Discover Munich's old town with us

St. Jakobs Platz, Foto: muenchen.de/Leonie Liebich
Foto: muenchen.de/Leonie Liebich

Places to fall in love with: Munich's historic city centre

Stroll through the Hofgarten or discover the history of Sankt-Jakobs-Platz! We will guide you through Munich's stunning old town, stopping at 9 different locations - and for know-it-alls, we have a few other secrets ready to surprise you with…

Sankt-Jakobs-Platz: where city can be touched

Let's just say it like it is: Sankt-Jakobs-Platz, with its Ohel Jakob synagogue, Jewish Museum and City Museum, is one of the most beautiful squares in Munich. Here, you can sit in the sun and stop for a bite to eat in the cosy café "Stadtcafé". But don't say we didn't warn you: the choice of cakes on offer is enormous! Iconic gifts and all kinds of wonderful Munich knickknacks can be purchased in the "Servus Heimat" shop in the City Museum (Stadtmuseum).

Alongside Sankt-Jakobs-Platz you will find something truly unique: original remains from the Siegestor, Munich's landmark triumphal arch. The arch may actually stand more than two kilometres to the north, but in Nieserstraße, shards of it are presented . This is due to the fact that the Siegestor, which was destroyed during the Second World War, was not completely rebuilt in original form: the remaining, unused pieces ended up here.

Hofgarten: the best place to find peace and quiet

Hofgarten im Herbst, Foto: muenchen.de/Leonie Liebich
Foto: muenchen.de/Leonie Liebich

There's hardly a more beautiful place to relax in Munich than the Hofgarten. The park glows in every season. For example, the murals beneath the arcades are always worth a look. You might even come across boule players in action. The Dianatempel in the middle of the park always looks enchanting, and you mustn't miss the view of the Theatinerkirche. The classiest coffee in the city can be sampled in Café Tambosi next door, which offers a view of the Feldherrnhalle.

Evening sunbathing in Max-Joseph-Platz

Max-Joseph-Platz in München, Foto: Katy Spichal
Foto: Katy Spichal

Max-Joseph-Platz is truly a beautiful sight, so make sure you stop by the steps of the opera house. Take a midday snack or a good book along with you, and enjoy the peace and quiet. Otherwise, you can pause on the pedestal of the Königsbau, which is the central part of the former royal residence. At midday, you can enjoy a wonderful sunbathing session (photo). It's also fun to watch the comings and goings around you. If you're lucky, you might even catch sight of a skater performing tricks in the square.

Feldherrnhalle and Viscardigasse: where tricksters used to roam

Der Odeonsplatz mit Feldherrnhalle und Theatinerkirche

The Odeonsplatz, with its Feldherrnhalle, has a wonderfully Italian look. The view of Ludwigstraße as far as the Siegestor arch never loses its charm, even when you have already seen it hundreds of times.

But Viscardigasse, a street located behind the Feldherrnhalle, has a unique history. During the rise to power of the National Socialist Party, an SS guard stood before the memorial that was erected, keeping watch day and night: all passers by were required to perform a salute. Because of this, the clever inhabitants of Munich avoided this location and used a small side street that became known as Drückebergergasse, which roughly translates as Deserter's Alley. Today, a bronze trail of approximately 30cm commemorates this cunning avoidance strategy.

Karlsplatz, also known as Stachus

Karlsplatz Stachus, Foto: muenchen.de/Leonie Liebich
Foto: muenchen.de/Leonie Liebich

Munich's citizens never call this square Karlsplatz - even if that is its offical name. Stachus, as it is lovingly known, is a place bustling with life. In Munich, when there is a lot going on somewhere, people will always compare that location to the famous Stachus. In summer, the bubbling highlight on the half-circular square is, of course, the fountain - but the stone seats surrounding it offer an excellent place to take a pause in every season. Here, at the western end of the pedestrian zone you might well bump into a few strange characters. But as the grinning heads in the historic Karlstor city walls will tell you, these have been around in Munich for quite a while.

Among these stone heads you will find a few unique figures, such as the Finessensepperl, a love-letter delivery man who is also believed to have arranged one or two romantic trysts, making him a kind of match-maker from the 19th century. If a stroll in this romantic location isn't enough to get the sparks flying, we don't know what will do.

Frauenkirche: where the devil left his footprint

Frauenkirche in München, Foto: shutterstock
Foto: shutterstock

If you visit the Frauenkirche, pay attention as you go inside. Take a look down at the ground: right at the entrance to the church, you will find the devil's footprint. Satan himself was allegedly outwitted by the skill of the master church builder, and left behind a "footprint" in the stone floor. Don't believe it? The old, weathered memorial slabs on the outer wall of the church are certainly pretty real. Try to decipher the centuries-old inscriptions, and enjoy feeling like you are in a Dan Brown novel.

Literaturhaus: where culture is fun

Das Literaturhaus München im Frühling, Foto: muenchen.de/Michael Hofmann
Foto: muenchen.de/Michael Hofmann

Are you looking for a bit of cultural inspiration? Then head for the Literaturhaus, Munich's number one literary institution, at Salvatorplatz! Even if there isn't a famous author around giving a lecture or signing books, it's still worth a visit - especially because of the restaurant on the ground floor, called Brasserie OskarMaria. It is named after Munich's famous literary rebel Oskar Maria Graf, whose quote of "Mehr Sexualität, die Herrschaften!" ("More sex, gentlemen!") adorns the bottom of the coffee service. You can experience more Viennese coffee house atmosphere just around the corner, at Café Luitpold with its palm garden.

Marienplatz: wonderful from every perspective

Impressionen vom Münchner Marienplatz, Foto: muenchen.de/Leonie Liebich
Foto: muenchen.de/Leonie Liebich

At Marienplatz, it doesn't really matter what time of year it is: there is always a lot of activity and plenty to see. Bouquets, for example: the romantic inhabitants of Munich regularly place them in the arms of the charming Juliet statue, which stands in front of the old town hall. The statue was a gift from Munich's partner city, Verona.

With the right approach, even well-known sights will take on a new charm. So why not climb the tower of the town hall again? The view over the roofs of the inner city is stunning - sometimes you may even look as far as the Monopteros temple in the Englischer Garten.

The viewing platform of St. Peter's church (Alter Peter) is on the same level - not only because of its height, but because the views it offers are equally beautiful. To reach the viewing platform, you will have to climb roughly 300 steps. But the effort is surely worth it: when the wind is right, the view reaches up to a distance of 100 kilometres.

If neither tower is accessible, you will find two alternatives to make up for it: from Café Glockenspiel you can enjoy an equally stunning view of the town hall and Marienplatz, while the Ludwig Beck department store offers a view of the comings and goings in the heart of the city from its Monaco Café.

Viktualienmarkt: where even the biggest hunger is sated

Altstadt mit Viktualienmarkt

Hungry from all the sightseeing? Then Viktualienmarkt is the place to go - at least, as long as it isn't Sunday or a bank holiday, because all of the stalls will be closed. On all other days, the market offers a huge selection of food, from fish sandwiches to antipasti and roasted potatoes to smoothies. The difficult thing is knowing what to choose from the extensive offerings of this 22,000m² space. The market's attractive beer garden only opens when the weather is warm, but you might still find cosy benches and seats here and there. While you are awaiting the food of your choice, take a look at the commemorative fountains that can be found throughout the market! You can find six characters from Munich's history here, including the legendary comedian Karl Valentin.

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