After a cancelled flight, a missed connection, and close to 24 hours of travel, we arrived at the Munich airport, got our S-Bahn train ticket, and rode the S-8 to Hauptbahnhof Station in the heart of the city. Our planned two-day visit to Bavaria’s capital city turned into one jam-packed day! So if, like us, you find yourself with just one day in Munich, here’s an idea of some of the highlights to put on your itinerary!
Transportation in Munich
Munich has an extensive and easy to use public transportation system, including the U-Bahn (underground), S-Bahn (suburban trains), trams, and buses. You can use the same ticket for all these different types of public transportation. If you just have one day in Munich, it is recommended for you to purchase a Day Ticket which allows unlimited travel on public transportation from the time validated until 6:00 am the next day. If traveling with at least one other person, select the Gruppen Day Ticket to save. To avoid a hefty fine, be sure to validate your ticket before embarking on your journey by inserting the it into the small stamping machines near the entrances to the train tracks or on trams and buses.
What Do To With One Day in Munich
Seeing such a big city in a day is certainly not recommended, but given the close proximity of the main attractions, it is possible to hit the highlights in a limited time frame!
If you want to see the city highlights in a short amount of time, consider taking a guided segway tour, a bike tour with a local, or a city walking tour. These guided tours will take you directly to Munich’s most popular attractions!
Marienplatz is in the heart of the city and is a must see for visitors to the city.
Be sure to visit the New Town Hall at 11 a.m. or noon to hear the Glockenspiel chime and watch the 32 life-sized figures reenact historical Bavarian events.
Beautiful buildings, sidewalk cafes, beer gardens, markets, and churches can be easily explored from this common starting point!
Just steps away from Marienplatz is Viktualienmarkt, a daily outdoor farmers market, boasting over 140 booths of flowers, spices, pastries, meats, cheeses, and a variety of other regional foods. We found a nearby beer garden to sit down and grab a bite and a beer for our first German ‘dining’ experience! After our stressful travel ordeal, we could certainly use a beer!
>> Looking for a fun and delicious way to spend 2 hours? Go on a food tour at Viktualienmarkt and sample the local delicacies! <<
Visit Munich’s Famous Beer Halls
Now that we had checked “drinking in a beer garden” off our list, we made our way to Munich’s most famous beer hall- Hofbräuhaus. (Check out our detailed post here.)
>> Want to learn more about the history behind Munich’s beer? Go on a private tour of Munich’s Beer & Oktoberfest Museum.<<
We were beyond stuffed after pretzels, dumplings, and beers, so we decided to go for a walk in the English Gardens, one of the world’s largest urban public parks! For scale, it’s larger than Central Park in New York. The 900-acre park attracts locals and visitors alike to the peaceful landscape and local attractions, such as the Monoptero and watching surfers ride the wave in the artificial stream running through the park formed by a water pumping mechanism. The park boasts a network of close to 50 miles (78 km) of paths for cyclists and joggers. Others come to the park to picnic with friends or to join in an amateur game of frisbee or football. Beer gardens are scattered throughout the city, including at the park, so of course it was time to enjoy another beer!
Try the BEST Ice Cream in Munich
So, maybe you’re not into beer, or you’re simply looking for another treat to enjoy while in Bavaria’s capital city. Be sure to stop by True & Twelve, an artisan ice cream shop located just outside the heart of the city. Click here for a detailed review of our scrumptious ice cream experience! We promise you won’t be disappointed, that is unless you visit in the winter months when they are closed for the season.
Where to Stay in Munich
Wondering where to stay in Munich? Whether you’re spending just one day in Munich or an entire week, here’s a look at the Best Neighborhoods in Munich to help you decide on accommodations.
Attending Oktoberfest in Munich
Plan your visit to Munich right and you just might be able to attend the world’s largest beer festival! While we didn’t attend Oktoberfest on our first visit to Munich, we did return to Bavaria’s capital city a few years later for another whirlwind visit to partake in the world’s biggest beer festival. Though we’re not big on crowds and festivals in general, we had an absolute blast and would definitely recommend this once-in-a-lifetime experience! You can read more about our time at Oktoberfest HERE.
Day Trips from Munich
If you find yourself with extra days on either end of your visit to Munich, be sure to get out of the city to explore some of many spectacular places within a quick drive or train ride. We rented a car in Munich and made our way to the storybook village of Hallstatt, Austria! If you’re not comfortable renting a car, but still want to visit some surrounding attractions and towns in Germany and Austria, check out these highly-rated guided tour options: Train Journey and Walking Tour of Salzburg, Austria | Visit the Fairytale Castles of Neuschwanstein and Linderhof | Journey Along Germany’s Romantic Road and Visit the Fairytale Village of Rothenburg | Bus Ride and Guided Tour of the Historic Town of Nuremberg | Explore the Bavarian Alps & Boat Ride on Lake Königssee in Berchtesgaden (one of our favorite places in the world!)
All said and done, we saw as much as we could and enjoyed every fulfilling and exhausting minute of our first trip to Munich! Good thing we made friends with some locals and have been back a few times since our initial visit! Check out our quick video for a closer look at our jam-packed one day in Munich, Germany: