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 kilometers (1.4 square miles), the park 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 adjoining beer garden, 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 through its foamy waters. Housing an artificial lake and an open-air theater, the urban park is one of the best socio-cultural hubs of Munich.
One of the most breathtaking tourist attractions in the city, BMW Welt singularly defines Munich's advanced architectural and technological dominance. An immaculate glass cone design that combines form and function, the center is a new and 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 the visitors, the BMW Welt is a haven for automobile and car enthusiasts.
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.
Built for the 1972 Olympic Games, the Olympic complex is now used for a variety of leisure activities ranging from sports events to concerts. The 287-meter (942-foot) high Olympic Tower boasts a stunning view of the city. On a good day, visitors can go up and see as far as the Alps. There is also a rotating restaurant at the top. The famous canopy roof which spans the Olympic Stadium, the Olympic Swimming Pool and the Olympiahalle were a topic of debate in their day. The complex is, however, timelessly beautiful and has become an integral part of the modern cityscape. The Olympiaberg (Olympic Hill) is a grassy mound made from Second World War rubble and also provides great views. The ice rink and swimming pool are also popular with sports fans, as is the Olympic Stadium, home to FC Bayern Munich- one of Europe's top football clubs.
One of Bavaria's most renowned pilgrimage sites and also among its oldest monasteries, Andechs Monastery benevolently overlooks the town from its hilltop position. This medieval architectural gem replete with precious religious relics, it offers a glimpse into Bavaria's culture and art. This Benedictine monastery is famous for its beers as well. The visiting times for the church and cellar are different. Guided tours are also available.
Longer 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.
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 State Collection of Egyptian Art, 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.
Built according to plans drawn up by Friedrich von Gärtner during 1841-44, the Feldherrenhalle (Field Marshall's Hall) was commissioned by King Ludwig I, who demanded that it be modeled on Florence's Loggia dei Lanzi. The building reflects the transition between the medieval town and the new city of Munich (the present-day Maxvorstadt). The Feldherrenhalle stands above Odeonsplatz and its ground (the piece of land between Theatiner and Residenzstraße), was once occupied by Schwabinger Tor, until it was demolished in 1817. In the 1930s and 1940s, the hall was an important memorial for the Nazis, as it was here that Hitler's attempted putsch came to an end on 9th November 1923. People were compelled to salute and say Sieg Heil whenever they passed by. The tiny alley behind the Feldherrenhalle came to be known as Drückebergergässchen or Shirker's Alley, because those who did not want to salute, would use it as a detour.
In the early 17th Century, Duke Maximilian I ordered the renovation of the Residenz during which the Court Church of All Saints or Allerheiligen-Hofkirche was built. Dedicated to the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, this chapel has paintings depicting St. Maximilian and St. Anne. When in Munich, do visit this ancient chapel nestled in the Residenz. The space is now used to host concerts and other cultural events.
The Hofkapelle is located inside the magnificent Residenz Museum, the palace that has been the home of Munich's kings, dukes, and, later, statesmen. The chapel was built somewhere in the early part of the 17th Century and is in honor of the Virgin of Immaculate Conception, of whom the Duke Maximilian I was a devotee. It is here that the royal occupants of this palace came to worship everyday, though they sat in the the balcony above, while the rest of the court prayed in the main chapel. A visit here is a true treat for any architecture and art enthusiast, and the altar paintings done by German legendary painters Johann Baptist Zimmermann and Franz Zimmermann are a must-see. See the website or call for more information.
One of Munich's best-known landmarks, the neo-gothic Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) was built during the period of architectural revival in Germany from 1867-1909. Although it is now an unmistakable part of the cityscape, its architectural style is extremely popular and highly discussed even today. The carillon is built into the tower and performs at 11a and 5p every day, with 32 figures portraying a knightly joust and dance. There are additional performances between May and October. The viewing point on the ninth floor can be reached by lift.
St Peter's Church, also known fondly as Alter Peter (Old Peter) is the oldest parish church in Munich. The visitor who climbs the 306 steps to the top will have an incomparable view of the city and on a clear day, the Alps look close enough to touch. St. Peter's was named after the old hill on which it stands, the Petersberg. There was a chapel on the site earlier which was then replaced with a Romanesque structure in the 11th Century and later a Gothic building. In the 14th Century, the double-tower was redeveloped to form the single tower facade of the church which remains today. Over the centuries, St. Peter's underwent even more changes, mainly in the Baroque and Rococo periods.