Munich: a city of culture, history, beauty, and beer. A city well known for Oktoberfest, but what is there to do on a late November day?
Well, quite a lot. And it’s also a pretty good time to visit, because the crowds will be thinner and the streets are a lot less crowded than during the summer or Oktoberfest. The weather is also not that cold, compared to a Canadian winter, at least.
We stayed in an adorable, and well-priced, little airbnb about a 20 minute walk from all the main sights, but if you aren’t in the mood for a lot of walking you can always hop on the train, or find a bit of a pricier place to stay closer to the centre!
Our first day in Munich was also the first day of the Christmas Markets! Honestly, this was what I was the most excited for (bring on the mulled wine, bratwurst, and Christmas treats!). We went to a total of three different Christmas markets while we were in Munich, and honestly that is just the tip of the Christmas market iceberg. There are a lot to choose from, so do your research and plan out which you are going to hit.
Christmas Markets: Which ones, what to eat, etc.
Marienplatz Christmas Market
Located in the heart of old Munich, this is a must-do-stop no matter what time of the year you visit Munich, but at Christmas time the plaza comes alive in a different way. The square is filled with twinkling lights and shining decorations; bustling people; the smell of mulled wine (gluwein) , candied nuts, and baking; the Christmas spirit seems well and alive.
Wayde and I wandered this massive Christmas market for quite a while, as there was a lot to see. This is the most touristy market in Munich, so while it is worth it to explore, expect the prices to be higher if you do buy anything. We bought mulled wine and food, and that was about it, although there were a lot of beautiful decorations, handmade goods, and nativity scenes for sale.
The cherry on top of this market, is that everyday at 5:30 there will be live music performed from the historic town hall balcony. Wayde and I witnessed a choir singing from the balcony, the melodic sounds filled the square, and it was absolutely enchanting.
Pro-tip: look for some a sign that says mandeln (almonds) here you will find a variety of candied nuts on which you can snack as you peruse.
Haidhauser Weihnachtsmarkt at Weisenburger Platz
On our way home from Marienplatz we found another Market near where we were staying. This market was quite a bit smaller, and seemed a little bit more local.
Once again, there was the smell of mulled wine and delicious food filling the air, one thing is for certain, you will never go hungry at a Germany Christmas market.
While this market was a little bit less striking, it had a feel that Marienplatz didn’t — it felt homey, and more community based. It was also a lot less overwhelming when looking at all of the vendors, as there were much fewer.
Here we enjoyed some curry wurst and beer, while we listened to more live music.
The last Christmas Market that we enjoyed was the ChristkindlMarkt In The Residenz.
Nestled behind the Munich Residenz, we actually stumbled upon this Market on accident, and it was a pleasant surprise. It was just as busy as the other markets, but had a lot of new hot drink and food selections.
At this market we tried something called eierpunsch. It is a warm drink that is creamy and frothy, neither of us had a clue what it was at the time, but it looked yummy so we ordered it. I loved it, and though it wasn’t Wayde’s favourite, he didn’t mind it . I later learned that eierpunsch is an egg based drink, not too dissimilar from eggnog.
At this market we also got to try apfelkuchle, which Wayde and I were both huge fans of! This delicious deep fried treat is essentially a battered apple ring covered in cinnamon sugar.
There were two other Christmas Markets that we had recommended to us that we didn’t make it to: Tollwood and Marchenbazar.
Aside from the numerous Christmas markets, there is so much to do in Munich. Here are some of the other activities that we did while visiting.
Stop for food at Viktualienmarkt (a massive farmers market).
Wayde and I stopped here early in the morning, before the crowds formed, for coffee and breakfast. There is a huge variety of pastries, dried meat, cheese, and everything else you could want to eat or buy.
A climb up St. Peters tower
St. Peters is the oldest parish in Munich. It is a stop where you get to pay 3 euros per person to climb 299 steps, which might not sound very fun, but the view is worth it!
Located in the centre of Munich’s old town the view from the tower offers stunning aeriel views of Munich’s historic buildings.
Take a break from the chilly weather and spend the morning or afternoon exploring the Munich Residenz— the former royal palace of the monarchs of Bavaria.
Located in central Munich this is a quick walk away from most of the other stops. It is also the largest city palace in Germany. It is huge, and takes a decent amount of time to walk through and see, but it is worth it. There is so much to see and learn, and although parts of it had to be rebuilt after World War II, it is insane to see how the royal family once lived.
Two other places that you should wander through, which will be easy seeing as they are nearby a few of these places, are two platz’s located near the Residenz— Odeonsplatz and Max-Joseph-Platz— both are nice to walk through and enjoy the historic buildings. Both squares were, and still are, important places for civic events and demonstrations.
There is so much to see and do in Munich. We didn’t even get to everything we had wanted, but I think that no matter what you end up doing it will be an amazing experience. The city is gorgeous and has so much to offer.
*Pro-tip: rent an e-scooter to see the city in a different way. We did this with a part of Munich that was less crowded. It was really fun and we saw parts of the city we wouldn’t have otherwise.
In addition, there are so many easily accessible day-trips that are available to go on from Munich. We did a day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle, and I’m hoping to write about it soon, so keep your eyes peeled!