Munich is more than the sum of its beer halls and BMWs. Sophisticated and cultured, this spirit-soaring city toasts the past and drinks to the future 365 days a year

Laced with storybook alleyways and outlined by the Alps, the Bavarian capital Munich is where baroque churches juxtapose avant-garde art galleries, designer boutiques sidle up to dirndl stores, and Michelin-starred restaurants compete with humble wurst stands. Munich offers a mix of high-brow culture and down-to-earth entertainment for visitors of all ages.

Retail therapy

Jewellery boutique Pomellato Munich’s elegant Maximilianstrasse is a catwalk to big-name designers like Gucci and Escada. Pause at Hemmerle, the one-time jeweller to Bavarian royalty, where limited-edition pieces are still handcrafted on site. Nearby, fashionistas browse the latest collections at Versace, Pomellato and Hermès before brunch at the glass-and-steel Fünf Höfe courtyards. If you’re seeking contemporary crafts, the Bayerischer-Kunstgewerbe-Verein is a showcase for local creatives, with striking glassware, ceramics and accessories. Venture up to Odeonsplatz to visit Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg for exquisite porcelain that emerged from the Wittelsbach royal family’s love of throwing banquets. Foodies shouldn’t miss Dallmayr, a deli renowned for its divine truffles, freshly roasted coffee and refreshment at the oyster and champagne bar.
 

Grand views

The glockenspiel chimes at 11am and noon Buskers serenade passers-by as locals gather at lively pavement cafés on Marienplatz, the scene of boisterous fish markets and tournaments in the Middle Ages. Today, filigree spires and leering gargoyles will guide your eye to the neo-gothic Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall), which glows gold by night. Time your visit to see figures of jousting knights and dancing coopers when its glockenspiel chimes at 11am and noon. The Frauenkirche’s iconic onion-domed towers rise gracefully nearby. Look out for the fabled hook-tail Devil’s Footprint as you enter the church. Wander slightly south to 12th-century St Peterskirche to climb the lofty church tower for panoramic views that reach to the Alps on cloud-free days. North of Marienplatz sits the Residenz Palace, which reflects the splendour of the 700-year Wittelsbach dynasty in its lavishly frescoed state apartments, glittering treasury and the rococo Cuvilliés-Theater where Mozart’s Idomeneo premiered in 1781.
 
Where to people-watch Müncheners jog, play boules and saunter along lime tree-lined avenues in the Hofgarten

Art matters

Get your art fix at the Neue Pinakothek Munich’s cultural hotspot is the Kunstareal museum quarter in Maxvorstadt, home to the galleries of the Pinakothek. Step inside the neoclassical Alte Pinakothek to view Old Master standouts like Rembrandt’s chiaroscuro paintings and Albrecht Dürer’s Christ-like Self Portrait. The neighbouring Neue Pinakothek highlights 19th- and 20th-century art, with big-hitters including Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, curvaceous Rodin bronzes and Impressionist works by Degas and Monet. A glass rotunda illuminates the Pinakothek der Moderne, showcasing modern art from Magritte to Max Beckmann. The Deutsches Museum possesses over 100,000 objects from the realms of science and technology. The large number of valuable original exhibits makes this one of the most important museums in its field and one of the most frequently visited anywhere in the world. If you’ve only time for one museum, make it the vivid Museum Brandhorst, sheltering an outstanding collection of Picasso’s illustrated books, Warhol pop art and Damien Hirst installations. Edge north of Olympiapark to BMW Welt and the BMW Museum for a spin through motoring history. Ballet and opera fans can head to the Bavarian State Opera.

 

Get active

The picturesque Hofgarten is great in any season For a breather in the centre of town, the Hofgarten is a set of formal court gardens where Münchners jog, play boules and saunter lime tree-lined avenues. Opposite is Munich’s green heart, the 18th-century English Garden; its Kleinhesseloher lake is filled with twirling ice skaters on crisp winter days. West of the city’s centre, the baroque Nymphenburg Palace Gardens are the very vision of Canaletto’s 1760 painting, with manicured lawns, lakes and swans. Mandarin Oriental, Munich has complimentary Mercedes-Benz bikes for guest use and the concierge can recommend worthwhile routes including a 12km loop of the English Garden and a 6km culture tour.
 

Where to dine At Michelin-starred Mark’s at Mandarin Oriental, Munich, Head Chef Simon Larese puts a seasonal spin on Mediterranean-infused cuisine

Time to dine

Mark's at Mandarin Oriental, Munich Dine intimately in Michelin-starred restaurant Mark’s at Mandarin Oriental, Munich, where Head Chef Simon Larese puts a seasonal spin on Mediterranean-infused cuisine. The Spatenhaus an der Oper, situated opposite the Bavarian national state theatre, represents Bavarian hospitality in its finest form. Traditional Bavarian cuisine is painstakingly created using fresh  local ingredients. The two Michelin starred restaurant Tantris is rated as the best in Munich. Its name refers to 'the search for perfection'. Perfection is what any visit to Tantris should deliver: from the architecture of the building through to the cuisine. In the historic heart of Munich, the one-Michelin-starred Schuhbeck in den Südtiroler Stuben offers contemporary, light seasonal cuisine from chef Alfons Schuhbeck. Hippocampus is owned by Sergio Artiaco and Cosimo Ruggiero. The restaurant is an Italian institution providing inventive Italian dishes. The remarkable garden of the Hippocampus has been mentioned by several magazines as being one of the most beautiful restaurant gardens in Munich.

 

Super-spa quality

A treatment room at Amour Fou Unwind after a full day’s sightseeing at the Amour Fou Spa de Beauté at Mandarin Oriental, Munich. Indulge in beauty treatments from La Prairie, Lignes ST Barth, Dr Dennis Gross Skincare, Cellex-C to name a few, choose your favourite scent in the parfumerie and add polish to both your hair and nails at Ulla Huprich.

 

 

Paint the town

Map of Munich To see Munich at its stein-swinging, thigh-slapping best, make the pilgrimage to the clichéd but fun Hofbräuhaus for a mass litre of beer and jovial singalongs. The wood-panelled Bar Tabacco is the place to nurse a single malt, or mingle over cocktails at Schumann’s by the Hofgarten. Jazz singers croon by candlelight at the perennially popular Jazzclub Unterfahrt in Haidhausen, while Munich socialites round out a night shimmying to house music at the fashionable P1 Club.

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