10 Things to do in Munich in Winter

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

Snowy parks and frozen fountains are some of the things that make Munich unique in cold season. Here are 10 things that will ensure you have a wonderful winter in Munich.

Curling in the open air

Der Schlosskanal im Winter

In the cold weather, the Nymphenburg Palace canal turns into Munich's longest curling track. Thanks to the shallow water, an icy cover quickly forms across the 500 meters between Gerner Bridge and Hubertusstraße. Beginners and experts in curling are both welcome here. Teams can also visit the park café's beer garden. In winter, the beer benches are cleared and replaced with two long ice rinks.

A walk 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 at  Marienplatz is always a great to visit. In addition to mulled wine, Feuerzangenbowle (red wine punch) and delicacies, you can also buy handcrafts or Christmas ornaments there. Approximately 2,500 lights luminate the huge Christmas tree in front of the Town Hall every year. There are also many other Christmas markets. At Pink Christmas in the Glockenbachviertel for instance, your mood will get lit up; while at  Münchner Freiheit (literally translated as 'Freedom of Munich'), arts and crafts abound. That is just to mention a few.

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 cozy sightseeing tour of Munich in the Christmas tram. During Advent every year, the MVG (Munich Transport Company) sends this quaint tram on trips round the city center. What a perfect way to explore many Munich Christmas markets without freezing. Mulled wine, children's punch, tasty delicacies and festive music are provided - creating the perfect conditions for 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 at Müller'sches Volksbad, to the Nordbad with its 33-meter lanes for sporty swimmers, the 10 SWM indoor pools operated by the city of Munich leaves nothing to be desired. You can even train in the warm outdoor pool at Dantebad during the winter. Most of the swimming pools also have saunas, which helps you to quickly forget the cold weather outside. With regular sauna visits, steam and masks, you won't be needing that trip to a spa resort.

Discover nature at the Botanical Garden and at Sea Life

Kakteen im Glashaus des Botanischen Garten München

How wonderful it is that there are the greenhouses in the Botanical Garden . This means even in the dead of winter, no one has to go without seeing orchids, cacti and palms. You can also admire some carnivorous plants. At the Olympiapark, the Sea Life center offers "experience of 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 still a lot going on. Elks, yaks, polar bears and sea lions come through during the cold weather and provide a great deal of fun. The heated monkey and elephant house or the jungle world are also quite comfortable - even for humans.

Explore museums of all sizes

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

There are no winter breaks at the museums. Luckily! For instance, the Lenbachhaus continues to display the art of the Blaue Reiter movement and different 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 various fantastic artefacts these 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 center of Munich - which is particularly good when it is below zero degrees outside, as 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 your taste in film.

Wintertime view 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, looking like 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 center and even some of the Alps in the background, on some days too. Visibility can be quite 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
Foto: OLYMPIAPARK MÜNCHEN GMBH

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

These and many more are some of the exciting things to do in Munich in winter. However, please note, while making winter plans, stay abreast of all the latest corona restrictions in Munich.

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