Think Oktoberfest, think beer? That’s not even half of Munich’s story. Before you head to the tents, take some time out to explore Germany's friendliest city. It’ll make your first sip of Bavaria’s finest taste that much better.
Breakfast Bavarian style
Choose from pastries, tortes and tarts at Cafe Luitpold
If you're a half-a-grapefruit kind of breakfaster, then be prepared to have your world turned upside down. Bavarians take their breakfast seriously. The cake counter at Cafe Luitpold is not to be missed – 10 gleaming metres of chrome groaning under a mountain of eclairs, sachertorte, strudel and tarts. The coffee’s great, too.
Swim at one of the world’s most beautiful pools
Take a dive into history – Müller’sches Volksbad first opened its doors to the public in 1901
At [Müller’sches Volksbad](https://www.swm.de/english/m-baeLarger than New York’s Central Park, Englischer Garten is home to a perenially popular Munich cityscape, best viewed from the Greek-temple-like Monopteros monument. The park is bustling with street performers, students, locals and tourists alike, but has more than enough space for those seeking a tranquil spot away from it all. Don’t miss the Japanese teahouse hidden away on a leafy island, where you can experience an authentic tea ceremony. Beyond that, the steam baths are a great place to relax and unleash your inner Roman.
Eat bratwurst like a local
How to eat a bratwurst? Skip the mustard if you want to enjoy it like a local
Skip the hustle of the city’s bigger markets and head for Wiener Platz farmers’ market. With its cobbled square and red-brick church, it’s a little slice of Bavarian countryside in the city. Most importantly, its stalls serve up a mean bratwurst.
Visit a Japanese teahouse and a Greek temple in an English Garden
Take in views of the Munich skyline from the temple-like Monopteros in the Englischer Garten
Larger than New York’s Central Park, Englischer Garten is home to one of our favourite Munich cityscapes, best viewed from the Greek-temple-like Monopteros monument. The park is bustling with street performers, students, locals and tourists alike, but is more than big enough for those seeking peace to find a tranquil spot away from the hubbub. Don’t miss the Japanese teahouse hidden away on a leafy island, where you can experience an authentic tea ceremony.
Go surfing. Yes, really surfing
Watch the surfers – or take to a board yourself – on the rolling Eisbach Wave
Munich is home to Germany’s premier surfing destination, believe it or not. Park yourself on the locals' favourite stretch of the Isar river and watch aspiring surfers catch the continuous Eisbach Wave that rolls across the channel all day long. It’s been a favourite pastime in the city since the 70s, but it was only made legal in 2010. It’s a mecca for river surfing, so you might be lucky enough spot a pro practising a few tricks.
Get your caffeine fix – just the way you like it
Serious about coffee? Find your perfect brew at Man Versus Machine
By now, you may have spotted locals clutching distinctive, crocodile-emblazoned coffee cups. It’s the sign of Munich’s new favourite coffee house. Man Versus Machine’s double menu – you choose between a handmade or a machine-made brew – is a fun concept, but, truth be told, we’d always go for the man-made option: the level of care the baristas put into their trademark cold-brew is a spectacle in itself (sorry, machine).
Experience a stadium tour like no other
See Munich’s 1972 Summer Olympics stadium from a different angle
As you stand on the metal platform overlooking the vast bowl of Munich’s Olympic stadium, you might think, ‘Cool view, but what’s all the fuss about?’ But then you step off into thin air. The new, 200-metre-long, 35-metre-high ‘flying fox’ zipwire makes this the most heart-pumping stadium visit you’ll ever have embarked upon.
Get a history lesson from puppets
Watch the Marienplatz Glockenspiel’s puppets march, dance and joust at the Town Hall. Photographed by Roman Boed (Flickr)
The Marienplatz Glockenspiel is a true Munich original – an elaborate feat of clockwork engineering, with 32 life-sized mechanical puppets set high on the Town Hall tower balcony. Three times a day, these figurines act out 17th century folk tales and historical events (at 11am, noon and 5pm). The best view of the 15-minute performance is from the third floor of the Hugendubel bookstore across the road (shh – don’t tell anyone).
This is the best beer tent at Oktoberfest
Raise a stein or three in the ‘tent of the crossbowmen’
Well, it wouldn’t be Oktoberfest without a stein or two. If you only visit one of the 14 tents, our pick is the Armbrustschützen-Festhalle. Why? Because in addition to the expected oceans of beer, oompah bands and lederhosen, you get to tell people you’ve enjoyed a crossbow tournament with your stein, sausages and sauerkraut. Only in Munich.