48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

Magic in Munich: A Perfect 48 Hours in Germany

As it turns out, Munich with a local tour guide is even better than Munich on your own, even if you are 33 years old and like to be in your accommodation by 10pm vs. your former 20-year-old self who burned the midnight oil and thought coming back to her hostel at 5am was perfectly acceptable. (Shame on you, 22-Year-Old Self.)

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

So Munich with a trio of guides is basically the ideal scenario.

Since Christoph and Anna were both born and raised in Munich, we felt like we really scored by way of getting the most knowledgeable tour guides we could have asked for. And given that exactly the same week a year prior, they had come to our little corner of Tennessee for six nights with their then-infant Leo, it was really fun to flip-flop the guiding duties.

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

Here’s how our time there went down.

Thursday

We pulled up in our rental car and checked into our hotel in the Isarvorstadt district. We booked the Hotel Deutsche Eiche through credit card points, but had we not, it would have run us $175 a night, including breakfast each day—and that was for our own standalone flat with a kitchenette and separate living room space. It was incredibly spacious and historic to boot: It once belonged to famed Munich artist Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

When locals asked us where we were staying, we were met with shocked looks. I knew why: It was a famous hotel back in the 80s and right in the heart of the vibrant gay district. According to Christoph, who many refer to as The Professor for his wide breadth of knowledge regarding all things: “The quarter was THE gay area in Munich in the 80’s. It was Munich’s most famous Sauna Club back then. Today gentrification changed the whole area, and there are still some gay bars, but it’s not really a scene anymore as thankfully people can—in that respect—luckily [be whatever] they feel like.”

So why would we, a married heterosexual couple in our 30s/40s want to stay there? Well, location, location, location. Plus, we’ve always been drawn to such areas that were, in a sense, colonized by the city’s gay population (see: the West Village in New York, the Castro in San Francisco). Not to mention, the staff was wonderful and the price right. We looked at several Airbnbs in that neighborhood—we preferred to stay around Gärtnerplatz, as that is where Anna and Christoph were staying and they were our sole reason for this —and there weren’t any we loved; at least not available during the height of German holidays within our price range.

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

Once we’d had time to clean up, we grabbed a beer at the hotel bar, then took it up to the rooftop once Christoph arrived as our server mentioned the fabulous views of the skyline from the top floor bar (they were indeed, but I couldn’t get a good shot in the dark, so you’ll just have to imagine them for yourself).

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

Christoph asked what we wanted to eat and I said, “I dunno. Something not-touristy and local and typical Bavarian food.” So he walked us 15 minutes to one of his favorite spots, , where we had him order a couple of different pork dishes for us (there was no English menu so we let him have free reign, trusting friends that we were), and we cleaned our plates minutes later.

From there, he walked us down to the river, the Isar, but not before we stopped and bought beers at a kiosk that we consumed on the riverfront steps. How cool is that that you can sit around a public place with an open container and not worry about law enforcement? It felt very German (and very awesome).

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

Friday

Our trio of hosts picked us up bright and early the following day, and we headed straight for the Viktualienmarkt, which has been a Munich staple for more than two centuries, where Leo made friends at every stall.

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

This market had a great variety of things to see and buy—I’m sure if I were to live in Munich, SVV and I would get all of our produce and other ingredients there—but it’s also where they intended for us to have our first Munich breakfast of Weisswurst, a traditional white Bavarian sausage made from minced veal and pork back bacon, which you eat with pretzel and a sweet mustard. It’s much better than it looks, I assure you.

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do
48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

So good in fact that I had it for at least one meal a day the rest of the time we were in Germany.

Then Christoph told us it was only a true Bavarian breakfast if accompanied by a pint of Paulaner.

36 Hours in Munich: Oktoberfest, Beer Gardens & More

Beer for breakfast? We were meant to be Germany, clearly.

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

We then set out for the city center, Marienplatz, which wasn’t a total madhouse on a Friday morning, and we took a few minutes to pop in the Cathedral Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche) right next to the New Town Hall.

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

This is also the site of the Devil’s Footprint, so there were people clustered around back to see where he’d stomped his foot in annoyance at the architect who built the church and left an indent.

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do
48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

We passed government buildings and the Parliament, stopped at the famed bronze lion outside the Residenz to rub his nose; it’s said to be good luck. As we walked through Odeonsplatz, the Professor gave us plenty of tidbits about Hitler and World War II, pointed out spots of significance and showed us Dodger’s Alley where Muncheners would take the back route to avoid giving the Nazi salute as they walked by the Feldherrnhalle, a compulsory action during the Third Reich.

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

Next, we moseyed up through the Hofgarten, through the Haus der Kunst and to the Eisbachwelle, the surf spot of so many locals.

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do
48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

Thanks to German engineers, this icy river is perfectly suited for surfing. After they submerged concrete blocks into the river to slow the flow going into the English Garden, it created a rapid. That was back in the 1970s, and today, intermediate and experienced surfers come from all over to try their hand at the wave. A dozen or so enthusiasts lined the platforms, each waiting patiently for his or her turn on the wave.

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do
48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

It was so orderly, so … German.

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

We continued on into the English Garden where SVV and Christoph stripped down to their skivvies—”good thing I wore the good ones today,” SVV remarked—and plunged into the icy current.

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

Leo took a quick dip then made friends who were more than happy to play soccer with him for hours on end as we sunbathed.

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

And for those of you who asked in the last post, yes, many of the elderly gentlemen laying out were not doing so in a swimsuit.

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

A lady came by on a bike and sold us a couple of beers, which placated us for a wee bit longer.

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do
48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do
48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

The 900-acre park is absolutely massive and so beautiful—in fact, it’s larger than Central Park and one of the biggest urban parks in the world. And there are so many spots to lounge around on a lazy summer day. I’d be here all the time if I were a Munchener.

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do
48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

Deep within the park is the famed beer garden Chinesischer Turm, so obviously that was our next stop.

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

It was here that Leo, at 20 months old, learned how to say “y’all” and also fist bump.

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do
48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do
48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

We were both so proud.

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do
48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

Cheers—or rather, “prost!”—he already knew on his own.

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

And don’t be alarmed; no, the Germans don’t allow their toddlers to drink that early. It’s apple juice in a beer mug. Still, it was adorable that he kept sitting down with complete strangers and raising a glass to them! Why are German babies so much cuter than all the other babies?
Put what you want

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

After that, some of us needed a nap (myself included) following our full day of activities and a few very large beers.

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

But not before ice cream, of course. There’s one thing I can’t pass up in Europe and that’s the ice cream shops and gelaterias on every single corner. How are people so skinny here?
48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

That night, we went out with Anna’s dad and his girlfriend to a street festival with experimental music before ending the evening with a late dinner with yet another charming local experience at a Bavarian restaurant tucked away on a street we would have never found without the help of Munich natives.

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

It was an extremely full day indeed, and I was impressed our smallest tour guide lasted from 9am till nearly midnight with just a short catnap here and there.

48 Hours in Munich: What to See, Eat and Do

For our second day of our 48-hour trip to Munich, continue on via the next page…

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COMMENTS
  • September 16, 2016

    I absolutely ADORED visiting Munich.. It’s such a classy city and I also came across the surfers on the river!!! I was totally shocked and found it super cool! haha Lovely photos, xVictoria
    Victoria recently posted..{on the coast} MentonMy Profile

    • September 23, 2016

      I’m so glad you loved it, too, Victoria! The surfing is wild, right??

  • September 18, 2016

    What a great 48 hours! It’s so nice to have a network of global friends that you can tap into when you are hopping around the world. There is no better guide than a local!
    Andi recently posted..Weekly Wanderings #35 – YellowstoneMy Profile

    • September 23, 2016

      Best part about traveling, right? I’m sure you’ve experienced the same on your tour of the USA!

  • September 18, 2016

    I’ve always wanted to visit Munich… and now I want to go SO much more! Gorgeous photos of a gorgeous city, and the food looks amazing! Thanks for sharing xx

  • September 18, 2016

    I’ve always wanted to visit Munich… and now I want to go SO much more! Gorgeous photos of a gorgeous city, and the food looks amazing! Thanks for sharing xx
    Mimazine recently posted..The Backpacker Diaries: Croatia on a BudgetMy Profile

    • September 23, 2016

      I’d highly recommend a three-city trip of Germany: Hamburg, Berlin and Munich. So much culture!

  • September 20, 2016

    Great post! Thanks for sharing. You’ve provided some of the most accurate and best tips for Oktoberfest lovers! Cheers!!

    • September 23, 2016

      Are you going to Oktoberfest? If so, color me jealous!

  • September 26, 2016

    Awesome tour enjoy of the Germany trip with friends. It is very good experience to shared of it.

  • September 26, 2016

    Seriously, I need you to be my tour guide to a random city one time! I would love to enjoy as much food and drinks as you are shown consuming while also seeing the sights! Teach me how to do a city trip without running yourself down completely, please 🙂
    Dominique recently posted..Rotterdam – Van Nelle FactoryMy Profile

    • December 26, 2016

      Well, I’m starting a diet today to combat all that I ate and drank this fall, lol—it’s taken a toll on both SVV’s and my waistlines, ha!

  • October 4, 2016

    Nice post! thanks for the sharing.

  • October 7, 2016

    Leo is just precious with that beer mug / apple juice! Now I want to visit Munich; as usual, the pictures are breathtaking!
    Christina @Traveling with Thyme recently posted..Mario e Mario: A la Italiana in Mar MikhaelMy Profile

  • October 10, 2016

    Wow! lovely kid enjoy to trip with mother. That’s perfect travel exciting destination for the tourists.

  • October 12, 2016

    Touring with locals is the best and Munich looks fab! May have to set a fare alert for next spring 😉
    Leigh | Campfires & Concierges recently posted..Backpacking Pictured RocksMy Profile

    • December 26, 2016

      You should do that, Leigh! I’m hoping for a return this year (being 2017), as well. Particularly now that the euro and dollar are practically head-to-head!

  • February 23, 2017

    Great post and informative.

  • April 27, 2017
    GB

    Can you share your guides contact info… may be too last minute, we are in Munich next two days and want to check

    • April 27, 2017

      Hi GB, we didn’t have a guide unfortunately. We were there visiting friends. Hope you have an awesome time in Munich!

  • June 12, 2017

    Excellent Blog! I would like to thank for the efforts you have made in writing this post. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. I wanted to thank you for this websites! Thanks for sharing. Great websites!

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