Top 10 Things to do in Munich

Munich is just the perfect city for everyone enjoying outdoor activities – you have the shores of the Isar which are perfect for BBQing, having a bath or you can go on a rubber boat trip on the Isar on a hot summer’s day. Huge parks all over the city allow every sports from football to frisbee or running or you can leave the city towards south to Munich’s surrounding lakes and of course the majestic Alps. And now enjoy our article about the Top 10 things to do in Munich.

Getting around by bike

BiKe Club Steiermark
BiKe Club Steiermark

In our opinion getting around by bike holds the No. 1 position of our Top 10 things to do in Munich list as it’s the best way to move around in Munich and get to places which you never would have seen only using public transport, by feet or by car! Munich is a very bike-friendly city and the bike paths beside the Isar take you even far away outside of the Bavarian capital. A very nice destination in the North is the city of Freising with the brewery of Weihenstephan and its lovely beer garden beside and direction southwest you have the „Kloster Schäftlarn“, of course with a nice beer garden as well! Wether you decide heading north or south it’s approx. 30km to get to one of the mentioned destinations. If you shouldn’t own a bike, here some solutions:

Buy a bike

If you shouldn’t buy a brand-new bike in one of the many bike shops in Munich we recommend getting an used one. It’s better to go to one of the surrounding cities like Freising, Erding or Wolfratshausen (all can be reached by S-Bahn) as prices for used bikes are a lot cheaper than in Munich.

Rent a bike

If you are planning to go for a ride only for a day or maybe a weekend we recommend renting a bike, e.g. at the shop Pedalhelden (Müllerstraße 6). They have fair tariffs, are friendly guys and have all kind of bikes ranging from MTB to cruisers or tandems. Very convenient is the weekend tariff – you pick up the bike on Saturday morning and return it back on Monday morning. Another solution is signing up at Call-a-bike or Nextbike.

– Call-a-Bike
The more flexible solution as you can drop the bike at any crossing within the „Mittlerer Ring“. For tariffs click here. If you plan to use Call-a-Bike regularly we suggest signing up for the flat rate.

– Nextbike
A little bit cheaper than the mentioned solution from Deutsche Bahn but less flexible. You can drop the bike only at dedicated Nextbike locations (they can all be looked up in the special App) which means sometimes you have to drop the bike quite some blocks away from where you wanted to go. For tariffs click here.

No matter which bike you take, there is no better way of exploring Munich and seeing places which you wouldn’t have seen without them, poor anyone who never got around by bike in Munich.

(Get drunk at the) Oktoberfest

View from the Ferris wheel
Oktoberfest

Well what should we say about the Wiesn (remember from our other section Top 10 things to see in Munich NEVER EVER call the fair „Oktoberfest“ if you don’t want to expose yourself as a complete Munich newbie) – be there or be square. We will publish a dedicated report on how to survive a day on the Wiesn later this year to prepare you for the biggest fair in the world.

Isarpiraten – Rubber boat trip on the Isar

Mr Kauf and the Isarpiraten
Mr Kauf and the Isarpiraten

This trip is absolutely a must-do if you live in or close to Munich, no, wherever you live! It guarantees a whole day of fun and action you will never forget! A special thank goes to Mr Kauf from Wolfratshausen who provided us some glue to patch our boat which has been damaged on the way from the station to the entry into the Loisach and saved our day! According to his plan, next year you can probably meet him in his booth beside the entrance to the river where he will sell cold beverages, live jackets and of course repair kits. Besides that, he will run an „inflate-service“ for all the lazy boaters among us for whom pumping up a rubber boat too much work on a early morning.

Before going on your trip, be sure to take some important things with you:

Isarpiraten, sponsored by Augustiner
Isarpiraten, sponsored by Augustiner

1. Enough beer not to suffer from thirst on a hot summer day (count one beer crate for four persons)
2. Sun cream and a sun hat
3. Pair of water shoes (as you have to leave the boat several times and the Isar and its shores are quite rocky)
4. If you should not have enough beer (2 beers = 1 meal, as we say in Bavaria) maybe something to eat. 
5. If you don’t want to swim – a boat and paddles, one for each boater One advice: Get yourself a proper boat not one of the cheap ones, ideally a boat which can carry up to four persons.
6. Waterproof container for your valuables
7. Repair kit (and check if the glue is still good!)
8. Battery-powered loudspeakers and some good music on your smart phone.

Everything else is a plus 😉

Now we are ready to go!

Take the S-Bahn S7 until its end station Wolfratshausen. We recommend to take the S-Bahn which starts at Munich central station at 9:13 at the latest. If you take it chilled, the time on the water is minimum five to six hours and if you should stop on your way for a lunch break and add the time you need for carrying the boat around the weirs, you easily will be eight hours on the way.

Isarpiraten
Isarpiraten

The first part of this way into the Isar is via the small river Loisach initially. Take Bahnhofstraße Northwest and then Tirolerstraße to get to the weir Wolfratshausen – right behind you find a gravel bank where you easily can put your yacht into the water. The first stage until the weir Icking is approx. 4km long. Shortly before the weir, you will pass the point where Isar and Loisach meet, in the background the Alps – the nicest view of the whole trip, so „foto mental“!

Point where Isar and Loisach meet
Point where Isar and Loisach meet

Once you reach the weir be aware to stick to the left as you would end up in the ugly artificial Isar channel on the right but the signs hardly can be missed. The boat slipway is not really suitable for rubber boats so take your boat out of the river and carry it around the weir – first obstacle overcome!

We are now on the longest stage of ca. 13km length until the weir Baierbrunn. Half way between the two weirs you will pass the Kloster Schäftlarn which is definitely worth a stop for having a beer or something to eat in its beer garden – the abbey is just a few steps away from the Isar.

Georgenstein, conquered by Max
Georgenstein, conquered by Max

You will also pass the Georgenstein – legends say that Saint George beat the dragon right beside this rock – no doubt about it if you see the setting. You can climb up the rock and jump down but be aware, the water can sometimes be dangerous here.

Once you reached the weir Baierbrunn (beside the village of Buchenhain) firstly keep to the left and enter the channel.

Weir Baierbrunn
Weir Baierbrunn

Then attention! Don’t keep further to the left but make a sharp curve on the right and land at the gravel beach. Take out the boat and carry it a few steps further to the wild Isar. VERY IMPORTANT as you would enter a very boring passage if keeping to the left side. From here we have a very nice and sunny stage of about 7km passing Grünwald, its castle on the right side and Pullach towards the Grosshesseloher Brücke.

Weir Grosshesselohe
Weir Grosshesselohe

Shortly before the huge bridge is the weir Grosshesselohe. If the very right floodgate is closed, you can land your boat just before it and lift your yacht over the gate. If the gate should be open, we land on the right shore and carry the boat around the weir – we hope you still have some power reserves left as the way around and over all the fallen trees is some work to do.

Marienklause
Marienklause

Leaving this weir behind there is only one left – Marienklause, just a few metros after the weir Grosshesselohe. If you are among the brave ones, what you surely are, you take the boat slide on the right, not so brave ones and the ones who might already have had the one or the other beer – what I hope you had – carry the boat around it on the left side. The water is getting quite low now on some points so be careful and watch out not to damage your boat.

Isarpiraten live in action
Isarpiraten live in action

Our exit point is at the Thalkirchener Brückeboating after this point is not allowed at the moment despite it would be possible, we hope that the city of Munich will change the regulations soon! Ideally your are being awaited here by friends with a BBQ and some good meat – grilling is allowed in this area of the Isar.

The U-Bahn station Thalkirchen is not far away to get back home. The boat trip is absolutely one of the Top 10 things to do in Munich so don’t miss it out. For a detailed plan please click here. Ship ahoy!!!

Go skiing in the Alps

Glockenbachviertel, in the background the Alps
Glockenbachviertel, in the background the Alps

Of all big cities North of the Alps, Munich is the biggest one – take advantage of that! One of Austria’s biggest skiing areas and also the fastest one to reach is the Zillertal. Take the autobahn A8 towards south, at interchange „Inntal-Dreieck“ follow the A93 direction Brenner/Italy. You leave the autobahn at exit Achensee/Zillertal. On a sunny day you won’t be the only ones having this great idea so plan an early start (6:30 o’clock latest) to avoid being stuck in a traffic jam! Don’t forget to buy the „Pickerl“, the vignette/fee for using Austrian highways, last possibility is at the service station Inntal just before crossing the Austrian border. If you are caught by the Austrian police without the vignette, a penalty of nearly 300.- € will be the result so we absolutely recommend the invest of ca. 8.- € (for 10 days). There are a lot of nice skiing spots all over the valley, our favorite one though is up the mountains beside the valley station of Zell am Ziller. For more information click here. If you don’t have a car – don’t worry, Germany’s highest and onliest glacier skiing area – the Zugspitze – can easily be reached by train from Munich central station.

Go skiing on the Zugspitze

View from the Zugspitzplatt/Zugspitze
View from Zugspitze

The Zugspitze is absolutely worth a trip, no matter if for skiing in winter or in summer just for visiting its peak and enjoying the astonishing views of the Alps on the one side and great parts of Southern Germany up to the Starnberger See and on a nice day even Munich on the other side. With 2962m above sea level it’s Germany’s highest point guaranteeing skiing until May. The size of the skiing area is not really comparable to e.g. the Zillertal but only due to the location and the ways of how to reach the top absolutely one of Germany’s top spots. From German side there are two different ways to get up the Zugspitze which will be explained in detail below.

Eibseeseilbahn

Eibseeseilbahn, in the background the Zugspitze
Eibseeseilbahn

Without a doubt the most impressive way of getting up is the cable car from Eibsee. There is no aerial tramway in the world at this moment which overcomes a bigger height difference than the Eibseeseilbahn (1950m from Eibsee at 1005m to the mountain station at 2955m). The cable car was opened in May 1963 after two years construction time and will remain in service until the new cable car opens in 2017 – the constructions already have begun. Due to the small capacity of only 45 persons (which is also the reason why a new one is constructed) be sure to be at the valley station Eibsee when it opens at 8:00 o’clock to be among the first skiers. Take the A95 towards Garmisch-Partenkirchen (the city on the foot of the Zugspitze), drive takes approx. 1:15h so ensure to enter the highway at 6:30 o’clock at the latest!

Bayerische Zugspitzbahn

Bayerische Zugspitzbahn and my lovely girl-friend Petra from Austria
Bayerische Zugspitzbahn

If you don’t have a car the most convenient way to reach the top of Germany is going with the „Bayerische Zugspitzbahn“. Keep in mind that it takes ca. 3 hours to get from Munich central station to the Zugspitzplatt (area where the Bavarian cogwheel train ends and main lift station) at 2.300m, therefore we recommend taking the first train which leaves Munich at 6:32 o’clock. You will reach Garmisch-Partenkirchen at 8:00 o’clock, there you have to change to the cogwheel train – it takes round about 1:15h until you finally can put on your skis respective snowboard. The route was opened in 1930 after two years construction time and has a total length of 19 km. Until 1987 the end station was on the summit but nowadays it takes you directly to a station located right under the restaurant Sonn-Alpin right in the middle of the skiing area. Cheapest way is to get yourself the combi ticket which includes a round ticket from Munich to Garmisch-Partenkirchen and the skiing pass, for more info click here.

BBQ beside the Isar

What better thing can you do on a warm and sunny day than meeting on the waterside of the Isar for having a BBQ and enjoying the day together with good friends and having one or the other exquisite Bavarian beer? Nothing?! Correct! So get yourself some meat and a BBQ – if you shouldn’t call one your own by now – call your best friends and let’s all go to the „Flaucher“!In late spring and summer the Flaucher (the wetland on both sides of the Isar between the Braunauer railway bridge in the north and the „Flauchersteg“ in the south) is the favorite BBQ spot of all inhabitants of Munich. You will see what I mean when you enter the area for the first time on a BBQ-able day – in the afternoon hours when the people had their first round of BBQ it seems to be so foggy that you can’t believe that this is the effect of dozens of grills polluting the clean air, but it smells just sooo good. There are plenty of areas in Munich where having a BBQ is officially allowed as it’s the case on nearly the complete area of the Flaucher except the part north of the „Brudermühlbrücke“. Please be so responsible to put your empty bottles in a trash bin or one the big containers, other people and mother nature will thank you! BBQing beside the Isar surely will be among the first things you do after moving to Munich.

Circus Krone

Elephant show
Elephant show

The Circus Krone is the biggest circus in Europe and an absolute institution in Munich. The predecessor was founded by Karl Krone sen. in Questenberg in the Central German region Harz in 1870 as Menagerie Continental. The same year, his son and later founder of the Circus Krone, Carl Krone jun., was born. In the following years, the small show toured successfully all over Europe. Besides shows with animals, the so-called Negertruppe (group of blacks) was presented. Carl Krone jun. emphasized on the training of animals and in 1893 he performed under the name Dompteur Charles for the first time in the history of training of animals the sensational ride of a lion on the back of a horse.
When Karl Krone sen. died during the circus had set up his tent in Frankfurt (Oder) in 1900, his son Carl became boss of the touring company which meanwhile had changed its name to Menagerie Circus des Dompteur Charles.

Tiger show
Tiger show

In 1905, Carl Krone founded a circus which he named Circus Charles and it became the circus as we know it today – some years later, its name was changed to Circus Krone. Since 1919, the Circus Krone has its permanent residence in the Zirkus-Krone-Straße corner Marsstraße here in our beloved Munich. By the way: if you should wonder if I wrote the name of the street incorrect– no! The street is spelled slightly different than the circus itself : ).
The first building with a capacity of 4.000 visitors dated from the same year and was entirely made out of wood. It remained until 1944 when it was destroyed by an Allied air raid. After the war, the building was re-built again by wood and then replaced by a “real” building with a capacity of 3.000 spectators in 1962. Carl Krone didn’t have to see the destruction of his circus though, he died in Salzburg in 1943.
Besides many unforgettable artistic moments, the circus also was place of historical moments, good ones as well as bad ones. Adolf Hitler has mounted his uprising here on 30 October 1923 for example and the Beatles performed two legendary concerts in the circus nearly causing a small turmoil in ultra-conservative Germany.

Horse show
Horse show

Each year from 25 December until end of March/beginning of April  you can see the circus’ so-called Winterprogramm. The impressive fact is that three completely different shows with changing performances and artists are presented. The world-famous elephant show is one of the few permanent ones and can be seen during the whole winter season. The program lasts nearly three hours with a short break and it’s fantastic, unforgettable, just magic so be sure not to miss it. The “tent” is well heated, just in case you should wonder.
We recommend to buy the tickets some days in advance and on popular dates like the shows on Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve even some months ahead. Get your tickets on-site as the funny vendors always will tell you the best available seats of each category in the tent. There is also a small zoo on the premises of the Circus Krone, the entrance costs extra. From April to November the circus is on tour. Until last year the Circus Krone was led by legendary Christel Sembach-Krone, the Grande Dame of the circus world, who died aged 80. Since then, her adopted daughter Jana is leading the Circus Krone.

Bicycle tour to the Starnberger See

coming soon

Excursion to the Schloss Neuschwanstein

coming soon

Trip to lovely Regensburg

coming soon