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Old Town Walking Tour (Self Guided), Munich

Marienplatz is a prominent public square located in the heart of Munich's old town. In the past, the square served as a salt and grain market, but today it is a magnet for visitors who gather here from all over the world to admire the Gothic facade of the town hall and other nearby attractions.
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Old Town Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Old Town Walking Tour
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: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Author: clare
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Marienplatz
  • Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall)
  • Spielzeugmuseum (Toy Museum)
  • Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)
  • Peterskirche (St. Peter's Church)
  • Viktualienmarkt
  • Munchner Stadtmuseum (City Museum of Munich)
  • Asam Church
  • Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady)
  • Kaufingerstrasse/Neuhauserstrasse
  • Karlsplatz
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. Part of the second construction phase of the New Town Hall, it dates from 1908. Every day at 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. (as well as 5 p.m. in the summer) it chimes and re-enacts two stories from the 16th century to the amusement of mass crowds of tourists and locals. It consists of 43 bells and 32 life-sized figures. The top half of the Glockenspiel tells the story of the marriage of the local Duke Wilhelm V (who also founded the noted Hofbräuhaus) to Renata of Lorraine. In honor of the happy couple there is a joust with life-sized knights on horseback representing Bavaria (in white and blue) and Lothringen (in red and white). The Bavarian knight wins every time, of course.

This is then followed by the bottom half and second story: Schäfflertanz (the coopers' dance). According to myth, 1517 was a year of plague in Munich. The coopers are said to have danced through the streets to "bring fresh vitality to fearful dispositions." The coopers remained loyal to the duke, and their dance came to symbolize perseverance and loyalty to authority through difficult times. By tradition, the dance is performed in Munich every seven years. This was described in 1700 as "an age-old custom", but the current dance was defined only in 1871. The dance can be seen during Fasching (German Carnival): the next one is in 2019.

The whole show lasts somewhere between 12 and 15 minutes long depending on which tune it plays that day. At the very end of the show, a very small golden rooster at the top of the Glockenspiel chirps quietly three times, marking the end of the spectacle.
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Spielzeugmuseum (Toy Museum)

3) Spielzeugmuseum (Toy Museum)

This unique Toy Museum occupies four floors of the tower of the Old Town Hall of Munich. Dolls and toys from around the world are on display.

The Toy Museum houses the collection of Czech writer, cartoonist and film maker, Ivan Steiger and his wife Eva. He opened the museum to the public in 1983. Mechanical toys are displayed in such a manner that visitors can see the intricate mechanism that goes into their creation. A spiral stone staircase leads visitors to the museum where dolls are arranged according to type on different floors.

Collections at the Toy Museum include the earliest teddy bears, made by renowned doll maker Margaret Steiff, and the pretty china doll creations of another well known doll maker, Käthe Kruse. Most of the dolls are second-hand and were the precious belongings of a child at some time in the past. One can view X rays of the inside of the doll to see how it was put together. Other floors have displays of mechanical cars, trains and merry go rounds. A notable mechanical toy is the antique French laufpuppe that dates back to 1855. One can view the complex mechanism that enables the toy to move its arms and legs and talk. The Toy museum also has an impressive collection of each and every outfit made to clothe Barbie dolls from the date of the creation of this iconic doll.
4
Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)

4) Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)

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. 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.

***Third Reich Wak***
The impressive buildings in the center of the city and it also played an important role in the Nazi’s seizure of power. This is the place where Joseph Goebbels gave the speech that inspired Kristallnacht on November 9, 1938. A pogrom against Jews throughout Germany, Kristallnacht led to the destruction of many Jewish-owned businesses and the arrest of thousands of Jewish citizens. Kristallnacht, or “the night of broken glass,” is generally considered the start of the Final Solution and the Holocaust.
***PH***

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
5
Peterskirche (St. Peter's Church)

5) 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
6
Viktualienmarkt

6) 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. 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.

Situated in the heart of the Viktualienmarkt, the Beer Graden is a nice place to take a break among the shaded chestnut trees. The place can sit a1000 people and offers sumptuous Bavarian specialties like the potato salad, pork roast and homemade cheese. Good Bavarian beer is served here. The place is open from 9am to 10pm in the summer and from 9am to 6pm in the winter and stays closed on Sundays and holidays.
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Munchner Stadtmuseum (City Museum of Munich)

7) Munchner Stadtmuseum (City Museum of Munich)

The Munich Stadtmuseum ("Münchner Stadtmuseum") is the city museum of Munich. It was founded in 1888 by Ernst von Destouches and is located in the former municipal arsenal and stables, both buildings of the late Gothic period. It provides visitors with an overview of Munich's history and its citizens' lifestyle. Regular exhibitions are held on the popular arts and traditions of the region. A wooden model of Munich city as it was in 1572 is one of the interesting exhibits. An exhibition on Morris dancers forms the main display on the ground floor. The second floor houses an exhibition on the camera and the fourth floor has an extensive collection of musical instruments.

Operation Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Asam Church

8) 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
9
Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady)

9) 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
10
Kaufingerstrasse/Neuhauserstrasse

10) Kaufingerstrasse/Neuhauserstrasse (must see)

This shopping zone in central Munich is a complete pedestrian zone and is just a few steps away from the Hauptbahnhof. Modern stores like Zara, H&M, C&A, Mango, Karstadt, Kaufhof, Zero and many more are located here. Streetside vendors selling flowers, fruits, vegetables, roasted nuts, souvenirs add a different charm to the place. Numerous outdoor cafes allow you to take a break between your shopping, sit and watch people or just admire the architectural splendor of the surrounding buildings.

Tip:
If you're in the city center but want to shop away from the mainstream stores, Sendlinger straße may have a bit more variation.
11
Karlsplatz

11) Karlsplatz

The Karlsplatz is the second largest square in Munich next to the Marienplatz. It is popularly known as Stachus and is located near the 14th century gate called the Karlstor.

The Karlsplatz was laid under instructions from the Elector karl Theodor in 1791. It is reputed to have got its popular name Stachus from a pub called Beim Stachus owned by Mathias Eustachius Föderl, that was located here before the square was laid. The other theory is that the name is a corruption of the word 'Stachel' or the arrows of marksmen who practiced their skills at the square. The Karlstor is a Gothic style gate that was once part of a large fortification. The Rondell buildings on both sides of the gate were designed by renowned architect, Gabriel von Seidl.

The main pedestrian shopping area of Munich is between Karlplatz and Marienplatz. The Stachus Square today, has a modern fountain built in the 1970s with seating spaces where shoppers and visitors can rest their feet in summer. In winter, the area around the fountain becomes an ice skating rink. The Kaufhof, which was the first department store founded after the war is located on the west side of the square. The underground has a large shopping center and Stachus Square serves as the main hub for Munich’s tramway system.
Sight description based on wikipedia

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.
Palaces Walking Tour

Palaces Walking Tour

Munich city is a conglomerate of palaces that reflects a variety of styles. The enormous palaces have a long history and some of them have been added to and rebuilt over the centuries. While some were built to be royal residences, others were used as hunting lodges, temporary residences or castles. The palaces reflect a wonderful mix of renaissance, baroque and rococo styles of architecture.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Kreuzviertel Walking Tour

Kreuzviertel Walking Tour

Kreuzviertel is one of the four quarters of Munich Alstadt. Historically here was located the centre of the clergy as there was a particularly high number of monasteries. Take this tour to admire the beautiful palaces and churches located in this area, and explore interesting shopping spots and museums.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 Km or 0.8 Miles
Art District Museums & Galleries

Art District 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: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles
Munich Introduction Walk

Munich Introduction Walk

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.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Third Reich Munich Walking Tour

Third Reich Munich Walking Tour

It was in Munich that Hitler had made his first attempts at grabbing power. The walking tour explores the places and events that are related to the Nazi movement. It traces the events from the first mass meetings at the Hofbräuhaus to the failed attempt to seize power at the Felderrnhalle.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles
Old Town Souvenir Shops

Old Town 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: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles

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