Since 1806, Munich has been the capital of Bavaria, the largest state in Germany. It is a loud city with breweries, festivals, and museums that attract visitors from all over the world. Conversely, what is Munich famous for if not its peaceful gardens, beer culture, and historic landmarks?
What Is Munich Famous For?
Munich is known for being the beer capital of the world, its architectural wonders, passion for sports, and vast outdoor opportunities with its proximity to the Bavarian Alps. Festivals such as Oktoberfest, and the extensive Bavarian cuisine, would be nothing without the traditions that stem from beer. Cultural vibrancy and diversity are a huge part of what Munich is famous for, therefore these lively celebrations are vital.
History, Culture, And Traditions Munich Is Known For
The biggest beer festival in the world, and the most well-known event that Munich is famous for, is Oktoberfest. In 2022, almost 6 million visitors around the globe came to the illustrious carnival, which is held every year.
The origins of Oktoberfest began in 1810 when King Ludwig I married Princess Therese. After 18 days, the joyous couple wished to celebrate their love with a huge party. There was a large banquet, horse racing, and most importantly beer.
Now, the two-week festival has expanded to be bigger than ever. There are traditional German foods, parades, and authentic costumes. The Bavarian Beer and Food tour explores the Oktoberfest Museum, as well as offers samples of the experience.
Home Of The Monks
Have you ever wondered where Munich derived its name? The stunning city is translated to Home of the Monks, stemming from its interesting history.
Whilst Munich is thought to have been founded in 1158, the city existed a long time before this. The Benedictine Monks it was named after lived in a monastery discovered in the 8th century, located in the Old Town.
Although many have been destroyed, several preserved monasteries remain in Munich. This includes the Andechs Monastery and St. Boniface’s Abbey.
World War II
In history, Munich is famous for its role in the Nazi movement.
The Führerbau was a huge building in Munich known as the Nazi Headquarters, where Hitler would often visit and hold meetings. 20km from here was where the first concentration camp, Dachau, was built.
As a result, Munich became known as the Capital of the Nazi Movement. Multiple rallies took place in Munich, as well as the failed Beer Hall Putsch. The insightful World War II Tour explores these rally sites, history, and buildings along with immersive storytelling.
Because it was a hotspot, Munich was heavily bombed during World War II. It is worth visiting the NS-Dokumentationszentrum in Maxvorstadt, a poignant museum that explains the horrific history of Nazism.
Capital Of Bavaria
As mentioned, Munich is the capital of Bavaria. Once The Kingdom of Bavaria, the dynasty operated strongly and independently from 1805 until 1918. After the end of World War I, Bavaria became a republic. Already a part of the German Empire, it eventually became a state in 1949.
However, Munich had been the capital of the Kingdom of Bavaria since the beginning and has remained this way throughout the centuries. Because of this, you can explore an array of rich history and buildings in the city.
Districts And Areas Munich Is Known For
Altstadt, translated to Old Town, is the best area in Munich to understand the city’s elaborate past. Traced back to Medieval Times, the wide streets and historical buildings are truly authentic.
Marienplatz Square is the best place to start, wandering past the traditional boutiques and friendly cafes. Other attractions include the old St Peter’s Church, the expensive royal avenue Maximilianstraße, and New Town Hall.
Be sure to check out the three remaining gates of the defensive walls: Karlstor, Isartor, and Sendlinger Tor.
Schwabing is a peaceful, boho borough bursting with art and creativity. It is adored by students because of its laid-back atmosphere, cozy bars, and green parks.
Parts of the enormous English Garden go through Schwabing. This is a huge park that Munich is famous for. Here you can find trails, beer gardens, and adorable animals.
Speaking of tranquility, the Schwabinger Bach stream also flows through here, adding to the overall vibe. Also, be sure to visit the giant Walking Man sculpture that is almost as tall as the lengthy trees.
On the other hand, Schwabing has become louder over the years, in contrast to the quiet village it once was. Museums, galleries, and clubs are scattered in the area, making it a nice place to explore.
Westend, known to the locals as Schwanthalerhöhe, is found just west of the city center. It is home to various interesting landmarks such as the Hackerbrücke and Verkehrszentrum, but has a calmer atmosphere.
The district is also known for its breweries, as the oldest one can be found here. The Augustiner Bräu was established in the early 14th century and is renowned for its light, refreshing, and buttery taste. This is a main distributor during Oktoberfest.
Several surrounding large green spaces are ideal for beer gardens, like Bavariapark and Westpark.
Maxvorstadt is known as the university district in Munich, and as such is a popular hangout spot for the younger generation. There are many universities that Germany is famous for located here, the best being Ludwig Maximilian University and the Technical University of Munich.
Königsplatz Square is known for hosting live events and operating as a theater and music space. Similarly, there is a rich art scene thanks to Kunstareal, the museum quarter, home to the Pinakothek galleries.
Landmarks And Architecture Munich Is Known For
Marientplatz Square is located in the center of Munich. If there is one landmark that Munich is famous for that you had to visit, this would be it. Not only is it extremely accessible and home to many famous attractions, it is also culturally significant.
The square was opened by Henry the Lion in 1158 and originally known as Schrannenplatz as a homage to the market that once dominated it in The Middle Ages. Later, it was renamed after the Marian column that stands in the heart of the square, a monument to the Virgin Mary, to rejoice after the end of the Thirty Years War.
Here you can find coffee shops, arcades, and fashion. There is a National Theatre as well as the towering clock Glockenspiel. Just like the old days, there are Christmas markets, as well as other celebrations during national holidays.
The Olympiapark, as its name suggests, was originally built for the Olympic Games of 1972. A fun fact about Munich is that the park is not made from grass, but rubble left over from World War II, when the city survived disastrous bombings.
You can explore the stadium, halls, ice stadium, and aquatic center. There is also a Church and tower.
Additionally, Olympiapark has a hill and lake which is great for picnics. Alternatively, you can amble around the Olympia Shopping Center which offers all kinds of stores and dining.
Nymphenburgh Palace is a 17th-century building designed in a grand Baroque style, in anticipation of the newly born Maximilian II. Then, it served as a regal summer residence to the royals.
Nowadays, the huge complex is open to the public for exploration. To really learn about the history and stories of the place, there are tours from Munich that not just offer transport to the palace, but also take you through the stunning interior.
Check out the Great Hall, Queen’s Apartment, and other significant chambers. There are 16 rooms in the main palace, as well as smaller buildings.
Be sure to visit the elegant park, which is beautifully landscaped and symmetrical. There is a wide variety of gardens and lakes to relax at.
Three hours outside of Munich, you can find Neuschwanstein Castle. This is one of the most impressive castles in Germany, and you will instantly understand why when you see it.
Although further away from the main sights, the historic castle opened in 1884 amongst the enchanting Alps. Otherwise known as New Swan Stone, the dreamy white castle was influenced by Lohengrin, an opera by Wagner.
It was built by King Ludwig II, to help him escape dreary life and instead move to the mountains. Hence, it is known as a magical castle.
The 14-room complex is open to the public, but can only be explored through a guided tour. You want to book your visit early, particularly during peak travel seasons. Close by is Linderhof Palace, which is also another popular destination to slot in with a day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle.
St Peter’s Church
Often considered the foundation of the city, St Peter’s Church is a prominent historical landmark Munich is famous for. Not only is this the oldest church in the city, but it has the first clock towers and bells too.
Whilst Munich is thought to be founded in 1158, the church was built here in the 8th century.
However, as the Roman Catholic church survived countless wars and natural disasters, many of its elements are rather new. For example, the towering Renaissance-style spire was only added in the 17th century. Therefore, you can observe a mix of the new and old in the whole church.
Food Munich Is Known For
Schweinshaxe, essentially known as pork knuckle, is the part of a pig attaching the leg to the foot. It is juicy, and tender when cooked to perfection like in German cuisine.
Invented by farmers, it was an affordable way to feed the family during an economic crisis. Nowadays, schweinshaxe is widely eaten by everyone.
After being roasted, schweinshaxe is served with potatoes, whether that be in a salad, mash, or dumpling. The final step is to ladle the dish with a mouthwatering thick gravy, infused with beer.
Weisswurst is a type of sausage, known for its characteristic pale white color. It is made with a combination of veal and pork that creates a mild flavor, as opposed to the strong bratwurst. An impressive fact about Germany is that there are over 1,000 varieties of sausages!
Seasonings are vital for a delicious weisswurst, the main herb being parsley and soft white onion. Often you will find cardamom and ginger because of their sweet taste. Together, this unique flavor profile and firm texture from the casing create the perfect sausage.
This is often eaten between meals, paired with a flaky pretzel and dipping sauces.
Pretzels are the ideal standalone German snack, or pairing to a large dinner. Whichever way they are eaten, the huge brez’n that’s twisted and glazed to excellence is a must-try.
Due to the versatility of a pretzel, there are different varieties that cater to various tastes – from the dough it is made with to the seasonings used before baking. The most common is wheat flour mixed with poppy and caraway seeds. Popular fillings include cream cheese or ham, and a tangy mustard sauce.
Undoubtedly the main thing that Munich is famous for is beer. This is because it has a simple taste made with natural ingredients, that draws people to its flavor. As early as the 15th century, laws were passed to only allow a few ingredients in the city’s beer, such as malt and water.
Münchner Hell is the most widespread beer you will find, thanks to its traditional recipe. It has a mild flavor and sweet aftertaste. This makes it great for pairing with pretzels, sausages, and other snacks.
Famous People From Munich
Franz Beckenbauer is nicknamed Der Kaiser, or The Emperor, because of his legendary status in the football hall of fame. The defender is the most famous footballer that Munich is famous for, playing the sport at the early age of nine. He later played for Bayern Munich as well as the national team of Germany.
Beckenbauer has won a plethora of awards, the most impressive being named European Footballer of the Year two times. After his career as a player, he went on to captain Bayern, aiding them to win countless trophies.
Werner Herzog is a talented director who has created international hit movies throughout his lifetime. Spanning his career, there is a common theme of overcoming unbearable hurdles and inspirational main characters. His most popular movies, such as Fitzcarraldo, won him the Cannes Best Director Award.
In addition to directing, Herzog has worked on dramatic operas, mainly German, but also Italian and Japanese, as well as theatre and concerts. This includes Mozart, Beethoven, and other world-renowned composers.
Michael Haneke is a director and screenwriter. He has managed to reach a huge audience because of the variety of languages in his movies, allowing for global success.
His highly acclaimed works make him the main director that Munich is famous for birthing. Pieces include The Seventh Continent, an Austrian drama, that won him an award at the Locarno International Film Festival. Similarly, The Piano Teacher is a French drama that won an award at the Cannes Film Festival.
The recurring theme of his movies is brutally honesty, and thought-provoking social issues.
Discovering More Things Munich Is Known For
Munich is a vibrant, energetic city with a plethora of unique landmarks to offer. From its broad history to its monumental architecture, the city has preserved some of the best it has to offer. Nevertheless, Munich is famous for more than just its past, and it is worth uncovering what new experiences you can discover.