Süddeutsche Zeitung

Oktoberfest 2009: Guide to Munich:The best places in Munich

So you're a tourist in Munich and want to see its most important sights in a short time? That's something you shouldn't miss out on.

This year the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev came to visit Munich. German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel came over to Munich especially from Berlin, the capital, to receive her fellow head of state. She said to him: "If you don't like Munich, I don't know where in Germany you'll like."

And that's exactly how we see it! No other German city combines so many contrasting elements: a population of over a million, an oasis of green, the traditional and the modern, attachment to the home country and cosmopolitanism.

Munich is of course famous the world over for the Oktoberfest. But it has a great deal more to offer. When you pay our fair city a visit for the first time, having a look around is an absolute must. We have compiled the best hotspots for you. Have fun in Munich!

Marienplatz

Marienplatz

Marienplatz

The Marienplatz square is the heart of Munich. It is in the middle of the city centre, and houses the City Hall with its famous chime. The City Hall celebrated its 100th birthday this year. The 43 bells ring out at 11.00, 12.00 and 17.00 every day. In the middle of Marienplatz stands the Mariensäule column, where the Pope has already prayed, and the Fischbrunnen fountain. Both are excellent meeting points if you want to arrange to meet someone. Tip: Marienplatz is the perfect place to start a shopping trip. No matter which way you go there are shops everywhere. The pedestrian precinct with the most shops is Kaufinger Straße, which runs from Marienplatz to Karlsplatz (Stachus).

Marienplatz

Marienplatz underground station (can be reached by the U-Bahn [underground] and S-Bahn [suburban train])

Odeonsplatz

Odeonsplatz

Odeonsplatz

Odeonsplatz is a square in the old part of Munich, not far from Marienplatz. In the square you will find the Feldherrnhalle [Military Commanders' Hall]. The square was misused by the National Socialists for parades. Today Odeonsplatz is one of the most important venues for cultural events in Munich. Right on Odeonsplatz there is also the Residenz, Munich's city centre castle. The building complex encompasses ten courtyards and 130 rooms. The Residenz was built in the late 16th century. Tip: visit the Hofgarten, the little park adjacent to Odeonsplatz. The Munich locals like playing boule there and drinking coffee in the Café Tambosi.

Odeonsplatz

Odeonsplatz underground station

Königsplatz

Königsplatz

Königsplatz

Königsplatz is near the central railway station. There are three classical buildings on the spacious square: the Propyläen, the Antikensammlung [classical works of art collection] and the Glyptothek [sculpture gallery]. The famous builder Leo von Klenze had a major influence on the architecture of the square.

At the time of the Third Reich the Nazis used the square and adjoining buildings as an administrative centre. What was called the "Führerbau" [the Leader's Building], was erected at the east end in Arcisstraße. The building now houses the Hochschule für Musik und Theater [College of Music and Theatre]. Tip: in the Glyptothek you can view a collection of classical Greek and Roman sculptures. Or you just do as the locals do and sit on the steps outside the building and enjoy the sun.

Königsplatz

Königsplatz underground station

X-Cess

Proprietor Isi in X-Cess

This is a recommendation for anyone who for once wants to go to a bar in Munich that is not a typical tourist pub. X-Cess (Kolosseumstr. 6) is a tiny alternative bar in which guests are allowed to put on records themselves and which is open until the early hours. The atmosphere is laid-back and casual. You will soon be chatting with the locals here, guaranteed.

Tip: X-Cess is located in the hip area of Glockenbach, a quarter with countless pubs, bars, restaurants and clubs. Simply walk down its streets and pop in wherever you fancy.

Address: Kolosseumstr. 6; Fraunhoferstraße underground station

Allianz Arena

Allianz Arena

Allianz Arena

The Allianz Arena is Munich's biggest football stadium and is in the north of the city. It was built by the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron and inaugurated in May 2005.

The façade comprises plastic air cushions that can be illuminated in blue or red - depending on which of the two Munich teams are playing. The Allianz Arena is home to both FC Bayern Munich (who have a red strip) and TSV 1860 München (who have a blue strip).

Tip: you can take a guided tour of the stadium when there's no match on. For further information on the tours go to www.allianz-arena.de.

Fröttmaning underground station

Isar

Isar

Isar

The Isar is Munich's river, which flows through the heart of the city. Its banks are splendid for relaxing. Although unfortunately there is no catering on the river banks, you can lie on the grass and enjoy the sun, play badminton or have a snack you brought along.

Tip: buy food for a picnic beforehand in a supermarket. Then travel to the Reichenbachbrücke bridge (Fraunhoferstraße underground station) and simply spread out on the banks of the Isar with your blanket.

Fraunhoferstraße underground station

Frauenkirche

Frauenkirche

Frauenkirche

The Frauenkirche [Church of Our Lady] is Munich's cathedral. It is a late Gothic brickwork edifice. The (Catholic) church can hold 20,000 people standing, which is astonishing when you think that the city's population at the time it was being built in the late 15th century was only about 13,000. Tip: there are plenty of Bavarian inns near the cathedral, like the Andechser or the Augustiner, where you can eat excellent roast pork and schnitzel.

Marienplatz

Marienplatz underground station (can be reached by the U-Bahn and S-Bahn)

Eisbach

Eisbach

Eisbach

The Eisbach flows through the English Garden, Munich's largest park. What is special about the stream is that you can surf on it. Right by the Haus der Kunst [Art House], a famous museum, there is a wave that is constantly being ridden by surfers from all over the world.

Tip: drive to the Eisbach, sit on the lawn and watch the surfers - that is a sheer Munich feeling - and afterwards go for a brief stroll through the English Garden!

Odeonsplatz

Odeonsplatz underground station

Viktualienmarkt

The Viktualienmarkt

Viktualienmarkt

The Viktualienmarkt is a food market in the centre of Munich. It's open every day except Sundays and public holidays, and most of the stalls are permanent. It's located in the vicinity of Marienplatz, which is three minutes away. You can find anything your heart desires on sale there, including many exotic fruits.

Tip: we recommend you try a real Bavarian Bratwurst sausage at one of the many stalls.

Marienplatz

Marienplatz underground station (can be reached by the U-Bahn and S-Bahn)

P1

P1 is Munich's most famous club. Its strict door policy is legendary, admitting only the rich and the beautiful. It is frequented by sportsmen, models and celebrities in particular. The retired goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, former tennis player Boris Becker, footballer Luca Toni and the Munich party girl Giulia Siegel have often been seen there.

Tip: go to P1 with locals, then you should have no problem getting in.

Address: Prinzregentenstraße 1; Odeonsplatz underground station

Englischer Garten

Englischer Garten

The "English Garden" is Munich's green space. It stretches for five kilometres through the city. As mentioned above, the Eisbach flows through the English Garden. And there are several beer gardens, such as the Chinesischer Turm and the Seehaus, enticing you to stay a while. Tip: we recommend you visit the Chinesischer Turm. There's live brass band music, Bavarian beer, crispy spare ribs and fresh chicken. Special tip for sporty types: the best thing is to hire a bicycle to explore the English Garden.

Bicycles can be hired from:

www.callabike-interaktiv.dewww.radiustours.com www.spurwechsel-muenchen.de www.mikesbiketours.com

Universität or Giselastraße underground stations

Olympiapark

Olympiapark

Olympiapark

The Olympiapark was the venue for the 20th Olympic Games in 1972. Until today sporting events, concerts and festivals are staged there. The Olympiapark is famous for its tent-shaped roof construction, which when it was built was an optical and static sensation. The roof, made of Plexiglas, covers 74,800 m² and is suspended on 58 steel masts.

Tip: take the lift up to the 292-metre high Olympiaturm. The view over Munich and its environs is phenomenal. By the way, the tower has the revolving restaurant 181, where you can eat whilst enjoying the view.

Olympiapark

Olympiapark underground station

Museums

Museums

The art district is in the Maxvorstadt quarter. Four of the best museums in Munich are in the same place: the Alte Pinakothek exhibits pictures from painters of the Middle Ages to the middle of the 18th century; opposite it is the Neue Pinakothek [New Art Gallery] with 19th and early 20th century works; the Pinakothek der Moderne displays works from the 20th and 21st centuries. The fourth museum in the quarter is called the Brandhorst Collection and was opened in just 2009. It exhibits more than 700 works by artists who have had a decisive influence on art since 1945.

Tip: if you only have time for one museum, we recommend the Pinakothek der Moderne. The building is worth seeing purely from an architectural point of view. In addition to the permanent exhibitions there are always worthwhile temporary exhibitions.

Theresienstraße underground station

Nymphenburg

Nymphenburg

Nymphenburg

Nymphenburg Castle is one of the great royal castles of Europe. For a long time it was the summer residence of the House of Wittelsbach; building work began on it in 1664. Some rooms still have their original baroque decoration; others were later converted in the rococo and classicism styles. Tip: if you need a break from the strain of the Oktoberfest, a walk in the huge park grounds of the castle is just the right thing. In the centre of the grounds is the "Schlosscafé zum Palmenhaus", where they serve wonderful cakes.

Rotkreuzplatz underground station, then by tram 12 or 17 to the Schloss Nymphenburg stop

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