Munich has long enjoyed an enviable reputation in the German speaking world as one of the most attractive cities in Europe, making it popular as a place to visit and, for many people, to move to permanently. In the English speaking world, however, the city’s renown seems based almost entirely on Oktoberfest and the associated large scale drinking of beer. This perhaps says quite a lot about the associated cultures but is also unfair, so this is a list of the best sites in Munich which deserve more attention than they get.
The City Museum of Munich is a good place for visitors to start since it is home to an extensive set of exhibitions about the City’s history and evolution into what visitors see around them today. The sections on the damage wrought during the war and the cultural history of Munich are especially interesting and the museum prides itself on a wide variety of exhibits which include: Photography, fashion and accessories, graphic arts and paintings, folklore, sculpture and decorative arts, furniture and architectural models, film, musical instruments, puppetry and fair-ground amusements. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00
Following from the City Museum, the Deutsches Museum is not, as some may assume, a history of Germany, but rather an excellent science and technology museum. A must for anyone with even a passing interest in the development and future of everyday technical objects, the museum has an enormous collection with much of it of the hands-on, interactive type that so appeals to children and adults alike. The museum is huge so visitors will need to budget an entire day to really do it justice and for those who are interested in the subject, or the parents of children who are, the museum would be worth a special trip to Munich in itself.
The Englischer Garten is widely acknowledged as one of the most peaceful and relaxing places in what is, generally, a peaceful and relaxing city. In spring and autumn the garden is especially enchanting, although summer is, of course, also good. Visitors can stroll and get pleasantly lost, picnic, or visit the huge beer garden. Entrance is free which will be a pleasant change for visitors on a budget because Munich is not one of Europe’s cheaper cities.
Dachau is situated a short trip outside Munich but is easily manageable for all but those paying the most fleeting of visits. This is recommended above other trips outside the city because it allows visitors to combine an experience of pre-twentieth century Bavaria with an unpleasant, but necessary, experience of the worst of what the twentieth century brought. Dachau is an ancient Bavarian town that once served as a summer retreat for Bavarian royalty, and is also the location of one of Germany’s most infamous concentration camps. The castle, gardens and alpine views of the town contrast strongly with the grim memorial in the superbly maintained camp.
Photo of Deutchsches Museum by 69dpi.