With a metropolitan population of more than 5.2 million, Munich is the third-largest city in Germany (behind Hamburg and Berlin) and the twelfth largest city in the European Union. First mentioned in 1158, it is amongst the older cities of the continent. What’s important to know is that it is one of the most important scientific centres in Germany (and Europe for that matter) and it boasts with a rich history of art, trade and prosperity. Located upon the Isar River, Munich is the largest city of the German state of Bavaria.
Munich conveniently lies upon the liminal boundary between the humid continental climate zone and the oceanic one. This means that it experiences four distinct seasons. Summers are warm whilst winters are cold and often freezing. Bavaria’s finest is one of the rainiest cities in Germany due to its location in the Alps. Despite most downpouring hitting Munich during springs, rain is abundant throughout the entire year. Thick clothes are recommended between September and April for temperatures drop sharply as soon as the Sun disappears behind the horizon. In fact, this is often the case with cities close to mountains. Keep this in mind wherever you might go.
Munich is served by the renowned Franz Josef Strauss International Airport (also known as the Munich International Airport). Handling more than 41 million passengers each year, it is the second-busiest airport in Germany and the fifteenth in Europe. With nearly 230 destinations spread across over 65 countries, the airport is a reliable, punctual (as most German services are) and safe one. Found at a distance of 28.5 kilometres from the city near the old town of Freising, the airport boasts with two major passenger terminals.
There is a reason why we’ve named Munich the Haven of Punctuality. Its U-Bahn rapid underground railway system is the most precise of all such systems in the world. This means that no matter where you are housed, you are bound to reach all of your destinations exactly (and we repeat, exactly) at your designated time. The same can be said for the S-Bahn overground train system (connecting the centre with the suburbs), the urban tram system and the buses. If you are looking for the main station, keep an eye out (or ask around) for the Munich Hauptbahnhof station. Intercity trains move at an average speed of 300 km/h, so if you happen to be in an adjacent city (or longing to get to one), you are bound to find the conveyance as effortless as possible.
Munich is also on the list of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. With more than 17% of the public transportation happening on two wheels (and on bike lanes), one can but long to become one of them. Dedicated lanes can be found everywhere and their total length adds up to 1.200 kilometres. If that didn’t make you gawk then the fact that 80% of the people living in Munich own a bike surely will (wink).
SIGHTS AND ACTIVITIES:
One of the most majestic structures of Munich is the renowned Nymphenburg Palace. Adhering to the architectural style of the Baroque, the palace was built between the years 1663 and 1675. What’s important to know is that it is the summer residence of the former rulers of Bavaria, the members of the House of Wittelsbach (one of the most powerful royal families in Europe). The edifice itself was primarily designed by Agostino Barelli but others such as Enrico Zucalli, Giovanni Antonio Viscardi and Joseph Effner have also contributed. If you enter, do keep an eye out for the intricate ceiling frescoes realised by Johann Baptist Zimmermann and F. Zimmermann (with decoration-contributions from François de Cuvilliés).
Munich’s central square is called Marienplatz and it is one of the landmarks that you should not miss. An ancient place for gathering, so to speak (for it has been so since 1158), it bears the name of the Mariensäule, one of the renowned Marian columns (erected in 1638) found there. If you are done looking around, you should easily find your way to the local U-Bahn and S-Bahn station, the Marienplatz station.
Next up, you should visit the most prominent symbol of Munich, the Munich Frauenkirche. The cathedral pertains to the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising and it is the main seat of its Archbishop. Having been built between the years 1468 and 1488 (with the domes added only in 1524), it was consecrated in 1494. Its two iconic spires can be seen from almost every corner of the city and they soar at 99 metres. Designed by the master architect Jörg von Halsbach, the cathedral adheres to the architectural style of the Gothic Renaissance.
If you’ve had enough of the tumults of a day, be sure to visit the Englischer Garten, a large public park in the centre of the city. Spread across 3.7 square kilometres, the recreational area was founded in 1789 by the renowned physicist and inventor, Sir Benjamin Thompson. What’s important to know is that it is one of the largest public parks in Europe and that it is not crowded (it is even larger than the Central Park of New York City). Oh, and if you wish to pay homage to Sir Benjamin Thompson, do stop for a brief moment at the Rumford Monument (created to commemorate his genius).
Attracting more than 1.5 million visitors each year, the Deutsches Museum is one of the most important scientific museums of Europe. With nearly 30.000 objects from 50 scientific and technological fields displayed, it is nothing but an excellent establishment for you to explore (and to bring your children to).
Munich is not only one of the most well-designed and punctual cities in Europe but also one of the most beautiful ones. Boasting with large green areas and many an ancient structure, there should be nothing to hold you back from planning your trip right now (wink).