-round attraction (and indeed there are many local regulars) is the Hofbrauhaus. This gorgeous, historical hostelry has been in existence from as far back as 1644!
It provides traditional German entertainment in the finest sense. At the Hofbrauhaus you can sip your beer, enjoying live music, while seated at a table which has played host to brewery visitors for more than a century. Not only that but you’re encouraged to carve your initials on the table!
The actual brewery and beer itself was founded by Wilhelm V Duke of Bavaria who didn’t like the stuff on offer at the time. Today’s brewery has a locked glass cabinet on display where locals store their own individual beer glasses (or Stein’s) ready to be used on their next visit.
More fun in Munich
Photo credits: Deutsches Museum by Alf Igel, Neuschwanstin Castle by mwacker69, BMW Welt by To Uncertainty And Beyond, New Town Hall by Mr G’s Travels, Macabre at Asamkirche by theqspeaks, and Hofbrauhaus by cmozz
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