From its innumerable stellar museums and galleries to the buzzing inner-city surf spots and biergartens that overflow in summer, Germany’s southern metropolis serves up a winning combination of culture and good cheer. The whole city really is rather lovely, so if you’re still undecided as to which city area to choose for your stay in Munich, here are some suggestions:
Altstadt. Visit the place where history, culture and shopping collide in Munich: the Altstadt (old town). Any trip to the Old Town will reveal the city’s grand past, owing to impressive buildings and their accompanying squares. Like Marienplatz, for instance, the central square shadowed by the towering neo-Gothic town hall. Or Odeonsplatz to the north, which is flanked by the immaculately landscaped Hofgarten and the 19th-century revival architecture of the Bayerische Staatskanzlei (Bavarian state government office). Another marvel worth noting is the brilliantly ornate Residenz, which once housed the Bavarian royal family and hosted performances from Mozart. Not to mention all the shops, restaurants, bars and other attractions on offer.
For a spacious, modern, effortlessly stylish stay, head to Hotel Louis, which also has an in-house Japanese restaurant. To save your pennies for sightseeing, try Mercure’s simple, clean and affordable central Altstadt outpost.
Maxvorstadt. Home to two universities and many of Munich’s world-class museums, the Maxvorstadt is a lively cultural hotpot just north of the Altstadt. It’s here you’ll find Munich’s outstanding Pinakothek trio – the Alte Pinakothek, Neue Pinakothek and Pinakothek der Moderne – as well as the modern and contemporary Museum Brandhorst, the historic Haus der Kunst and Munich’s belated, but excellent, Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism. Further down the Leopoldstraße, you’ll find the elegiac Siegestor, before the streets give way to trees and rolling meadows in the vast, gorgeous Englischer Garten.
Superbly placed for Königsplatz and the Pinakothek trio, Ruby Lilly promises a pristine night’s sleep in its minimalist, soundproofed rooms with box-spring mattresses, luxurious bed linens and blackout curtains. The Ruby bar and café serves light Italian dishes and drinks round the clock, including an organic breakfast of fresh fruit, wholegrain cereal and bread from a local bakery.
Glockenbach. With a string of characterful bistros, bars and clubs, Glockenbach is Munich’s nightlife hub, as well as the heart of the city’s LGBTQ+ scene, centred along the Müllerstraße. Still close to the city centre but set apart from the tourist traps, it’s a great choice for those looking to drink, dance and get a top-notch coffee the next morning. The Glockenbach Werkstatt is an exemplary community centre with a lively programme of jazz, music, poetry slams and more, plus a friendly beer garden.
Design newcomer Flushing Meadows promises spacious, well-lit rooms with classy mid-century furnishings, bright textiles and contemporary artworks. Its rooftop bar is particularly popular for aperitifs and sunset views.
Haidhausen. Sometimes called the ‘French quarter’, tranquil Haidhausen is one of Munich’s prettiest neighbourhoods. Flanking the east bank of the Isar, it’s home to some lovely local cafés and, at the Gasteig, a rich programme of classical music and culture. Haidhausen’s real boon, however, is proximity to the river, with lovely walks out to the Flaucher on your doorstep. Quieter than other districts, it’s ideal for those who appreciate R&R as much as they do sightseeing.
Hotel Prinz München offers chic, comfortable rooms, an ample breakfast buffet and in-house bike rental.
Schwabing. Once a bohemian enclave and former stomping ground of Lenin, Hitler and Kandinsky, the northern neighbourhood of Schwabing has become the apogee of urban affluence and one of Munich’s most desirable districts. Great for those seeking a laid-back spot away from the well-trodden city centre, it boasts several great cafés, restaurants, bars and boutiques along its main boulevards, Leopoldstraße and Hohenzollernstraße, as well as proximity to the Englischer Garten. Bigger than New York’s Central Park and London’s Hyde Park, this is Munich’s green pride and joy, a vast, informally landscaped space of undulating lawns, bike trails and rippling tributaries of the Isar.
In a converted water mill, the Gästehaus Englischer Garten is an old-fashioned and tranquil Munich enclave, with simple, comfortable rooms and a garden where breakfast is served in summer. It’s an easy walk to both the Englischer Garten and Schwabing’s bars, shops and restaurants. Book in advance and ask for a room in the main house.
Besides the accommodation options mentioned, you can always choose to stay at a rented apartment in one district or another!