One Day in Munich: Marienplatz, Oktoberfest, Hofbräuhaus, the English Garden, and Falcor

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A day in any city is probably not enough, and one day in Munich is no exception. We’ve packed this guide with the BEST things to do in Munich and give our recommendations on a Great Itinerary to get the most out of your visit. We’ve also included some amazing tips to make your day go smoothly. In case you’re not a city person or if you’re able to extend your visit to more than a day, we’ve added some day trips from Munich and the best quality-for-money places to stay as a bonus section at the bottom of this post.

We recommend learning some of the culture and customs of Germany from this informative and easy to read guide by Culture Smart. Additionally, it may help to pick up the Lonely Planet Guide for Germany. Read on for the ultimate guide to a day in Munich!

THINGS TO DO IN MUNICH

  1. ONE DAY IN MUNICH ITINERARY & Munich Tours

  2. Marienplatz, Munich

  3. Munich Beer Festival: Oktoberfest

  4. Best Beer Gardens in Munich: The English Garden

  5. Viktualienmarkt, München

  6. Oktoberfest History: First Oktoberfest, Traditions & Background

  7. Schloss Nymphenburg (Palace)

  8. Bavaria Filmstadt

  9. Where to Stay in Munich

  10. Day Trips from Munich

ONE DAY IN MUNICH

Did you know that the movies Bohemian Rhapsody, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971), Snowden, and The Three Musketeers were filmed in Munich? There are quite a few others (including “The Neverending Story”) that were filmed here as well. That’s why we recommend considering a visit to the Bavaria Filmplatz - it’s kinda like the Universal Studios or Warner Bros Studios equivalent in Germany!

If you only have one day to spend in Munich, we recommend the following itineraries:

*INFORMATION ON ALL OF THESE LOCATIONS IS BELOW!!

If Oktoberfest IS currently in season:

  • Your Choice - Head to either:

    • Viktualienmarkt (opens 8 AM)

    • Bavaria Filmplatz (opens 9 AM)

  • See the Glockenspiel at Marienplatz - chimes at 11 AM & Noon (+5 PM in the Summer)

  • Your Choice - Head to either:

    • Hofbräuhaus Munchen (opens 9:30 AM) - See the 3-Hour Munich Brewery Tour

    • Restaurant & Beer Garden at the Chinese Tower in the English Garden (opens 11:30 AM)

  • Set your GPS to Theresienwiese!!! The Official Oktoberfest location for an Evening of Fun!

If Oktoberfest IS NOT currently in season:

  • Your Choice - Head to either:

    • Viktualienmarkt (opens 8 AM)

    • Bavaria Filmplatz (opens 9 AM)

  • See the Glockenspiel at Marienplatz - chimes at 11 AM & Noon (+5 PM in the Summer)

  • Your Choice - Head to either:

    • Beer and Oktoberfest Museum (opens 1 PM - Tues - Saturday ONLY)

    • Nymphenburg Palace (opens 10 AM)

  • Your Choice - Head to either:

    • Hofbräuhaus Munchen (opens 9:30 AM) - See the 3-Hour Munich Brewery Tour

    • Restaurant & Beer Garden at the Chinese Tower in the English Garden (opens 11:30 AM)

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Munich Tours

When you’re pressed for time, having a tour guide to take you to the best places and do all the navigating and planning for you is sometimes worth it. We picked out a few Munich tours to help take the pressure off of you having to plan everything, so check them out! If you’re set on self-planning your day in Munich, don’t worry we’ve got you covered further down below!

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3-Hour Munich Brewery Tour ($31 per person)

What we love about this tour: You are brought to one of Munich’s best breweries where a master brewer leads you room-by-room explaining what makes Munich's beer so unique - and how it is brewed in accordance with the German purity law. Included with this tour is a taste of the beer and a snack at the end - plus, you can order more!

Oktoberfest Festival Tour ($144 per person)

What we love about this tour: This is a guided Segway group tour of Munich that brings you all the way to the festival grounds in style! The guides explain the history of the celebration and give you the ins and outs to appreciate the “Wiesn” (as Oktoberfest is known to the locals). After the Segway tour, the group will have a reserved table inside one of the massive beer tents - including a couple liters of beer for each person and plate of food (generally a half chicken, the typical Oktoberfest meal)! The group size is small – max 10 people - to keep it personal. Plus, the guides are all native English speakers and have been going to Oktoberfest for years and not only know how to make the most fun out of the event, but are also masters of group chemistry to ensure everyone has a fantastic time.

4.5-Hour Munich Night Tour ($77 per person)

What we love about this tour: It starts out with a night tour on a double-decker bus that passes by some of the city’s most impressive sights - these places look amazing at night! Most importantly of all, you get to enjoy a hearty meal, a litre of beer and even dance to some Bavarian classics at the famous Hofbrauhaus beer hall - it’s the epitome of a German cultural experience! Lastly, you’ll get to view Munich, fully illuminated, from the rooftop of Olympic Tower. Afterward, the tour wraps up with a number of recommendations to Munich’s best night life spots over a drink at a nightclub. Hello, Munich!

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Marienplatz, Munich

Marienplatz (Mary’s Square) is named after a Marian column in the center of the square. The München Marienplatz Station is located on the S-Bahn (S1, S2, S3, S4, S6, S7, S8) and U-Bahn (U3, U6) lines making it easy to access from in and around Munich.

The iconic square is the heart of Munich and an excellent starting point to explore the city. It houses the Old and New Town Halls and kicks off the beginning of the pedestrian-only zone in Munich. You can have a cup of coffee in the square and enjoy the bustling atmosphere. There are plenty of shops on the ground level - and in the underground station - to explore. Additionally, the Viktualienmarkt is only a short walk away!

Don’t miss the Marienplatz Glockenspiel show at 11 AM, 12 PM (or 5 PM in summer). Installed in the New Town Hall, the Rathhaus-Glockenspiel tells two stories from the 16th century. The first story re-enacts the marriage of Duke Wilhelm V to Renata of Lorraine. The second story showcases the coopers’ dance – a traditional dance performed in Munich every 7 years.

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Munich Beer Festival: Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest has been celebrated in Munich from 1810 honoring the marriage of Crown Prince (later: King) Ludwig I to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. If you’re in Munich during the end of September to beginning of October, you’ll definitely want to visit the festivities.

Oktoberfest can be a whole day (or two or three) by itself, but if you just have one day to visit Munich, here are a few tips:

  • Bring cash. The vendors and beer halls are cash only. There are ATMs available at the entrances to the festival grounds, but they charge exorbitant fees. Withdraw your money from ATMs in the city to save your beer money.

  • Don’t bring a bag or outside food/drinks. The lines for bag checks are long and you’ll waste a lot of time waiting in them if you bring a bag. There are bag checks at all entrances to the festival area AND at all of the beer tents. If you bring a water bottle or soda, you’ll have to leave it outside of the tents when you go inside.

  • Pack layers. The temperatures can vary greatly day by day. We went twice in a week – the first time we wore down jackets and were still very cold; the second time we were melting in the sun wearing shorts and t-shirts.

  • Tuesdays are Family Days. There are official family days at Oktoberfest! Both Tuesdays, until 7 PM, there are reduced prices and menu deals for children and families in the tents and many of the rides and stalls also offer reduced prices on these days. Look for the “Familientag” or “Kindertag” signs!

The festival grounds are filled with beer tents, of course, but the tents are also surrounded with rides, games, and food stalls. There are roller coasters, fun houses, and the types of games played to win your loved one a stuffed animal. Food stalls are abundant and our vegan friends were pleasantly surprised to find delicious vegan fare. Who knew vegan Leberkäse would be so tasty?!

Keep in mind that Bier Tents will generally only have 2-3 types of Beer - their traditional brew, a non-alcoholic beer, and sometimes a radler. We searched high and low to find a dark beer (“Dunkel”) or something similar to no avail. You can find a few of these at the English Gardens biergarten, however!

The Best Oktoberfest Party Packages

4-Day Oktoberfest Party Package ($529 per person - INCLUDES 3-nights at a Hostel!)

What we love about this package: All you need to do is buy is your airplane tickets and bring some cash for this package! It is the most affordable Oktoberfest tour WITH 3 nights’ stay at Wombat's City Hostel Munich, a Festival T-shirt, and a Festival wristband. Yes, it’s a fast-paced itinerary, but that’s because it’s geared toward the backpacker/drinker who really wants to soak in everything that Oktoberfest has to offer in a short period of time - recommended for travelers aged 18-39. It includes free breakfast, an orientation tour of Munich on day 1, and a visit to a shop where you can purchase traditional outfits (optional). You’ll have an early start on day 2 with a guided walk to/from the festival grounds and a full day at Oktoberfest. Day 3 can be the same, or you can opt for a separate day tour to Neuschwanstein Castle or Dachau - followed by a full night at Oktoberfest. You will be staying in a 6-8 bed hostel room - but you can upgrade to a twin private room if you prefer. Just bring extra money to spend at Oktoberfest and grab your plane ticket quick!

3-Day Oktoberfest Luxe Vacation Package ($672 per person - INCLUDES 2-nights in a 4-Star Hotel)

What we love about this package: This is the full experience package with with 2-nights stay at a 4-star hotel (typically the ArtHotel Munich City Center or similar) and requires that each guest be dressed in a Dirndl or Lederhosen for Oktoberfest to be more authentic. It also includes admission into the Oktoberfest fairgrounds and tents/tables that charge (i.e. “Oide Wiesen”). When you arrive, check into the hotel around 3:00 pm and then head off to explore the city of Munich with your included hop-on, hop-off pass, valid for the full day. Head off to Oktoberfest on day 2, starting with a 3-hour tour of the Oktoberfest grounds where you’ll learn about the origins of Oktoberfest and Bavarian beer culture. BONUS: If your second day is on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, the package includes a traditional German meal in the Oide Wiesen section of Oktoberfest (“Old Oktoberfest”), paired with music and one liter of beer! Breakfast buffet is included with this package each morning and transfer back to the airport can be arranged.

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Best Beer Gardens in Munich: The English Garden

If you’re traveling on a budget, Oktoberfest is not very friendly on your wallet. The selection of beers at Oktoberfest is also very limited. We recommend going to a beer garden in Munich instead. One of the best Restaurants & Beer Gardens in Munich is at the Chinese Tower in the English Garden. We love this biergarten for its more relaxed atmosphere and because it is much more kid friendly - it even has a small playground! Additionally, you’ll find a few dunkels here - something you sadly can no longer find at Oktoberfest itself!

The atmosphere is friendly and laid-back. With each drink you order, you’ll have to make a 1€ deposit for your glass. You’ll also receive a token. There are tents to return your empty drink glasses and when you bring back the glass with the token, you’ll receive your deposit back.

There’s also a lot more to do in the English Garden than just drink beer. Avid surfers can take turns riding a wave in one of the artificial streams, tea enthusiasts can enjoy a cup at the Japanese teahouse, and sunbathers (nude or otherwise) can stretch out on the Schönfeldwiese (Beautiful Field Meadow) between the teahouse and Monopteros–a Greek style temple on a hill.

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Viktualienmarkt, München

Victuals (Food) Market is next to Marienplatz. Originally a small farmers market, it now houses 140 stalls of flowers, cheese, meats, and juices. The middle of the market is a biergarten that offers a different beer every month-and-a-half or so from one of the famous German breweries. We loved exploring the market booths and the lively atmosphere - plus you can grab a bite to eat (and maybe a brew) if you need it!

The market is officially open from Monday to Saturday from 8 AM until 8 PM. However the biergarten doesn’t open until 9 AM, and many of the stalls tend to close around 6 PM.

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Oktoberfest History: First Oktoberfest, Traditions & Background

What is Oktoberfest? The first Oktoberfest was in celebration of the wedding between Crown Prince (King) Ludwig I and Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen in 1810. It has been celebrated at Theresienwiese every year since.

Check out the Oktoberfest Museum which tells the history of beer making and the origins/beginning years of Oktoberfest. After touring the museum, if you are with a group of 8-50 people, you can schedule a beer tasting. Entrance into the museum is 4€/person. If you go with a group of 6 or more, the price drops to 3€/person. They weren’t too strict about this when we went though as we had a group of 5 and they gave us the group rate. (Maybe they saw that Jenny was pregnant at the time and counted her as 2?)

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Schloss Nymphenburg (Palace)

Schloss Nymphenburg (Nymphenburg Palace) was the favorite summer residence of the rulers of Bavaria. Currently, it doubles as the home of the head of the House of Wittelsbach, and a popular Munich tourist attraction.

After purchasing your 6€ tickets (children under 18 are free), bags must be stored in lockers before going to tour the rooms. While you can do a virtual tour online here, it doesn’t capture the grandness of the rooms and building. We loved taking time to admire the enormous ceiling painting in the Great Hall.

Behind Nymphenburg Palace is the palace park. The park was paved into various gardens throughout the years and has retained elements from the Baroque, English, and French garden landscaping.

Bavaria Filmstadt

Just a short way from Marienplatz, the center of Munich, is Bavaria Filmstadt – a film studio and production set. “The Neverending Story” was filmed at Bavaria Filmstadt and you can even take a virtual ride on Falkor himself while you’re there!

The Bavaria Film Studio is easy to get to from Munich. You can take the tram almost all the way there. Get off at the Grünwald, Robert-Koch-Straße stop and then it’s just a 10-15 minute walk to Bavaria Filmstadt.

Complete Tickets are 27.50€ (adult) / 22€ (children 6-17yrs old) and include the Guided Tour, 4D Motion Ride, and Filmstadt Atelier. It takes about 4 hours for the full experience. The attractions are also available à la carte if you’re short on time or if you’re not interested in all 3 experiences.

WHERE TO STAY IN MUNICH

Have more than a day in Munich? The city has plenty to explore and do, and you can easily split the activities and attractions on our list into a few days. But if you’d like to get out of the city for a day or two, we recommend these hotels and day trips from Munich.

Hilton Munich Park, Munich (around $269 - $331 / night) - FAMILIES!

What we love about this place: This place is located right next to our favorite Oktoberfest Biergarten - the English Garden (5 minutes)! Other guests rate this hotel 8.6 / 10.0 and love the breakfast. Also, it’s only a 19 minute walk to the Bavarian National Museum and a 35 minute walk to Marienplatz and the Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche). You can make it to Oktoberfest by tram in just 25-30 minutes (including the walk to the tram) as well. Parking is available, it has an indoor pool, a restaurant and a bar/lounge, a rooftop terrace, 24-hour fitness center, limo/town car service, free WiFi in the lobby, is pet-friendly, and non-smoking, with A/C.
For families: Free cribs/infant beds, Rollaway/extra beds are available (surcharge), Cookware, Dishware, and Utensils, and connecting/adjoining rooms are available

Aparthotel Adagio Muenchen City, Munich (around $175 - $222 / night) - FAMILIES!

What we love about this place: This hotel is listed about $100 less per night than other hotels in its category and we love how it is located in the center-of-everything. Other guests rate this hotel 8.4 / 10.0. Additionally, it’s only a 10 minute walk from Oktoberfest and a 21 minute walk to Marienplatz. It’s also right next to the train station if you care to visit other locations in Germany. This hotel offers parking, a 24-hour health club, Wi-Fi, Luggage Storage, Kitchen, Refrigerator, Laundry Service, Heating and A/C.
For families: There’s also free cribs/infant beds and a playground on site!

Luxury studio /big bathtub next to English Garden ($155-$184 / night) - ACCESSIBLE!

What we love about this place: The host has 121 reviews with other properties that they list and is a Superhost - so, even though this one is a New Listing, it is considered Safe to Book! Plus, you get the entire place to yourself, it has free parking, WiFi, a full kitchen, washer and dryer, heating and hot water. Lastly, it’s in a great spot near the English Garden and only 15 minutes from Oktoberfest!
Accessibility features: Well-lit path to entrance, wide entrance, hallways at least 36 inches wide, elevator 52”x32”, disabled parking spot (8+ feet wide), wide bedroom entrance, accessible-height bed, handheld shower head.

Wunderschöne ruhige Wohnung in Ammersee Nähe ($63-$75 / night) - BUDGET!

What we love about this place: 100% of guests gave this place a 5-star rating on everything: Accuracy, Communication, Cleanliness, Location, Check-in, and Value. It has free parking, a 5% weekly discount, and you get the entire place to yourself! Additionally, it is a single level place so it’s easy to get your luggage in and out (note: a German “basement” is on the ground level, see photos), plus WiFi, heating and hot water are definitely included. If you prefer not to drive entirely, you could park at the railway station which is just 10 minutes away and take the train into Munich (that’s what we did on the days we went to Oktoberfest). Lastly, it’s in a great spot between Munich (30 minutes by car) and Neuschwanstein Castle (1 hour to the “fairy-tale” castle that inspired the iconic Disney Cinderella Castle) - and 2 ½ hours from Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

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DAY TRIPS FROM MUNICH

Neuschwanstein Castle Tour from Munich

We visited the castle that inspired the Cinderella castle at Walt Disney World. Allow time to walk the path past the castle to get an amazing view of the castle and mountains! If you want a little extra comfort you could take the Neuschwanstein + Linderhof Castle Premium Tour from Munich instead.

 

Munich to Salzburg Day Trip

Salzburg is the hometown of Mozart and the setting of the Sound of Music (based on the Von Trapp family). Alternatively, you could take a day trip to one of Austria’s most beautiful cities, Innsbruck, as well.

 

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

The cutest little town ever. The town looks like it appeared straight out of a fairy-tale book. Don’t miss the city walls! You can walk along the tops of the walls surrounding the town for bird-eye views of the picturesque city.

 

OTHER AMAZING DAY TRIPS FROM MUNICH

Head up to the top of Zugspitze

For breathtaking views of the countless peaks of the Bavarian, Austrian, Swiss and Italian Alps, you could go to the top of Germany’s highest mountain peak.

For a bit of Germany’s Dark History - Consider these day trips as well

We hope you have a great idea on how to plan your 1 Day in Munich after reading this article! Please let us know if you have any additional questions in the comment section below and we’ll be sure to answer you!


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