Munich is one of the most beautiful German cities that should find its place on any cultural tourist’s list. With its one and a half million inhabitants, Munich is the third-largest city in Germany. The city is home to numerous museums, cultural sites and beautiful buildings, making it one of the European art and culture centres. With so many places to see there, here are 10 must-visit art and culture sites in Munich.
10 Must-visit art and culture sites in Munich
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Although first mentioned in the 12th century, Munich has a long history spanning back to Prehistory. June 14th 1158, is considered the official founding day of Munich. The city was named after monks because of the monastery located close by. You’ll find images of monks on its coat of arms and on numerous buildings and monuments around the town.
One could easily spend a few weeks exploring all the interesting cultural sites in Munich. However, if you only have a limited time to spend there, here are 10 must-visit art and culture sites in Munich that you shouldn’t miss.
1 – Munich Catedral
Munich Cathedral, also known as Frauenkirche, is a monumental church built in the Gothic style. The building is quite unique among the European Gothic cathedrals because it was made of bricks. Its construction was extremely quick, and it only took twenty years to be completed (1468 – 1488).
The legend says the architect Jörg von Halsbach had the devil’s help in that quest. The proof of that is the devil’s footmark you can see inside the cathedral. However, you should visit the church to learn the rest of the story and how the architect tricked the devil.
The Frauenkirche was severely damaged during the bombing in the Second World War. But, like the rest of the city, the church was restored later on, and now it shines in all its glory again.
⤷ TIP: Climb its south tower and enjoy the view of Munich and even the Alps on a clear day from it.
2 – Alte Pinakothek & Neue Pinakothek
Munich is home to numerous fantastic museums. But, if you’re going to visit only a few of them, make it Alte Pinakothek and Neue Pinakothek. Conveniently located close to each other, you can see both of them on the same day.
Founded in 1836, Alte Pinakothek is one of the oldest European museums. It’s home to the collection of Old Masters, with a great selection of Albrecht Dürer’s paintings. It also has a lovely collection of Renaissance artworks, Dutch masters and paintings made by P. P. Rubens.
Opened a few years later, in 1853, Neue Pinakothek is home to modern art. Its highlights are the Impressionist paintings and the work of artists such as F. Goya, J. M. W. Turner, G. Klimt, E. Munch and V. van Gogh.
⤷ TIP: Neue Pinakothek is currently undergoing renovation. However, you can see their collection’s highlights at Alte Pinakothek right now.
3 – Concert in the Cuvilliés Theatre
If you’d like to enjoy in theatre or music performances during your time in Munich, be sure to attend a concert in the Cuvilliés Theatre. It’s one of the most beautiful Rococco theatres in Europe with quite an interesting history. It used to be the court theatre, and even Napoleon Bonaparte attended the show here.
Enjoying a concert or a theatre performance while travelling could be a great cultural experience. I did that when I was in Oman and Saint Petersburg and it gave me a wonderful insight into the local culture. You can book tickets for the concert in the Cuvilliés Theatre on a link here.
4 – Munich New Town Hall
Located at its main square called Marienplatz, the New Town Hall is a cultural site in Munich that shouldn’t be missed. Although the building looks very old, it’s actually quite young, built in the second half of the 19th century. It was designed in the neo-Gothic style to reflect the city’s glorious past. Today, the building is home to Munich’s mayor and the city administration.
Each day at 11am, 12 pm and 5 pm (from March to October) you can enjoy a little performance by figures in the giant clock located in the town hall. The clock consists of 43 bells and 32 figures, including the knights, jesters and other typical characters from the 16th century. The play reenacts a tournament held to celebrate the marriage between Duke William V and Renata of Lorraine.
Be sure to visit the town hall’s courtyard during your visit and explore all the decorations and statues placed there.
⤷ TIP: Munich Tourist Information Office is located on its ground floor. Visit it for info about some special events in Munich during your stay.
5 – Saint Peter’s Church
The first reason for Saint Peter’s Church being on this list of must-visit art and culture sites in Munich is because it offers one of the best views of Munich. Located right in the city centre, you can climb its tower and enjoy a fantastic view of Munich Cathedral, New Town Hall and many other cultural sites in Munich. It’s also fascinating to see that massive church from above.
The Saint Peter’s is the oldest parish church in the city. The interior of the church is very beautiful, filled with Baroque altars. Its main altar with the golden statue of Saint Peter is among the most impressive art highlights of Munich. Sitting inside the church made me understand how important religion is in Bavaria and that I was visiting one of the most Roman Catholic areas in Europe.
6 – State Museum of Egyptian Art
Munich is home to quite a few great museums with special collections. The State Museum of Egyptian Art is among the best of them. This cultural institution is home to some World-class Egyptian artefacts.
The museum building is pretty new and collection is displayed in a very interactive way. You can learn a lot about different periods of Egyptian art, hyerogliphs and the sacral world of Egypt. It’s a perfect place to get a nice overview of Egyptian art while seeing some of its best examples. The State Museum of Egyptian Art is absolutely one of the must-visit art and culture sites in Munich.
⤷ Read more: 7 Top art museums in Europe
7 – Konigsplatz
Konigsplatz is a square in Munich and one of its art and culture centres. King Ludwig I admired Greek architecture, so he asked an architect Karl von Fischer to design a part of the city that’s going to look like a small Athens. Among the most interesting neo-Classical buildings there is the Propylaea, serving as a triumphal gate.
The Glyptothek was made completely in marble in a style of the ancient Greek temples. It’s home to a great museum dedicated to Greek and Roman statues. The third neo-Classical building there is the Bavarian State Archaeological Collection. It displays archaeological artefacts spanning from the Prehistory to the Middle Ages.
The whole area is very relaxed and during the summer months you’ll see many people sunbathing and enjoying having picnics there. It sounds like a perfect way to immerse into the local life a bit, right?
8 – Munich Residenz
Munich is home to the largest city palace in Germany and it’s located right in the city centre. That massive building used to be home to the Wittelsbach monarchs of Bavaria. The oldest part of the palace was built in the late 14th century. Each of the rulers rebuilt it a bit, so the residence today has 130 rooms and ten courtyards.
Some of its buildings are open to public today and you can visit the museum located inside. There, besides seeing different styles of architecture, you can also enjoy exploring the royal art collections. Its gardens are a vast green area perfect for relaxing and wandering around them after the whole day of exploring Munich’s art and cultural sites.
⤷ Read more: A day trip from Munich: Garmisch-Partenkirchen
9 – Schneider Bräuhaus
Beer culture is big in Munich and one of the best places to immerse into it is Schneider Bräuhaus. It’s a local beer house with a long tradition, charming setting and delicious food located just a few steps away from the main square in Munich.
While enjoying their wheat beer you can observe all the fascinating decorations on the walls and windows. It’s absolutely a must-visit place for lunch or dinner for any culture tourist visiting Munich. If you’d like to learn more about the German beer culture during your visit to Munich, check out this Munich Beer Tour.
⤷ TIP: I’d definitely recommend you have a meal there rather than in the Hofbräuhaus. It’s less crowded, the service is better and the food is way more delicious.
10 – Feldherrnhalle
When in front of the Feldherrnhalle I had a feeling as if I was in Italy, rather than in Germany. So, it wasn’t a surprise for me when I learned it was designed after the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence. Located at the Odeonsplatz it was built in 1844 to symbolise the honours of the Bavarian army.
In 1923 this Munich cultural site was a location of the Beer Hall Putsch. During it, Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party wanted to get control over the Bavarian Defense Ministry. They didn’t succeed in that, but later on, during the Second World War, this site became a monument to the Nazi members who died during those riots. If you’d like to learn more about that part of Munich’s history, check out this Third Reich Walking Tour.
There are many more fascinating must-visit art and culture sites in Munich. However, this selection of top 10 locations to visit in Munich should help you in planning your visit to that beautiful German town.
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