Forget Berlin: Munich is Germany’s must-visit city

The Bavarian capital Munich is not all about Oktoberfest, frothy steins, and slapped lederhosen. A budding art scene, palatial parks and internationally lauded fine dining, makes Munich a German capital of cool.

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Munich is a friendly, compact and, most importantly, young city. The city was founded just 850 years ago and the locals are fiercely proud of their region and contributions to the German culture. With the Alps just an hour away, the city is regularly voted as Germany’s ideal place to live, which is no surprise as the city offers gorgeous ornate buildings and mouth-watering food. Not to mention it’s thriving culture and clubbing scenes which are free from the tourists that haunt the capital.

Dining with the Bavarians

Viktualienmarkt, which sprawls between ancient chestnut trees, is a unique food market that is visited by many locals. Here you can get high-quality bread, ground coffee, cheese, fruits, tangy spices and enjoy a bit of Munich’s lifestyle. Alternatively come for the traditional ‘Frühschoppen’ which is a traditional Bavarian brunch consisting of Weisswurst, sweet mustard, pretzels, and wheat beer.

Bavaria‘s cuisine is world class and the fine food is available all across the city. The trendy restaurants ‘Atelier’ and the ‘Garden’, designed by the Belgian art dealer Axel Vervoordt and located inside the luxurious Hotel ‘Bayerischer Hof’ offer Mediterranean inspired dishes while the Gasthaus Glockenbach, owned by famous chef Karl Ederer, serves up a great selection of traditional German entrées, lamb and fish. It’s perfect spot for a romantic dinner and offers three different menus for lunch and dinner as well as delicious vegetarian options.

If you can’t resist the call of the stein, visit the ‘Wirtshaus am Sendlinger Tor’, which is a popular hangout where you can get a gamut of Wurst served along with your beer of choice. If you feel like sipping with the lederhosen-clad locals, you should check out the ‘Augustiner am Platz’. Be aware that to the Germans it’s considered a serious no-no to not clink glasses with each and every person while making eye contact and say ‘Prost’ before drinking. Drinking with the locals at one of the typical beer halls also means that you can expect to take a sip every few minutes so you better hope your drink is not too potent.

Hip-Hop Couture Made in Munich

If you love the 90s hip hop culture and basketball, you shouldn’t miss the BEASTIN store. The Munich-based label, founded by design duo Duki and Fu, has been showcased by many international artists, athletes and tastemakers. The BSTN Store in Munich’s city centre is one of Europe’s leading street fashion stores, offering a handpicked selection of hard to get brands and products like NIKE’s sought after Tier Zero silhouettes and their own brand of course.

Dirndl Chic

If you have the cash and the inclination, go and try on a traditional Bavarian Lederhosen or Dirndl. Stores like Angermaier and Lodenfrey, offer high-quality Trachten. According to designer of couture dirndls, Lola Paltinger, the Bavarian costumes are highly fashionable since Munich designers have started to put a modern twist on the traditional threads.

Where to Stay

In the heart of Marienplatz, overlooking Viktualienmarkt, you can find the Design Hotel Louis, warm and chic place. The rooms are filled with natural fabrics, rustic woods  and feature quirky touches like wardrobes designed as suitcases. Serving modern Japanese cuisine, the restaurant Emiko, is filled every night with Munich’s fabulous and fashionable, all sipping sake.

Sister Hotel Cortiina is located very centrally and has a stunning feng shui-inspired ambience, sophisticated design, impeccable service, and a deep relationship with the local creative scene.

Nightlife

Munich’s nightspots open at a dizzying rate. Set in the city’s newly-converted bus station, Neuraum, is the place to dance the night away. When you’ve worked up an appetite, follow everyone next door to Vapiano.

Don’t Miss

Haus der Kunst showcases Germany’s “finest art” and now displays the work of modern artists as well as travelling collections from political dissidents. At the Justizpalast (Buildings of Justice) visitors can explore the little known story of the White Rose, a small resistance group of students who protested against the Nazi regime and were tried and put to death.

The recently opened Jewish Museum makes an excellent addition to the Jewish cultural centre, as does the delicious kosher restaurant, Einstein.

Only 10 minutes walk from the central Marienplatz, Munich’s hippest neighbourhood is shining. The Gärtnerplatz offers Delis, boutiques, cafés and clubs. Take a rest at the Tushita Teehaus, a tiny café filled with teas of every flavour to soak it all in.

Words by Toyah Marondel. Follow Toya Marondel on Twitter

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