Germany may be the land of beer, sausages and pretzels but Munich has so much more to offer. Whenever I have mentioned to someone that I am planning a trip to Munich, the first question is “are you going to Oktoberfest”. I prefer to visit a little later in the fall or at Christmas…both really beautiful times of the year. After less than a two hour scenic drive from Salzburg, my husband and I arrived in Munich. The capital of Bavaria can be described in so many ways. It has small town charm and provincial character with long-standing traditions but it is also cosmopolitan and sophisticated. There are many cultural events, world class museums, Baroque, Rococo, and Art Nouveau architecture, cobbled streets and beautiful gardens.
It is considered one of the best places to live in Europe. Yes, you can go to the Hofbrauhaus (probably the most famous beer hall in the world). You can sit at long wooden tables with lots of tourists as well as Germans, drink liter size beers and eat sausages and pretzels and listen to oompah bands .
You can also go to one of the many fine restaurants, bistros, and wine bars that are just a block or two away for a delicious, relaxed meal.
We like to stay at the Vier Jahreszeiten (four seasons in German) Kempinski.
It is a 150 year old hotel in the heart of Munich, on the famous Maximilian Strasse. The location is ideal as most everything is just a short walk away. The street itself is lined with high end haute couture shops where you can sometimes spot celebrities.
It is fun window shopping and dreaming of wearing one of the beautiful dresses that you see. The hotel has a wonderful traditional lobby that is called the living room of Munich. Each afternoon when we return from seeing the sights, we like to enjoy a delicious cappuccino here and watch people greeting each other, visiting over a glass of champagne. Everything about this old world hotel is wonderful. The service is outstanding and you are always greeted by name. We love the piano bar, the great buffet breakfast and the food in the restaurant. The top floor spa has views overlooking Munich. The Kempinski is one of our favorite hotels in Europe. Less than a five minute walk from the hotel, you arrive at the Marienplatz in the heart of the old town’s pedestrian area.
The wide square is dominated by the New Town Hall with its famous Glockenspiel. Just a couple of minutes in the opposite direction is the Residenz, one of the largest and most opulent palaces in Europe. You can visit 130 rooms, all with English descriptions.
There is also the Treasury with a collection of crown jewels. Behind the Residenz, is the Hofgarden, designed in the 17th century. Further along, you come to the Field Marshalls Hall, designed after the famous Loggia in Florence.
In the same area, is Theatinerkirch from 1633.
The pure white stucco interior is such a contrast to its bright yellow exterior. It is wonderful being a foodie in Munich. There are several international food shops, Dallmayr being our favorite. The Viktualienmarkt is probably the most beautiful open air food market I have ever seen.
With a traditional Bavarian maypole at its center, lovely fountains, its own outdoor beer garden, it is truly amazing. Venders beautifully display exotic fruits and vegetables.
Others sell meats, poultry, and fish of every description.
Wine, cheese, and fresh baked breads can be bought for a picnic. There are spices and herbs from all over the world. There is so much to see and do in Munich. We have returned five times to this lovely city and there is still so much that we haven’t seen. I will be doing other posts that will highlight of our time spent in Munich. I hope you will enjoy seeing more of one of our favorite cities in Europe.