Travel Spotlight

Upon Arrival: Munich's Altstadt

Munich is a bit of a sprawl, with some of the trendier neighborhoods looking like outliers, but the Altstadt, the historic center, is compact and easy to navigate on foot (a bit like in Venice, it helps to know where to duck through smaller passages and courtyards to avoid the main, often clogged-with-foot traffic thoroughfares). This area is home to some of the city's top hotels, including the Rosewood Munich (newly opened in October 2023), the Bayerischer Hof, and, a bit further afield, The Charles (a Rocco Forte Hotel). If you’re coming from abroad and want to get your bearings, here’s a taste of the neighborhood for an ideal arrival day.

Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer for assistance planning a trip to Munich. Our team can match you with the hotels that are right for you, as well as advise on all our favorite activities and restaurants.

Late Breakfast

Weisswurst

, Bavaria’s signature veal-pork sausage, is traditionally only served until noon, making it a perfect late-breakfast option. Head to Café Nymbenburg Sekt, a tented restaurant at the Viktualienmarkt, the city’s central al fresco market, or to the Franziskaner, a traditional beer hall a four-minute walk from the Rosewood. For something less meat-heavy, go for a cappuccino and croissant at the iconic Schumann’s Tagesbar.

Restore

Don’t go any further than the Rosewood’s Asaya spa for an age-defying “Sturmglow” facial or get a headstart on defying jetlag with a specialty treatment by Evidens de Beauté.

Perfect Lunch

Hosting more than 100 readings, talks and literary events throughout the year, Munich’s Literaturhaus is a cultural institution. Its Brasserie OskarMaria is a preferred lunch spot for insiders, with a large room that reminds of Vienna’s coffee houses, daily specials on chalkboards, and literary quotes showing up on everything from the placemats to the bottom of espresso cups. Or, if you’re craving a scene, Dallmayr Bar & Grill, the cafe on the first floor of the iconic gourmet emporium Dallmayr, is also an excellent choice. After, walk to the nearby Cafe Frischhut for some of Munich's tastiest pastries.

Culture Moment

A three-minute walk from the Rosewood, the Kunsthalle is small enough that it can be toured in a couple of hours, and the temporary exhibitions are always fascinating, wide-reaching and (smart) crowd-pleasers.

Shop Around

The Rosewood is right behind the Fünf Höfe Munich’s shopping enclave famously reimagined by Herzog & deMeuron in the early 2000s. It is also in easy walking distance to Lodenfrey, the city’s most traditional department store. Don’t miss the floor where Lederhosen and high-end Dirndl (to the tune of €800 and upwards) are on sale. Travelers with kids will also love the fact that the top-floor children's department is connected to the next floor via a long wooden slide, at the bottom of which sits a small espresso bar for tired parents.

Caffeinate

On first glance, it looks a little touristy, even kitschy, but the Café Luitpold, which hails from the 1880s, is as classic-Munich as it gets, and the food is very good, especially the pastries and homemade cakes. Fun fact: if local lore is to be believed, this is the space where the Blaue Reiter artist group was first founded. For something decidedly more contemporary, head Café Aran, a hipster café with multiple branches, known for excellent coffee and health-conscious snacks. Seating is limited, so it’s best to order for take-away, perhaps to the nearby Hofgarten.

Lovely Stroll

Lined with arcades and shaded walkways, the Hofgarten reminds of Paris’ Places des Vosges, and it’s a beautiful spot for a walk or to sit with a book and a coffee (there’s a small kiosk but it’s best to bring something from a nearby bakery or cafe). Along the western flanks, you can watch locals playing pétanque. At the northeastern edge of the garden, visit the White Rose Memorial Monument, which commemorates one of the sole groups to resist the Nazis during the Third Reich, led by courageous siblings Sophie and Hans Scholl.

Pre-Holidays

Munich has more than 25 holiday markets, most of which open in late November and run through Christmas Eve. The classic showstopper is the Christkindlmarkt at Marienplatz, in front the imposing City Hall, but each neighborhood has its own, and they are worth seeking out, especially the Christmas Village in an atmospheric courtyard at the Residenz; the intimate, food-focused market at the Viktualienmarkt; the more tucked-away neighborhood version at Haidhausen’s Weissenburger Platz (great for artisan crafts) and, for a party scene, Tollwood, a sprawl of a market on the Theresienwiese (where the annual Oktoberfest is also held).

Related: 16 Best Christmas Markets in Europe

Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer for assistance planning a trip to Munich. Our team can match you with the hotels that are right for you, as well as advise on all our favorite activities and restaurants.

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