On our recent family trip to Bavaria, we spent a few days in Munich. Based on our experience, here are a few recommendations:
On our first morning, we headed for the Marienplatz to watch the town hall clock chime at 11 o clock. The Glockenspiel show lasts about 15 minutes and starts with jousting knights, who are supposed to be celebrating an ancient royal wedding. Then comes the plague and peasants dancing, accompanied by musicians, celebrating their survival. This is a good fun thing to keep the kids entertained.
The English Garden is a huge green oasis in the city. The landscaped gardens contain woods and streams, open fields, beer gardens, play areas, an oriental pagoda and a boating lake. You can even watch surfers at a specially constructed standing wave. The park occupied us for most of a day and there can be long distances between the various attractions. To make the most of the gardens, it is a good idea to hire bikes.
Many German and Austrian cities have good restaurants in their town hall and Munich is no exception. The Ratskeller is located in the vaulted cellars and is very atmospheric without being too snooty for family dining. It specialises in local dishes but often gives them an interesting twist. I had spicy schnapps bratwurst with potato pancake and sweet cabbage. The combination of spices and schnapps gave a perfect tingling taste sensation from the tip of my tongue to my throat that I’d never experienced with bratwurst before! They also do Italian, vegetarian and extensive children’s menus, so if you have fussy kids like my daughter, nuggets and fries are available! In many restaurants, the waiter will be able to recommend a good wine to accompany your meal. In Munich, make that beer!
There are many good museums and galleries in Munich. We were hoping to visit the German Science Museum, but due to the enormous stationary queues outside, we had to invoke plan b. The Toy Museum is located in a tower just off the Marienplatz. It contains a delightful collection of antique toys, mainly in display cases, so not too much interaction. Nevertheless, it provided an entertaining distraction for an hour or so for all the family.
The trip out of town
Just half an hour from the city centre by S Bahn (train) lies Lake Starnberg. The town of Starnberg is situated on its northern shore, and has a pleasant promenade lined with kiosks, cafes and boat hire businesses. It was a clear day when we were there and the Alps were easily visible to the south. There are footpaths around the lake leading to bathing and recreation areas. We had a paddle and after lunch on the promenade, my daughter and I hired a pedal boat. We could have caught a tourist ferry which called at other towns and villages along the lakeshore, but we preferred to travel under our own steam!
And finally for shopaholics
We made the mistake of wandering around the shops on a Sunday. Don’t do this as most of them are closed!
Munich is the capital of Bavaria, located in southern Germany
The city has a large central railway station that is well connected to many cities throughout Europe. Munich’s airport is about 35kms from the city centre or 40 minutes by train on the S Bahn.