Only have one day to spend in Munich? Not to worry! Although Munich has a lot of great activities to offer, in this post I’ll share fun ideas to fill your day in Munich. This will be perfect if your trip to Munich is short, are tacking on a day of exploring to Oktoberfest, or you have a layover.
Munich is located in Bavaria, the southern portion of Germany, and is the third-largest city in the country. It’s a beautiful sprawling metropolis packed with incredible German history, great beer, and fun cultural sights and activities.
How to Spend One Day in Munich
Getting to Munich from the USA isn’t always a straight shot. Usually, you’ll find flights to Berlin or Frankfurt much cheaper. However, it’s easy to get to by train from Frankfurt or other smaller airlines in Europe. The second time I went to Munich, I rented a car because we were driving on the Romantic Road. However, you don’t need a car in Munich at all! In fact, I don’t recommend one unless you’re taking the scenic route. On our first trip, we flew from London (Heathrow) into Munich.
The U-Bahn is Munich’s underground metro system and can get you pretty much anywhere you need to go. During rush hour, the trains come every five minutes and service continues until about 1:30 in the morning. The overground S-Bahn commuter trains supplement the U-Bahn service.
Munich has an extensive bus network that also connects you to the metro and train services. The buses run late into the night so if you miss the last train, you’re covered. Keep in mind; one ticket also works for multiple modes of transit. I recommend getting a day pass to keep things simple.
Munich, like most cities in Europe, is pedestrian-friendly. Sometimes called one of the most walkable cities in Europe, I had no problem hoofing it during my trips.
It was in a great location and walkable to everything downtown. The rooms had strange colored carpet and were somewhat outdated, but it was a great price, had free breakfast, and we didn’t spend a ton of time here. See current prices of Hotel Isator.
These are two very different breakfast spots, but both of them have great options! Cotidiano is an excellent option for a hearty breakfast and is very popular with the locals. The food is delicious and fresh and they have vegetarian and vegan options.
If you’d rather try a true Bavarian breakfast, check out Cafe Glockenspiel and order the Weißwurst Frühstück (White sausage breakfast). You’ll get white sausages, a pretzel, and wheat beer! Plus, the views from up here are so fun. If you time it right, you might see the famous Glockenspiel performance.
I’m always a big fan of free walking tours, and love using them to get the lay of the land. Usually, these last a few hours and you can see a lot of the city in a short time. Although “free” is a bit of a misnomer (you’re still expected to tip), it’s money well spent. This guided tour takes you to major landmarks, Frauenkirche, the famous Glockenspiel, Hofbrauhouse, and much more.
The free walking tour will start in the city center in Marienplatz, located in the heart of Munich. It is the gateway to some of the best shopping, eating, and drinking in the city and one of the most stunning structures. This is where the seat of the mayor and city council resides.
If you happen to be here around the holidays, the Christmas markets here are excellent. Just a minute away from Marienplatz you’ll also find Peterskirche (St. Peter’s Church) which is the oldest church in Munich. You can even climb the stairs to the top if you want a birds-eye view of the city. It’s gorgeous and I highly recommend it for a birds-eye view of the square.
This is one of the biggest squares in the city. Inside the square, you’ll find a fountain and a large gothic gate called Karlstor. It’s one of the gates to Munich’s Old Town. If you walk through it you’ll find Neuhauserstraße and Kaufingerstraße. These are great areas for shopping and dining and are very popular with the locals.
This market was one of my favorites in Munich! I stopped here for a beer at the beer gardens and during the day it’s a food and farmer’s market along with flower shops. It houses over 140 stalls with fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, baked goods, and flowers.
Only a few steps away is a beautiful building called the Schrannenhalle and inside you’ll find the famous Eataly Munich! Check this spot out for amazing Italian foods.
Augustiner-Bräu is one of the oldest breweries in the city. I had so much fun soaking up the history with a great beer! Hofbrauhaus is probably one of the most famous beer halls in the world.
Just beware that it’s pretty touristy and there can be a long line. Just know it moves pretty quickly and there are tons of shared tables where it’s normal to share. Either Augustina or Hofbräuhaus will give you that quintessential german beer-hall experience and I definitely recommend experiencing it!
This is a great area to see gorgeous neoclassical architecture at the center of Munich. You’ll see the statue of King Maximilian Joseph in the center of the square and then you’ll see the Munich Residence, the Bavarian State Opera, and the Palais Toerring-Jettenbach.
Just off Max-Joseph Platz, the Munich Residenz is the former home of the German monarchy. I personally think this is one of the best museums in Munich! It’s currently open to the public and is a wonderful place to learn about the Bavarian history and get a tour. While you’re in the area, stop at Feldherrnhalle, a monument commemorating the Bavarian army in the 19th century.
Next, head over to the Englischer Garten (aka English Garden)! It’s a large park with beautiful views of the Munich skyline, beautiful gardens, and large lawns. You can come here to get a bit of a break from the bustling city. Inside you’ll also find beer gardens—making this spot the perfect place for a picnic or beer stop.
If you’re in Munich for only one day, you probably need to eat German food for every meal! Right?! For dinner, head to one of these spots for a traditional dinner and order some nürnberger bratwürste, spaetzle (my personal favorite), semmelknödel (dumplings), or traditional schnitzel!
This is a great local experience in Munich with all sorts of in-house distilled spirits and beer. It’s got a bit of a quirky feel with funky decor. Locals say it’s one of their favorite bars in Munich and a bit different from the beer and heavy foods you’ll most likely be eating in Munich.
It will take you about 2 hours to drive from Munich to Hitler’s historic mountain top retreat with views of the Alps. It was one of the most elaborate construction projects during the Third Reich. The views from above are stunning as is the drive. Today it acts as a mountain inn but is still a reminder of the horrors of Nazi rule under Hitler.
If you have the luxury of time, making your leisurely way down the Romantic Road is 100% worth it! Germany is chock full of charming towns and historical sites. Check out my full post for our Romantic Road itinerary and recommendations.
Welcome to the Traveling Spud! I’m Katie, a 30 something from Idaho who quit her marketing job in San Francisco, California to travel the world for a year. After a trip around the world, my heart chose Idaho. I'm addicted to outdoor adventures, photography, and inspiring others to get out of their comfort zones and cross experiences off of their bucket lists. Let's explore together! Read more here.