So many of our festive traditions originate in Germany (Christmas trees, carols, advent calendars) that it seems the perfect place to go for a festive short break without feeling too far from home. Among Germany’s big cities, Munich (or München as the locals call it) is one of the best to visit at holiday time for its combination of Christmas Markets, hearty food, drinks and fairy tale ambiance. If you’re planning a last-minute Christmas break, here’s seven reasons to head to Munich.
1. Christmas markets
Overlooked by the Neues Rathaus and its famous glockenspiel, Marienplatz is the site of Munich’s enormous Christmas market which this year runs from 27th November to 24th December. Popular with residents and tourists alike, the market features traditional Bavarian handicrafts such as hand painted glass baubles, sheepskin jackets and nostalgic paper pictures as well as festive food & drink like fresh chestnuts, stolen, baked apples, gingerbread, mulled wine and herb liqueurs.
2. Christmas shopping
You could easily pick up unique Christmas gifts for the entire family at the Munich Christmas markets but if you’re looking for something flashier, Munich city centre has plenty of shopping malls, high street stores and designer boutiques to choose from, including the popular Fünf Höfe shopping centre on Theatinerstrasse and the exclusive shopping boulevard of Maximilianstrasse, filled with luxury couture.
3. Beer Halls
When you think Munich, you think beer! This is mainly due to the legendary Oktoberfest but the cities beer halls are also great places to visit at Christmas. The most famous is undoubtedly the Hofbräuhaus but its status as Munich’s best-known beer hall means it’s often crowded with tourists. No less charming but maybe a bit quieter, try the cavernous Augustiner-Bräustuben near the main station or the Löwenbräukeller which is a little further out. Both offer traditional food, typical Bavarian music and of course, huge Maß of beer!
Beer isn’t the only traditional drink of choice for winter in Munich. When wandering around the Christmas markets it’s somewhat of a ritual to purchase a Glühwein (mulled wine) to keep you toasty as you browse the stalls. But you can get mulled wine everywhere these days so why not try a Munich speciality – “Feuerzangenbowle” – a traditional German drink made from red wine, rum, fruit, cinnamon and sugar.
5. Hearty food
Just like beer, Munich is synonymous with sausages. Bratwurst, Bockwurst, Weisswurst, Blutwurst, Knackwurst, Leberwurst, Currywurst; the list is virtually endless. Great as a snack to keep you going or as a main meal in the evening, you can’t go to Munich and not give at least one of them a try! And with more German specialties like Gulasch, Rouladen, Schnitzel, and Bratkartoffeln on offer in the city’s numerous restaurants, you’re sure to leave Munich completely sated!
6. Sweet treats
If you’ve got any space left after all that, then you’ve got to try some of Munich’s sweet specialities. Around the Christmas markets the sweet smell of waffles, apple strudel and gingerbread fill the air, creating continuous temptation which is hard to resist. Munich also has plenty of chocolate shops to tickle your taste buds. Family-run Elly Seidl, located across from the Theatinerstrasse tram stop, is an idyllic little chocolate shop to handpick a selection of pralines, liqueurs and truffles to treat yourself or your loved ones.
Much as we’re sure you’d like to, you can’t spend all your time at the Christmas markets so while you’re in Munich, why not pay a visit to the home of one of Europe’s biggest teams, FC Bayern Munich. The futuristic Allianz Arena is an easy ride from the city centre via U-Bahn. There’s an FC Bayern Megastore where you can pick up some merchandise (official Bayern Munich branded lederhosen anyone?) plus stadium tours where you can go behind the scenes and visit the dressing rooms, the tunnel and the media zone. Don’t forget to pay a visit to FC Bayern Erlebniswelt, Germany’s biggest club museum; a ticket for both costs just €19.
Have a look at our great range of festive breaks from celebrating Christmas in the UK, seeing in the New Year in Europe, festive theatre shows, breaks in Iceland, Christmas markets and more…