Munich is an amazing city with a lot to offer. It is beautiful in every season. It is a great combination of natural beauty, German organization, Bavarian warm-bloodedness and purity. To avoid bad surprises and make the best out of your visit you should know these 20 things about Munich:
- Carry enough cash with you
Most of the restaurants, bars and little shops do not accept credit cards. They only accept German debit cards. You can only shop with your credit card in the department stores and big supermarkets. So carry enough cash with you!
- Shops are closed on Sunday
Supermarkets, shops are closed on Sunday. You can only shop at Hauptbahnhof and gas stations.
- Weather can change very quickly, bring layers.
Weather can change very quickly in Munich. I have once seen snow, very warm sunny day, storm, heavy rain and hail on the same day. Unbelievable but true. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Bring layers and right shoes.
- Check public holidays and plan ahead accordingly
Check public holidays while planning your visit. If a public holiday falls even on Saturday the shops will be closed and the transportation system will have a special schedule.
- For cheaper flights check the airports around Munich
There are not many cheap flights from/to Munich Airport. An alternative would be the Memmingen airport. Rynair and Wizz Air use that airport. There is a shuttle bus driving from and to Munich and the ride takes 1,5 hours.
- Book a hotel close to a public transportation and save money
The hotels in the city center might be very expensive and overbooked. You can book a cheaper hotel a bit outside of the city center comfortably by making sure that it is close to public transportation. Then you will easily access the city and you can save money.
You can always look for an apartment on Airbnb.
- Get to learn the public transportation system
When I first arrived to Munich, I felt perplexed in front of the ticketing machine. There were so many ticket types depending on number of days, number of people you were travelling with, the location you wanted to visit and the distance. So if you feel the same, ask somebody to help you. With the wrong ticket you would risk the fine of 60 euros.
But here are some basics you should know:
- Any ticket you get is valid for ubahn, sbann, bus, tram. They all use the same ticket.
- If you are travelling from/to airport you should get the network ticket either one way or daily. It is the best way to access to city.
- If you will stay in the city, you can take 1 day or 3 day Innenraum (City center – Inner district) ticket. You can see all the highlights of the city with this ticket.
- If you are a group, get the daily or 3 day group ticket. You can use this ticket for up to 5 people.
- The daily ticket is valid till 6 am of the next day.
- If you will stay in the city for a week or more, you can get the weekly ticket called IsarCard-Woche. Then you should select the right rings, that the ticket is valid for. Ring 1 and ring 2 covers the Innenraum and should be enough for you if you will spend time in the city.
- Once you buy the ticket, check if it has a date on it. If there is no date, and you see arrows, it means you should validate your ticket.
- You don’t show or scan your ticket to get on a public transportation medium. But there are random controls and you should always have a valid ticket with you. Otherwise you will be fined 60 euros.
- Travelling by car in the city might not be the best idea.
In the rush hours there is heavy traffic.
There are few parking spaces in the city. There are manystreets where only residents can park. If you can find a parking you have to usually pay the parking ticket. On Sundays you don’t have to pay.
If you travel from abroad to Munich by your own car, beware of the Nature protection site (Umweltzone) sign. You can only enter the city center if you have the sticker for it. You can get the sticker from a TÜV branch in Munich.
- Plan your visit to museums on Sunday
Entrance to Pinakotheken (art museums) National Museum, Glypthothek, Brandhorst Museum is 1 euro on Sundays. Most of the museums are closed on Tuesdays.
- Take advantage of Bayern ticket.
There is an offer of Deutsche Bahn that enables cheaper travel inside Bavaria for a day. With that ticket you can travel to Salzburg, Augsburg. Garmisch as a group with a price as small as 8 Euro per person. (if you are a group of 5)
- Beergardens are a vital part of Munich life and visit
To get the best feeling of life in Munich you should visit beergardens. Locals love going there in the afternoon on a nice weekday or in the weekends. They usually bring their own food and order beer there.
Beer goes well with the big pretzel (Bretze) Obazda (cheese mix). You can also order sausage or half chicken.
The biggest biergarten is Königlicher Hirschgarten. The Augustiner and the one in English Garden near Chinese Tower are also very famous.
- Learn to order your beer in the right way
The normal, light colored beer is called “Helles” in Munich.
It is quite normal to order a 1L beer, it is the default size in beergardens. And this size is called “Maß” (mass). So you should say “Ein Maß Helles bitte!”
- Munich has very beautiful parks
Parks are one of the best things about Munich. English Garden, Europe’s biggest part, Hirschgarten, where there is the biggest beergarden and deers (Hirsch means deer), Westpark with model houses from Asia and the garden of Nymphenburg Palace with its lake from heaven are worth a visit.
- Get prepared for some nudity, just in case
Not that everybody is walking around naked in Munich but generally people are comfortable being naked. In the saunas it is compulsory to be naked. You cannot get in with a swimming suit. There is also a community called FKK (frei körper kultur = free body culture) in Germany. They sunbath in English garden and on the Isar shores in the designated areas. It is totally legal.
- There are surfers in Munich
Some crazy people surf in a little part of the river in English Garden. It is crazy. Don’t miss it.
- Munich is a bike city
There are bike roads in all directions and you can reach anywhere in the city by bike. It is a great idea to rent a bike for sightseeing or you can join one of the biking tours. When you are not on the bike, please pay attention to bikes. Never step on the bike road before checking it first. People really ride with high speed.
- You can see people in traditional Bavarian dress anytime
People from Munich are first Bavarian, then German. They are also very enthusiastic about their traditional dress “Tracht.” The short leatherpants the men wear are called Lederhosen, the dresses that the women wear are called “Dirndl”. They don’t wear these only during Oktoberfest but also on the weekends, when they celebrate something, when there is a party, when they go to church, to a wedding, on a weekend or anytime they like. It is also considered normal to go to work with these dresses.
- There are other more common ways to say Hello in Munich other than Hallo
Here in Munich people say hello usually in two ways “Grüß Gott!” and “Servus”
- Schorle is the most popular beverage
People here love drinking Schorle, which is a mixture of juice and water with gas. The most popular Schorle is Apfelschorle. I guess you can guess what apfel isJ
- It is true that people drink beer for breakfast
In fact, traditional breakfast of Bavaria is Weißbier (wheat beer) and Weißwurst (white sausage). But you can also see people having Helles at 9. That is normal in Munich.
Enjoy your visit!