Things to do in Munich in 2 Days

Munich, known as the cradle of Bavarian culture, is full of surprises. Get to know its main attractions with this guide for your two-day stay.

Jhonfrank  Sánchez

Jhonfrank Sánchez

11 min read

Things to do in Munich in 2 Days

Munich | ©Jan Antonin Kolar

Munich stands out for its rich history (as the seat of Bavarian culture) and its architecture. Of course, there are many things to see and do in Munich, but even if you only have two days to see the city, with this itinerary you will be able to visit each of its essential attractions.

This itinerary moves from the center of the city to the outskirts. The reason for this organization is to facilitate the movement of tourists. Remember that time and money are limited resources, so make the best use of them.

Day 1: Don't miss the historic center of Munich, the beer garden and the English Park

Inside the Hofbräuhaus brewery| ©Marco Tamburro
Inside the Hofbräuhaus brewery| ©Marco Tamburro

In Munich you will have a wonderful experience. Your first day in Munich starts with a walking tour through the historic city center. Then sign up for a visit to the Hofbrauhaus, Munich's flagship brewery. And finally, head to the English Park to end the day with a sunset dinner.

Take a tour of the historic center of Munich

If you book the guided tour of Munich you will be able to visit several of the main attractions located in the city center, while a professional guide explains its history and cultural importance. This tour lasts about two hours.

The price of this tour is around 22 €. I recommend that you reserve your place at least one day in advance. If you wish, you can start the tour having already had breakfast, but if not, there is a stop where you can have breakfast.

Of course, you can also do the tour on your own, but you will not have the interesting explanations of the guides. In either case, here is part of the tour.

Book a guided tour of Munich

Go to Karlsplatz

Leave your hotel around 9:30 a.m. in the morning and walk towards Dachauer Street -recommendation: stay if you can in a central area of the city so that the journey is short-. On this street you will meet your guide and the rest of the group that will accompany you on a tour of the historic center of Munich.

This type of tour usually starts around 10:15 am. Once on the road, the first stop is usually at Karlsplatz, a busy square of considerable historical value, where tourists and locals mingle on a daily basis.

Here, the Karlstor arch, a huge medieval monument worthy of being photographed, marks the beginning of the city center.

Book a guided tour of Munich

Be amazed by Frauenkirche

The second point of the tour is less than 10 minutes from the first stop. Also known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Munich, the Frauenkirche is one of the oldest religious temples in Munich and was completed in 1488.

The cathedral is surprising for its size (it can accommodate up to 20,000 parishioners) and its medieval stained glass windows. A curious detail is that in Munich there is a government regulation that states that no building in the city center can be taller than the cathedral.

Book a guided tour of Munich

Enter the Marienplatz/Carillon Rathaus-Glockenspiel

Marienplatz| ©jay8085
Marienplatz| ©jay8085

The next stop, Marienplatz, marks the center of the historic center of Munich (this is probably the point where the city originated). Inside this square you will see some attractions, such as the Maria column, a monument of more than 11 meters, dedicated to the patron saint of Bavaria.

Here you will also find one of the main historical attractions of Munich,the Glockenspiels carillon, which is in the clock tower of the Neue Rathau (new town hall). This carillon is famous for the performance of its mechanical figures three times a day. The figures in the upper part represent a medieval tournament (knights' joust) and those on the lower floor perform a traditional dance (the 'Schäffletanz'), which was invented by the barrel-makers' guild to cheer up the population after the outbreak of plague (1517).

The carillon figures come back to life when the clock bells ring at 11 am, 12 noon and 5 pm. This stop lasts 20 minutes, so you should be on time for the first performance.

Book a guided tour of Munich

Don't miss Viktualienmarkt

When you arrive at Viktualienmarkt, Munich's most popular open-air market, you'll quickly realize that it's the ideal place to try an authentic Bavarian meal, if you didn't have breakfast at your hotel.

I recommend you try the pretzels with obatzda, a type of creamy Bavarian cheese made with spices. But your German-style breakfast wouldn't be complete if you don't accompany your order with a beer, and right in this market is Munich's best beer garden.

Traveller Tip

If you call to reserve a table (it's an option at some of the market's food stalls), you may save yourself several valuable minutes.

Visit Saint Peter's Church

Next to the market is St. Peter's Church, which dates back to the 12th century AD. It is the oldest church in Munich.

This church has been partially destroyed and rebuilt several times, and as a result its structure mixes elements of Gothic, Baroque and Rococo architecture.

As this stop is short, I recommend you use your minutes to observe the wonderful view of Munich that can be obtained from the highest tower (91 meters) of the church, and to take at least one panoramic photo of the city!

Book the Munich sightseeing bus

Admire the Wittelsbach Royal Family Residence

Next stop is the Residenzstraße. Here is the residence of the Wittelsbachs, the royal family that ruled Bavaria for almost a millennium (since the monarch Otto I founded the Germanic Roman Empire in 962, until its dissolution in 1806).

In my opinion the main attraction of this palace-museum is the antiquarian hall: a long gallery filled with Renaissance sculptures and decorative frescoes on the ceiling. The entrance to the antiquarian hall costs 13 €.

As this stop is not very long, I leave it up to you to decide whether to pay for the visit now or leave the more extensive tour for another time. But I will tell you in advance that a complete visit can take at least two hours.

Book a guided tour of Munich

Delve into the history of Odeonsplatz

If you like history, Odeonsplatz, the end point of the tour, will be of special interest, as it was here that Hitler first attempted to overthrow the German government in 1923; the event is known as the 'Beer Hall Putsch'. On this occasion, Hitler and his conspirators were stopped just in time by the Bavarian police.

If this topic is of particular interest to you, you can also book a tour of the Third Reich where you will be offered numerous details about the history of Germany in general and the city of Munich in particular.

Book a Third Reich tour

Enjoy a beer at Hofbrauhaus

At 12:45 a.m. walk back through the Residenzstraße, in a 10-minute walk, you will reach your next destination: the Hofbrauhaus brewery. Open since the 16th century, this is the official brewery of the royal house of Bavaria, and it is also the place where you will have lunch. In fact, if you book a gastronomic tour, it is one of the places that is usually included.

In this legendary brewery you can drink German-style beer, that is, served in a one-liter mug. It is possible to choose between different brands of beer, my favorite is Augustiner. If you want to avoid getting drunk, a trick that can help you is to order a radler beer, which is served in the same one-liter jug, but is a mixture of half a liter of beer with half a liter of lemonade.

At the Hofbrauhaus you will have several choices of lunch dishes, but I recommend you to order weisswurst, which is white sausage, stuffed with veal/pork, (which is usually accompanied with sweet mustard).

Book a gastronomic tour of Munich

Dinner in the English Park

In the English Park| ©Nic Hines
In the English Park| ©Nic Hines

One of the options to get to your next stop, the English Park, is to book the Munich sightseeing bus. Created in the 18th century, the English Park is the largest park in Munich, and because of its natural splendor and beauty it is the ideal place to take pictures.

Inside the park you can visit the Japanese tea house, the Greek monopole on the hill, or the famous Chinese tower. This tower, besides offering a breathtaking view of the park, also has a beer garden/restaurant, where you can dine and drink more beer. The park closes at 10 pm.

Book the Munich sightseeing bus

Experience the nightlife at the Feierbanane

If you are back in the center, it's already dark, but you don't want to go to your hotel to sleep yet, you can still enjoy Munich's nightlife.

My advice is to head to Feierbanane, an area of about one and a half kilometers, stretching between Brienner and Blumen streets.

Most of the bars in this area close between 1 and 2 am, so you'll have plenty of time to choose the one you like best. If you prefer the bar and nightclub experience at the same time, my recommendation is to visit Blitz Music Club.

Book a guided tour of Munich

Day 2: Visit Dachau, Nymphenburg Palace and the Olympic Park

Entrance to the Dachau concentration camp| ©David Pursehouse
Entrance to the Dachau concentration camp| ©David Pursehouse

To get to know Germany's history in depth, you need to learn about the horrors of Nazism during World War II. Therefore, on your second day you will start with a tour of the Dachau concentration camp. Then you will head to the Nymphenburg Palace. Then you will visit the former art gallery (house of arts). Finally, you will end your day with dinner at the Olympic Park.

Take a tour of the Dachau Concentration Camp

One of the greatest horrors of World War II was the concentration camps and Munich is home to one of the largest in Germany: Dachau. There is more than one way to visit it, but my recommendation is to book an excursion to Dachau.

It is best to leave early for Munich's main train station (easily reachable on foot from the city center), to leave from there by train with your guide and your group. 20 minutes later you will arrive at Dachau station, where the bus to the concentration camp will be waiting for you. The guided tour of the Dachau concentration camp lasts between three and five hours. Here you will see, among others, the following points of interest:

  • Main entrance gate (with the Nazi motto: "Arbeit Macht Frei" [Work will set you free]).
  • Memorial Museum/Exhibition (where you can see the short documentary 'The Dachau Concentration Camp 1933-1945', among other informative materials).
  • The prisoner barracks (replicas, as the originals were destroyed in 1945).
  • Four religious memorials.
  • Monument to the Unknown Soldier (celebrating German soldiers who opposed the Nazi regime).
  • Monument of Nandor Glid.
  • The square of the count.
  • Training camp for SS troops.

If you did not eat at your hotel because you left too early, in Dachau there is a cafeteria open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (continuous hours), where you can have breakfast. Your tour should be ending around 1:00 p.m. and at around 1:30 p.m. you can return to the center of Munich using the same bus and subway as on the way out.

Book an excursion to Dachau

Tour the Nymphenburg Palace

You are back at the central station (Hauptbahnhof), it is 2 p.m. and you have half an hour for lunch. I advise you to eat at the Wirtshaus Rechthaler Hof, a traditional Bavarian restaurant located in front of the Hauptbahnhof. Afterwards, you have to go back to the central station to take the tourist bus that runs the Nymphenburg-Olympia route (you must have previously booked your ticket), around 14:30 h. It will take you to the Nymphenburg-Olympia Palace. It will take you to the Nymphenburg Palace on the western edge of Munich. Entrance to the palace costs 8 €.

Nymphenburg was the summer residence of the Bavarian royal family. There are many things to appreciate in this baroque style palace, but in order to follow this itinerary, you will need to spend an hour here. These are the attractions you should not miss:

  • The Great Hall (dining room of the royal family).
  • The Gallery of the Beauties (collection of 36 paintings of the most 'beautiful' women of Bavaria, painted between 1827 and 1850, for the enjoyment of King Ludwig I).
  • The Carriage Museum (collection that gathers dozens of elegant carriages used at some point by the royal family).

Around 15:30 you will take the tourist bus back to Munich Central Station. You will arrive there between 16-16:30 h.

Book the Munich sightseeing bus

Visit to the Alte Pinakothek (former House of Arts)

At the Alte Pinakothek| ©Andreas Praefcke
At the Alte Pinakothek| ©Andreas Praefcke

Already at the central station, head to the Munich Museum District. In this district you will find the Alte Pinakothek (former house of arts), a museum dedicated to Renaissance and pre-modern art in which you can see works by masters such as Dürer, Da Vinci, Velázquez, Brueguel, Rubens, Goya, etc.. The entrance fee is 7 €. Your visit to the Alte Pinanothek will end around 6 pm, as the museum closes at this time (on Tuesdays and Wednesdays it is open until 8 pm).

An alternative if you are more interested in the art of the twentieth century, is the Pinakothek der Moderne (house of modern art), located opposite the Alte Pinakothek. In this museum you will find works by artists such as Dali, Picasso, Gerhard Ritcher, J. Beuys, among others. It closes on Thursdays at 8 pm and the rest of the week (except Mondays, which like the other museums in Munich does not open) at 6 pm.

With the notable exception of Dürer, almost all the works you will see in these museums are by non-German artists. Nevertheless, these are must-see collections, which will help you understand the importance of Munich in the cultural landscape of Europe.

Book the Munich sightseeing bus

Dinner at the Olympic Park

At 6:15 p.m., you will head back to Munich Central Station, where you will take the subway to the Olympic Park. To enter you have to pay between 3 and 5 €, depending on the day. This park gathers different attractions, such as a fantastic aquarium, a skating rink, and the Olympic tower, a 291-meter building, ideal for panoramic views of the city.

If you still have energy, I suggest you to walk around the park, because even at night it is charming (the park is open until 1 am). But I do recommend that you have dinner first. You can do this in a beer garden right next to the Olympic tower. When you leave, use the same subway line as when you came, to go back to the center of Munich.

Book the Munich sightseeing bus

Transportation alternatives to use during your stay in Munich?

Sightseeing bus through the streets of Munich| ©Paul Burroughs
Sightseeing bus through the streets of Munich| ©Paul Burroughs

If you are traveling to Munich for the first time, I recommend that you have the tour buses or the subway as your first choice of transportation when you are not moving around on foot.

However, it is now possible to book a bicycle tour in Munich and move comfortably in this way. I recommend you to read the following article with some of the bike tours in Munich to get into the trip.

Another fun option is to book a segway tour in Munich, which lasts between an hour and a half and two hours and you will go with a local guide.

Book a bike tour in Munich

What is the best time of the year to travel to Munich?

English Garden in Winter| ©Janos Kertesz
English Garden in Winter| ©Janos Kertesz

This will depend mainly on your budget and what things you are willing to sacrifice. If you travel in summer (June-September), you will be able to enjoy warmer weather in Munich to enjoy all the things to see and do in Munich, but the amount of tourists in the city will also be higher.

On the other hand, if you visit Munich in winter (December-March), the prices of stay will be cheaper and you may find less tourists, but you will also have to be warmer.

In both cases, I recommend that you arrange your two-day trip to coincide with a weekend, since on Sundays there are discounts on the admission price of certain public attractions. The entrance fee to several museums, for example, is only €1.

Book a tour of Munich