Take a stroll through Bavaria’s most famous city with Ellie Gehlert, as she explains what you should and shouldn’t do during your visit
DON’T take the subway to get around town. You won’t see any of Munich’s beautiful city centre, only boring dark subway tunnels. Rent a bike rickshaw at Marienplatz instead or walk around town. You will learn more about the place you visit and might even meet people to party with later on while asking for directions.
DO relax at Munich’s biggest park, the Englischer Garten. The canal that runs through it offers the chance to see surfers trying to master the famous standing wave. Along with an Augustiner beer, it also contributes to your general wellbeing by providing welcome refreshment for your tired tourist feet. It’s called Eisbach, or ice stream, for a reason.
DON’T go shopping at Maximilianstraße. It is always crammed with innocent tourists hoping to find local products, but things are in fact overpriced and the shops don’t have anything that you can’t find on Amazon or your local shopping centre.
DO visit a museum. The old Pinakothek contains works of the Old Masters like Rembrandt, Da Vinci and Velazquez and provides the perfect way to pass the time on a rainy afternoon. The paintings are massive and you will need to take more than just one step back to acknowledge their full magnificence; so wear your glasses, look sophisticated and admire away.
DON’T buy a ticket for the Alpine Museum. Instead, invest in a ticket for the regional train which takes you to the actual mountains in little more time than it would take you to figure out the museum’s audio guide. Garmisch-Partenkirchen, famous for its ski championships, is only 90 minutes away.
DO spend an evening in a beer garden. You will find yourself in a balmy place sheltered from the hubbub by majestic chestnut trees. The traditional venues, like the Hirschgarten, still allow their guests to bring their own food; a result of the beer gardens initially only serving as barrel repositories with brewers selling their fresh draught beer to the thirsty public, but not having the licence to sell food.
DON’T wear a carnevalesque imitation of a traditional Bavarian outfit. Bavarians are as skilled in smelling fake leather as they are in differentiating between the liquids of Bavaria’s 600 odd breweries. And non-native girls in Dirndl dresses too short for their own good will realize their mistake when being kissed without so much as having been talked to before. Whether you tie the apron of your dress left, right or in the middle does make a difference indeed.
DO try the local food. It’s delicious, besides the many consonants in the names. The white sausages, Bavaria’s signature dish, are incredibly tasty with pretzels and sweet mustard. Kässpatzn, the German version of mac & cheese, and Obatzda, the beer-infused French mongrel of Camembert cheese, are the way to go for vegetarians.
DON’T, under any circumstances, attempt to go to the Oktoberfest during weekends. It’s overcrowded, the beer mugs (steins) aren’t as full, you won’t find a place to sit and the roller coaster rides are shorter. For the best experience, go Monday, go early, have plenty for breakfast. It’s still a modern day brass-music sociological insight on the relation of beer consumption and human abyss. So go, drink and participate, for sociology’s sake.
DO take a stroll through Glockenbachviertel. Not only the LGBT tip for its vast choice of gay clubs, vibrant bars and artsy galleries alongside the occasional fetish and sex shop, but also crucial for caffeine addicts with its numerous cafés. It is a miraculous place that caters for almost any kind of inclination.