5 Alternative Ways to Explore Munich

Like A Local Guide • 1 Jul, 2014

While the capital of Germany, Berlin, is hyped all around the globe as a party town, hipster hotspot and the place to be right now, Munich receives much less attention from backpackers and young travellers even though it’s a more original destination. Almost every German stereotype originates from the state of Bavaria and its capital. Needless to say, there is much more to Munich than the typical German clichés in your head. Locals prefer beer gardens to the gigantic Oktoberfest tents. To them, Munich means street cafés, a touch of la dolce vita, and centuries of history. Toby, our adventurous Munich editor, has come up with five alternative ways to experience the city like a real local.

1. Chill out in beer gardens

For Bavarians, a beer garden is more than just a place to drink beer. Choosing the right one (every local has a favourite that you absolutely must visit) is almost like choosing a religion, and visiting one is something of a religious act itself. There are hundreds of places to choose from, but Lake House, the beer garden at Wiener Platz and Augustiner Keller are a few of the top local favourites.

So, here’s how to do it the local way. 1) The more people you can gather around a table the better. 2) Everyone should bring some sort of food (bread, cheese, fruits, vegetables and sausages etc.) which must be spread across the table. 3) Once step one and two are complete, it’s time to go get yourself a beer. The beauty of beer gardens is that not only are you allowed to bring your own food, but it’s highly recommended and all part of the fun. Don’t worry if you’re on your own – people will be more than happy to welcome you to their tables. Beer gardens are social melting pots and visiting one should be at the top of your must-do list when in Munich.

Seehaus

Photo credit: Tobias Leupold

2. Discover hidden courtyards & secret passages

The millions of visitors who flock to Munich each year, especially in the summer months, can make the city feel rather claustrophobic. Beautiful sights like the Asam Church, Platzl Square and the Theatine Church are not very enjoyable with thousands of people packed in around you. Fortunately, all three places have one thing in common – if you open your eyes and are willing to seek beauty in unexpected places, you’ll be rewarded with special sights that go unnoticed by many.

Just 30 metres to the right of Asam Church there’s a hidden gem called Asamhof. It’s a courtyard with small restaurants and shops, and a feeling of being thousands of miles from the tourist masses. To the left of the orange Theatine Church you have Theatinerhof, a courtyard that makes you feel like you’re in Italy. And just opposite the infamous Hofbräuhaus you’ll find a secret passage that seems as if it has been taken directly out of a fairy-tale.

TheatinerhofPhoto credit: Tobias Leupold

3. Wander in the parks & by the riverside

Munich often doesn’t feel like a big city and locals tenderly refer to it as the “world village with heart”. Visitors will instantly notice how green it is – there are parks everywhere and the Isar River is the city’s green lung. Enjoy a walk in the English Garden, one of the biggest city parks in the world. Walk, run or bike along the river, or simply sit on the riverbanks and watch the world go by. Take a stroll through the royal Hofgarten and watch people playing boules.

Englischer GartenPhoto credit: Tobias Leupold

4. Enjoy charming little cafés, ice cream & people watching

Some people consider Munich to be the northernmost city of Italy, and it certainly has its own la dolce vita charm. Munich locals love to be outside and one of their favourite pastimes is to sit in a street café and enjoy a cup of coffee or a cold refreshing drink while doing some people watching. On sunny days the windows of Aroma Kaffeebar are opened wide so you can sit on the sill and enjoy a fresh smoothie. You can also enjoy a late breakfast (until 2:30 pm) on the pavement outside Café Trachtenvogl, or you can forget about the rest of the world while eating the city’s best cheesecake at Laden.

If you’re not really into relaxing at cafés, there’s a solution loved by both Italians and Bavarians – ice cream! The new kid on the block in Haidhausen is True & 12, an ice cream café that offers 12 different freshly made varieties every day. Der verrückte Eismacher is the perfect choice if you fancy trying some crazy flavours like beer or champagne.

13516482_1389726237710822_5499811322105811456_nPhoto credit: Der verrückte eismacher

5. Get out of the city!

Munich is beautiful but there’s also plenty to discover in the surrounding areas. There are many lakes accessibly by public transport such as Starnberger See, Ammersee and Schliersee where you can swim or simply relax. If you want to get active then the alpine uplands feature some of the finest hiking and climbing spots in Germany. On colder days, you can relax in a sauna that has direct access to the Tegernsee lake. For all the culture lovers, there are other highlights. Schleißheim Castle is like the smaller brother of Versailles. Feel like a king or queen while walking through the beautiful park and admiring the magnificent architecture.

Schloss-SchleissheimPhoto credit: Tobias Leupold

99ce680610997b79d232c01ce21cd293Toby defines his relationship with Munich like one of a couple freshly in love. Even though he’s only lived here for just over three years, he has had plenty of time to explore the city and become a real local. As someone  not originally from Munich, he sees the city through a difference lens and appreciates things that might seem common to lifelong locals. Toby is also a travel addict who enjoys sports and baking.

Like A Local Guide
Like A Local Guide is about stepping off the tourist trail and finding cool and cosy spots where locals like to spend their time. We built a website and mobile app to bring insider recommendations from around the world to your fingertips.

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    Hi Alex, Unfortunately we can't help you with finding work in Oktoberfest. My recommendation would be to just go there and enjoy the event!
    Kris Härsing • Apr 28, 2015 • Reply
    Hi guys, I am trying to get a job for the oktober fest. I know everybody is telling me is impossible, well it looks like I like impossible things. Of course I am not dreaming the best position, also because of my broken german, anything would be good, I would accept also a job in a pub outside the fest. restaurant, anywhere. ( I am professional since 21 years in the industry) . Well ...hope somebody will help... and if you guys or girls want to come to the cayman islands in the winter.. here I am.
    alex • Apr 16, 2015 • Reply
    […] 5 Alternative Ways to Explore Munich | Travel Tips From … http://www.likealocalguide.com/blog/While the capital of Germany, Berlin, is hyped all around the globe as a party town, hipster hotspot and the place to be right now, Munich receives much less attention from backpackers and young travellers even though it's a more original …. As someone not originally from Munich, he sees the city through a difference lens and appreciates things that might seem common to lifelong locals. Toby is also a travel addict who enjoys sports and baking. Like A Local city guide. […]
    Travel Guide | Travelguide • Aug 31, 2014 • Reply
    […] 5 Alternative Ways to Explore Munich […]
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