Munich for Architecture Lovers

Munich is famed for its Bavarian history, but it's also at the front of some cutting-edge technology. There's no greater example of this than BMW-Welt & Museum, a futuristic silver building dedicated to the techinical wizardry of the famous motoring group. Germany won the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and there's no better place to witness the skill and passion for the game than at Allianz Arena, with a fully color-changing exterior.

There older, much older architectural landmarks that have made the city what it is. You can't miss the twin-domed Gothic cathedral, rebuilt after war damage. You can climb to the top of the bell tower at the Gothic church Kirche St. Peter, and see a performance in the neo-classical Bayerische Staatsoper.

Even in its art scene, it's often the building itself which is as much an appeal as the content. Take Museum Brandhorst, opened in 2009, with its multicolored façade, and the concrete-and-glass Pinakothek Der Moderne. To get a panorama of the city, from its red roofs to domes and gargoyles and modern structures, you won't do much better than climbing to the top of Neues Rathaus, to see the city unfold.

Bayerische Staatsoper (Bavarian State Opera House)

The historic home of the Bavarian State opera and State Ballet companies is on the site of the first theatre that was built here in 1818 and destroyed by fire a few years later. Happily, the third and present one opened in 1963, seating over 2,000 people and with an opulent royal box in the centre.

BMW-Welt & Museum

This futuristic glass-and-steel building is where you can pay homage to the giant German motor company. At BMW Welt (world), sit on a powerful motorbike and take a guided tour of the plant.

Allianz Arena

One of Europe’s top football clubs, Bayern Munich, play home games at the spectacular Allianz Arena, which was built for the 2006 football World Cup. English-language guided tours take place daily, where you can visit the players’ dressing rooms and the tunnel. Don’t miss the museum and the club shop.

Frauenkirche (Cathedral)

Overlooking Marienplatz from the west are the unmistakable domed towers of this gothic cathedral (Cathedral Church of Our Beloved Lady), which was constructed in the late 15th century. Climb the top of the south tower from where, on a clear day, you can see the Alps.

Pinakothek Der Moderne

Open since 2002, this is the latest addition to Pinakothek museum complex. It houses four contemporary museums in one: contemporary art, 15th-21st-century drawings and prints; architectural drawings; and industrial and graphic design. Paintings include those by by Dalí, Picasso and German greats such as Beckman and Polke.

Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall)

The Town Hall is the seat of the mayor’s office. Its ornate façade is dominated by the famous Glockenspiel, dating back to 1908. Each day, its 32 mechanically moved figures re-enact Munich’s history in a 12-minute ‘show’, a very popular sight. Glockenspiel performance daily 11am, noon, 5pm (not 5pm Nov-Feb).

Museum Brandhorst

Opened in 2009, this is one of Munich’s newest additions to the art scene. With a stylish, colourful façade, this houses a contemporary and modern art collection, the private collection of Udo and Anette Brandhorst. It includes works by Damien Hirst and Bruce Nauman. Open Tues-Sun 10am-6pm; Thurs 10am-8pm.

Alte Pinakothek

This is a vast treasure trove of European art from the Middle Ages to the end of the rococo period. Its highlights include works by Dürer, Rembrandt, Tintoretto, Bruegel and Rubens. The gallery is undergoing major renovations until 2017 where some sections may be closed. Tue 10am-8pm, Wed-Sun 10am-6pm. Adult €7, child €5.

Kirche St. Peter (St Peter’s Church, ‘Alter Peter’)

Munich’s oldest parish church, with origins dating back to 1181, was reshaped around 1750 in the Bavarian Baroque style. Climb 306 steps to top of the tower for an overview of the city. Mon-Wed open 8.30am-noon; 1.30pm-4.30pm. Wed 8.30am-noon; Fri, Sat 8.30am-noon.

Biergarten um Chinesischer Turm

The 25-meter-high Chinese pagoda is your landmark for this huge beer garden, located in the English Gardens, the second largest in Munich. Its bucolic setting attracts many locals, visitors and students—it seats 7,000 in all, comprising a self-services and table service area.