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Munich Attractions - Free Things to do in Munich

Top Munich Attractions

Top rated Free Munich Attractions and Paid Attractions list

1. Pinakothek (Paid)

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Alt Pinakothek is one of the oldest art galleries in the world today. It was established in 1836 and houses one of the most renowned collections of Old Master paintings. The building was constructed under an order from King Ludwig I of Bavaria for there to be a new gallery that could become home to the Wittelsbach collection. In its day, the building was considered cutting edge and modern. The use of skylights to bring additional light into the galleries was one notable feature that made it famous for being ahead of its time.

There are many famous pieces within the gallery that are known worldwide, most notably ‘Madonna of the Carnation’ by Leonardo da Vinci. Other collections date back to the 13th century.

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2. Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche) (Free)

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The Frauenkirche stands proudly at the heart of Munich’s old town district. The building itself is recognised with enough respect for there to be a law restricting any other building to exceed its height. The church was completed in 1494 and has become a focal point of the city. At the time of its construction, Munich’s population was just 13,000, but Frauenkirche was optimistically made to house crowds of up to 20,000. The Munich skyline has become famous since its inclusion of the two dome towers than extend from the church. These were added 30 years later in 1524.

The building did suffer considerable damage in World War II, but after the wars conclusion there was a great interest in restoring the church. It was not until 1994 that the final reconstruction has been completed. Today visitors are able to climb to the top of the south tower for an impressive view of the city.Frauenkirche is a resting place for a large number of Bavarian nobility, including Ludwig the Bavarian and King Ludwig III.

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3. English Garden (EnglischerGarten) (Free)

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Since 1789, visitors to Munich have been able to relax in the spacious grounds of EnglischerGarten. The park is one of the largest inner-city public parks in the world with 910 acres, much larger than New York’s Central Park. The name was adopted due to the style of landscaping than can be seen here. This style was extremely popular within England during the 18th century. The garden was originally created as public space as a combination of elector Carl Theodor inheriting the land, whilst Sir Benjamin Thompson advised that an architectural piece of land should be worked on by soldiers during peace time.

The park provides seemingly endless paths and trails that equate to 75km. There are numerous streams and seating areas for visitors to enjoy. One artificial stream has a water pumping mechanism that even attractions interest from surfers. Throughout the park there are many towers and temple like buildings. One of the most famous is JapanischesTeehaus, constructed as a symbol of the Summer Olympics coming to Munich in 1972.

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4. BMW Welt (Paid)

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In 2007 BMW World was completed, much to the excitement of car enthusiasts. The building is an ultramodern and stylish landmark that showcases BMW vehicles. There is also a large proportion of vehicle distribution from here, as well as an event forum and conference centre. The building cost $200m and features a solar plant on the roof.

With BMW also owning Mini and Rolls Royce, there is a lot of interest shown in the vehicles that are showcased here. The company looks to provide a unique customer experience with what is available to see here, even down to collection of purchased vehicles. There are 125 models on show that date back over the companies 90 year history of manufacturing cars and motorbikes. Guided tours of BMW Welt offer an in depth insight to what really makes the brand work.

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5. Deutsches Museum (Paid)

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Deutsches Museum is the world’s largest museum of science and technology. There are close to 30,000 exhibited objects from over 50 fields. The museum was a conception of Oskar von Miller in 1903. He personally had a big influence on the original exhibited objects the museum. It was just before a meeting of the Society of German Engineers than von Miller had gathered a group of similarly minded people together. They contributed 260,000 deutschmarks to the museum’s opening fund. The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago was later modelled on Deutsches Museum.

The exhibitions within the museum focus on many different area of technology. Natural Science is based on the earth and its elements. Materials and Production is about materials and how they are made. Energy focuses on wind, water, steam, gasoline and electricity. Communication is for language, imagery and contactable devices. There is a transport section that goes in depth about what the world uses to travel. One of the most popular areas is the musical instruments section which allows visitors to sample the way music is made. For children there is a section designed for children younger than three years old.

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6. Heliflieger (Paid)

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Heliflieger offer helicopter rides over Munich that offers an impressive vantage point to see the city by air. With so many attractions in the area, it is a fascinating journey through history. The surrounding landscape is only truly appreciated from this height. There are eight different tours options that consist of different routes:


5 Lakes Tour


Munich City Tour


5 Lakes and Munich City Tour


Alps and Munich Tour


Alps and Tegernsee


Tegernsee and Chiemsee


Neuschwanstein and Lech


Neuschwanstein and Lake Constance

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7. Neuschwanstein Castle (Paid)

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Neuschwanstein Castle is seen by many as one of the most beautiful buildings constructed in recent history. The castle began construction in 1869 for King Ludwig II of Bavaria as a personal refuge. He was a somewhat reclusive character and chose to pay for the castle with his own and borrowed money. It is suggested that this way there could not be uproar to a use of public spending for such a lucrative second home for the king. The initial construction took four years although it was not completely finished until after Ludwig had died. An incredible 465 tonnes of marble alone were used.

Ludwig II died in 1886 and much of the construction was yet to be completed. It was opened to the public immediately after his death and the remaining work on the building was carried out. Since then it has become one of the most visited attractions in Europe with over 60 million visitors. Because of the size of the building and risks with the volume of people that attend, admission is only granted for 35 minutes per day for each visitor.

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8. Allianz Arena (Paid)

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The Allianz Arena is Germany’s 3rd largest stadium, behind Signal IdunaPark in Dortmund and Olympiastadion in Berlin. The venue is currently used regularly for the home fixtures of both Bayern Munich FC and TSV 1860 Munich FC. Both teams previously had a 50% share in the stadium before Bayern Munich bought out 1860’s share for €11m in 2006.

The Stadium was host to six fixtures during the 2006 World Cup, although the venue was known as FIFA World Cup Stadium for advertising reasons. Since its completion in 2005, Allianz Arena has become an important German sporting icon. The stadium is easily recognised due to the luminous exterior which is lit in the colours of the home team. Allianz Arena cost in excess of €340m to construct and used over 36,000 tonnes of steel. There is the useful facility of a retracting roof which can help sidestep any sunlight issues and teams have numerous state of the art facilities when visiting the stadium. Allianz Arena also boasts three day-care centres, a merchandise megastore and several restaurants and fast-food outlets.

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9. Glockenspiel (Free)

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The Rathaus Glockenspiel is an iconic symbol of tradition within the heart of the Munich old town. Since its creation alongside the completion of the second phase of the New Town Hall in 1908, it has become famous as a focal point of Marienplatz Square. Each morning at 11am, 32 life-sized figurines mechanically portray a story coinciding with the sound of 43 bells. The show is split in two sections with a golden rooster above them both which chirps three times to signify the end of the show. In the time of its creation, it was a fascinating sample of entertainment that would attract people from far and wide.

The first story depicts the time of the marriage between Duke Wilhelm V and Renata of Lorraine. Duke Wilhelm V was born locally in Munich and the figurines display a horseback jousting competition. Bavaria is portrayed in blue and white, with Lothringen in red and white. Unsurprisingly the Bavarian knight wins every time.

The second story depicts the tale of the legendary Coopers Dance. It is known that in 1517, Munich was struck with a plague and moral was low within the city. To put a smile on the faces of its inhabitants, the duke would send the Coopers to march through the streets dancing. The dance was performed as a sign of perseverance and to entrust loyalty to the duke.

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10. Residence Palace (Residenz) (Paid)

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Residenz is a large palace in central Munich that was once home to the monarchy. The building boasts 130 different rooms, as well as ten courtyards. It is the largest city palace in Germany. The original building was constructed in 1385 to control the city which had failed to rise up against Stephen III. There were a number of additions to the grounds over the years including a large banqueting hall amongst other rooms instructed during the reign of King Ludwig I.

King Ludwig III was the first king to leave in a considerable amount of time at the point of the revolution in 1918. Since then it has always been a museum open to the public. The palace was severely damaged during World War II. It has undergone a gradual simplified reconstruction up until the early 1980s.

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11. Theatine Church (Theatinerkirche) (Free)

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Theatinerkirche is a famous Catholic church within the city of Munich. Its conception was in celebration of the birth of Max Emanuel in 1662, the new heir to the Bavarian throne. The couple behind the project were Elector Ferdinand Maria and his wife Henriette Adelaide of Savoy. The work began in 1663 with Italian architect AgostinoBarelliat the helm. The construction was not completed until nearly 30 years later in 1690. The stand out feature of the church is its yellow exterior, more typical to religious buildings in the Mediterranean. With its bold appearance and historical importance, Theatinerkirche has become a renowned landmark within Munich.

During World War II, the church was the subject of several bombing attacks. The alter which was donated by Ferdinand Maria and Henriette Adelaide of Savoy was completely destroyed. The entire western wing of the building was also devastated. In 1946 plans for restoration began to take shape and although a lot of work was completed by 1955, it was not until 1973 that the church was once again its former self.

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12. Viktualienmarkt (Free)

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The Viktualienmarkt is one of the most popular food markets in Germany. With an abundance of history and culture, it also has become one of Munich’s most popular attractions. The market was born when the original agricultural trade at Marienplatz became too big for the area. On 2nd May 1807, King Maximilian I issued a decree stating that the food trade was to relocate to Viktualienmarkt, its home ever since. The area became completely pedestrianized in 1975.

Today the streets are thriving. The market boasts more than 140 stalls in the 22,000m2stretch of land. The wares offer an insight into typical Bavarian delicacies with items such as; Game, poultry, spices, cheeses, fish and much more. There are even stalls that are dedicated solely to flowers. The market also has numerous beer gardens and restaurants, making it one of the most consistently busy areas of Munich.

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13. Old Town (Altstadt) (Free)

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Munich’s old town district is the smallest and oldest area of the city. It is however, home to some of the most famous and most historical landmarks. The official name for the district is AltstadtLehel, which itself is split into six areas. The area that is considered the true ‘old town’ are the four districts of; Kreuzviertel, Graggenauer, Angerviertel and Hackenviertel. These were the city’s extended boundaries, the work of Ludwig the Bavarian. Ludwig the Bavarian is buried within Altstadt at Frauenkirche.

The more recent additions to the area known as AltstadtLehel are the district of Lehel and EnglischerGartenSud. Other notable landmarks within Altstadt are St. Peter’s Church and BayerischeStaatsoper. The popular Glockenspiel show is also found here. Visitors can witness it every day at 11am in Marienplatz Square.

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14. St.Peter’s Church (Free)

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Long before the city of Munich had been formed, a group of monks lived close to what is now the centre of the city on a hill called Petersbergl. This 8th century church is the earliest knowledge of a building of its kind in the area, making the current St. Peter’s Church one of Munich’s oldest institutions. Towards the end of the 12th century, the church was rebuilt in a more Bavarian style. It stood until the great fire of 1327 and was rebuilt again in 1368 as the church that stands today. For historical enthusiasts, this attraction portrays the focus of what Munich was built around.

There are a number of impressive pieces of art within the church. The daunting high alter depicts an image of St. Peter, which was contributed by Erasmus Grasser. Also inside the church are a number of gothic paintings by the likes of Jan Polack. The intricate ceiling work was reconstructed at the turn of the millennium after it was originally created halfway through the 18th century by Johann Baptist Zimmermann.

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15. Bavarian State Opera (BayerischeStaatsoper) (Paid)

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The Bavarian State Opera was founded in 1653 by Princess Henriette Adelaide of Savoy. She was also behind building the Theatine Church. In the first years of its existence, Giovanni Battista Maccioni’sL’arpaFestante was the primary act at the court theatre. It was not until a century later that the Residence Theatre was opened as a major venue for performances to take place. In 1901, Prinzregententheater was opened, offering another platform. However, the opera company has always considered its home to be at National Theatre Munich.

There have been numerous general directors in the long history. The first was Karl von Perfall from 1867 until 1893. Since then there have been 17 general directors, including the current NikolausBachler since 2008. The first director to be born outside of Germany was the British born Peter Jones.

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16. Lake Starnberg (Free)

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Lake Starnberg is a large natural lake south of Munich. The small district of Starnberg is located on the northern bank. The lake itself is the 5th largest lake in Germany in terms of area, but when its deepness is taken into account it becomes the 2nd largest body of water in the country. The lake remains property of the Bavarian Administration of State Owned Palaces, Gardens and Lakes.

A notable interest is shown in the lake as being the place where King Ludwig II was found dead in waist deep water with the doctor that had diagnosed him as being unfit to rule Bavaria. This was in 1886 and around this time a railway was built from Munich to the lake making it an easily accessible day trip for the city’s people. Lake Starnberg was also mentioned in T. S. Eliot’s famous poem, The Waste Land.

In modern times, Lake Starnberg is still a popular day trip for people in the area. Its relatively untouched surrounding land is a common choice of destination for hikers and cyclists. There is a 46km cycle path that runs along the perimeter.

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17. Chinese Beer Garden (BiergartenChinesischerTurm) (Free)

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The Chinese Beer Garden within Munich’s English Garden is the second largest in the city, with 7,000 seats. The Chinese Tower was constructed in 1789 and was modelled on the famous Great Pagoda in London’s Royal Botanic Gardens. The five stories of the tower look out over this area of English Garden and have become a popular place to relax for both residents and tourists. At the end of the 19th century, around 5,000 of Munich’s working class people at 5am every Sunday to dance in what was known as ‘The Cook’s Ball’. This tradition was forbidden at the start of the 20th century on moral grounds. Since 1989 however, it has been celebrated again annually to mark 200 years of the Chinese Tower.

There are a number of food stalls that serve traditional German delicacies including; Steckerlfisch, Hendl, Schweinshaxn, Obatzda and Auszogne. Visitors can also enjoy horse carriage rides through the park from here. On weekends there is a brass band that plays from the 1st floor of the tower and sporting fixtures are shown. The tower also has Wi-Fi available.

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18. Oktoberfest (Free)

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Oktoberfest is officially the world’s largest fair. Attracting an average of six million visitors in recent years, people travel from all over the world to join in the 16 day festivities. The event itself is held at the large Theresienwiese field to the west of central Munich. At this location, Oktoberfest runs annually for 16 days until the first Sunday of October. If the first Sunday of October happens to fall on the 1st or 2nd, then the event will go on until the 3rd to coincide with German Unity Day.

The first Oktoberfest was in 1810 and was a celebration for the marriage of King Ludwig and Therese of Saxe Hildburghausen. The field in which it takes place is names after Therese to this day. The entire population of Bavaria was invited to attend and since then the event has become a renowned piece of Bavarian history. In over 200 years of Oktoberfests, there have only been 24 cancellations due to either wartime or large scale medical issues.

In the modern day the minimum strength of alcohol sold at Oktoberfest must be 6.1%, which often catches tourists out. Any beer sold at Oktoberfest must be brewed within the city of Munich. The brewers that are given authority to produce beer for the event and all have their own tents are:


AugustinerBrau


Hacker PschorrBrau


Lowenbrau


Paulaner


Spatenbrau


StaatlichesHofbrau

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19. Andechs Monastery (Paid)

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Andechs Monastery is located south of Munich, close to Lake Starnberg. The abbey has become a popular attraction because of its unique church building that was constructed in 1712. The vibrant colour scheme and imposing tower stand out. There are not many buildings of its kind in the area being of a similar style.

KlosterAndrechsWeissbier Hell, a popular German lager is also brewed here. The controversial composer Carl Orff is buried at the abbey. Between the years of 1135 and 1180, the local castle was home to a number of powerful DiessenAndechs counts and dukes. The most famous of these perhaps is Prince Konrad of Bavaria.

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20. Field Marshal’s Hall (Feldherrnhalle) (Free)

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Feldherrnhalle is a site of significant German historical interest. Since its completion in 1844, there have been numerous incidents that will forever last in its memory. Its initial construction was as a monumental loggia in memory of King Ludwig I of Bavaria. The building was designed by architect Friedrich von Gartner and took nearly four years to complete. In the early years it was a symbol of dedication to Bavarian soldiers and is home to statues of the renowned Johann Tilly and Karl Phillip von Wrede. There were more statues incorporated to its design in 1882 after the Franco Prussian War.

In late 1923, Feldherrnhalle was the site of one of the confrontational illegal protests lead by Adolf Hitler and his followers. This event became famous for resulting in Adolf Hitler’s imprisonment, after Bavarian State Police lost control of the situation. There is now a plaque in remembrance of the four police officers that lost their lives that day. This landmark became a place of interest during the 3rd Reich, with an image of Feldherrnhalle being embossed on the Nazi Blood Order Medal. In 1995 World War II veteran Reinhold Elstner committed self-immolation here to bring remonstrate against the defamation of German Soldiers since the war.

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