March 22, 2018

5 Insider Sights to See in Munich

Munich SwansRSZD

What does everyone see when they visit Munich? The Hofbräuhaus, and Hard Rock across the street. The domes of the Frauenkirche cathedral. Olympiaturm, the big tower at the 1972 Summer Olympics grounds. The Residenz museum where the Bavarian Kings lived, when they weren’t over at Castle Nymphenburg (which is also on the list). Those places are not where I take most of my visitors!

Okay, I do recommend they go there on the days I’m not free to guide them. But what about the hidden spots I take them on my time, the ones they might not find on their own?

St. Peter’s Cathedral

Sure, the Frauenkirche is a more impressive church. But the view from the top of the Frauenkirche Dom (through a bunch of tiny windows) isn’t worth the bits on your SD memory card. Check out Alter Peter, right near Viktualienmarkt. It’s cheaper to climb to the top, and there’s nothing but a railing between you and everything you want to photograph, including the beautiful Dom.

Hunting & Fishing Museum

This one ain’t fer ever-one. But if you like to hunt, fish, or shoot, you’ll find one of every animal in Bavaria here (stuffed!), along with hundreds of antique weapons. And there’s a giant fossil moose whose antlers look to be about 9’ across.

Munich Moose and Hunting MuseumRSZD

The Surfers’ Wave on the Eisbach

There’s a canal from the Isar River which runs through downtown Munich. Right between several art museums, it pops out into the English Garden (just near Prinzregentenstr. 20, for the google-mappers). On the north side of the street is a standing wave where you can see surfers anytime the weather is decent. Here’s a feature video of the Munich Surfers’ Wave, just to give you an idea.

After checking out the surfers, walk through the English Garden for half an hour to the next stop. If you’re there in the summer, don’t be surprised to see naked sunbathers a bit off the beaten paths. FKK (Free body culture) nudists are doing it for their own reasons, not as exhibitionists. One warning: most are people you might wish you hadn’t seen naked.

Seehaus in the English Garden

The “Lake House” is a Biergarten by a beautiful pond filled with ducks and swans. Refresh with a Halbes Weissbier (1/2 liter hefeweizen) or a Mass Helles (liter of lager) after your walk in the park. It’s a much more relaxed atmosphere than the tourist-jammed Chinese Tower a bit farther south. If you want to walk farther north to Hirschau for your Bier, you’ll sometimes find live jazz music in the Biergarten.

Barbecue on the Flaucher

If you want to feel like a local, and perhaps meet a few, you have to barbecue on the Flaucher on a summer evening. I bet only one in ten thousand tourists does this. Near the Munich Zoo (Tierpark U-Bahn stop), the banks of the Isar River are made of stones and pebbles. Any summer night you’ll find locals barbecuing there, and Thursday through Sunday are the prime days. (Google map link) North of Tierparkstrasse on the east bank of the river, where you see the gray stone riverbanks: that’s it!

Buy a cheap BBQ grill at V-Markt, Praktiker, or Toom (equivalents of the Home Despot & Blowe’s). Pick up some charcoal briquettes, buy a couple packs of sausages at any supermarket, and slice up a few peppers & eggplant. And don’t forget a supply of Helles beer – I recommend Tegernseer or Augustiner.

Now head down to the Isar and grill. If you’ve picked the right day, there will be a river of barbecue smoke to lead you there. After a few sausages (or Gardenburgers, if that’s your preference) and several Helles, you’ll truly be partying like a Munich local!

This has been a guest post by David Douglas, of He is also the author of The Oktoberfest Primer and Climbing Zugspitze, a three-part series on Germany’s highest mountain. You can follow him on Twitter via @daviddbooks .

Photo Credits: David Douglas


  1. [...] worth a tour for both the interior and the superior view. The destination is easily drivable from Munich, and is peppered with accommodation and restaurant options to suit any [...]