After returning home from every trip, I always realize there are things I would have done differently. In retrospect, during our last trip to Europe, I would have spent more than half a day in Munich, Germany. (Seriously, what was I thinking?!)

During our two week road trip across Central Europe, we spent one full day and one night in Munich, the tourist capital of Germany. But really, after stopping to visit some new friends who live there, we only spent half a day in Munich actually sightseeing.

Visiting friends

Parenthood and Passports - Half a Day in MunichFirst, let me briefly introduce our new friends, Andy and Franzi. The live in Munich and are the parents of a friend of ours who now lives in the states and runs a German restaurant. Meeting them was probably the highlight of our day in Munich. When we first arrived in the Bavarian city we stopped to visit them, even though we had never met them before. They warmly welcomed us into their home, bought fresh pretzels from the bakery and offered us the first of many beers we would have in Europe. As you can see in the picture below, our daughter loved the pretzels!Parenthood and Passports - Half a Day in Munich

It was neat to see how people live in Germany and what a home in Munich is like compared to a home in the United States. Most importantly, we made some new friends. Now, we don’t just consider Andy and Franzi the parents of our friend, we consider them personal friends of ours. Their home was lovely, and their backyard, garden and patio were beautiful! We learned about Bavarian traditions and they showed us the traditional Bavarian clothes, lederhosen and a dirndl. These beautiful, unique outfits are often worn to festivals and special events. After trying them on we later purchased our own lederhosen and dirndl that will always remind us of our trip.

Sightseeing in Munich

After saying our goodbyes, we headed to our hotel to check in and drop off our luggage. Then we were on our way to explore and grab some lunch.
Sofitel Munich Bayerpost Hotel was located directly next to the main train station, which was an ideal place to start our half a day in Munich sightseeing tour.
Parenthood and Passports - Sofitel Munich Bayerpost

What we saw in Half a Day in Munich

Heading out from our hotel it was about a 15 minute walk to Marienplatz, but the walk is nice.
Karlplatz Shopping District
Parenthood and Passports - Half a Day in MunichAlong the way, we walked through a bustling pedestrian commercial district between Karlsplatz and Marienplatz. Kids ran through a splash fountain and locals and tourists alike gathered and enjoyed an afternoon coffee or meal. There are a lot of little shops and restaurants in this zone, so it’s a great place to people watch, window shop or enjoy a quick lunch.
Parenthood and Passports - Driving in Europe
Pedestrian only area in Munich
St Michael’s Cathedral
Parenthood and Passports - Half a Day in MunichWe then stepped in to see St. Michael’s Cathedral, which was much more impressive on the inside than on the out. It’s free to enter, a quick stop, and an absolutely beautiful church.
Parenthood and Passports - Half a Day in Munich
Parenthood and Passports - Half a Day in MunichThis is Munich’s main square. The new town hall dominates the square and is quite a remarkable piece of architecture. At the center of the town hall is the famous clock tower, or Glockenspiel, which comes to life at 11, noon and 5 pm each day. Of all of the animated clock towers we’ve viewed, this is my favorite. The life size characters spin and dance for several minutes as crowds by the hundreds gather to watch. To get a great view of the famous square you can climb the clock tower, or climb the 299 steps to reach the observation tower of St Peter’s Church across from the new town hall.
Parenthood and Passports - Half a Day in Munich
St. Peter’s Church
We did visit and tour St. Peter’s Church, but we didn’t get to climb the tower. At this stage in parenthood, our daughter is too young to climb herself without taking a full day to get up the stairs. Our child carrier backpack is too large to fit through narrow passageways that often require you to squeeze past other people going the opposite way on the same staircase. So we skipped the climb and will have to do it next time. But if you plan to climb the tower, there is a small fee to do so, but I’ve heard the views are spectacular.
Even if you don’t want to climb the tower, the church is still worth visiting, as it is the oldest parish church in Munich and is absolutely lovely!Parenthood and Passports - Half a Day in Munich
Parenthood and Passports - Half a Day in MunichDirectly next to St. Peter’s Church and just around the corner from Marienplatz is the Viktualienmarkt. This is a large outdoor food market with a ton of different vendors offering everything from gourmet meals to pretzels and sausages. I’ve said before that visiting local markets is one of my favorite things to do in a new place, and this particular market lived up to the hype. It is a great place to grab an inexpensive and authentic German lunch (or a pretzel bigger than your head). Plus, we loved the energy and atmosphere of the Viktualienmarkt.
Parenthood and Passports - Half a Day in MunichTip for those visiting the Viktualienmarkt: not all of the vendors accept credit cards, so make sure you have some euros on you just in case, or ask if they accept credit cards before you order. Ninety percent of people in Germany speak wonderful English, so you can get by without knowing German. However, my husband has been learning German for awhile, and we always recommend learning a few key words or phrases in a country’s native language before a trip.

What I wish we could have seen if we had more than half a day in Munich:

Munich is the tourism capital of Germany. There is so much to do there that we could have spent an entire week or more. I guess this gives us an excuse to go back. But if you have a bit more time in Munich than we did, here are a few things I wish we would have been able to see and experience.

English Garden

This is comparable to New York City’s Central Park and is home to one of the most famous beer gardens in Germany. This urban park would particularly be a good place to visit with kids as there is plenty of room for them to run around and play. We fully intended on visiting the English Garden, but it slipped our minds when we were there. This would be a great place to either picnic or grab dinner in a family-friendly beer garden.

Nymphenburg Palace

The palace is a huge complex that could take a day to explore. The wonderful Royal Gardens at the palace would be another great place to visit with kids. An audio tour of the palace walks you through the history of Bavarian rulers and the palace itself, while the gardens give kids an opportunity to burn some energy and run around.

Munich Residenz

If you like history and want to know more about Bavarian rulers of old, the Munich Residenz would be the place to visit. It is the former royal palace of Bavarian monarchs.

Asam Church

As you can probably tell, I love pretty churches. Asam Church is probably one of Munich’s most ornate churches. It’s small, so a visit to the church wouldn’t take much time and is only a short walk from the Marienplatz. You could definitely fit this into your itinerary for half day in Munich.

Andechs Monastery

This is actually located just outside of Munich but would be worth a visit. The abbey runs a brewery, which is an unusual concept in America. But in Germany it isn’t uncommon for monks to brew beer. From what I’m told the beer is really good too. How cool would it be to drink beer brewed by monks?

Parenthood and Passports - Half a Day in Munich

18 thoughts on “Half a Day in Munich: What to Do”

    1. The cathedrals are beautiful there, at least near the town center. Definitely worth a stop inside if you like architecture.

    1. Definitely want to go back someday and spend more time there. I feel like we barely saw 1% of what there is to see and do there.

  1. Love Munich! One of my favorites there is Hofbrau Haus, the pretzels are amazing! And I agree, local markets is the one thing I have to do no matter where we are. That’s where all the good food is!

    1. Ha! Thank you. Now we just need to go back to Bavaria so we can actually wear them. We went to an Oktoberfest event in the states and we were the ONLY ones wearing them.

  2. I’d love to go back to Munch: I was there a few years ago (pre-kids) and I remember a great atmosphere. Unfortunately, it was also lashing rain and that meant a lot less sightseeing than planned! Lovely to have locals to rely on: some of my closest friends I met this way 🙂

    1. That happened to us when we were in Dublin. Poured rain the entire time. In fact, it rained all but one day while we were in Ireland. 😔 I guess that’s why it’s so green there, but it kept us from truly experiencing a lot of places.

  3. Interesting! I can see that this would be a great help if one had a layover in Munich or just a short amount of time. I for one would head straight for the giant pretzels! Looks like fun; thanks for sharing your experiences!

    1. Yes, the giant pretzels are a must! Luckily, you can find them all over Munich. They are definitely better than pretzels in the US where I live.

  4. I definitely want to visit Munich some day. There is so much history, art and architecture to explore. For 1/2 a day, you were able to fit a lot in. Just another reason to go back to Germany to see more of the sites on your list.

    1. Agree! Of course, no matter where we go or how long we stay, I feel like we never have enough time to see it all.

  5. I’ve never visited Munich and I’m not a big fan of Germany. But these Beffroi-like buildings are so beautiful!!! It’s very similar to Belgium. They also always put a lot of flowers there and I was very surprised by the magnificent personal gardens each time I went there.

    1. I love the bell towers and the architecture in general. Very picturesque. And of course, flowers always add an extra layer of beauty.

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