Explore Munich by Bike – 17 Must Visit Sights – From English Garden to Isartor

Explore Munich by Bike – 17 Must Visit Sights – From English Garden to Isartor

Germany
Germany

When Is the Best Time

When visiting Munich, you step back in time, and you start diving deep into history. I promise the English Garden and Munich’s old town will catch you with lots of historic buildings without any skyscrapers. 

View to the city of Munich with very view high building only
View from "Alter Peter" to the old town of Munich

Munich is waiting for you to be explored in the best possible way; by bike. The best time to do so is from spring to autumn – from May until October. April can already be pleasant and sunny but cold and rainy too. 

A biker and the Monopteros in the English Garden
My nephew in the English Garden - Monopteros in the back.

Exploring Munich by bike makes the difference. You are fast; you can stop whenever you want, you don’t stick in traffic jams, you do not wait for the underground and parking is not an issue and does not cost a fortune. 

A sign indicating that bikes have the right of way

Munich is a bike-friendly city, and bikes have the right of way in many streets in the city centre and the old town. There are a lot of bike rental stations or book a guided bicycle tour. The routes to all points of interest like the Chinese Tower in the English Garden, the New Town Hall, and the museums are excellently marked.

What to Wear for Munich

Tourists and locals at the entrance of Viktualienmarkt
The beginning of Viktualienmarkt with the old town hall to the left.

You see casual, luxury, and traditional clothing in Munich. Most importantly, it should be comfortable if you wish to go on a sightseeing trip through Munich.

People passing by Theatine Church
Theatine Church

When we moved to Bavaria, I learnt my lesson in the first winter. The winter is fantastic with snow and crystal blue skies, but it is freezing, and the winter lasts much longer, definitely from November to March. It feels like having two seasons only; either it is warm and pleasant or cold.

Me by bike in the English Garden
All sights are excellently marked - me by bike.

There is nothing in between. Even in the summer, temps usually drop below 20°C after sunset due to higher elevations. A jacket is needed for the evening.

The rooftops of Munich and the mountains on the horizon
During Fön and on clear days you see the alps from Munich.

We have a weather pattern called “Fön”, like hairdryer, which means the Alps influence the weather and it is much warmer than usual, with temps in the high 20s°C, which occurs more often in spring and autumn. During these days you can see the mountains from Munich city centre like being the Himalayas. They appear much bigger and closer than they are in reality.

English Garden - Beer Garden with traditional food
Although April a warm jacket is needed in the evening - no meal without a "Brezel" pretzel.

You would like to see all the sights but this bike route is too much for you? No worries, there are many ways to get around in the beautiful city centre of Munich.

A Rikscha transport in Munich
Lots of nice guys like to show you the sights of Munich.

Oktoberfest – Munich Beer Festival 

Finally, after the last two strange Corona years, the Oktoberfest is back in Munich. Due to the weather, it is not held in October; instead, already in September, from Saturday 17 until the beginning of October Monday 3, a bank holiday called the "Day of German Unity".

Beer Mug
Maß Bier - one litre

The Oktoberfest has a long tradition; 2022 is the 187th already. It is also called "Wiesn" which means meadows 'cause this is the location "Theresienwiese". If you wish to visit the Oktoberfest, plan accordingly; it is the biggest attraction in Germany, with more than 6 million visitors in 17 days.

 

 

These are my recommended tours via GetYourGuide with 24 hours in the advance cancellation policy. Thx for booking via my website! With your support, I am able to provide all information first-hand. Tour prices are at no extra cost!

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Location and Tips

Munich, Old Town
Germany
Germany

I have been living near Munich for three years already, and I like to show you my hometown in the best possible way. Usually, I prefer to climb a mountain or be in the woods, but Munich is unique with its ancient buildings, food vendors, and excellent coffee. I love this city; therefore, I developed a route for you to the most beautiful sights of Munich, which you can see all in one day. 

Friedensengel - Angel of Peace

Our nephew from Portugal visited us recently, and we took the bikes for the English Garden to show him the mixture of people and the vibrant life.

The English Garden full of people
This is Englischer Garten in the afternoon.

He was fascinated and mentioned in the end, "The English Garden is bigger than Lisbon city". I love this specific park, and it's my starting point in my "One Day Itinerary".

17 Remarkable Sights in Munich

Marienplatz and the New Town Hall
The huge New Town Hall

Take a water bottle for your exploration, but a snack is not needed. My tour includes several outstanding shops and beer gardens – I promise this will be a spoiling day with the culinary delights of Bavaria. 

Entire Bike Route on Google Maps

1 English Garden

Kleinhesseloher See
View from a distance.

A trip to Munich is only complete if you visit the English Garden. This garden is one of the biggest city parks in the world, with a size of 375 hectares. Although five million people visit the park annually, it is never too crowded thanks to its huge size. We always rent a bike or bring our own ones for "Englischer Garten", which is 5 km long and provides 78 km of walking and biking paths.

Kleinhesseloher See – Lake

The beer garden totally full
This is my favourite beer garden in the middle of the English Garden. Google Maps location

This is my favourite beer garden here; sitting in the sun, enjoying the scenery, drinking a beer or wine spritzer and having a typical Bavarian dish. The lake is human-made and developed at the beginning of the 19th century, home to ducks and gooses. Rent a boat and get a different perspective of this beautiful lake and garden.

Chinesischer Turm – Chinese Tower 

The Chinese tower and the beer garden
The busy beer garden at Chinesischer Turm - Google Maps

The 25 m high Chinese Tower is situated in the southern part, the busier part of the English Garden. The Tower made of wood built at the end of the 18th century was actually a watchtower but burnt down during WW 2. Today's Tower is a reconstruction and has been closed to the public since the 70s for safety reasons.

The brass band in the Chinese Tower

During weekends and in summer, a brass band entertains the visitors with the typical Bavarian Music.
One of the biggest self-service beer gardens provides space for up to 8000 visitors. It is definitely busier and noisier here. My favourite food is the deserts, apricot cake and apple strudel with vanilla sauce worth making a stop.

The Chinese tower and the beer garden in winter with snow.
Less busy and fewer beer garden tables in the winter.

In winter, a huge and lovely Christmas Market can be found at Chinesischer Turm. Why is it called Chinese Tower? It is its appearance looks like a pagoda.

Monopteros Viewpoint

The Monopteros in the English Garden
Monopteros Google Maps location

This is another iconic landmark where people chill, enjoy the sun or play volleyball. It is a lively place full of young people, many students from nearby universities. You get panoramic views from the hill also already to Munich city centre. Bring beverages and a snack if you like to have a break; there is no shop or beer garden here. Leo von Klenze built this Greek-style temple in 1837 for no reason, no story behind it.

Eisbachwelle

Eisbachwelle Englischer Garten
The number one attraction in Englischer Garten - Google Maps

Nowadays, a very popular tourist and photographer spot at the southern end of the English Garden to watch surfers riding waves on the creek called Eisbach. I love this place and the energy here. This part of the creek is famous for being the most constant, biggest, and best river wave globally in the middle of a big city. However, it is only for experienced surfers and not without risks. Some surfers wear helmets because of the concrete rocks in the water. More soon in my additional article.

Many people drifting in the Eisbach
The Eisbach is fast flowing which is risky.

Swimming in the Eisbach creek is prohibited, but people jump into the fast-flowing river on sunny days after two years of lockdowns and a minimum of freedom and fun. Nevertheless, it is a fast-flowing river and people have drowned here already.

2 Friendensengel – Angel of Peace

The Angel of Peace and a slack liner
The Angel of Peace and a slackliner to the right. Google Maps

It is less than one km/ half a mile to the 38 m high Friedensengel in Bogenhausen. The 6 m/ 20 feet tall Angel of Peace is a monument of gratitude for 25 years of peace after the war against France and was inaugurated in 1899. The angel of peace is watching Munich. It is a great historic place with its beautiful fountain and the surrounding gardens. Peace is more important than ever!

3 Residenz and Hofgarten (Garden)

The Residenz
Residenz and Garden Google Maps location

Residenz is the prime minister's office in the Bavarian State in Germany. The central dome was the Royal Bavarian Army Museum before WW 2. Much of the building got destroyed, and the right and left sides were newly built from 1989 until 1993.

The Hofgarten at Residenz
The wonderful Hofgarten is in full bloom in spring.

There are two monuments in front of the building; one is a memorial for all Munich victims of both world wars, and the other is a statue of Otto I. He became the first Duke of Bavaria in the 12th century. 

4 Hofbräuhaus

Hofbräuhaus from the outside
Hofbräuhaus in the pedestrian area Google Maps

Either try a mug of beer in the English garden, at the Viktualienmarkt or in the historical famous pub "Hofbräuhaus". The brewery was built in 1589 to supply the Wittelsbacher Hof, a castle of an aristocratic family in the centre of Munich.

Hofbräuhaus from inside
At least have a look into this historic building.

It is definitely an experience and fun "Gaudi" sitting in the vast pub with hundreds of people, tourists and locals alike and enjoying one of their delicious dishes like pork belly. They serve excellent food here, especially for meat-eaters.

  • Opening Hours 11 am Monday to Friday - 10.30 am weekends open till night 12 am
 

 

These are my recommended tours via GetYourGuide with 24 hours in the advance cancellation policy. Thx for booking via my website! With your support, I am able to provide all information first-hand. Tour prices are at no extra cost!

5 Altes Rathaus – Old Townhall

The Old Town Hall
The tower to the left is a toy museum. Google Maps

The old town hall is located at the beginning of Marienplatz, and it looks more modern than the new town hall just a stone's throw away. The old town hall tower became a toy museum; other rooms are still used for festivities. It is an impressive building initially built in the 14th century but struck by lightning and burnt down in 1460. It has a late gothic design which got reconstructed after WW 2.

6 Neues Rathaus and Glockenspiel– New Town Hall

The New Town Hall in spring with flowers at the balconies
Decorated with flowers for special festivities. Google Maps

The New Townhall dominates Marienplatz with its famous "Glockenspiel" in the heart of Munich. It is one of the Must-Visit places with its awe-inspiring architecture. It was built by Georg von Hauberrisser from 1867 until 1908. This huge Neo-Gothic style town hall stretches the length of the entire Marienplatz with more than 400 rooms.

The new town hall from inside
I skipped the first elevator and walked through this magnificent building.

Some rooms are accessible, and you can climb the 85 m/ 279 feet high clocktower by two elevators for an incredible view of Munich.

An art glass window painted with Frauenkirche
One of the fascinating windows in the New Town Hall.

The facade of the town hall is richly decorated with Gothic features and statures of the Wittelsbach dynasty. In front of the new town hall, the information centre is situated to the right where you get tickets for the elevator. 

The sister cities of Munich
The sister cities - Kiew at the top left
  • New Townhall Tower Opening Hours: 10 am – 8 pm Monday to Friday
  • Saturdays 10 am until 4.30 pm and Sundays 10 am until 2.30 pm
  • Entrance Fee 6 €
The balcony for the FC Bayern Soccer Club
During this event Munich is overrun.

The soccer club FC Bayern München is a regular guest celebrating the championship on this balcony. 

Glockenspiel

The two different scenes of the Glockenspiel

Plan your trip accordingly to avoid missing out on the Glockenspiel performance. When Marienplatz fills up with tourists, you know soon the attraction starts. When I came here for the first time, I wondered when suddenly Marienplatz became crowded from all sites. The various music tells stories of the mediaeval time. It takes roughly five minutes, and it is fun to watch the Glockenspiel and the thousand people around you taking pictures with their mobiles. The music is changed monthly, and they have five roles, always with four different pieces of music to choose from. Two different events are demonstrated by 32 life-size wooden figures supported by the 43 bells.

People watching the Glockenspiel from Marienplatz
Marienplatz is super busy during the Glockenspiel performance.
  • The upper scene: The wedding of Duke Wilhelm V from 1568
  • The lower scene: The Schäffler Dance is a traditional, more than 500 years old dance invented during the plague to cheer up the people.
  • When: During the busier season from March until October three times a day; 11 am – 12 pm – 5 pm
  • In winter at 11 am and 12 pm

Attention: Take care of your valuables while watching the show. 

7 Marienplatz

Munich city from above
Marienplatz - the old square of Munich and the old town hall. Google Maps

Marienplatz has been Munich's main square since 1158. The whole square of the historic heart of Munich is charming, and it is a bustling atmosphere with people from all over the world. There are countless shops, cafes, restaurants, and the Christmas Market in winter. The subway station is situated here, and you get easily around. 

8 Peterskirche or Alter Peter - St. Peter's Church

People walking on the top of the tower at Peterskirche
Visitors on top of the bell tower - the lookout. Google Maps

Sankt Peter is the oldest Parish church from Munich first mentioned in 1225. The church is called "Alter Peter" or "Old Peter" by the residents of Munich. You have to be in shape to climb the more than 300 steps up to the bell tower of Peterskirche – St. Peter's Church.

St. Peter's Church inside decorated
The church at Christmas.

It is worth paying the entrance fee of 5€ per adult and 3€ per child. For me the best view of all to Munich old town and Marienplatz. However, I only recommend this lookout if you are neither claustrophobic nor suffer from vertigo because of the height of 56 m/184 feet. It a narrow, steep climb to the top of the watchtower, and there is no elevator.

The narrow staircase in the bell tower of St. Peter
The stairs leading down in one direction.
  • Opening Hours: 7.30 am – 7 pm
  • Church Service at 10 am and 6 pm
The outer side of St. Peters Church
Weathered gravestones on the outer walls of the church.

9 Vees Café

Inside the cafe shop
It smells wonderful from the fresh grounded beans. Google Maps

Now it is time for the next break and a top-quality coffee or cappuccino, for us, the best on this planet. They serve a glass of water in addition to the coffee as it should be done. This authentic Cafe and brand invented "grand cru" coffee to perfection already in 1999. These beans and coffee have almost no acidity.

The owner of the cafe shop
The attentive owner of the Cafe.

And the fresh coffee or cappuccino is reasonably priced despite the location. On top, you always get the coffee served with a smile. I bet you will take some beans back home as we usually do.

10 Street Musicians

A street musician at the beginning of Viktualienmarkt
My favourite song is "Das Leben ist schön" - Life is beautiful! Google Maps

Before you access the Viktualienmarkt, you pass by the Heilig Geist Church on the left. Usually, street musicians entertain the market visitors and create a wonderful atmosphere. I love to come here to listen to the music of Ralph Kiefer, my favourite musician. Subscribe to Ralph on Youtube if you like his exceptional music, and make a stop here during your visit!

11 Viktualienmarkt

Viktualienmarkt atmosphere and stalls
Victuals Market Google Maps

The Viktualienmarkt was a farmer's market initially and is nowadays a famous sight and foodie market for tourists and locals alike. You get local products, delicatessen from around the world, flowers, fish, souvenirs, and beer gardens are here as well. More details about the history and the different shops on the Victuals Market can be found in my additional article.

12 Asamkirche – Asam Church

Asam Church from the outside
St. Nepomuk watches over Asam Church in front of the large east window. Google Maps

The Asam Church, also named St.-Johann-Nepomuk, is a masterpiece of late baroque architecture hidden in Munich's pedestrian zone built by the brothers Egid Quirin and Cosmas Damina Asam from 1733 to 1746. Initially, it was their private church; nowadays open to the public.

A view inside to Asam Chruch
There are so many small details.

It is just 8 meters wide and 22 m long and awe-inspiring. There are thousands of incredible details, and you can literally spend hours here. Enjoy this haven of tranquillity. This church is one of the top five sights of Munich IMO. 

13 Sendlinger Tor

The Sendlinger Tor - Half of the gate overgrown with ivy
Sendlinger Tor - Gate Google Maps location

The Sendlinger Tor is located in the south in the Hackenviertel and is part of Munich's historic old town. This archway is one of three remaining medieval city gates of Munich's old town, dating back to the 14th century. The central tower of Sendlinger Tor and Karls Tor got destroyed and not replaced. This area is currently not that nice because of the vast construction work for the new subway station in the heart of Munich until the end of 2022. 

14 Frauenkirche - Cathedral Church of Our Lady

The bell towers of Frauenkirche
The northern bell tower is slightly higher, 12 cm - Google Maps

This church is an iconic landmark in the heart of Munich. A chapel in the 13th century is today one of the tallest buildings in Munich, with a height of 98 m/ 322 feet. Only four buildings in Munich overtower the church. According to a referendum by the citizens of Munich in 2004, new buildings are not allowed to exceed 100 m/ 328 feet.

A city model with Frauenkirche

You can get to the top by elevator for another view of Munich. The south bell tower was closed for ten years and reopened recently, and the north bell tower is not open to the public.

  • Opening Hours 10 am until 5 pm - Sundays 11.30 am
  • Elevator Fee: 7,50 Euro adult - 5.50 for children over 7 years

15 St. Michaels Kirche - Church

St. Michael's Church and the 15 statues
At the top of the church stands Jesus Christ watching over Munich. Google Maps

The Jesuit Church situated in the pedestrian zone is Germany's first Renaissance church. Fifteen statues of former rulers adorn the front facade of this church. King Ludwig II the constructor of Neuschwanstein Castle, rests in the crypt of St. Michaels. 

Two angels are the entrance to St. Michaels Kirche
The entrance to the church.
  • Opening Hours 7.30 am until 7 pm
  • Sundays 10 am until 10 pm
  • 12.30 Atempause - Midday Meditation for 15 minutes

16 Karlstor and Karlsplatz - Stachus

Karlstor at Stachus
Karlstor the western boundary - Google Maps location

This gate is the western boundary of Munich's busy pedestrian zone. It was also built in the 14th century as the second part of Munich's city fortification. The gate was often reconstructed and renamed in 1791 in honour of the Bavarian Elector Karl-Theodor. But he wasn't popular with the residents, and they kept the old name for the square, "Stachus". Therefore, Karlsplatz is mainly called Stachus.

17 Isartor

Isartor
Isartor with a central tower Google Maps location

The Isartor is a detour of 1.6 km/ one mile to get to from Viktualienmarkt, but for me, it is the most exciting gate of the remaining three, and the story behind it has to be mentioned. The Isartor is the last remaining medieval city gate with a central tower.

Isartor and clock tower
The central tower

It was built from 1285 until 1347 by Ludwig the Bavarian during the city expansion. The gate was severely damaged during WW 2 but rebuilt in facsimile in the early 1970s. 

Humorously Detail of Isartor

The Isartor clock goes counterclockwise, and the numerals are also reversed
Carl Valentin's 140th anniversary

The clock in the main tower turns counterclockwise, and the numerals are also reversed. Why? First, in memory of the comedian Carl Valentin, and second the clocks go differently in Bavaria 😉. It means Bavaria is different from the rest of Germany, which is true.

Please get in touch with me if you wish to use any of my photos, but I will take action against picture theft.

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Created by
Micha Herber-Bleich
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