With its rich history and beautiful architecture, Munich, the capital of Bavaria and the secret capital of Germany, certainly has a lot to offer travellers. If you’re travelling on a tight budget or just tired of paying tourist prices everywhere, keep reading as Toby, our local ambassador for Munich, shares his top 10 things to see and do for free.
1. Watch river surfers at the Eisbach in downtown Munich
When something is unique in the world, it’s definitely worth seeing. That’s the case with the Eisbach. It’s the birthplace of river surfing, which is quite an unusual sport. The waves are artificial if you’re wondering. The funny part is that swimming in the river is prohibited, but no one takes this seriously. Regardless of the weather, people surf all year round.
2. Feel the spirit of 1972 at Olympic Park
Olympic Park consists of various sports facilities, the Olympic Village, a shopping centre and a picturesque park with a lake. Besides being one of the architectural highlights of Munich, this place has a distinctive Olympic feel and still serves as a venue for cultural, social and religious events. Come and inhale the air of true sportsmanship.
3. Be astonished by the beauty of Asamkirche
Whether you’re religious or not, this church is a must-see. Holding both architectural and historical value, it’s a real baroque masterpiece, with every inch covered in ornaments and embellishments. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
4. See amazing Bavarian cars at BMW Welt
BMW Welt is a tribute to one of the most well-known car companies in the world. Take note that this is not the BMW headquarters or a museum, but an exhibition space for new BMW models. Even if you’re not a fan of cars, the building itself is worth a visit for its grand architecture.
5. Find some peace by the Friedensengel
The Angel of Peace statue is located in a picturesque area with a beautiful park and river nearby. If you wish to sit back and relax while enjoying your surroundings, this is the place to do it.
Erected in 1896, the statue is a reminder of the 25 peaceful years following the 1870–1871 war between Germany and France.
6. Meet the hipsters at Gärtnerplatz
The main square of the former gay/lesbian scene in Munich nowadays is the central meeting point for the city’s trendy people. You could say that Gärtnerplatz is the heart of Munich’s hipsterville, making it the perfect spot for people-watching. Sit down with a group of friends and enjoy a picnic or BBQ.
7. Discover the soul of Munich at the Isar
The Isar is the main river in Munich, with the surrounding area being a great place for biking, jogging or simply relaxing in nature. You won’t believe that you’re in the middle of a big city – it feels just like you’re in the countryside.
8. Inhale the history and culture at Königsplatz
Besides the breathtaking architecture of the temples surrounding the square, Königsplatz oozes history; this is the place where the Nazis held many of their propaganda rallies. Nowadays it’s just another place where people lay on the grass and enjoy life.
9. Take a walk in the garden of Schloss Nymphenburg
Everyone likes castles, especially if they look like they’ve been taken straight out of a fairy tale. This one used to be the main summer residence of the rulers of Bavaria, and is surrounded by a scenic park that’s perfect for romantic walks.
While there’s an entry fee for the museum inside the castle, it’s completely free to walk around in the garden.
10. Make friends with locals at the Wiener Platz market
The smallest permanent market in Munich, Wiener Platz has a very cosy and local atmosphere. It’s a great alternative to the busy Viktualienmarkt (also free) as it’s less crowded and less touristy. If you don’t have time to visit any cute little villages in Germany, this is a good substitute.