City Orientation Walk I, Munich (Self Guided)

Bavarian capital Munich boasts an eclectic mix of historic and modern architecture owing to the careful reconstruction of centuries-old buildings and new landmarks built after World War II. In the Altstadt (Old Town), central Marienplatz square carries landmarks, such as Neo-Gothic Neues Rathaus (town hall). To find these and other historic attractions of Munich, follow this orientation walk.
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City Orientation Walk I Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walk I
Guide Location: Germany » Munich (See other walking tours in Munich)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 km
Author: alexei
1
Marienplatz

1) Marienplatz (must see)

The Marienplatz is a square that marks the heart of the city of Munich. It has been the main square of the city from the year 1158.

The Square was first known as the Schrannen. It got the name Marienplatz after citizens prayed to the Holy mother for deliverance from a cholera epidemic. The large column with the gilded figure of Mother Mary on the top was erected in 1638 as part of the celebrations marking the end of the Swedish occupation of the city. It was the main square where events, tournaments and public executions took place in Munich.

The New City Hall dominates Marienplatz today. The Flemish Gothic style building was constructed between 1867 and 1909 and was designed by the architect, Georg Joseph Hauberrisser. The internationally famous Carillon in the tower has figures depicting the history of the city. The lower part has figures performing the Schäfflertanz or Cooper’s dance that was arranged in 1517 as part of the celebrations of the end of a plague epidemic that swept through the city. Visitors can view the dance daily at 11am and 12 and 5pm. The Old City Hall was not demolished to make way for the New City Hall and still stands on the eastern side of Marienplatz.

Why You Should Visit:
Perfect first spot to discover Munich. Historic, architecturally attractive and vibrant, filled with locals and tourists alike, it never lacks for excitement throughout the day. And, like the rest of Munich, it's spotlessly clean.

Tip:
Many walking tours start here in the mornings and afternoons. Join one and learn more about Munich's history and legends.
A tip for eating out is to walk a block or two away as the prices drop dramatically. Besides, the local food market is right outside the gate with many restaurants serving food from all over the world.
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall)

2) Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) (must see)

The New Town Hall was built in the 19th century at a time when the city of Munich enjoyed great economic prosperity. The Old Town Hall was found to be too small to function as the office of the local government and a new building was constructed nearby.

The site for the New Town hall was chosen near the Old Town Hall on Marienplatz in Munich. Twelve buildings were demolished to make space for the new structure. It was designed by young architect, Georg Hauberrisser who was 24 years old at the time. The building was constructed between 1867 and 1908.

The New Town Hall building has a Gothic Revivalist architectural style. It has 400 rooms and covers an area of over 9000 square meters. It faces the Marienplatz and there is a small garden at the back called the Marienhof. The Ratskeller restaurant occupies the basement and the first floor has a balcony from where visitors can view events like football matches and concerts taking place on Marienplatz. The 85 meter main tower is accessible using elevators. One of the main attractions of the New Town Hall is the mechanical Glockenspiel or Carillon with two levels. The upper level has dolls reenacting the wedding of Duke William V and Renate of Lorraine and the lower level has dolls performing the Schäfferltanz, a dance arranged as a celebration to mark the end of a plague epidemic.
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady)

3) Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) (must see)

The Frauenkirche is the seat of the Archbishop of Munich and Freising. Its two towers are landmarks of the city and command spectacular views over Munich and the Alps.

The Frauenkirche occupies the site of a former 12th century Marian Chapel. Prince Sigismund of Bavaria ordered the construction of a larger church dedicated to the Holy Virgin on the site in 1468. The simple Gothic structure was designed by Jörg von Halspach and Lukas Rottaler. The red brick church was completed and consecrated in 1494. The two towers with onion domes were added in 1525. The church was damaged during the World War II bombings. The roof collapsed and the north tower suffered severe damage. It was restored after the war and is a popular place of worship in the city.

The striking Gothic structure of the church is simple and dignified with little ornamentation. The Gothic vaulting over the nave and chancel is supported by two simple octagonal pillars. Windows are cleverly hidden behind columns making it look as if the church has only one window above the chancel. Treasures in the interior that survived the bombings are a painting called The Protecting Cloak, by Jan Polack, and the cenotaph of the Holy Roman Emperor Louis IV created by Hans Krumpper.

Tip:
This is the city's mother church so photos are discouraged, and the needs of people coming to pray have to be considered.
In the nave of the church, you'll find the Devil's Footprint or Teufelstritt. If you step in it, you'll be engulfed in flames that hollow your skull and cause your head to shrink, a la Herman Dietrich in "Raiders of the Lost Ark".
To visit the church is kostenlos (free), but you will have to pay a small fee if you want to take the lift up the south tower, instead of hoofing it.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 7:30am-8:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
St. Michael's Church

4) St. Michael's Church

The St. Michael's Church in Munich is the largest religious structure built in Renaissance style north of the Alps. It is managed by the Jesuit order and was built by the Duke of Bavaria, William IV, as a center for the Counter Reformation in response to Martin Luther’s protestant reforms of Christendom.

St. Michael’s Church was first built between the years 1583 and 1588 and was designed by an unknown architect. The church had an extensive barrel vaulted roof and a tower. The tower collapsed and damaged the newly constructed choir in 1590. After the accident, a grand choir and transept were added to the original structure and the church was consecrated in 1597.

The St. Michael’s Church is a masterpiece of design. The facade is divided by three cornices horizontally with figures portraying the agenda of the Counter Reformation. The figure of the Archangel Michael by sculptor Hubert Gerhard is placed on the ground floor niche. The stone figures in the other niches are of Dukes and Kings of Bavaria. The interior has a nave without aisles that gives it a bright and airy appearance. There is a magnificent Triumphal Arch in front of the choir. The three story high altar has another sculpture of St Michael fighting the devil by Christoph Schwarz as the altarpiece. The crypt holds the graves of members of the Wittelsbach Royal family who ruled Bavaria and those of the sculptor, Giovanni da Bologna and Eugène de Beauharnais, the son of Napoleon’s wife Josephine.
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Asam Church

5) Asam Church (must see)

The official name of the building popularly known as the Asam Church is the St. Johann Nepomuk Church. This small church has the most opulent interiors among religious buildings in Munich.

The Asam Church was built by brothers Cosmas Damian and Egid Quirin Asam. It was constructed between 1733 and 1746 and dedicated to a Bohemian monk named Johann Nepomuk who was revered for his noble deeds. He was drowned in the Danube on the orders of King Wenceslaus for refusing to divulge the confessions of the Queen. The Asam brothers intended the Church as their family’s small private place of worship but were forced by the citizens of Munich to allow access to all.

The Asam Church is one of the finest examples of late German Baroque architecture. It has 12 rows of pews for a small family congregation. The interiors are covered with frescoes painted by Cosmas Damian Asam. A lavish fresco in the ceiling portrays the drowning of Saint Nepomuk. The high altar has four twisted columns with a glass shrine containing a wax figure of Saint Nepomuk. There is a beautiful sculpture depicting God the father bending over the crucified Christ in the cornice. The interior ornamentation today is the result of careful restoration between the years 1975 and 1982.

Why You Should Visit:
Gaudy and baroque in a very unique way you do not see often. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in decoration: fresco, marble, stucco and acres of gilding compete for attention. Such heavy decoration may not be to everyone's taste, but it's hard not to marvel here.

Tip:
As with everything, try going early in the morning to avoid crowds blocking your photos (avoid mass times).
It's best to try to visit on a sunny day so that that the gold and other bling have more of a chance to shine.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Sendlinger Strasse

6) Sendlinger Strasse

The Sendlinger Strasse is one of the oldest shopping streets of Munich, located in the heart of the city in the Aldstat or the Old Town. A pedestrian zone, this street is home to smaller shops selling antiques, handicrafts, books and jewelry. Most of these shops are family owned enterprises that have survived for generations. The street starts at Sendlinger Tor and connects is to the Marienplatz.
7
Viktualienmarkt

7) Viktualienmarkt (must see)

The Viktualienmarkt is located a few meters away from Marienplatz in Munich. It is a daily open air farmers market that consists of stalls selling flowers, vegetables, fruit and meat.

The first central market of Munich was in Marienplatz. As the city prospered, the square became too small for the growing number of shops. King Maximilian of Bavaria decided to demolish the nearby Heiliggeist charitable hospital to provide a larger space for the market. At the time the square was called Marktplatz. The name was later changed to Viktualienmarkt. Viktuel is the Latin word for food. Halls were added as the city grew richer and separate pavilions for fish, fowl, meat and bakery items were installed. The bombs of World War II almost completely destroyed the market. It was rebuilt after the war by the city authorities, and fountains and other decorative elements were added to make it more attractive. Today, Viktualienmarkt has over 140 shops selling gourmet food, exotic fruit cheeses, pastries, sausages and venison. There are beer gardens within the market, too. Folk events, like dances, music performances, Brewer’s Day, Gardener’s Day celebrations, a special event marking the opening of the asparagus season, a summer festival and the Shrove Tuesday dance of the Market women, take place here throughout the year. From 1975, it has been a pedestrian zone and a popular meeting place for locals and visitors.
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Peterskirche (St. Peter's Church)

8) Peterskirche (St. Peter's Church) (must see)

Affectionately called Old Peter by the locals, Peterskirche is said to be the site around which the city of Munich developed. It dates back to the 12th century and occupies the site of an older 8th-century monastery and church.

The Peterskirche stands on the site of a former pre-Merovingian Church. The monks who lived in the monastery called the hill, Petersbergl or Peter’s Hill. The city is named after these monks. Munchen is from the German word Monch meaning monk. A Bavarian Romanesque structure was first built in 1180. It burned down in 1327. The present church dates back to 1368. The Steeple topped spire and Baroque choir were added in the 17th century. The building was severely damaged during World War II but carefully restored later to resemble the original structure.

The interior of the Peterskirche has Erasmus Grasser’s sculpture from the 15th century and paintings by Johann Baptist Zimmerman. A popular attraction among visitors is the gilded skeleton of St. Mundita that is adorned with precious stones. Visitors can climb 306 steps to reach the upper platform of the steeple to get breathtaking views across Munich and as far as the Alps on a clear day. Color-coded circles at the lower platform give an indication about the view from the top. A white circle tells visitors that the climb is worthwhile and that the Alps are visible from the upper platform.

Tip:
Be sure to pay a few euros to climb to the tower top for a 360° view of Munich. The climb is not easy and the view is not for those afraid of heights – but for the adventurous, it's well worth-while.
If you can, try to head up for just before 11am or 12 noon, as then you can get a brilliant view of the glockenspiel clock in action in Marienplatz, without having to jostle with fellow tourists.
The are also two viewing binoculars that let you soak in all the colored rooftops that you see; however, note that it can get really windy and cold up there.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 9am-5:30pm; Sat-Sun: 10am-5:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)

9) Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall) (must see)

The Old Town Hall was the seat of the Municipality of Munich until the construction of the Neues Rathaus in 1874. It stands on the eastern side of Marienplatz and was left untouched, unlike many other buildings that were demolished to make way for the New Town Hall.

The Old Town Hall was built between 1470 and 1480 based on a design by architect, Jörg von Halsbach. The renowned architect also designed the Frauenkirche in Munich. It had a late Gothic style at the time of its construction. It was remodeled several times and was altered to a neo-Gothic style between the years 1861 and 1864. Two tunnels were built through the building to make way for traffic between 1877 and 1934. It was the venue of the famous speech of Joseph Goebbels that led to the attack on German Jews called Kristallnacht and marked the beginning of the Holocaust. The Altes Rathaus was severely damaged during the World War II bombings and was extensively restored based on its 15th-century design.

The Altes Rathaus, today, hosts the offices of the city council, some administrative offices and a Toy Museum set in four rooms in its tower. There is a souvenir & gift shop on the first floor that sells unique souvenir items – in particular replicas of the wooden sculptures called The Morris Dancers by Munich sculptor, Erasmus Grasser.

Why You Should Visit:
One of the finest historical buildings to see at Marienplatz. Just as with the other ('new') town hall, you can go up the stairs to the top. The inside on the ground floor is absolutely gorgeous too, looking exactly how many expect German buildings to look.

Tip:
The Altes Rathaus tower now serves as a Toy Museum (Spielzugmuseum) and providing yet another bit of fun is the Juliet Capulet Statue, located on the side of the building. This was a gift from the city of Verona to Munich in the 1970s.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
10
Hofbräuhaus Beer Hall

10) Hofbräuhaus Beer Hall

The Beer Hall is probably the best-known beer hall in Munich. Originally built in 1607, the building has been reconstructed and restored as recently as 1958. Massive in size, the beer hall is steeped in history and on 24 February 1920, Adolf Hitler organized one of his first propaganda events here. The beer served here is from the Staatliches Hofbräuhaus brewery. They serve Bavarian delicacies like the roast pork, sausages and knuckle of pork. Bavarian music is played during regular hours.
11
Maximilianstrasse

11) Maximilianstrasse

The western portion of Maximilianstrasse is a shopping street in the city centre of Munich. The place is well known for luxury boutiques, jewelry stores and designer shops. Famous brands like Gucci, Bulgari, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Chanel, Versace and other big names have their presence here.

Walking Tours in Munich, Germany

Create Your Own Walk in Munich

Create Your Own Walk in Munich

Creating your own self-guided walk in Munich is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
City Orientation Walk II

City Orientation Walk II

Bavarian capital Munich is a home to numerous historic sights and museums. The most notable of them are the Deutsches Theatermuseum (German Theater Museum), Bayerisches Nationalmuseum (Bavarian National Museum), Pinakothek der Moderne, and Neue Pinakothek. To see what else Munich has to offer, follow this orientation walk and enjoy.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.0 km
Altstadt Souvenir Shops

Altstadt Souvenir Shops

It would be a pity to leave Munich without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Munich, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit. You find them in the shops located in Munich Altstadt, all within a pleasant walking distance.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 km
Kunstareal Museums & Galleries

Kunstareal Museums & Galleries

Kunstareal is known as the art district of the city. This small district is home to some of the best museums and galleries in the world. Each of these museums portrays art forms from distinctly different eras. Located just north of the main train station, the artistic treasures here rivals the best in the world.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 km
Lehel Attractions Walking Tour

Lehel Attractions Walking Tour

The Lehel is regarded as "the oldest suburb" of Munich. It is home to The State Museum of Ethnology, the second largest collection in Germany of artifacts and objects from outside Europe, the Bavarian National Museum and the adjoining State Archeological Collection, the Schackgalerie - an important gallery of German 19th-century paintings and the Englisn Garden.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km
South Alstadt Walking Tour

South Alstadt Walking Tour

The Southern part of the Alstadt consists of 2 quarters: the Hackenviertel in the south west and the Angerviertel in the south east. It lies between the two historic towers: the Sendlinger Tor and the Isartor, two of four main gates of the medieval city wall. The area is home to famous museums and beautiful churches, but also to the oldest shopping street of Munich, Sendlinger Strasse.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 km
Maxvorstadt Nightlife

Maxvorstadt Nightlife

Munich's nightlife is an attraction in its own right. There's no shortage of quality entertainment in the city amid its industrial areas reconstructed into funky nightlife zones. Maxvorstadt neighborhood, otherwise known as the "Brain of Munich" due to the dense presence of artistic and educational institutions, carries much weight in terms of night fun just as well. Should you...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 km

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Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Munich, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.