2.17.2018 – 2.19.2018 || Munich | Schwangau || Germany
We had 48 hours to enjoy and explore Munich before heading to the Austrian Alps to ski. I have previously been to Munich two times, once in the Summer of 2002 for a couple of days and the second time in the mid-2000s for Oktoberfest. I wanted to revisit some of the popular tourist attractions while also visiting some new places that weren’t on my radar over 10 years ago.
We took an early evening flight from Washington, D.C. and arrived at the Munich airport around 7 a.m.. We took the train into the city center and arrived at the Hilton Munich City by 9 a.m., and to my surprise, we were able to check in. #diamondmember
The Hilton Munich City was our home base for the weekend. It was a great home base due to the location and proximity to the city center making it a walk-able distance to the sights and restaurants, and it was very convenient to public transportation sitting on top of a train station.
Arriving from the States early Saturday morning we had a full day to explore before meeting up with the first of two friends who would be joining us for the rest of the trip. After a weekend in Munich we headed to the Austrian Alps to ski.
What we did:
The route that we walked from the Hilton Munich City to the city center took us over the Isar River. The forecast called for snow later in the day but it was already coming down when we left the hotel.
We headed to Marienplatz, the city-center square to check out some of the sights before getting on the Sightseeing Bus. Despite the overcast and snowy conditions, the city was just as charming as I remembered it from prior trips.
It wasn’t planned but we arrived at Marienplatz just in time to see the 11 a.m. Rathaus-Glockenspiel show. Every day at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the winter the clock chimes for approximately 15 minutes. The main attraction are figurines. They are located in the middle section of the tower and represent stories from Munich’s history. I posted a video of the show @champagneonplanes.
We left Marienplatz to get on the “hop-on, hop-off” Sightseeing Bus. I had a glowing review of this type of tourist transportation in Barcelona, however, the Munich tour was disappointing. They have limited hours during the winter, which appeared to be even more limited during our visit, so each of the three lines only ran once an hour. This meant that you either rode the entire route for an hour or you got off and had to spend an entire hour at that stop. Not ideal when you only have 48 hours in a city.
We selected the “city route” first. It was great to get a lay of the land but due to protests happening that day, part of the routes were not possible so we adjusted our plans. The company was very helpful and made it possible to use our tickets the following day instead.
The Viktualienmarkt was recommend to us and was in a nearby square so we headed that way to explore the market’s offerings before lunch. I collect Christmas ornaments as souvenirs from my travels and found a great one here – it is a soft pretzel! I didn’t get a picture of the market stalls but this maypole is in the center of the market.
A friend saw my @champagneonplanes post and suggested that we check out Aloise Dallmayr so that is where we headed for lunch. What an amazing set up that houses a gourmet deli, market, and restaurant in one location that spans several floors and nearly and entire street block. We explored the store and then headed to the cafe-bistro on the top floor for lunch.
After lunch it was still snowing and pretty wet outside so we headed back to the hotel to get some rest. We passed through the original Munich city gate and walked past a building that I thought was a museum or government building but it is actually an indoor swimming pool.
In search of an authentic German meal and
a beer hall champagne, we followed another recommendation and headed to Augustiner Keller. The afternoon snowfall turned the restaurant’s outdoor area into a winter wonderland.
Augustine Keller is known for their large indoor beer hall, garden, and for having high quality food. We didn’t realize that there was an event happening that evening but we lucked out and found a table down in the cellar where they were celebrating the Starkbierfest. There was a live band and also a special beer on the menu. My favorite meal of the trip was the spaetzle that I had that evening. The first of several “mac and cheese” dishes I sampled in Germany and Austria.
It was still snowing outside so we headed back towards the hotel in search of another recommendation, the Hofbräukeller. I’ve been to the Hofbräuhaus on prior trips but never made it to this location. They had prosecco and wine so I already liked it! A former co-worker happened to be in Munich at the same tome so I had a chance to reconnect with him at Hofbräukeller!
The next day, we took a taxi to the Nymphenburg Palace, the main summer residence of the former rulers of Bavarian monarchs. I was blown away by the beauty the second that we arrived. The wintry look completely changed the grounds so it looked nothing like the pictures I have seen but I loved it! There are also similarities to Washington, D.C.’s National Mall that I couldn’t help noticing.
The buildings are all closed during the Winter but you can still explore the park. The grounds consist of 490 acres of gardens and outdoor space. It was very cold and we had approximately 25 minutes before the hop-on hop-off bus arrived so we took a very brisk walk around part of the park behind the palace. I’d love to visit again during the Spring or Summer when everything is in bloom.
We rode the bus route for some time before taking a taxi to the English Garden, a large public park in the center of Munich. We started near the Schwabinger Bach, a creek or stream, that runs through the park and walked approximately 2 miles to the Eisbachwelle.
The Eisbachwelle is a continuous wave on the English Garden’s Eisbach River where you can find surfers year round just past a bridge near the Haus der Kunst art museum. I posted a video of some of the action on @champagneonplanes.
We had one more major activity planned in Germany before heading to Austria. It involved a 70-minute road trip outside of Munich to Schloss Neuschwanstein, the number one most visited castle in Bavaria that was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria.
Despite a warning from my friend the night before, we still proceeded to the castle without tickets in hand. The tours sold out while we were standing in line but you could still walk to the top to get a closer look but it meant that you couldn’t go inside.
Since we had another two hour drive ahead of us, we decided to stretch our legs and walked to the top. What great views as we ascended the road to the castle.
Neuschwanstein felt like a fairy tale. No wonder this is the castle that inspired Walt Disney to create the Magic Kingdom. I certainly see the resemblance. As if the castle wasn’t enough to take in, the valley below isn’t bad to look at either!
That wraps up our 48 hour adventure in Munich! Stay tuned for skiing in the Austrian Alps!
- River surfing in the English Garden
Rathaus-Glockenspiel in Marienplatz
- Nymphenburg Palace
- Neuschwanstein Castle
Notable Beer Halls:
Notable Food Experiences:
Enjoying Happy Hour at the Executive Lounge, one of the many perks as a Diamond Member.
Question: Did you plan ahead to tour the Neuschwanstein castle? How was it?