Munich is quintessential Germany. Where Berlin and Frankfurt may disappoint you with their modern style, Munich is the land of Lederhosen, traditional Biergartens, and the biggest beer festival in the world.
And no trip to Munich is complete without visiting these top ten attractions and sights. Many of them are in the center of Munich's Old Town and you can easily walk from one landmark to the other.
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Marienplatz (Marien Square) is the central square in the heart of Munich and holds the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall of Munich). The tower of the New Town Hall houses the Glockenspiel, a beautiful chiming clock that is over 100 years old. Come here at 11:00 or noon to hear the Glockenspiel ring and watch the 32 life-sized figures reenact historical Bavarian events. Watch for the golden bird that chirps three times to mark the end of each show.
From here, you can also explore some of the city's most historic buildings, churches, and landmarks such as the Mariensäule (Marian Column), which is topped with the golden statue of Virgin Mary.
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The Catholic Cathedral of Our Blessed Lady is the most identifiable landmark of Munich and the city's largest church; it holds up to 20,000 people.
Together with the Rathaus (Town Hall), the sturdy twin towers of the Cathedral shape Munich's skyline and make it a great point of orientation. You can also climb the steps of the towers—the view of Munich's cityscape and the Bavarian Alps is breathtaking. The architectural style of the brick-built cathedral is late Gothic and is from the 15th century. The famous domes that top each tower were modeled on the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.
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Dachau visitors follow the "path of the prisoner," walking the same way prisoners were forced to after their arrival in the camp. You will see the original prisoner baths, barracks, courtyards, and the crematorium, as well as an extensive exhibition and various memorials.
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If you want to drink your Bier the way it was meant to be, visit one of the many beer halls in Munich. Most of them brew their own beer, and your drink will taste even better with a platter of local specialties and some oompah music. You probably heard about Hofbrauhaus (and brewery tour), one of the most famous beer halls in Germany (the world?), but, of course, there is more than that. Here's a list of the best Munich beer halls, where you can experience Bavarian hospitality at its best.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Only a few steps away from Marienplatz, you'll find the bustling Viktualienmarkt, Munich's daily outdoor farmers market. Stroll past the 140 colorful booths and enjoy fresh and seasonal food.
The Viktualienmarkt, whose beginnings date back to the early 19th century, offers everything from flowers, honey, and spices to meat, cheese, eggs, and pastries. Take in the garlands of sausages, mountains of fresh vegetables, and pyramids of fruits, and let your senses be seduced.
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At the edge of Munich's old town lies the Residence, the former royal palace of the Bavarian monarchs. Today the Residence houses one of the best European museums of interior decoration. The Residence, whose first buildings were constructed in 1385, consists of 10 courtyards and beautiful historical gardens. The museum itself displays 130 rooms with antique furniture, art, porcelain, and tapestries that span the Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, and the neoclassical era.
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Just a few blocks northeast of the Munich Residence is the English Garden, Munich's largest park. Bigger than Central Park in New York, this green oasis is a wonderful place to explore: Rent a paddle boat, stroll along the wooded paths, visit one of its traditional beer gardens, and watch the German answer to surfing on the currents of the waterway called Eisbach.
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West of the English Garden is a unique ensemble of three museums, each of them highlighting a different period in European art.
The Alte Pinakothek is one of the oldest art galleries in the world and home to over 800 European masterpieces from the Middle Ages to the end of the Rococo. You can see one of the biggest Rubens collections here.
The Neue Pinakothek features art and sculpture from the late 18th to the beginning of the 20th century. Highlights include German art of the 19th century, such as paintings from Caspar David Friedrich, and a wonderful collection of French impressionists.
The Pinakothek der Moderne is the largest museum for modern art in Germany and spotlights art of the 20th century, including photography and video.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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The German Museum is located on an island in the river Isar that runs through Munich's city center. It is one of the oldest and largest science and technology museums in the world and boasts an impressive collection of historic artifacts.
You can see the first electric dynamo, the first automobile, and the laboratory bench where the atom was first split. Other highlights of the museum include exhibitions on astronomy, transportation, mining, printing, and photography.
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Olympic Stadium of Munich
This stadium was the site of the 1972 Summer Olympics, and its design was revolutionary and futuristic for its time: The sweeping and transparent canopies of acrylic glass that were modeled on the Alps are the signature characteristic of the Olympic Stadium. Discover more of the stadium with a guided tour.