One of the oldest English-style landscape gardens and one of the largest municipal parks in Europe, the Englischer Garten is Munich's most fascinating park. Sprawling across an area of 3.7 square kilometres (1.4 square miles), this place is one of the largest public parks in the world. The park features some of the best architecturally diverse landmarks along its vast verdant expanse and rolling lawns. From a Chinese pagoda with an adjoining beer garden and the Monopteros Greek temple, to a Japanese Tea House, the park is full of intriguing monuments and landmarks. Artificial streams gush through the park and several surfers can be seen gliding effortlessly along its foamy waters. Also housing an artificial lake and an open-air theater, the urban park is one of the best socio-cultural hubs of Munich.
BMW Welt is one of the defining landmarks of Munich's architectural and technological advancements. An immaculate glass cone design that combines form and function, the center is an exquisite socio-cultural hub used for large-scale exhibitions, meetings, conferences and other major events. Displaying the brilliant cars, this is also the collecting center for BMW buyers, with on-site restaurants and lounges serving delectable cuisine for visitors.
Longer in width than the Palace of Versailles, Schloss Nymphenburg was the impressive summer residence of the Wittelsbachs. One of the most popular attractions in Munich, the palace and its grounds are home to several landmarks showcasing diverse architectural styles. Designed by Italian Baroque architect Augustino Barelli, the palace still preserves its rococo and baroque rooms. The ornate, marble polished Stone Hall is particularly impressive and the famous 'Schönheitengalerie' (Gallery of the Beauties) containing the portraits of 36 local women, is a must see for visitors. A few interesting smaller palaces can be found in the park: the Amalienburg, Pagodenburg and Badenburg. The Marstallmuseum has a comprehensive display of carriages, sleds and crockery, while the Meditationskapelle (Meditation Chapel) with its Magdalenenklause is also worth a visit.
Marienplatz has been at the center of the city ever since it was founded by Henry the Lion in 1158. Named after the Marian Column of Mariensaule which was built in 1638 to mark the end of Swedish rule in Germany, the square is one of the most historically rich cultural hubs of the city. Serving as a bustling marketplace in its early days, the square retained its position as the city's social core even after the market was moved. Replete with monuments, Marienplatz is thronged by tourists admiring the intricate 100-meter (328-feet) high Gothic façade of the New Town Hall and the waters of the Fish Fountain. The Marian column forms the centerpiece of the square, with a golden statue of Mother Mary perched on its top.
The Olympic tower at Olympiapark is the tallest building in Munich, just a little shorter than the Eiffel tower. Built by the civic council in 1965-68 for the 1972 Olympics, it provides the best view of the city and surrounding area and in good weather, it is possible to see as far as the Alps. The Olympiaturm restaurant beneath the viewing platform is open from 11a-5p and 6:30p-midnight. Apart from providing a stunning view, this rotating restaurant also serves very good dishes from around the world at reasonable prices.
Founded in 1911, the Munich Zoo Hellabrunn concentrates on nature preservation in the Isar area. Various animal presentations like 'Flipper parade' by Sea Lions, 'Jungle Patrol' by Indian Elephants and 'Banded Mongoose in action' are very popular. As a Geo-zoo, one can see a number of various species of animals and birds at Tierpark Hellabrunn, including sea lions, birds of prey and pelicans inhabiting the area of their geographic concentration. Various special events, guided tours and trips are undertaken by the zoo as well.
Am Platzl is located at the intersection of Falkenturmstraße and Pfisterstraße and it is one of the most lively plazas in the city. The place is surrounded by many cafes and restaurants, and beautiful buildings overlook the plaza. Any cultural activity held in Munich starts at Am Platzl. The place looks beautiful at night when it is illuminated with lights that accent the historical structures scattered throughout the area. During festivals, the Am Platzl comes alive with wonderful decorations
Alter Hof castle, the residence of the Bavarian royal family since 1253, was built to the northeast of the city so as to protect the Emperor against possible uprisings by the citizens of Munich. The remains of the castle, with its late-Gothic bay window (known as the Affenturm), the gatehouse to the north and the enclosure to the west, form the oldest group of medieval buildings in the city. The buildings have been reconstructed several times, most notably in the 19th Century and after the Second World War.
Located in the heart of the city, the Max Joseph Platz takes its name from King Maximilian Joseph. The National Theatre falls on the east side of the square and Hauptpost occupies its south. The square stands atop an underground parking lot and features a lovely memorial of King Maximilian. The Royal Residence is also located in the same vicinity as the square and it boasts of Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and Neo-Classical styles of architecture.
Green Gallery, Steinzimmer, Vierschimmel Hall, Nibelungen Halls - names, which entice to make a tour around the royal rooms of the Residence, which is at the same time a tour of Bavaria's royal history.
The Hauptpost (Main Post Office) was erected as the Törring Palace in 1747-58 by Johann Anton Gunetzrhainer. The north façade was added by Leo von Klenze in the mid-19th century and fits in with the style of Max-Joseph-Platz, the National Theatre and the south façade of the residence. The arcades portray a classical style, inspired by the Florentine Renaissance, as does the rest of Maximilianstraße, which heads westwards from the Maximilianeum (now the state parliament). The frescos (Die Rossebändiger) were designed by Johann Georg Hiltensperger. The building was destroyed in the Second World War but rebuilt shortly afterwards.
In 1385, the ruling Wittelsbach family decided to build a new palace since the Alter Hof had become too small for their needs. Today, the former Royal Palace of Wittelsbach is one of the most extensive and recognizable landmarks of Munich. The main building was the first part of the royal residence to be erected. The palace grounds are a treasure chest of historic landmarks including numerous grottoes, courtyards, fountains, a medicine room, chapel and the delightful Wittelsbach fountain built by Duke Otto between 1611 and 1623. The Residenz houses the Crown Jewels, the late-baroque Residenz Theatre and the classicist Herkulessaal, a concert hall with amazing acoustics. A magnificent reminder of Germany's past, the Residenz is a spectacular peek into the royal family's lifestyle and cultural influence on the city.