One of Germany’s most affluent and historical cities, Munich is the heart of Bavaria and boasts a singular culture distinct from other cities in the country. Known for its beer culture, beautiful parks and spectacular castles, Munich is one of Europe’s most underrated cities, brimming with rich culture and history.
One of Germany’s most iconic and impressive historical buildings, Neuschwanstein Castle dates back to the 19th Century. Located in the village of Hohenschwangau, a short drive from Munich, the castle truly is a sight to behold. Located atop of a hill overlooking the village, it is known for its distinct Romanesque Revival design and imposing presence atop the village. Built under the orders of Ludwig II, the King of Bavaria as a private residence, he died before its completion, and the castle opened as a public museum shortly after his death. Now one of Germany’s most popular tourist sites, the castle draws over 1.3 million visitors per year, and for good reason.
Munich’s largest and most famous public park, the Englischer Garten is a vast sprawl of over 900 acres and a great place to spend a leisurely summer’s day. The park is easy to get lost in, and in addition to vast stretches of open green space, also boasts a number of points of interest. There are a number of structures such as the Japanese tea house and the Chinese Tower. Most unusual is its surfing facilities on the Eisbach River. While surfing may be the last activity one would think of doing in Munich, it is well worth exploring as one of the city’s more unusual and unique experiences.
Another of King Ludwig II’s undertakings, the Linderhof Palace was the only one the monarch commissioned which he lived to see its completion. Known for its opulent and grandiose interiors, which include the Venus Grotto, the palace was inspired by the extravagance of French Kings, which is clear in its appearance. In addition to the Palace’s lavish interiors, the Palace is known or its vast complex of gardens. A major historical site in Munich, the Linderhof Palace is an essential site in the city.
Munich, and Bavaria in general, is practically synonymous with beer culture. The culmination of this obsession is Oktoberfest, an 18-day annual folk festival in September and October. Drawing over 6 million visitors, the festival is an essential aspect of Bavarian culture. Visitors to the city would do well to plan their visits to the city around this time to experience Munich at its most jubilant. Oktoberfest is a cultural institution as deeply embedded into the city’s culture as Carnival is to Rio de Janeiro and well worth experiencing first-hand.
For those travelling to Munich at a different time but still interested in exploring the city’s beer culture, the Schneider Brauhaus is a great place to visit. A restaurant and bar adjacent to the famous brewery of the same name, there are few more authentically Bavarian experiences than this. Known for its top-notch Bavarian cuisine and beer at all hours, the Brauhaus is a great window into Bavarian culture.
main image: courtesy of Polybert49, Flickr Creative Commons