One Week in Munich: an Itinerary
Lederhosen? Yup. Giant pretzels? Check. Half-liter steins of beer? Of course. These are all things you’ve probably imagined while dreaming about a trip to Germany. They’re all typical of Bavaria in southern Germany, and you’ll find them in Munich.
Though the city is famous for Oktoberfest, there are a lot more things to do in Munich throughout the year. From World War II history to a proud beer culture and daytrips to castles, Munich won’t disappoint. This one week itinerary in Munich will give you a taste of what the Bavarian capital has to offer and a variety of day trips to explore surrounding areas.
Please note that some posts contain links that earn me a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Tours can be a wonderful way to learn about Munich while seeing the sights, and they can make things easier since a guide will take care of the logistics. Here are some tours we recommend:
- Neuschwanstein tour from Munich: This small group tour will take you to Germany’s most famous castle.
- Beer Evening in Munich: Take a beer focused tour to learn about and taste delicious Bavarian brews.
- Dachau Small Group Tour: Take a tour to Dachau Concentration Camp from Munich.
- Munich Third Reich & WWII Tour Walking Tour: Learn about Munich’s World War II history while seeing the sights.
Table of Contents
How many days in Munich?
3 Days in Munich is the minimum I would recommend here, if you are super disciplined at sightseeing or have a smaller list of things to see. That is enough for 2 days in the city and the trip out to the Castle.
4 or 5 Days in Munich is a little more relaxed and gives some time to see another museum or out to Dachau and just wander to soak in the city.
7 days in Munich should be plenty of time to really take in the city and maybe add a few more day trips, even as far away as Nuremberg. Much longer than this and I would think about adding another destination.
The Munich itinerary suggestions below are a very relaxed sort of trip with plenty of time to relax and not push yourself. This is how we travel.
If you were more active, you might be able compress the same activities into fewer days. No matter how many days you have check out our suggestions below and pick the activities that appeal for the time you have.
As an alternative, check out this 1 week Germany itinerary for Munich and Berlin.
When to visit Munich
You can get a lot out of Munich during any time of the year, but exactly what will shift across the seasons.
Summer is a time of long days and festivals. It is warm, but not usually super hot. There are more tourists, but the nicest weather.
Winter can be very cold and blustery. Outside things are limited, but if you come in late November up until Christmas, the Christmas markets are great, and there are still the indoor things to experience.
Spring and fall can be a crap shoot of weather. This is still a big living city, so it doesn’t shut down, and there are plenty of museums to see and beer to drink. Just be aware that you will need to flexible with the weather.
Oktoberfest is one of the most well known festivals in the world, certainly for Germany. It actually starts in mid-September and fills the city to bursting with people. Hotel rooms are very scarce during the festival and I have heard stories about booking a year ahead to avoid sleeping on a bench.
The festival is definitely a Munich thing, but it might give you a skewed view of what the place is like the rest of the year. The crowds get larger every year and tents get more packed.
If this is your thing though, hunt for a hotel far ahead of time or look at one of the nearby cities knowing you will need to take a late train home. Also remember that German beer is strong and get enough to eat.
If you want to try a beer festival that isn’t quite as crowded, look into the Starkbierfest which is a few weeks in February or March (it is based on Easter, so it shifts). The beer in this “strong beer festival” starts at 7.5% alcohol, so be aware of your drinking.
There is also an Munich Spring festival that happens on the same field as Oktoberfest, but to a smaller crowd.
Where To Stay in Munich
Hotels are plentiful in the city, but it is such a popular place that they can sell out easily and can also be a bit pricey at times depending on what is going on in town. Look for a place near a U-bahn stop. Munich is big enough that you are probably not walking everywhere anyway.
Next do some Google-Streetview-snooping and look at the neighborhood. Make sure there are restaurants nearby and at least one bakery.
There are a lot of hotels near the train station, but I would avoid them if I had a choice. It is not an unsafe area, but it is less nice than other parts of town.
Maxvorstadt is a neighborhood of town north of the train station bordering to the English Garden. It is home to two universities and plenty of restaurants, art galleries, and life.
The old town center has hotels that put you right in the middle of the sights there. If you do stay in the center, make it a point to get out to some of the neighborhoods around it as well. Munich is a fun city that isn’t only its old center.
Getting There and Away
Munich has an international airport that serves larger flights. There are regular trains from the airport to the main train station. A small airport outside of town (1.5 hours on a bus) serves the European low-cost carrier Ryan Air if you want to get somewhere on the cheap in Europe.
If you are spending more time in Europe than just this week, Munich is a large train hub. For destinations pretty much anywhere in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and east it is worth taking the train rather than a plane. It also has a bus station that serves a lot of destinations as well.
Read more about transportation in Germany here.
The public transport in Munich is excellent. There is a subway (U-bahn) and sub-urban trains (S-bahn) as well as trams and buses. Definitely look into getting a multiday ticket for the transport if you are in town for a while. It is less hassle and often cheaper than buying single tickets.
Day 1 – Get a feel for Munich
Getting oriented with the city is a great way to start your trip.
Highlights and a Walking Tour
Take transport to the center of Munich’s old town, Marienplatz. Coming up from the U-bahn into the plaza is a grand feeling as the neo-gothic City Hall building takes all of your attention.
This is probably the most well known visual of Munich. Start your trip with a walking tour of Munich’s city center. This will help you judge the rest of your time here and what things you want to see more of.
Many companies run free tours in Munich and a lot of other cities in Europe. They are usually good, but we have heard that come charge the freelance tour guides per head, meaning they might actually OWE the tour company if they don’t earn enough tips.
A free tour is a wonderful way to see the city, but please tip your guide whatever your thought it was worth. Don’t take a free tour if you can’t afford to tip your guide.
We are both very into taking food tours in every city we can. They offer such an interesting view of a city as well as usually a nice amount of food.
It is good to do them earlier rather than later in the trip as often there is a place on the tour you will want to go back to later. Food tours also give you ideas for what kinds of food to look for throughout the rest of your trip.
Day 2 – Munich From Above
Andy and I love places in cities where you can get up high and look down. There are three towers that are climbable right in the center of Munich.
City Hall has an observation balcony in the tower that can be reached by an elevator if you want a view from above without stairs. It is closed on Saturday and Sunday from October through April, but open 10am during the week in the winter and every day in the summer.
If you happen to be in the square at 11:00 or 12:00 it is worth stopping for a few minutes to watch the Glockenspiel play from the clock tower. A handful of figures parade the hour in a green roofed alcove on the tower. It is worth seeing if you happen to be there, but not worth missing other things to be there for it.
A few blocks from city hall is the Frauenkirche, Munich’s largest church. There is another tower here reached by a mix of stairs and elevator.
The building was heavily damaged in the war and rebuilt afterwards. Munich made the decision to rebuild in a traditional style rather than going completely modern like Frankfurt. The cathedral’s iconic pair of tall blocky towers are by law the tallest building in the city.
St Peter’s Church
If you are up for one last tower climb, head toward the white tower of St Peter. This is Munich’s oldest church and has the best view of the center in my opinion. I like that you can see the City Hall and Frauenkirche as well as looking down on Marienplaza and Viktuelenmarkt.
It is also all stairs, no elevator, and pretty tight at the top. Since some of the sets of stairs only have room for one person across, we often had to stop and wait for the people coming down to pass. It was like a forced break, which helped. It is a bit of a climb, but worth it.
Have a beer after all that climbing
Once you are done with the heights and it is decent weather, head back to the beer garden in the middle of the Viktuellenmarkt. It is city owned, which is unusual as most beer gardens are owned by specific breweries, and rotates beer from the city’s biggest breweries. Check out the blue and white pillar commemorating Germany’s Rheinheitsgebot (Beer Purity Laws), then hang out for a beer.
This expansive plaza is also a wonderful place to hunt food. Stalls and buildings offer a mix of fresh food and prepared food for eating on the go. There are a number of restaurants in the streets around market.
Day 3 – Deutsches Museum
The Deutsches Museum, as the world’s largest technical and science museum, takes up nearly an entire island in the river Isar in Munich. It is really worth a good slice of time if you are into that kind of thing.
As with anything this big, don’t expect to see everything, and look at the map to pick out what time you are willing to spend and what you want to see.
The museum encompasses almost anything you can think of for a science museum from astronomy to aircraft to pharmaceuticals to geology and most everything between. More info on the museum’s site here.
There are a few places in the museum to eat if you do want to spend a whole day here.
Day 4 – Day trip to Dachau
Dachau concentration camp is not going to be the most happy day of your trip, but it could be one of the more memorable. The first Nazi concentration camp was placed in the small pleasant town of Dachau just outside Munich.
From here a lot of Jews were sent to their deaths in Poland. The camp visit is free, but offers audio guides for a fee.
Day 5 – Relax in the park day
After Dachau yesterday, you probably need a lighter relaxing day today. If you are in Munich during the warm summer days, then there are plenty of things to do while still relaxing in the sun.
The English Garden is Munich’s green center. The bottom end of it is just north of old town and extends north for a long way. This is a big park, folks. Spend some time walking and wandering or just sitting in the sun with a book.
If you want a destination, the Chinese Tower is a good one. Think about it: this is a Chinese Tower in an English Garden in the middle of a German city. And it serves beer and food. (German food, not Chinese food.)
A bit north from the Chinese Tower is a lake. On the edge of the lake is another beer garden and attached restaurant. Further up the park and along the outsides you’ll find other beer places and restaurants scattered around.
There is absolutely no shame spending the whole day in the park wandering from one beer place to the next in a relaxing day.
Day 6 – Day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle and other nearby castles
If postcards are to be believed, the true picture of Germany is the castle at Neuschwanstein, and it is just a day trip from Munich. There are several ways to get from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle depending on your preferences.
Neuschwanstein is the creation of the Mad King Ludwig who nearly bankrupted Bavaria building it. This is the fairy tale castle that apparently was the inspiration for Disney’s signature castle in Florida. Taking a tour is the only way to see the inside of the castle and you buy a specific time on your ticket, so be aware of that.
Hohenschwangau is a yellow castle built by the Mad King’s father on a hill top further down the hill from the more famous castle. You can get combination tickets to tour both castles, but again make sure you pay attention to the times especially as there is a quite a walk uphill (40 minutes) from Hohenschwangau to Neuschwanstein.
Enjoying the castles from the outside
If you like the outside of castles better than the inside (especially as photos inside the castles are forbidden), this is still a great area to wander around. The gardens of Hohenschwanngau are open without a ticket.
Also head up to the Marienbrücke (St Mary’s Bridge) which is up in the hills above Neuschwanstein and gives you the postcard view if it isn’t foggy. There is a bus from near Hohenschwangau that goes to near the bridge, but you can certainly walk up if you want.
If you have some flexibility on your schedule, you want to choose a sunny day for this day trip. Also decide if you want to do it as a tour or on your own.
There are plenty of day tour options to the castles from Munich, but read the itineraries to see how much time is available at the castles. Most will not give you enough time to do both castles and the bridge if that is what you want.
On the other hand, having a tour that does all of the transport and tickets can be a nice load off. Other stops on some tours include Lindenhof, another smaller one of King Ludwig’s castles, and Oberammergau, a touristy town known for a Passion Play every few years and for being a stop on these tours.
Otherwise you can find more Neuschwanstein tours here.
…or not to tour.
If a tour is not your thing or you want to spend as much time as possible wandering around, this is definitely a trip you can do on your own. The town of Füssen is about 2 hours by train from Munich and not super interesting other than as the gateway to the area.
Get a Bayern Ticket, which lets you on the regional trains (no white ICE/IC or EC trains) as well as most local transport, but is valid for the whole day and can be quite cheap for groups. Take a bus from Füssen to the castles.
Near where the bus drops off is a ticket building where you can book guided tours of the castles (the only way to see the insides). It can have long lines in the summer. You can book tickets ahead of time online, but you need to set your day and time ahead of time.
Day 7 – City Palaces and Museums
Back in Munich, check out the castles and palaces in the center of town.
The Residenz is a sprawling museum complex snuggled in the old town only a few blocks from Marienplatz. It was once the home of Bavarian Dukes and is now home to art collections, a baroque theater, and several courtyards.
Nymphenburg Palace and Gardens
If Baroque is your thing, don’t miss Nymphenburg Palace and the expansive gardens. It is a handful of stops out, but still easily reachable from the center.
Typically Munich at the City Museum
The permanent exhibition at Munich’s city museum is a display of the development of the city’s image and identity. Other changing exhibits and the permanent exhibit of National Socialism in Munich are also a draw.
Munich is a city of art as well. Plenty of museums showcase all styles across the city, though Maxvorstadt has a healthy share of them all clustered together. The Pinotheken are the best well known of the Munich Art Museums.
Do you have longer than a week?
If you have more than a week, or you’re looking for more activities for your week, there are plenty more things to do in Munich.
Are you a car buff? Check out the BMW Museum to learn about one of Germany’s most famous automobile manufacturers.
Interested in more museums? Munich has lots of them, including the Bavarian National Museum and the Beer and Oktoberfest Museum.
Other day trips from Munich
Looking for more of Germany’s classic sights? Consider a day trip along the Romantic Road, including Rothenburg and Harburg.
Or try a day trip to Nuremberg, which was the center of Nazi rule. Nuremberg is a gorgeous city packed with history.
If you’d like to hop over the border to Austria, consider booking this tour to Salzburg, Austria from Munich. On the tour, you’ll get to see the city where Mozart was born as well as some of the Sound of Music sights.
What else would you include in a Munich itinerary?
Read more about Germany:
- Understanding Food and Beer in Munich
- Black Forest and Beyond: 1 week itinerary in Germany
- Castles and Wine: 1 Week Itinerary in the Rhine Valley
- Transportation in Germany
- How to Plan One Week in Germany
Looking for other destinations?
- Italy Itinerary: Ideas for Planning One Week in Italy
- Bernese Oberland Itinerary: How to Spent 5 Days in Switzerland
- How to Spend a Week in Paris: Tips for Planning a Paris Itinerary
- 3 Days in Prague: An Itinerary
- Greece Itinerary: Ideas for Planning One Week in Greece
September 24, 2018 @ 7:08 pm
My name is Mia, i am planning for a short vacation in Germany from 02 Nov 2018 to 11 Nov 2018. i would like to ask your opinion and suggestion for my trip.
i will arrive at Frankfurt on 02 Nov 2018 and will be staying at Mainz. I am planning to go as list below:-
1. Neuschwanstein Castle & Hohenscwangau Castle (Fussen),
2. Black Forest,
4. Romantic road and
6. Notre Dame Cathedral – Paris (if still got more time)
– is there anything that i should add on in the list?
– which area i should go first?
– is there any tour guide that i can contact? to guide us during our trip?
i am planning to save most of my time during the travelling time – probably planning to take flight to those long journey area and also plan to have a overnight stay.
Looking forward to your email. Thank you.
October 2, 2018 @ 6:08 am
Hi Mia! Before assuming it’s faster to fly, make sure you compare it with train times. Use bahn.com (you can switch to English) to check times) and remember that a 1 hour flight really takes 4-5 hours because you have to get there an hour ahead and it takes time to get to and from each airport and get through at the end to claim your checked bags, if you have any.
Neuschwanstein Castle – best done as a day trip from Munich. If you’re interested in Munich, consider spending a few days there and then take the train to Fussen and the bus from Fussen to the castles. Remember you can’t go into Neuschwanstein Castle without a guided tour, so book your ticket ahead of time. If you’re not interested in Munich, I think it’s best to take the train from Mainz since Fussen isn’t quite a ways outside Munich anyway.
Black Forest – Several places to choose from depending on what you’re looking for. Baden Baden isn’t too far from Mainz and it’s a nice spa town. I like Freiburg too but it’s a bit farther. Read more about traveling in the Black Forest here.
Cologne – I think you can do this as a day trip from Mainz, isn’t too far by train. You should probably book tickets ahead of time though because most of the train options are IC or ICE trains which are expensive if you book last minute.
Romantic Road – Definitely best to do a tour unless you want to drive yourself. I usually check Viator for tours, and I know I’ve seen ones to the Romantic Road there, but you might have to get to Frankfurt to pick up the tour. You can also do a tour from Munich, so if it feels better to combine that with Munich and Neuschwanstein, that could be good.
Berlin – I think you need at least 3 days to explore Berlin. There’s just so much to see and do! My number 1 recommendation is the Bernauer Strasse Wall Memorial. It’s not as famous or photographed as the East Side Gallery, but I think it’s fantastic for Berlin Wall history. The visitors center has two 15 minute films (they alternate English and German, so check the times ahead) about the Wall, highly recommended. Again, compare the trains with flying.
I think Paris might be a stretch since there’s so much to do and see there. But with the Germany stuff, I think you have 2 or 3 day trips from Mainz (Black Forest, Cologne, and the Romantic Road) and at least an overnight to see Neuschwanstein Castle and a few days in Berlin, plus all the transport time, no matter if you fly or take the trains. You could also consider a day trip from Mainz to Heidelberg, really pretty castle there that’s partially in ruins. I’d do all the Mainz day trips together and then combine Munich/Neuschwanstein with Berlin so you’re not going back and forth each time.
I hope that helps!
June 12, 2018 @ 6:01 am
My name is Tina and i will be travelling to Munich in the month of November from Singapore.
It is my first time there and i will be there for about 9 days.
i have many questions in mind and i will be grateful if anyone can guide me through my questions 🙂
1. is it safe to travel alone?
2. Is November going to be a fall season or winter season?
3. Is it convenient to travel out to other city? if yes, which one would you recommend?
4. I noticed someone commented to stay near U-Bahn Stop. Is there any other convenient placed and affordable as well?
5. is there any recommendation of places to go? i love museums, natures and palaces area.
Thanks in advance!
June 15, 2018 @ 10:23 am
Hi Tina! Sounds like a great trip. I’ll try to answer your questions as best as I can.
1. Yes, it’s safe to travel alone. Be aware of your surroundings, don’t flash your money around, don’t leave things unattended in restaurants/cafes, the normal kinds of things you would do anywhere. But overall, Munich isn’t a dangerous place.
2. November can go either way. I’d pack layers and a jacket/coat so you can handle fall-like weather or winter-like weather. Check the weather online when it’s a few days away from your trip so you’ll have a better idea of what to expect.
3. Yes! And with 9 days for your trip, I think a few day trips might be great. You can go just about anywhere on your own if you want by using the train. Here’s Deutsche Bahn’s website in English.
– Neuschwanstein Castle is a popular day trip, I have detailed info on how to get there on your own above in this article. There’s also some suggestions for tours if you’d prefer to have someone else handle the logistics and give you a little more guided info along the way.
– This tour option sounds good for day trips to Salzburg and Rothenburg from Munich, both nice cities/towns to visit. This tour gives you a discount for booking both together, but they’re on different days.
– Other great options from Munich include Nuremberg, Bamberg, Dachau Concentration Camp, and many others. Check out this list of day tours from Munich.
4. This really depends on your budget. I suggest staying near a Ubahn station (10-15 minutes walking is a good distance) so that it’s easier to get around the city. I suggest looking at Google Maps so you can see where the Ubahn stations are and comparing to the hotel booking site you’re using. I’d also suggest staying as close to the center as your budget will allow so you don’t lose too much time each day going in and out to see the sights.
5. There are lots of recommendations above in this article. There are lots of museums, just depends on what kind of museums you like, but there’s a list here. Munich also has lots of parks, definitely check out the British Gardens. Also check out Residenz München and the park next to it. The parks might not be super pretty in November though, keep that in mind.
I hope this helps, and enjoy your trip to Munich!
March 4, 2018 @ 4:33 pm
I went on a vacation to Munich for 7 days and my itinerary was almost the same as yours (just with a different order and grouping though) and I even managed to sneak in Salzburg as a daytrip. Even though there was a terrorist incident when I was there, it is still my favorite city and I would love to return there soon.
March 7, 2018 @ 9:26 pm
I’m glad you enjoyed your trip to Munich! I’ve been there several times, and it’s a fun city. Salzburg would make a good day trip, thanks for the tip!
October 18, 2017 @ 11:32 am
I lived in Munich for almost five years and still adore the city. It has so much to do and see. I’m not at all technically minded but find the Deutsches Museum fascinating. Lovely to see your suggestions.
October 19, 2017 @ 9:59 pm
May 14, 2018 @ 9:10 pm
My name is Pat.
I wonder if you could please give me some advice/help/suggestions.
I was thinking of going on a break in Aug/Sept/Oct, maybe a week or so in Munich.
I am going on my own, I know nothing about Munich, but friends told me to visit there.
Should I go to Munich?
Can I take day trips to other places, should I go somewhere else?
Is Saltzberg worth seeing?
I was in Berlin in Sept and loved it.
Should I go back to Berlin?
Is it very expensive?
Any help/advice will be really appreciated,especially, somewhere to stay, hotels, things I should do and places I should see, etc.
Anything else you can suggest.
May 21, 2018 @ 4:28 pm
Hi Pat! I think Munich is a wonderful city, and if you’ve already visited Berlin, it might be nice to see a completely different part of Germany. Munich is more what people imagine when they think of Germany, and it’s very different from Berlin. The biggest thing to be aware of is Oktoberfest when deciding on your dates. It’s probably too late to get a hotel in Munich during Oktoberfest time, and if you’re not interested in going to Oktoberfest, avoid going to Munich during that time altogether. The dates this year are September 22 through October 7, and hotels will be booked solid even a few days before and after that time frame. I haven’t been to Salzburg, but I’ve heard it’s lovely. You could go as a day trip from Munich pretty easily. This tour option sounds good for day trips to Salzburg and Rothenburg from Munich, gives you a discount for booking both together, but they’re on different days. When looking for hotels, make sure you’re close to public transport so it’s easier to get around the city, and I usually like to stay close to the center so I’m closer to the sights and have lots of restaurant options. I hope you enjoy your trip!
May 21, 2018 @ 6:37 pm
Thanks very much for taking the time to reply and for all your help and advice, I am going to book a week in Munich in Aug/Sept.
I will check Tripadvisor for a 7 day guide on best things to see and do. Again,
Thanks for everything.