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The 10 Most Sought After Tourist Attractions in Munich

 The huge metropolis that it is, Munich is beautiful and fun to visit year-round, but it can be quite crowded, especially during October when the famed Oktoberfest beer festival is held. ‘To each their own’, as they say, but I personally love the Bavarian capital in the winter, when the cheerful chime of festivities attracts the entire city to the snow-covered Marienplatz to admire the magnificent Christmas lights and enjoy fresh pastries and aromatic mulled wine. But the fun you can have doesn’t end at the Christmas market, as there’s a multitude of other activities and beautiful historic places you can explore year-round. Here are 10 of our personal favorite tourist attractions to see and experience in Munich.

1. Marienplatz

tourist attractions in munich Marienplatz in the winter
Marienplatz is the place to start with, no matter what time of the year. This square is the heart of the city, with its origins dating back to the distant 1158, at the same time as the first mentions of Munich the city. In the distant past, the square was used as a marketplace and a place to conduct tournaments. Today, it's surrounded by historical buildings, with the most prominent architectural piece being the magnificent New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) built in the elaborate Neo-Gothic style.
tourist attractions in munich Marienplatz carousel

The New Town Hall features an 85 meter (280 ft) tall tower open for visitors. You can admire the entire city and even notice the Alps in the distance on a clear day from the clock tower.

tourist attractions in munich Marienplatz christmas market
Image Source: Heinz Bunse/ Flickr

Three weeks before Christmas, Marienplatz hosts the largest annual Christmas market in Munich called Christkindlmarkt, held in the city center since 1310, or even earlier. There are usually around 140 market stands here, which means a really wide selection of Christmas ornaments, beautiful crafts, delicious local food and mulled wine, the Christmas market specialty.

2. Nymphenburg Palace

tourist attractions in munich Nymphenburg Palace facade
The Nymphenburg Palace, also known as the Castle of the Nymphs is Munich's crown jewel. The castle was finished in the 17th century to serve as the summer residence of the Bavarian royal family. Today, the palace and the surrounding parks are among the top tourist destinations in Germany throughout the year.
tourist attractions in munich Nymphenburg Palace interior
Image Source: Fred Romero/ Flickr
In fact, the Nymphenburg Palace is the second most visited destination in Bavaria, and its architectural splendor, as well as an abundance of priceless art, magnificent parks and gardens surrounding the castle explain why that is the case. The palace also houses 5 museums, so it's the place to be for those who want to be immersed in fine art and history for hours on end.

3. The Olympic Park

tourist attractions in munich The Olympic Park
When you think you had enough sightseeing and you've already seen a few museums in the city, you can unwind and just have fun at Olympic Park. This park was created on the territory of a former military base to host the 1972 Summer Olympics, but since then, it has been transformed into a major entertainment center.
tourist attractions in munich
For one, it is the home for many festivities held in the city, such as the Oktoberfest, but there are also many other activities you can enjoy here irrespective of the season: sports, a Sea Life center, regular concerts, museums, just to name a few. Finally, the park also has a 291 meter (955 ft) tall communications tower that serves as another excellent viewpoint.

4. The Christmas Tram

tourist attractions in munich Christmas Tram
Another very authentic seasonal attraction is the famous Christmas tram that will take you sightseeing through the key tourist destinations in downtown Munich without you having to face the winter cold. Even when it's freezing outside, you'll be able to order a hot beverage or snack and enjoy the city landscape with joyful festive music playing in the background, genius, if you ask me!
tourist attractions in munich view festive

5. Hofbräuhaus

tourist attractions in munich Hofbräuhaus
Bavaria's pride and joy is, you guessed it, good beer! And there's no place more authentic to try local beer than the oldest beer hall in Munich, the historic Hofbräuhaus that dates back to 1589.
tourist attractions in munich Hofbräuhaus interior
Surely, the beer here is more expensive than in one of the many other pubs and bars, but one thing is clear, beer tasting doesn't get any more authentic than this.

6. The Botanical Gardens

tourist attractions in munich The Botanical Gardens
Botanical Gardens are irresistible year-round, and the ones in Munich are special, as they contain a beautiful alpine garden with local trees and other plants, as well as an outstanding greenhouse full of exotic tropical and desert plants, and even some carnivorous plants.
tourist attractions in munich The Botanical Gardens greenhouse
The gardens are conveniently located right next to the magnificent Nymphenburg Palace. There is also a very cozy cafe on the premises of the gardens, so you can spend quite a lot of time absorbing all that floral beauty.

7. BMW Museum

tourist attractions in munich BMW Museum
If you love cars, this is the place you must visit in Munich. Conveniently located on the premises of the Olympic Park. Like the park itself, the museum is executed in a sleek modern architectural style. But most importantly, the museum contains the vast majority of car models BMW ever released and takes visitors through the history and evolution of automobile construction altogether.
tourist attractions in munich BMW Museum interior
Apart from that, the museum will give you a glimpse at the future of automobile design and engineering, so all automobile fanatics are welcome and most recommended to visit this museum.

8. Munich Residenz

tourist attractions in munich Munich Residenz
Have we saved the best for last? Maybe so, as the Munich Residenz, the former seat of government and the castle of numerous Bavarian kings and dukes is one of the key landmarks in the city. The basis of the palace was constructed in 1579 and subsequently expanded to result in the luxurious palace it is today.
tourist attractions in munich Munich Residenz inside
Apart from the obvious historical importance of the building, it's also a place of unmatched beauty and splendor. The Residenz today is the home of several historical museums, a church and a theater that regularly hosts classical performances. Around the Residenz building, you will also find beautiful courtyards with numerous gardens, fountains and manmade ponds.

9. Asam Church

tourist attractions in munich  Asam Church
You will find many beautiful churches and cathedrals in Munich, such as the famous Frauenkirche or Peterskirche, and they all deserve a peek and visit, but we'd also like to draw your attention to a hidden gem, tightly packed between two residential buildings on either side, the Asamkirche, or Asam Church.
tourist attractions in munich  Asam Church interior
This church is quite tiny (it measures 22x8 meters or 72x26 ft) and is easy to miss from the outside, but the rich baroque interior of the church deserves your undivided attention. The church, built by brothers Cosmas and Egid Asam in 1746 as a personal chapel is one of the most important baroque relics in Germany, and it's just so beautiful and detailed we could admire each wall, each decoration, and each painting for ages.

10. Glyptothek museum

tourist attractions in munich  Asam Church interior Glyptothek museum

The last item on our list is a museum that contains exclusively sculptures, the Glyptothek museum. The museum was originally built to house the collection of Greek and Roman sculptures of Bavarian King Ludwig I in 1784, but already in 1830, the museum was open to the public, becoming the first public museum in the city.

tourist attractions in munich  Glyptothek interior
Apart from being a very impressive Neoclassical-style building in itself, this museum is also special because it's among the first interactive museums. The museum is filled with a multitude of ancient sculptures, which visitors are welcome to see up close and to wander between the many rows of priceless masterpieces.
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