A city made for clinking beer steins as you soak in Bavarian charm
Munich exudes Bavarian enchantment. Beer fanatics should head immediately to the Hofbräuhaus, a hops heaven that’s been churning out the good stuff since 1589. The drinking is downright legendary during Oktoberfest, a celebration of local beers and German speciality foods. Emulate world-class athletes at the Olympiapark, where skating on the Olympic ice rink will make you feel like a champion. The promenade of Marienplatz is perfect for people watching and gawking at the Glockenspiele of City Hall.
Munich, German München, city, capital of BavariaLand (state), southern Germany. It is Bavaria’s largest city and the third largest city in Germany (after Berlin and Hamburg). Munich, by far the largest city in southern Germany, lies about 30 miles (50 km) north of the edge of the Alps and along the Isar River, which flows through the middle of the city. Pop. (2011) 1,348,335; (2015 est.) 1,450,381.
Munich, or München (“Home of the Monks”), traces its origins to the Benedictinemonastery at Tegernsee, which was probably founded in 750 CE. In 1157 Henry the Lion, duke of Bavaria, granted the monks the right to establish a market where the road from Salzburg met the Isar River. A bridge was built across the Isar the following year, and the marketplace was fortified.
In 1255 Munich became the home of the Wittelsbach family, which had succeeded to the duchy of Bavaria in 1180. For more than 700 years the Wittelsbachs would be closely connected with the town’s destiny. In the early 14th century the first of the Wittelsbach line of Holy Roman emperors, Louis IV (Louis the Bavarian), expanded the town to the size at which it remained up to the end of the 18th century. Under the Bavarian electorMaximilian I (1597–1651), a powerful and effective ruler, Munich increased in wealth and size and prospered until the Thirty Years’ War. It was occupied by the Swedes under Gustav II Adolf (Gustavus Adolphus) in 1632, and in 1634 a plagueepidemic resulted in the death of about one-third of its population.
Something that puzzles us: Who but a super-strong Pippi Longstocking could have manoeuvred the old steamboat onto the bridge in the Schlachthofviertel? A stroll through the city located on the Isar river quickly dispels the stereotype of Munich as a rather staid village of a million people. In Bahnhofsviertel you’ll find cafés that are so Middle Eastern; Haidhausen has streets that feel so Parisian; while in Munich’s Westend neighbourhood you can head to Westpark and wonder at the temples which are so east Asian. No one would blame you if you were to also find yourself wondering if it can all really be part of one and the same city.
How can you decide? With our district self-test you can easily find out, even if with a wink, which district suits you particularly well.
A brief history of Munich’s city districts
Munich started out as a little oval of a place: the walled medieval market square measured just 17 hectares. To give you a sense of scale, today Munich’s Olympiapark (Olympic Park) is exactly five times that size. First recorded as “Munichen” in 1158, the settlement grew into a burgeoning trading centre under its founder, Henry the Lion (Heinrich der Löwe) of the Welf dynasty. In fact, it was so successful that it soon outgrew its boundaries, and the city was extended just 100 years after its founding.
The Wittelsbach dukes added a second defensive wall to the town during the 13th century, thereby creating significantly more space for their future royal seat. That original little oval grew into what we now know as Altstadt (Old Town) – a big, fortified, mushroom-shaped neighbourhood. There would once have been many gates to the city, of which three of survive splendidly today: Sendlinger Tor, Karlstor and Isartor. In the Middle Ages the city was separated into four parts – and even now we refer to districts as Stadtviertel, which simply translates as “city quarters”. You’ll find that the word “Viertel” is much more commonly used about neighbourhoods in Munich than in cities that were never divided into literal quarters.
Munich (German: München, Bavarian: Minga) is the capital city of Bavaria. Within the city limits, Munich has a population of more than 1.5 million, making it the third-most populous city in Germany. Greater Munich including its suburbs has a population of 2.7 million. The Munich metropolitan region which extends to cities like Augsburg or Ingolstadt had a population of more than 6.0 million in 2017.
Munich, located at the river Isar in the south of Bavaria, is known for its architecture, fine culture, the annual Oktoberfest beer celebration, its vibrant cultural scene and its museums. Although the city was heavily damaged by allied bombing during World War II, many of its historic buildings in the old city center have been rebuilt including its largest church, the Frauenkirche, and the New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus).
Munich is a major international center of business, engineering, research and medicine exemplified by the presence of two research universities, a multitude of smaller colleges, headquarters of several multinational companies and world-class technology and science museums like the Deutsches Museum and BMW Museum. It is Germany’s most prosperous city and makes it repeatedly into the top 10 of global quality-of-life rankings. Munich’s ability to stay at the forefront of technological developments and maintain its cultural heritage is often summarized in the characterization as a city of “laptop and lederhosen”.
Quality of life
Beer garden inside the Englischer Garten
Munich can be consistently found in the top tier of quality-of-life-rankings of world cities. Monocle magazine even named it the world’s most livable city in 2010. When Germans are polled about where they would like to live, Munich finds its way consistently at the top of the list. Within proximity of the Alps and some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe, it is not surprising that everyone wants to live here. Add to its benefits the beautiful architecture, especially Baroque and Rococo, green countryside which starts a mere half hour away on the S-Bahn, a beautiful park called Englischer Garten, the two best universities in Germany, a booming economy with global headquarters of many world-class companies, modern infrastructure, extremely low crime and the greatest beer culture on the planet – could there be anything wrong with Munich? Well, there is a price to pay for living in a city where everyone else wants to be: Munich is the most expensive city in Germany with real estate prices and rents far above those in Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne or Frankfurt.