When you picture winter in Munich, you probably imagine cosy Christmas markets, stall after stall of trinkets and crafts, sipping Gluhwein and eating roasted chestnuts, perhaps enjoying an outdoor winter ice skating rink?
Well, you’d be pretty accurate!
But there are so many other reasons to visit Munich in winter.
Today’s guest author, Maura, is here to tell us all about visiting Munich in the wintertime. From the things we should be doing in the colder weather or rain to the best restaurants and how to spend Christmas and New Year.
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What you can expect from this article...
- 1 Munich in winter – a complete guide!
- 1.1 Why Visit Munich in winter?
- 1.2 How to get to Munich in winter
- 1.3 How to get around Munich in winter
- 1.4 Where to stay when you visit Munich in winter
- 1.5 What is the weather like in the winter in Munich?
- 1.6 Things to do in Munich in winter
- 1.7 Things to do in Munich in the rain
- 1.8 Where to eat and drink in Munich in winter
- 1.9 Things to do in Munich at Christmas Time
- 1.10 Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Munich
- 1.11 Other events and festivals in Munich in the winter
- 1.12 Packing for wintertime in Munich
- 1.13 Any other top tips for visiting Munich in winter?
- 1.14 www.travelkiwis.com
Munich in winter – a complete guide!
Why Visit Munich in winter?
Munich, the capital of Bavaria, is a city of real charm, even though it is a large city.
It is a city that oozes warmth, especially as you wander the pedestrian-friendly Marienplatz, where the shop windows with their subtle lighting entice you to enter.
You feel brave as you sit outside, sipping your Glühwein, just like a local. You can smell the delicious bratwurst sizzling on a food stall nearby.
But what will delight you most is walking in the English Garden when you see crystallized drops decorating the branches. Picking up a piece of ice and skimming it across ice-covered ponds listening to it chime.
And when the snow falls, Munich in winter is magical.
How to get to Munich in winter
The easiest way to get to Munich, if not driving, is to book a flight or arrive by train.
Munich’s Franz Josef Strauss airport is 40kms from the city centre.
The S-Bahn will take you by rail to the centre of Munich. The train station is located underground at the Munich Airport Centre, where you can purchase a ticket from the automated ticket machine.
The trip takes about 45minutes, and trains leave every 20 minutes.
München HauptbahnhofisMunich’s central train station and is the major transport hub of the city. To get to Marienplatz, follow the signs for Karlsplatz exit to begin your exploration of Munich’s old town.
How to get around Munich in winter
Use public transport to stay warm and dry when getting around Munich in the winter.
A single-day ticket (over 15 years) is €6.70 for the inner district, which includes travel on U-Bahn (underground), S-Bahn (regional trains), trams, and buses.
But if there are two to five members in your group, purchase the Group Day ticket costing €12.80 for the inner district. This ticket allows travel for your whole group and is an excellent value.
Purchase tickets at the automated ticket machines (which has English as a language option). Just ensure you validate your ticket at the start of the journey. Tickets are valid until 6 am the following day.
If you must get somewhere in a hurry within the city centre, the express buses are your best option.
Where to stay when you visit Munich in winter
Accommodation within Munich city can stretch your budget, so staying a little further out is perfect for a relaxing stay.
Hotel Am Nockherberg is located near the Isar River and close to the Deutsches Museum, so it is still within easy reach of Marienplatz. Rooms are clean, WIFI free, and breakfast included.
Hotel Laimer Hof at Nymphenburg is further away from Marienplatz, where you can relax in a quieter area of Munich. A family-owned bed and breakfast are near to the Botanical Gardens and Nymphenburg Palace, both popular places to visit while in Munich.
But if you prefer to stay near the pedestrian-area of Marienplatz, choose Hotel Jedermann. Only a 5-minute walk from the München Hauptbahnhof or 10-minutes to Marienplatz. They include a breakfast buffet too.
What is the weather like in the winter in Munich?
The winter months of Munich are December to February; cold weather stretches from November to March.
The average temperatures for December to February range from -3 degrees Celsius to 5 degrees Celsius but be aware the temperature can get much colder.
Days are cold, the air crisp, and when the snow falls, who wants to be inside when there is a snowman to create.
After the shortest day in December, the weather in January and February is cold but sunnier.
Things to do in Munich in winter
Ice skating would have to be one of the best things to do in Munich in winter.
Karlsplatz’s outdoor ice rink is open from 22nd November 2019 to 12th January 2020. It’s a fun way to spend some time. The alternative is to take the underground U3 to Olympia Park, for the indoor ice rink.
Time your visit to Marienplatz so you can hear the bells and watch the 11 am or 12noon Glockenspiel performance at the New Town Hall. The Glockenspiel figurines tell a story of Munich’s history. The top-level exhibits the marriage of Bavarian Duke Wilhelm V, and the lower level shows the barrel makers’ story.
St Peter’s Church tower, with its 299 steps, is ideal for a view of the Alps if the day is crisp and clear.
Olympic Tower at 190 meters has fantastic views of the Alps and Munich city. Getting to the top of one of the tallest towers in Europe by elevator only takes 7 minutes per second. Enjoy a coffee or a cocktail while you are there.
Munich’s stunning architecture between the National Theatre and the Maximillianeum are easy to see with a tram ride. Take the Number 19 tram (Passing to St- Veit-Strasse) to stay warm as you see iconic buildings of Munich.
Things to do in Munich in the rain
Deutsches Museum – the world’s largest science and technology museum is excellent for a rainy day. The range of exhibitions (some interactive) will have everyone entertained for at least a couple of hours.
Popular exhibits on the environment will have you rethinking how you can reduce global warming.
Botanical Gardens Munich-Nymphenburg has eleven greenhouses to keep you busy when the rain is falling. Three halls with an area of 4,500 m² have a range of plants, including desert, tropical, aquatic, and the most beautiful, the orchids. There is also a café/restaurant, meaning you can stay for longer.
Munich Residence, a former royal palace, is a cultural experience on a rainy day. An impressive building with many lavish rooms and antiques was once a castle in 1385. However, it is the exhibitions of Munich and its Bavarian history, which will have your interest.
Where to eat and drink in Munich in winter
Hofbrauhaus – is an ancient 16th-century beer house with a German beer hall atmosphere. Find a seat at one of the long tables and order a litre size beer stein to enjoy your Bavarian experience.
Viktualienmarkt – is Munich’s oldest farmers market where you can shop for all sorts of delicious foods. Along with craft stalls, coffee, nuts, and more.
Ratskeller – is a traditional beerhouse and restaurant in the old beer cellars. Try the sauerkraut, the Weisswurst (white sausage) with some mustard and a pretzel. A tasty German meal.
Things to do in Munich at Christmas Time
Christmas is a magical time, and spending time in Munich at one of the best Christmas markets in Europe, couldn’t get any better.
The ideal time to browse the Christmas stalls is from 4 pm onwards when the light starts to fade, and the Christmas lights sparkle.
As it starts to get cold, enjoy a mug of Glühwein (hot wine with spices) to warm up. Find a stall selling the delicious bratwurst (sausage) and soak up the atmosphere.
As you shop for Christmas decorations, make sure to sample Lebkuchen (gingerbread) and the sugar roasted almonds.
Oh, and Glühwein sellers will charge a deposit on your mug, repayable on its return. However, some sellers will sell you a Glühwein mug, to take home as a souvenir.
Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Munich
New Year’s Eve fireworks are a celebration of light on the city skyline.
To get the best spot to view the stunning night skies, go to Reichenbach Bridge or the Hofgarten near the Munich Residence for plenty of space and atmosphere.
If you are staying at Hotel Laimer Hof, then the Gerner Bridge on the Nymphenburg Canal offers excellent views.
For New Year celebrations, the winter festival at Tollwood on the Theresienwiese for a great party with lots of dancing.
Other events and festivals in Munich in the winter
Firstly, there is the New Year Eve Run. If you are feeling energetic, Munich hosts a 5km and 10km at Olympia Park every new year. Yes, a unique way to see in the New Year.
Munich also hosts a New Year’s Day 7km Race, run through the stunning English Garden for those quieter revellers to start the new year.
Surfing on the Eisbach is another option either as a spectator or participant. Bring a wet suit and test your board skills. Or watch from the bridge near Prinzregentenstraße to see the surfers on this narrow part of the Eisbach river.
Packing for wintertime in Munich
These are the five most important things to pack for winter in Munich:
· quality waterproof coat
· stylish hat
· wool scarf
· waterproof boots
Although it’s winter, don’t wrap up too warm as shops, trains, restaurants and beer houses are warm and cosy.
Layering with merino clothing will keep you warm, but not piping hot, and you can remove layers when you head indoors.
Any other top tips for visiting Munich in winter?
Enjoy the hearty German food like:
- Käsespätzle – a deliciously cheesy pasta dish (a favourite)
- Spätzle – soft dough baked with spices in cream with eggs and onions, topped with cheese
Embrace the cold days, warm up with some ice skating and wind down with a glass of Glühwein.
Munich is an enticing city to visit in winter as it’s easy to get around with lots of exciting places to visit.
You can have fun in the snow, take in the views of the Alps on crisp clear days, or enjoy a walk through the expansive English Garden.
Enjoy your stay, sample the tasty food, and soak up the atmosphere of a city in winter.
Many thanks to Maura for this fantastic insight into what winter in Munich is like and how to make the most of this beautiful city during the wintertime.
Need help to plan your trip? Here are the resources I’ve been personally using for the last 16 years of travel…
- For booking hotels, I use booking.com and love the in-depth search options. If I’m looking for self-catered accommodation, I use Airbnb. Get a lovely discount HERE.
- For flights, I love Skyscanner. I always find the best deals there and the ‘search everywhere’ option is great for inspiration.
- For day trips, my preference is to use Get Your Guide. If you’re looking for longer trips or group tours then my absolute fave company is G Adventures. Other companies I recommend are Intrepid Travel, Dragoman and Tour Radar.
- For renting cars, I use Europcar – hassle-free!
- And for insurance – please don’t travel without it – try Nomads!
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