Cultural Weekend Getaway to Munich
05 February, 2015
There’s a lot more to Munich than the Oktoberfest beer festival and a legendary football team –this city of 1.5 million people is one of Europe’s most important cultural centres, while also boasting a very complete menu of entertainment and recreational options, every day of the year. Here are a few proposals for a weekend getaway to this liveliest of German cities.
Amongst it many attractions, Munich is easy to get to and to get around in, thanks to its huge international airport, excellent rail connection, and the super-modern public transport systems serving the city and its outskirts. Most of the key places for sightseers are concentrated in a relatively small area, and the city is thronged with visitors all year round. Keep in mind that the Alps are nearby, and the city is a staging point for skiers in winter and for climbers, hikers, mountain bikers, and paragliders in summer.
The city’s cultural life is intense, and no tourist should neglect to visits the cluster of three classical art museums collectively known as the Pinakothek –a show of El Greco is now in progress in one of them and will remain open until 12th April. Not far away is the Brandhorst museum of modern art. On the bank of the Isar river is the fascinating Deutsches Museum of science and technology. It has a branch in Schleissheim to the north of the city that specialises in airplanes, and another in Theresienhöhe dedicated to every imaginable type of land transport vehicle. You may also enjoy the recently opened ZNT, New Technologies Centre, with its focus on nanotechnology and biotechnology. Car aficionados will love the BMW Welt museum –BMW is a Bavarian brand, afer all! To learn more about Munich itself, and its long and curious history, check out the Stadtmuseum, and don’t miss the permanent “Typically Munich” exhibition. For insights into the Bavarian people, there’s the incredible Residenz, the old palace of the Bavarian royal family, located in the city centre, and Germany’s largest urban palace. Today it is one of Europe’s leading museums of decorative arts, and its richly furnished and adorned spaces evoke many centuries of history under the Wittelsbach dynasty (1180-1918). At a short distance is the dynasty’s first Munich home, the Alter Hof, later used as law courts, and now the site of the Bavarian Museums Information Office and of a small museum devoted to the Wittelbachs, whose most famous king, Ludwig II, was born in the Nymphenburg castle standing in the western part of the city, next to the entrance to the Nymphenburg park. But just two hours southwest of Munich is one of Germany’s most celebrated castles, Neuschwanstein, at the foot of the Alps, which was Walt Disney’s inspiration for the castle in the cartoon classic Sleepìng Beauty.
Munich, by the way, has three top-ranked orchestras, numerous music festivals in many genres, and dozens of concert halls.
Design is something else Munich is famous for, and this is evident in the way people dress –in style and good taste, like the people of Milan. The city centre is the best place to shop for designer clothes and decorative items, for antiques, and for books. For luxury goods, jewellery, silverware, etc., look for shops labelled as Königlich Bayerischen Hoflieferanten, or “suppliers to the royal household of Bavaria”.
A Bite to Eat, Sports…
It’s almost impossible not to eat well wherever you go in Bavaria, and Munich’s dining is unrivalled for quality and variety. Local specialities include the famous Weisswurst or veal sausages, accompanied by a salty soft or crisp pretzel and sweet mustard; a ration of pork or beef with mash; and a spicy Obatzder cheese sauce with black bread. When it comes to eating, the locals prefer the biergärten –especially in summer—and the friendly beer halls found throughout the city.
For the sports-minded, we recommend a tour of the Olimpiastadion stadium where the main events of the 1972 Olympic Games were held, a milestone in stadium architecture, and still in almost continual use, as is the Allianz Arena, built for the 2006 World Football Cup, and now home to FC Bayern -a team with five Champions League titles to its credit- and the less well-known TSV 1860.
Munich awaits! Check out our fares here!
Photos: Deutschland Tourismus, Haydar Koyupinar/ Museum Brandhorst
05 February, 2015