On our way to Prague, we first landed in Paris and then paid a visit to Munich. I was so excited to visit Munich because it was a new city for both myself and Colin, as well as Colin’s first time in Germany. Plus, it meant we were one step closer to our new home in Prague.
Our visit to Munich was different than a lot of past travels I’ve been on. Usually, when I’m in a new city, it’s all about seeing and doing everything I can before I have to leave a few days later. I normally show up with a list of things I want to see and do, and a laid out itinerary for each day. But that wasn’t the case with Munich.
Instead of filling our days with a ton of things to do, we kind of took it easy. For starters, we were exhausted. We had been busy packing up our lives and moving for the past few months. And travelling through airports and train stations with all of our luggage, plus Ellie, was pretty tiring. So we were ready for a bit of a break in Munich.
And secondly, there wasn’t anything we were dying to do. I don’t say this as a knock on Munich. Actually, we really loved the city and Munich has tons of beautiful views. But there wasn’t a big ticket item or experience we just had to do or see. There wasn’t an Eiffel Tower to see or a Great Wall to climb – there’s not something that would make people say, “Oh my god! I can’t believe you didn’t do XYZ. How could you miss it? You were in Munich!”
Lastly, another reason why our visit to Munich was kind of low-key is because we were spending time working as well. I was still keeping up with my remote freelance work, and Colin was helping out with that, as well as applying for jobs in Prague. So we did spend some time on our laptops back in our Airbnb.
But all that to say, we really enjoyed our visit to Munich. If I look at Google Maps, I think we stayed in the Glockenbachviertel area. We loved this area! If you’re heading to Munich and happy to stay outside of the tourist centre (which is just a quick walk away), I would highly recommend this spot. Even our cab driver told us on the way in that this was a cool neighbourhood. It’s popular with young people and full of independent shops and restaurants. The buildings are beautiful and it’s right along the river – a great spot to walk Ellie!
For me, the best part of our time in Munich was just hanging in this neighbourhood. We found an amazing breakfast spot, Hungriges Herz, and some other cool bakeries, pubs and a burger joint. Because we had Ellie with us, it meant we got to spend a lot more time walking around our neighbourhood and discovering some hidden gems. One of the bonuses of travelling with a dog is taking the time to explore the area around you, instead of just rushing off to the big tourist attractions.
That said, we did do some touristy things too. On our third day, we did a two hour walking tour of the city centre in Munich. I have done a couple of walking tours before and highly recommend them. They’re a great way to orient in a new city, learn some of the history and see the main sights without spending a lot of money (we did a free tour and just tipped at the end). Munich’s Old Town centre is pretty compact, so definitely lends itself to a walking tour.
I really enjoyed our walking tour and enjoyed checking out the old looking town hall (actually built pretty recently, but in an old style) with the underwhelming clock tower show. Walking through all of the churches was absolutely stunning. And learning about the Nazi history in Munich was also really interesting.
Of course, we also had to stop at the famous Hofbräuhaus beer hall in Munich. They pour over 10,000 litres of beer per day!
Another big thing we did in Munich was visit the Dachau Concentration Camp. This is a short trip out of Munich and absolutely worth a half-day. It’s quite easy to navigate there from Munich; you take the train and then a bus and everyone on the bus is going to the same place. I would highly recommend you do the guided English tour, offered twice a day, and only a few dollars to go on. Warning: it is cash only! And if you don’t have cash, you’ll end up walking about 20 minutes roundtrip to a nearby grocery store with an ATM, and then rushing back to make the tour.
Dachau was the largest concentration camp in Germany and the first one built, opening in 1933 to hold German political prisoners. Unlike the more famous concentration camps, this one was not originally built to hold Jews and was not a killing camp. Of course, deaths did occur here, but it was not a death camp (those were all outside of Germany); it was a work camp.
Walking around the concentration camp and learning about it from our guide was a very impactful and important experience. Seeing the bunkers and the prison cells gave you an idea of how many people once were held there. But it was the little things, like seeing the rust from where the shower pipes used to sit, or learning that the tree line was added so that outsiders didn’t have to acknowledge the realities of the concentration camp in their own backyard, that were the most impactful to me.
We also visited the crematorium and the gas chambers that were built there. These gas chambers weren’t used for mass killing (though they were tested) and our guide told us they still aren’t sure why these chambers were built but not used. We also got to see the memorials that were set up around the camp grounds.
A somber visit, but an important one. Colin and I both really wanted to make time for this and have talked about visiting other concentration camps while we’re here in Europe. It’s one of those weird things where the experience is so heavy and the history is so evil, but there’s a desire to see it and learn about it. Colin and I kept trying to find a better way to phrase it than saying we were “excited” to go to Dachau. Excited is the wrong word. I guess it’s just a desire to learn and see these things we’ve read about with our own eyes.
On a lighter note, we met two lovely Australian couples during our visit to Munich. They actually approached us at the train station in Munich on the way to Dachau to ask for directions, because they swore we looked local. That’s the best compliment! We told them to follow us, since we were going to Dachau, and we let them know about the guided English tour (they were planning to just do the audio guide, but the real tour is better). And then the next day, we ran into them again on the same walking tour as us. Small world!
Overall, I really enjoyed our visit to Munich and I’m glad we stopped there on our way to Prague. It was a very cool city and I’d be happy to go back again. In fact, we’re hoping to make it back in the fall for Munich’s famous Oktoberfest! Until then, I’ll leave you with my Munich top three, inspired by a similar segment done on the amazing travel podcast, Extra Pack of Peanuts.
Munich top three
Can’t miss: Dachau Concentration Camp. An important visit and would highly recommend it during a visit to Munich.
Maybe skip: Can I be a bad person and say German food? Sorry but I don’t love it! I’m not a fan of everything on my plate being breaded or brown, and consisting of just meat and carbs. I need a vegetable! In fact, I had to order a salad a few times just to try and escape all of the wurst, schnitzel, buns and potatoes. (Colin, of course, was loving it.)
Want to do next time: I would have loved to visit the Neuschwanstein Castle that’s just a little outside of Munich. Unfortunately, we didn’t think we had enough time to make the trip and worried about bringing Ellie or leaving her alone for so long. And, of course, we want to do Oktoberfest next time!
Have you been to Munich before? What did you think of the city?
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