The city of endless beer and the home of my favourite museum.
München or Munich is the capital of Bavaria, one of Germany‘s federal states, and also the capital of beer. It is most famous for the annual Oktoberfest, the huge beer-drinking festival, but even though I like beer, the best part of the city for me is their immense technical museum, the Deutsches Museum, which is pretty much my favourite museum out there. So, let’s start with the best part of München first.
Simply called the German museum, it is the world’s largest science and technology museum and it is so massive, that they offer annual and 2-day tickets, as even 2 days is not nearly enough to really see everything. I’ve been four times so far and it was visiting with my parents as a child that inspired my decision to go into engineering and I haven’t looked back since. I remember hysterically crying in the massive hall with the boat during my first visit, because the museum was closing and I was not ready to leave yet or even close to understanding everything. Everyone thought it was hilarious, but I promise you, my world was definitely ending.
The best museum ever
The Deutsches museum features exhibitions on 50 different fields of science and technology, covering everything from the textile industry to space exploration, so it is about everything you have ever wanted to know about how things work – they will even tell you how to correctly eat a German sausage. There is an oil well spanning across several floors in the lobby, a giant two-mast ship in the basement and plenty of airplanes and space modules. The museum is constantly updated with the typical German efficiency, so when I last visited during the summer of 2022, a part of it was closed due to renovations, but it was still well worth the visit. Also, it has an amazing gift shop with all sorts of sciency toys and gadgets for reasonable prices – as of my last visit, we now own a magnetic sand hourglass egg timer.
Otherwise München is a vibrant city full of details and contrasts and like all of Bavaria it has that signature German kitsch vibe. If you do not have a lot of time during your visit, a walk through the city centre is an absolute must do. The various churches, historical buildings and traditional beer houses are somehow blended with loud, modern and ultra capitalist shops, quirky sculptures like a whale, a wild hog, a blue lion and a fish fountain, as well as colourful art installations in a very unique way. Besides the famous attractions that you will surely find on any top Munich sights lists (skip the English garden, because it’s meh), the 1960s UFO futuro house at the Modern museum is worth seeing, as well as the retro Filmtheater at Sendlinger Tor (and the Sendlinger city gate itself). The Asam church hides some very interesting rococo decorations with lots of gold and a figure of Death cutting away at Life’s thread and there’s a Devil’s footprint in the München cathedral. There’s also a dragon hanging onto the Rathaus (city hall) on the corner of Marienplatz, the main square. The city hall has an epic mechanical clock with figures reenacting a ridiculously expensive wedding of a Bavarian Duke in 1568 and you can find a restaurant with two lion statues in the atrium (there’s lots of lions in Bavaria). Last but not least, a statue of a 16th century composer I’ve never heard of is now the unofficial shrine to Michael Jackson and it is crazy and if you are a football fan, then of course there’s FC Bayern.
Impressions of München
Although München can seem like a typical Bavarian city with its heavy architecture and kitschy lederhosen stores at first glance, it feels alive and so is its party scene. If you are visiting during the summer, I highly recommend visiting at least one beer garden to experience that Oktoberfest vibe. Get yourself a the standard litre glass of beer and a pretzel and better yet, make it a pub crawl like my friend and I did this summer – here are some places I’d recommend.
Where to eat and drink?
- Augustiner Keller – a giant beer garden where they also serve typical Bavarian food (you must try obatzda, the German beer cheese dip with Camembert and well, beer)
- Hirschgarten – a beer garden in a large park with deer you can feed
- Hofbräuhaus – not a beer garden, but a famous beer hall dating back to the 16th century
- Zum Wolf – a fancy cocktail bar
- Cafe Lotti – a nice calm cafe with pastries for your hangover
Since I was last visiting during the European championships (unfortunate timing if you are not a sports enthusiast, I know), my friend and I stayed at the Tent hostel, which is essentially a huge tent commune with either sleeping space or bunk beds and lots of artsy hippie stuff. You can also pitch your own tent there and I have to say that for the price it wasn’t bad, even if it did have a refugee camp vibe, and the shared bathrooms were clean.
So, what have we learned today? If you are ever in München, go see the epic museum! 🙂