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How to Spend the Perfect 1 Day in Munich

(Last Updated On: December 1, 2021)

Filled with epic architecture, tasty eats, fantastic scenery, and rich culture, Munich is one of the best places to visit in Germany and is a destination that should be on everyone’s must-travel list. Many people think that you need multiple days to visit, but you can explore all of the highlights with 1 day in Munich.

When traveling through Europe, I only spent a day in Munich and truly did make the most of my day. There are so many great places to visit in just one day, especially if you use Munich’s fast public transportation.

Read on to start planning your one day Munich itinerary!

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How to Get to Munich

There are a few ways to get to Munich because it’s such a major city in Germany.

Get to Munich by Plane

The most popular way to get to Munich is to fly into the Munich International Airport. Most airlines will fly into this one, like EasyJet or KLM. Sometimes you can even snag a great deal with a round-trip flight costing around €​​60 depending on where you’re flying from.

If you’re traveling by plane, check out this post on the best travel accessories for long flights so you can plan accordingly!

rathaus and frauenkirche

Get to Munich by Train

To get to Munich efficiently and in style, consider taking the train. I took the train to Munich from Vienna, and the ride was fast and absolutely beautiful going through the countryside. 

Purchase tickets right on the DB website ahead of time and consider also paying a little extra to choose your seat. This way, you’ll know the seat is yours for the entire trip, and you won’t have to move.

Prices for the train range depending on where you’re coming from but are usually competitive with airline pricing. The trains will usually bring visitors to München Hauptbahnhof, the city’s central train station.

Get to Munich by Bus

Like trains, many major cities in Europe will have buses that will get you right to Munich. This is usually a super cheap way to travel but just know that buses often experience delays. The most popular bus to get to Munich is with FlixBus.

Get to Munich by Car

If you’re driving, then you’re in luck because you’ll have the ability to make stops along the way, giving you tons of freedom. However, just know that parking can be hard to come by and also pretty expensive in the city!

What to See in Munich in One Day

If you’re wondering the best things to see in Munich in one day, you’re in luck. Below, find a suggested itinerary for 1 day in Munich, along with some options that you can choose from to build your own!

Note: If you’re visiting for one day during Oktoberfest, your itinerary may look completely different. Check out this post on tips for Oktoberfest in Munich to help you plan

Have Breakfast at a Cafe Near English Garden (Englischer Garten)

Start your day by making your way to English Garden and stop for breakfast at a nearby cafe. Some of the best cafes near English Garden are below!

greek temple on a green hill

Fräulein Grüneis

Fräulein Grüneis is a cafe that opens at 8 a.m. near English Garden in Munich. They are technically a little kiosk by the park but truly serve great dishes, including pastries, coffees, soups, and sandwiches. 

There are some park benches and standing tables right at Fräulein Grüneis so you can enjoy your food before exploring the park.

Dinatale Cafe

Dinatale Cafe is an Italian cafe that serves up superb coffee. For 1 day in Munich, this is an excellent place to grab coffee and tea in the morning and a quick pastry for breakfast. They open at 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. on Sunday.

Café Königin 43

Café Königin 43 has tons of outdoor seating and is also right near the English Garden. They open a bit later at 9 a.m. but have loads of breakfast options ranging from egg dishes to croissants and even yogurts. Plus, they have tons of coffee and teas.

Explore English Garden

After grabbing breakfast, walk over to English Garden and start exploring. This park is absolutely massive and has been a Munich staple since the 1780s. You can find bike paths throughout the park, areas to sit in, and many fun landmarks.

If you’re wondering what to do in Munich Germany in one day, this is a great place to start.

One such landmark to look out for is the Greek temple or Monopteros im Englischen Garten. This temple has spectacular views of the park and was built in the 1800s for Ludwig I.

man surfing on river

Another landmark to be on the lookout for is the Japanese Teahouse which is open during certain times of the year. Even if it’s closed when you visit like it was for me (I visited in March), then it’s still a great spot to take a photo because it’s such a striking landmark.

Spend an hour or so here before moving on to the next itinerary stop for 1 day in Munich.

Before leaving, be sure to head over to the river in the park. You can often find people surfing here and it’s quite fun to watch!

Siegestor (Triumphal Arch)

From the English Garden, walk eleven minutes to get to Siegestor, the Triumphal Arch in Munich. It was built in the 1840s and features a sculpture on the top with horses and was built in honor of the army of Bavaria.

It was later restored after World War II and serves as a symbol of peace for the city, hence the name Triumphal Arch.

triumphal arch in munich

Keep in mind that this arch is actually in a traffic circle, so cars are constantly going around it. Be careful trying to get a photo, and just know that it may take you longer than you think to get one without a car in front of it!

Sometimes the city puts art installations as part of the Triumphal Arch; when I visited, there was one installed, and it was awesome to see and learn more about it.

Munich Residenz

After checking out the Triumphal Arch, it’s time to head to one of the most popular spots to visit in Munich: Munich Residenz. You can either walk fifteen minutes to get there or hop on the U6 towards Klinikum Großhadern and get off at Odeonsplatz.

Once you get off, it’ll be a four-minute walk to get to Munich Residenz, making it super quick to get to via public transportation.

This landmark palace used to be a Bavarian palace that served as the home of the members of the Wittelsbach monarchs. It’s also the most prominent palace in a city in the entire country, which is why it’s absolutely worth visiting.

The palace was built back in the 14th century and is made in the Renaissance style of architecture, so it’s breathtaking on the inside and the outside.

Ticket prices change yearly but cost €9 per person to enter the museum in 2021. It’s free to see the Court Garden, though. Other spots in Munich Residenz that you have to pay to enter include the Treasury for €9 and Cuvilliés Theatre for €5. 

You can purchase tickets right in person when you get there. Spend about an hour and a half to two hours to fully explore it.

Some of the spots in Munich Residenz that you don’t want to miss include the Shell Grotto, the Ancestral Gallery, and the Reliquary Room.

white church with pink arches

Eat Lunch Near Munich Residenz

Once you’ve finished with the Munich Residenz, it’s time to get lunch. Below are two of the best spots to get lunch nearby; it’s totally up to you which one you’d rather eat at. 

Hofbräuhaus

First up is the famous ​​Hofbräuhaus, which is the largest beer hall in all of Munich. If you want a traditional meal while in Munich, this is where you’re going to want to go. This place is iconic and was built back in the 16th century.

The beer hall is huge, with three different floors. The interior is beautiful and has a traditional beer hall set up with long tables and incredible decor.

In addition to beer, this beer hall has lots of baked goods and savory foods. The majority of the foods on the menu are traditional Bavarian dishes, and they also rotate their menus out depending on the time of year.

Viktualienmarkt

Another option nearby is Viktualienmarkt, an outdoor food market that has been a Munich stable since the early 1800s. In English, it translates to Victuals Market. 

bratwurst and schnitzel on a plate

By heading over to the market, you’ll be able to find a wide range of different food options, including schnitzel and bratwurst. The food at Viktualienmarkt is also extremely affordable, so if you visit Munich on a budget, you’ll want to eat here.

Once you’re done eating, you can also walk around and check out the other vendors here. Tons of other stalls sell fun trinkets that you can take home to remember your trip to Munich.

Climb to the Top of St. Peter’s Church (Peterskirche)

St. Peter’s Church is located a short walk away from both Hofbräuhaus and Viktualienmarkt. In the very spot where St. Peter’s Church stands, there has been a church dating back to the 11th century. As you may imagine, it’s been renovated and rebuilt a lot over the years.

Despite being rebuilt so many times, it’s the oldest church in all of Munich. While the inside of the church is breathtaking, the main reason you should visit here is to climb to the top of it to get the best panoramic view of the city!

bavarian alps by the munich skyline

To get to the top, there are 299 steps, and it’s one of the best things to do in Munich in one day. The walk to the top is not that bad, and you’ll be genuinely rewarded once you get to the top. Plus, you can even look out and see the Bavarian Alps against the city!

It costs €3 to climb to the top. You can purchase access to start climbing right at the church. There usually isn’t a line, but if you visit during peak season, there may be.

Also, note that once you get to the top, you may feel very crowded as there are usually tons of people at the top taking in the views. Everyone moves pretty slowly, circling around the top and going back down. Just enjoy it and take in the view!

Marienplatz

Walk right outside of the church, and you’ll be in Marienplatz or St. Mary’s Square! This is the main square in Munich, so it’s very popularly visited and is usually quite busy. Just take in the hustle and bustle because the area is beautiful. It’s also known for being one of the most beautiful famous landmarks in Germany.

This square has been a meeting place in the city for years dating back to the 12th century. The square used to be very popular for markets over the years.

marienplatz in munich

What makes the square so great is that it’s pedestrian-only, so there are no cars. You can walk around, explore the architecture and shops, and even watch some local street performers put on shows.

While in Marienplatz, one place that you can’t miss out on is the Rathaus building. It features a Glockenspiel clock that puts on a show every day at 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. right on the New Town Hall tower. Try to make it to one of them if you can!

Church of Our Lady

Take a five-minute walk to the Church of Our Lady from Marienplatz once you’re done exploring the area. The church is easily visible from the top of St Peter’s Church and is genuinely one of the most striking architectural pieces in the city.

Church of Our Lady dates back to the 15th century and is known for its two towers. Many people also refer to it as Frauenkirche.

If you want to climb a second church in Munich, you can also climb this one by going up the south tower. The views are impeccable and rival those that you get from St Peter.

One landmark inside the Church of Our Lady that you’ll want to be on the lookout for is the footprint that many people say belong to the devil. It’s located in one of the marble slabs and is hard to miss.

baroque church interior

Asam Church

After exploring the Church of Our Lady, take a quick nine-minute walk over to Asam Church. This is easily one of the most underrated churches to visit in Munich. IIn fact, it seems that most tourists don’t even know about it.

This historic church has a baroque interior fit for royalty. It was built in the 17th century and was created by two brothers. While the inside is relatively small, it truly will take your breath away, and it almost feels gothic.

It’s completely free to go inside, making this one of the best things to do in Munich on a budget.

Old Botanical Garden

Once you’ve taken some time to explore the marvelous interior of the Asam Church, it’s time to hop back on public transportation. Get on the U2 towards Feldmoching at Sendlinger Tor and get off at Königsplatz.

Once you get off, you’ll have a short four-minute walk over to the Old Botanical Garden or Alter Botanischer Garten.

munich view from st peter

This beautiful park was built in the 1800s and was initially meant to be the first botanical garden in all of Munich; and was even designed after the English Garden. Over the years, space in Munich got hard to come by, and unfortunately, all that remains of the initial garden (structure-wise) is the entrance gate.

There is still a park here, and it was officially opened to the public in the early 20th century. If you’re hungry around this time of your day, stop by the cafe, which also features a fantastic beer garden!

Nymphenburg Palace (Schloss Nymphenburg)

Now it’s finally time to check out one of the most popular spots in all of Munich: Nymphenburg Palace! With just 1 day in Munich, this is one place that you can’t miss.

This time, instead of taking the U-Bahn, take the 16 light rail towards Romanplatz; you can get on at Karlsplatz. You’ll ride it to the end, and once you get off at Romanplatz, you’ll have a half-mile walk to the palace. 

This is the closest you can get to the palace just about with public transport, but the walk is gorgeous!

Nymphenburg Palace is a breathtaking palace built in the baroque style of architecture in the 17th century. It mainly served as the summer home to Max Amanuel as he was an heir to the throne. Under him, the palace grew to great heights.

Nymphenburg Palace with a lake in front of it

Because you’re there with such a short amount of time, be sure to check out the highlights, including the gardens, the court stables, and the south pavilion. The gardens also feature two amazing lakes that will truly leave you in awe!

To get to Nymphenburg Palace, you have to pay €8. You can also consider combining it with the Museum of Nymphenburg Porcelain which is an extra €6 if you have the time.

Tickets can be purchased online or in person. To save yourself the hassle of waiting in line because you’re only in Munich for one day, definitely try to buy online if you can.

Dinner

To finish the day off right, head out to dinner at one of the great restaurants near Nymphenburg Palace. You can easily walk to these from the palace.

Schlosscafé im Palmenhaus – $$

This restaurant is known for its sweeping views of the palace, so you can still marvel at it when you’re eating. They serve traditional German dishes so you can enjoy great meals. They also have a menu in English in case you don’t speak German.

wine glasses sitting on a wood table
Photo by Valeria Boltneva from Pexels

Schlosswirtschaft Schwaige Nymphenburg GmbH – $$$

If you have a bit more money to splurge on your dinner in Munich, then check out this restaurant. It’s known for its ample portions but just know that it is a little more pricey. Their pulled duck burger is one of their most popular menu items and can’t be missed.

EKAM Restaurant München – $$

If you’re not in the mood for German food, this restaurant is a great Indian restaurant near Nymphenburg Palace. This is an excellent stop for dinner during 1 day in Munich with outdoor seating and friendly staff.

Where to Stay in Munich

No matter your budget, there’s a place for you to stay before or after your one day spent exploring Munch. Here are a few options for different budgets!

Obviously if you’re spending just 12 hours in Munich you won’t have to book somewhere to stay, but if you’re like me and only have one full day in the city but you’re spending the night, you will!

ibis Budget Muenchen City Sued – $

If you’re traveling on a budget, you have to stay at an ibis budget. I spent a semester abroad in Europe and lived at these hotels while traveling; they’re a perfect place to rest your head and are a lot nicer than staying at a hostel!

This one, in particular, has nightly rates around $60 and is a short walk from a U-Bahn station, so it’s super easy to get around by staying here.

Check current availability for the hotel here!

Hilton Munich City – $$

For a mid-range budget, consider staying at the Hilton Munich City. It’s located right in the entertainment district of Munich and is near an S-Bahn station. With air conditioning and the option to add on breakfast, this is the perfect place to stay with 1 day in Munich.

view of munich from above

Check current availability for the hotel here!

Hotel Bayerischer Hof – $$$

For around $400 per night, you can stay at the 5-star Hotel Bayerischer Hof. It’s super central; in fact, it’s only a three-minute walk from Frauenkirche, which was listed earlier on the Munich one day itinerary. The hotel is luxurious (plus dates back to the 1840s!) with a pool, air conditioning, and breakfast.

Check current availability for the hotel here!

Tips for Visiting Munich for a Day

With 1 day in Munich, you should consider following these tips to make sure you can make the most of your day. Here are some things I wish I had known before visiting Munich!

Use Public Transportation to Get from the Munich International Airport to Downtown

The best way to get downtown or even to your hotel after arriving at the airport is to take public transportation. You can take a bus or the S-Bahn, and both are great options. Some airlines, like Lufthansa, even offer express buses 365 days a year.

Buy a Munich Card

A Munich Card is your ticket to using public transportation as a visitor. Depending on where you’ll be using the card, expect to pay either €13,90 or €22,90 for your one-day pass.

In addition to allowing you to use all public transport in the Zone that you purchase for, you’ll also get access to special discounts, including those at Nymphenburg Palace. Buying a Munich Card is a no-brainer.

inside gothic church

Know Most Shops are Closed on Sundays

In Munich and just Germany in general, most stores are closed on Sunday. If you are visiting on Sunday, just plan ahead and make sure you have everything you need for the day.

Make Sure You Have Euros

It’s a lot easier to pay with Euros in Munich, especially as a tourist. Sometimes stores won’t even accept cards, so it’s best to be prepared. It’s also good to always have currency for the place you’re visiting anyway in case of an emergency!

How to Get Around Munich

S-Bahn and U-Bahn

The most popular ways to get around the city fast are with the S-Bahn and the U-Bahn. For the purpose of this one-day itinerary, you’ll primarily be using the U-Bahn while hopping on the S-Bahn once. The U-Bahn is speedy and will cut down on your travel time immensely.

For reference, the difference between the S-Bahn and the U-Bahn is that the U-Bahn is an underground train in the city center, while the S-Bahn is more of a commuter rail.

The Bus

The bus is another way to get around the city but may be more time-consuming. I did have to use it to get from my hotel to downtown because I stayed outside of the city in Putzbrunn. The buses are nice; it just can take a while to get you where you are going!

To purchase single-use bus tickets, you can usually buy them right on the bus. That’s right; a lot of the buses have a ticket purchase station right on them! Be sure to have some coins to buy them as a lot of the stations didn’t take cards.

When riding the bus, make sure always to click the stop button when your stop is next or risk not being able to get off!

Best Time to Visit Munich

With most people visiting Munich in the summer and fall, the best time to visit is in the spring, especially March through the end of May. This time of year is the least busy, and prices for accommodations and flights tend to go down!

The weather in the spring is also excellent, with it normally being in the 50s each day and sunny. You’ll, of course, need to check the Munich weather, though, and make sure you bring layers to be prepared.

rathaus city hall in munich

If you for sure want to visit Munich during Oktoberfest, then you’ll, of course, want to visit in the fall. Just know that not only is this the busiest time to visit the city, but it’s also the most expensive.

The winter can be a great time to visit as well if you want to experience a German Christmas market. This is one of the best things to do in Munich in December. These are often held right in Marienplatz and are incredible. The one in Munich dates back to the 14th century!

Spending just 1 day in Munich is entirely doable by planning ahead and making all reservations needed, including purchasing tickets for places like Nymphenburg Palace. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Munich ASAP!

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