Munich for History Buffs

Munich knows how to have a good time. This is, after all, the beer capital of Europe. But while the merriment continues year-round in the city’s bounteous beer halls, and of course its mammoth Oktoberfest, Munich manages to somehow shake off its hangover and retain a surprisingly sensible reputation for hard work and innovation.

The city is filled with momentous landmarks marking its varied past. This is the location of some of Germany’s finest museums like the Bayerisces Nationalmuseum, art galleries and theaters, lending it a rather refined and prosperous air. Its triple-arched Siegestor was where Bavarian rulers passed through. There's also has the dark history of World War II which is laid bare for the world to pay tribute to, like the memorial and museum at Dachau

All this marries well with the elegant Bavarian palace, Residenz, and grand churches. But look past the sharp suits and flash cars and you’ll find another beer hall pounding with oompah music, an appealing reminder of Munich’s mischievous side. 

Siegestor (Victory Gate)

King Ludwig I dedicated this imposing archway to the victorious Bavarian army, inspired by Constantine’s Arch in Rome. The arch forms the northern edge of Ludwigstrasse, forming the border of the royal boulevard.

Jüdisches Museum (Jewish Museum)

This collection of permanent and temporary exhibits represents Jewish life and culture in Munich, spread over three exhibition floors. This forms part of the large Jewish community centre, which also houses a new synagogue, site of the progroms in 1938. Open Tues-Sun 10am-6pm. Adult €4, child €2.

Bayerisches Nationalmuseum (Bavarian National Museum)

Specialising in decorative arts and folklore, with Bavarian artworks, furniture and clothing from the Middle Ages to Art Nouveau period, mostly part of the art collection of the Wittelsbach family. The decorative arts collection includes oil paintings, musical instruments and Nymphenburg porcelain.

Glyptothek

Munich’s oldest public museum has a feast of marble sculptures from ancient Greece and Rome, in a spacious setting. The architecture of the vaulted museum halls are based on that of a Roman bath building. Open 10am-5pm Tues-Sun; 10am-8pm Wed. Adult €6, conc €4.

Oktoberfest Grounds at Theresienwise

This 42-hectare exhibition ground is the site of the famous 16-day international beer festival in October, which attracts around 6 million visitors each year. It is named after Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, who married the future king Ludwig I here in 1810 and hence the Oktoberfest began.

Residenz

Munich’s most photographed sight is this magnificent Renaissance palace, the seat of Bavaria’s rulers, the Wittelsbachs, until 1918.

Hofgarten (Royal Garden)

These royal gardens present a romantic setting, with frescoes showing the history of Bavarian. You'll also see elderly locals playing boccia (a game resembling bowls) in the sandy pathways.

Hofbräuhaus

One of Munich’s oldest breweries, it’s very popular with tourists visiting its beer hall and restaurant. Still worth a quick visit to soak up a bit of history – and half a litre of excellent beer, of course.

Herrenchiemsee Palace

The palace was commissioned by King Ludwig II in 1873—a great admirer of King Louis XIV of France, and his palace in Versailles. In 1878, with the help of an architect, Ludwig's rococo-style French castle was built on the island of Chiemsee, overlooking a large lake.