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.
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, 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.
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. 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.