Greetings Internet Stranger and welcome to 24 hours in Munich. Munich is the third Germany city I have ever been to, as I stopped in Hamburg earlier on this trip and had been to Berlin the year before. Every German or person living in Germany I asked about spending 24 hours in Munich said the same thing, “Oh it’s in Bavaria. And remember, Bavaria is the Texas of Germany.” I’m not 100 percent sure what they meant by this. But I think they meant to say that, like Texas, Bavaria considers itself different from the rest of the country.
Also, like Texas, Bavaria is on the conservative side. Surely they didn’t mean that Bavaria is famous for cowboy hats and oil tycoons. That doesn’t make sense. But don’t let Bavarian stereotypes stop you from loving Munich. Just come spend 24 hours in Munich with me! I guarantee afterwards you’ll want to come back and spend many more hours in this gemutlich city.
24 Hours in Munich
Where to Stay?
As cute as Munich is, remember that it’s also one of the largest cities in Germany and it can be rather spread out. That’s why it’s important to choose your location wisely. When I was in Munich, I stayed in the Olympic Park area, which too far away from anything I wanted to see. (Also, I got trapped in an active crime scene at 3 in the morning, but that’s an entirely different story.) So I suggest staying somewhere closer to the main attractions of Old Town. You’ll thank me later (especially when you’re not trapped in a crime scene.)
24 Hours in Munich
What to Pack
You’ll need comfy shoes for all the walking we’re going to do today. If it’s summertime, I love my special pink Birkenstocks. These aren’t your grandpappy’s Birkenstocks anymore. They come in every shade, and I always get compliments on my electric magenta shoes.
Munich is hot in the summer, so don’t forget the sunscreen. My favorite is the Neutrogena spray bottle because it’s so easy to apply. And as a solo traveler, I can actually use it myself on my own back. I just put it in my purse and re-apply throughout the day.
Finally, if you’re not from Europe, you need a universal adapter if you’re going to plug in electronics. European electrical outlets don’t work with American, UK, or Australian plugs. I suggest the NEWVANGA travel adapter. It’s usable with any electrical outlet in the world, so you won’t need to keep buying new adapters. I always carry two with me, just in case something happens to one.
24 Hours in Munich
Morning: Deutsches Museum
Internet Stranger, are you a geek? Don’t be shy about admitting it! This blog is a safe space. Well, if you are a geek, have I got a museum for you. The Deutsches Museum in Munich is the largest science and technology museum…in the world! I don’t understand why they call it “The German Museum”, though. Do they think Germans invented science and technology? Did Germans invent science and technology? I always thought science was invented by Mr. Wizard, or possibly Bill Nye the Science Guy.
Anyway, you can spend all day exploring the Deutsches Museum and never reach the bottom. We only have the morning set aside to visit the museum, though. That means we have to hurry or we’ll be late. I’ll direct your attention to…
The approximately top 5: deutsches museum edition
1) Experiments galore
The Deutsches Museum is a hands-on museum, which means that there will be plenty of opportunities to watch staff perform experiments. Unfortunately for this American, the experiments are all explained only in German. I’m not complaining at all because that’s totally a reasonable thing to do in Germany. But it did prevent me from understanding the science behind this experiment. But as far as I could tell, if you stand under a weird metal hamster ball…
the lights will go off and a weird purple light will go on. You’ll hear a big popping sound.
Then the lights will go back on and everyone will cheer. Yay, science!
2) Boats, boats, boats!
A good portion of the museum is dedicated to different kinds of transportation technology. As a semi-professional traveler, I totally support this interest! Transportation is very important! Without transportation, I wouldn’t be able to get to work in the morning. (Hey! Maybe transportation technology is not such a good thing.)
Anyway, I was very impressed with the sophisticated nautical works on display in the museum. But I have to say I was most impressed with that fancy ship figurehead on display there. Not many science museums are old-fashioned enough to have a wooden painted lady on display.
3) those magnificent men in their flying machines
Of course, the Deutsches Museum has more modern technology than a ship! They have the latest in aircraft technology! Seriously, I have never seen so many vintage planes in one room before. They all look like they were designed by Leonardo da Vinci.
But in case you are worried that our flight technology is out of date, never fear! We also have the last word in kites!
This poor little German boy doesn’t see that this blue dragon is about to swoop down and eat him. Achtung, mein liebling!
4) Wind Energy
The Deutsches Museum, like many science museums, is committed to teaching about sustainable energy. That is why they have a large section devoted to wind energy. I appreciate this because I’ve been reading all these articles lately about how global warming is coming for us and we’re all going to die in about 20 years. So if this giant fan can cool the earth down enough for me to be able to reach my 100th birthday, I’m for it.
5) The latest in victorian technology
Since the Deutsches Museum was founded in 1903, they have a large collection of scientific artifacts from that time period. Fortunately for us nerds, some of these treasures are on display here. But has that museum attendant been guarding the equipment for the last 115 years? That’s really mean! I know Germans have a reputation for being hardworking, but this is taking a good thing too far. Someone let that old man go home and take a nap.
6) the book of jobs
If you’re into old technology, the Deutsches Museum also has archaic computers on display. I suppose these are here so children can point and laugh and how unwieldy computers used to be. But wait, I remember my dad having a computer like this! And I remember floppy disks. Does this mean I am old, too? NOOOOOOOOO!
24 Hours in Munich
Afternoon: Explore Munich’s Old Town
We’ve been cooped up in a museum with old computers, old airplanes, and really old German museum guards all morning. It’s time to get out and explore what is arguably the prettiest city in Germany. And I’ve got some of the prettiest sights in mind for you! There’s so much to see in Munich’s old town. 24 hours in Munich is obviously not enough time in which to see all of the wonders. But we’ll make do with
The approximately top 5: 24 hours in munich
1) Lunch at Indian Mango
All that technology is making me hungry! Let’s stop for a quick lunch in between the Deutsches Museum and the Old Town. I stopped at Indian Mango because I’d been eating so much traditional German food, and I was in the mood for something different. They also have vegetarian and vegan options, if you are interested in that.
My choice was the Mango Chicken. The sauce was quite sweet and lightly spiced. My favorite part of this meat was the chicken. It was all breast and very tender. I don’t always get meat of this quality when I get takeout back home.
Marianplatz is often considered the heart of Munich. After all, it’s been the main square of the city since the 12th century. I can’t really wrap my head around how old that is. That’s 400 years before Shakespeare was born. Marianplatz gets really crowded every day at 11 AM and 5 PM because this Glockenspiel pictured above goes off at those times. The figures in the Glockenspiel will perform a marvelous and incomprehensible dance for you. Watching it, I felt the exact same way that I had when I was watching the German language science experiment back at the Deutsches Museum.
It’s my general impression that most cities have one or two historical events that impacted the city the most. For example, in Lisbon every tour guide tells you about the Earthquake of 1755 about 1755 times during the course of an afternoon. Well, in Munich, one of those events is The Thirty Years War. This is a war I had never even thought about once before coming to Munich.
This column in the middle of Marienplatz is your first reminder of the big 30. It was erected to celebrate the end of the Swedish occupation of Munich. It’s very hard for me to imagine neutral Sweden being able to occupy the Germans. Were the Swedes still Vikings back then?
3) St peter’s church
Some people are more into church visiting than others, but you can’t miss St. Peter’s. It’s the oldest church in the city, and Munich is a city that is old enough to think of Shakespeare as “kids these days”. The church is often called Alte Peter, which means Old Peter. I think that’s cute to give a church a nickname!
St. Peter’s is also famous for the fact that you can climb its tower and get amazing views of the city of Munich. I wasn’t able to do it on the day that I visited Munich because I was too busy. Yes, it’s definitely that, and not that I’m scared of heights. Yeah, that’s the ticket…
4) St Michael’s church
If you’re looking for elaborate church interiors, have I got a place for you. It is a Catholic Church built during the Counter Reformation, which means that every element was carefully chosen to send the message, “Suck it, Protestants. We’re Catholics and that means we can be as ornate as we want to be. Have fun worshipping in your plain mud huts.”
Like many buildings in Munich, the church was damaged during the Second World War, so it had to be reconstructed in the 1940s. (How did Germany have the money to rebuild just after the war ended? Is this one of those questions I probably don’t want to know the answer to?)
5) Fountain Boy
Oh my God, what is happening here? I can’t tell if this is a representation of an old man molesting a little boy or a little boy molesting an old man. Neither option is good! Between this and that 115 year old man being held prisoner at the Deutsches Museum, I’m starting to be concerned about human rights in Germany. Get it together, Munich!
6) Max Joseph Square
This square was named after the first King of Bavaria, Max Joseph. (Remember, Munich is the capital of Bavaria.) I was confused at first because to me Max Joseph is this guy I went to elementary school with who ended up co-hosting an MTV show called Catfish about people who trick their romantic partners on the internet. (I know I make up a lot of weird things on this blog, but that story is actually completely true.)
Anyway, this guy is the original Max Joseph and I’m pretty sure he’s never directed a movie starring Zac Efron.
7) Kristallnacht memorial
I must put the jokes aside and talk about one of the saddest events in the history of Munich. The pogrom known as Kristallnacht began in Munich in 1938. During this pogrom, almost 100 Jewish people were killed, and many Jewish homes and businesses were smashed. This plaque serves as a tragic reminder of the beginning of one of the most violent periods of history.
I feel so many things looking at a plaque like this, but one thing I try to feel is grateful. Even though I am Jewish, today I can come to Munich and enjoy myself and talk to Germans and eat Indian food and laugh at disturbing fountains. It’s easy to notice the ways in which the world is getting worse, but we can’t forget the things that are getting better.
24 Hours in Munich
Our 24 hours in Munich are coming to a close, and it’s time for dinner. The Viktualienmarkt is one of the most famous food markets in the world. Like most things in Munich, it’s been around for hundreds of years. You can get anything you want for dinner here, from homemade jelly to vegetarian sandwiches. (But why do you want to eat jelly for dinner? That’s not healthy, Internet Stranger! You need protein!)
I opted for a freshly-made artichoke and Bavarian cheese sandwich on some sesame seed bread. I didn’t even know Bavarian hard cheese was a thing, but it tastes very much like a good Swiss cheese. The Viktualienmarkt stays open until 8, but some stall close at 6, so if you want to make sure you don’t miss out on a yummy treat for dinner, do what I did and show up closer to 5:30. Then you can save your sandwich for when you get hungry
24 hour treat: bavarian beer
Of course, it’s not an evening out in Munich without a little beer! I finished off my evening with a sampler of three kinds of beer from the confusingly spelled Hacker-Pschorr brewery. The place where I got this beer has closed, but you can always get Hacker-Pschorr beer at Der Pschorr beer cellar right by the Viktualienmarkt. I can’t imagine it tastes different from the beer I had!
Hacker-Pschorr is a Munich brewery that adheres to the German Beer Purity Law. (This is known in German as the Reinheitsgebot.) The Reinheitsgebot (a word that my Spellchecker does not approve of) states that beer can only have three ingredients: water, barley, and hops. Pumpkin spice beer, you shall not pass. I think the beer purity laws explain why German beer is so easy to drink and doesn’t give me a hangover. Let’s all drink Bavarian beer for the health! That’s just science.
The Reinheitsgebot dates back to the year 1516. Why is everything in Munich so old? Maybe I was wrong to assume that old museum worker was being forced to work himself into the grave. Maybe in Munich, 115 years old is considered to be young! Who am I to judge another culture?
That’s a Perfect 24 Hours in Munich!
What would you do with 24 hours in Munich? What is going on with that creepy fountain? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Munich? And did you go to elementary school with a former King of Bavaria? Please leave your thoughts below.
Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend 24 hours in Munich. If you have another 24 hours in Munich, check out this itinerary!