10 Things you should do in Munich in Winter

Olympiapark mit Olympiastadion und Olympiaturm im Winter , Foto: Michael Hofmann
Foto: Michael Hofmann

Snowy parks and frozen fountains are just one aspect of why Munich is unique in cold season. These 10 things will ensure a wonderful winter in Munich.

Curling in the open air

Der Schlosskanal im Winter

In the cold weather, the Nymphenburg Palace canal becomes Munich’s longest curling track. Thanks to the shallow water, an icy cover quickly forms across the 500 metres between Gerner Bridge and Hubertusstraße. Beginners and experts are both equally welcome here. Curling teams can also come into their own in the park café’s beer garden. In winter, the beer benches are cleared away and two long ice rinks are set up in their place.

Stroll through the Christmas markets

Der Christkindlmarkt auf dem Marienplatz vor erleuchtetem Rathaus, Foto: LianeM / Shutterstock.com
Foto: LianeM / Shutterstock.com

Thanks to its central location, the Christmas Market on Marienplatz is always a good one to visit. In addition to mulled wine, Feuerzangenbowle (red wine punch) and delicacies, you can also buy handicrafts or Christmas ornaments there. Approximately 2,500 lights illuminate the huge Christmas tree in front of the Town Hall every year. But there are many more Christmas markets: A flashy mood is guaranteed at Pink Christmas in the Glockenbachviertel; on the street called Münchner Freiheit (literally ‘Freedom of Munich’), arts and crafts abound. And that’s just a small selection.

Travel through the city with the Christmas tram

Christkindltram, Foto: MVG, Kerstin Groh
Foto: MVG, Kerstin Groh
Particularly when the temperature drops below zero and the wind is bitingly cold, there’s nothing nicer than a cosy sightseeing tour in the Christmas tram. The MVG (Munich Transport Company) sends this quaint tram on trips around the city centre every year at Advent, which is the perfect eay to explore many Munich Christmas markets without freezing. Mulled wine, children’s punch, tasty delicacies and festive music are provided – the perfect conditions to create a jovial atmosphere amongst the passengers.

Relax in the indoor pool or the sauna

Müllersches Volksbad, Foto: SWM/ Kerstin Grohe
Foto: SWM/ Kerstin Grohe

From the art nouveau gem that is the Müller'sches Volksbad to the Nordbad with its 33 metre lanes for sporty swimmers – the 10 SWM indoor pools operated by the city of Munich leave nothing to be desired. You can even train in the heated outdoor pool in Dantebad during the winter. Most of the swimming pools also have saunas, which allow you to quickly forget the cold weather outside. Regular sauna events with steam and masks make a trip to a spa resort totally unnecessary.

Discover nature in the Botanical Gardens and at Sea Life

Kakteen im Glashaus des Botanischen Garten München

How wonderful it is that there are the greenhouses in the Botanical Garden – meaning even in the dead of winter, no one has to go without seeing orchids, cacti and palms. You can even say hello to the carnivorous plants. In the Olympiapark, the Sea Life centre offers a way to experience nature in a completely different way. Deep-sea inhabitants swim through the aquariums – from zebra sharks to octopuses.

Visit the zoo (Tierpark Hellabrunn)

Winter im Tierpark 2017: ein Elch sitzt im Schnee, Foto: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Marc Müller
Foto: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Marc Müller

Many animals are much less finicky than people when it comes to temperatures. That’s why, though fewer people may visit the Hellabrunn Zoo in winter than in summer, there is definitely no less going on. Elks, yaks, polar bears and sea lions really come into their own during the cold weather and provide a great deal of fun. And it is always comfortable in the heated monkey and elephant house or the jungle world – even for humans.

Explore museums of all sizes

Lenbachhaus im Winter, Foto: muenchen.de/Michael Hofmann
Foto: muenchen.de/Michael Hofmann

There is no winter break at the museums. Luckily! For example, the Lenbachhaus continues to display the art of the Blaue Reiter movement and changing special exhibitions in winter, too. Exhibitions of modern art can be seen at the Museum Brandhorst or the Pinakothek der Moderne, while things are often more experimental at the Haus der Kunst. When else – other than in winter – do you have the time to go see the fantastic, diverse objects the museums have to offer?

Watch the latest cinema highlights

Mathäser-Gebäude am Abend, Foto: Mathäser
Foto: Mathäser

There’s a high concentration of cinemas in the centre of Munich – which is particularly good when it is below zero outside, because most cinemas are easy to reach with public transport. Mathäser Filmpalast, Cinemaxx, the cinemas on Münchner Freiheit and other big cinemas always show the latest blockbusters from Hollywood, while smaller cinemas like the Neues Rottmann, the ABC Kino or the Theatiner Filmtheater focus on independent productions. Either way: There is something for everyone, no matter what your taste in film is.

View wintertime from above

Blick auf das verschneite München, Foto: Katy Spichal
Foto: Katy Spichal

When do you have the opportunity to see the roofs of the old town as if they’d been dusted with sugar? In winter, of course! From the tower of Old St Peter’s Church or the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall), you can see the entire city centre – and on some days, even some of the Alps in the background, too. Visibility can be especially good in winter – that’s when it is worth taking a trip to the Olympiaturm (Olympia Tower). You are also protected from the cold by a pane of glass.

Let loose while ice-skating and sledding

Schlittschuhlaufen in der Olympia Eissporthalle, Foto: OLYMPIAPARK MÜNCHEN GMBH

Advent also means the start of ice-skating fun at Stachus (Karlsplatz). At the ‘Münchner Eiszauber’ open-air rink, you can skate into the evening hours – and hire ice-skates there. Things are less action-packed in the Eis- und Funsportzentrum West and in the Eissportzentrum Ost, which both open as soon as it is cold enough. You can also skate around at the Olympia-Eissportzentrum. As soon as there is enough snow on the ground, the tobogganing starts on numerous hills in Munich, such as in Luitpoldpark and Westpark.

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