10 Hidden Gems In Munich

By Grigory Lyubchenko A Medical Physics student who is adapting to his new home in the city of Munich.

Edited by Matthew Wears

Munich is a city that is totally full of charm and fascinating history which makes it super fun to explore as a tourist. The main attractions are all great, but it’s the quirky things to do in Munich that make it so special to me. Even though I’ve been living here for nearly two years now, I still discover new things all the time, and I probably will be doing so long into the future! Some things are just so unique to the city’s rich culture - such as the traditional Bavarian beer gardens and beer halls – whilst there are other unknown spots that deserve so much more recognition. In general though, it can be a really fun experience to explore Munich off the beaten track, or if it’s not Munich itself, the fascinating Bavarian countryside that’s all around the city. I’ll be covering all of this and more in my top ten hidden gems in Munich which I know you’re going to love. 

Tiergarten

The first one that I have for you is right outside of the Hellabrunn Zoo which in Germany we call a tier garten. It’s basically a little secret spot right on the Isar river where you can chill out and even go swimming if you want to. Obviously, Munich is not always the warmest place, so you’ll have to wait until summer for the weather to get hot enough. When it does though, you’ll be sharing the shores with mostly locals because they’re the only ones who know it’s there. This area is one of my personal favorite hidden places in Munich to come when I just want to leave the city for a while and just relax out in nature. I can’t really say why no one seems to know about this spot, I think it must be because it’s kind of hidden just out of sight by the zoo itself. You’re actually so close to the zoo that you can actually hear the birds which I think it pretty unusual!

Ostpark

There are a lot of really beautiful parks in Munich, but my favorite is probably the Ostpark. Most tourists go to places like the English Garden or the Olympia Park which are nice, although they tend to get a little bit busy for my taste. The Ostpark is totally different to this though - because it’s right in the East of the city even locals don’t really head here. It’s completely worth visiting though because it sometimes feels like you’re in the beautiful Bavarian countryside. The grounds of this place are absolutely huge and there’s so much to do. You can play sports at one of the many courts and fields, or just chill out and explore all of the really nice woods and lakes here. For those really hot days, there’s even a beer garden called Michaeli-Garten where you can get a Maßkrug full of the best German beer. To try out some non-touristy things to do in Munich, you should totally give this place a look.

Riemer See Area

You might think that you can’t swim in the sea in Munich, but you’d be wrong! Well, not really. At the Riemer Park you can find everything you’d expect to find at the beach – parasols, towels, sand – the only thing that’s missing is the sea itself. Instead, you have this huge lake that is so beautiful and blue that you could easily think that you’re in the south of France or Italy. It actually used to be an airport, but it was filled with water to make it what it is today. I find it super interesting how you can still make out some of the features, like the cycling lanes that were clearly once part of a runway at one point. You could easily spend a day here, it’s one of the most unique Munich experiences for any visitor. What’s more is that you probably won’t find that many tourists here because it’s all the way in the East of town. To reach it, just hop on the U-bahn line U2 and walk from the Messestadht Station – it’s super easy.

Starnberg

The next place I’d really recommend checking out is Starnberg, which is a town just outside of the city. Sometimes the best of Munich isn’t necessarily in the city itself, but in the beautiful Bavarian countryside that surrounds it. Starnberg is really just like a rich place with lots of really fancy houses that have some really nice views of the mountains in the distance. There’s also a huge lake where you can get a boat and cruise around with the mountains in the background – which I definitely recommend doing if you want the best views. In general though, Starnberg just has a completely different feel to the city itself, so it’s quite cool to explore Munich off the beaten path and see some more of Bavaria itself. It’s obviously a lot more laid back here, and the architecture is much more typical of Bavaria rather than the modern buildings you see in Munich. To find this place, just catch an S-Bahn and the Starnberg station – it should only take around thirty minutes so it makes a good day trip!

Ebersberg

Ebersberg is very similar to Starnberg, except it’s on the opposite side of the city. Just like Starnburg, it’s a very beautiful area just outside of the city where you can see the natural side of Bavaria. The town basically sits on these amazing green hills which are so typical of southern Germany, and in the distance, you can even see the Alps rising up. The town itself is really old and traditional, so it can be cool if you want a really authentic Bavarian experience. You can spend your day sitting in the beer gardens in the town center or you can visit some of the nearby sites that are worth a look as well. You can head to the top of the Eberberg Turm where you will get the best views of the countryside, or read up on your Bavarian history at Museum Wald and Umwelt. Even for a small town there’s a lot to do here - it’s one of the unique Munich experiences that you don’t want to miss.

Bavaria Filmstadt

One of the most fascinating alternative Munich attractions for me has to be Bavaria Filmstadt. It’s basically this huge film studio just outside of the city where most of the German films and adverts are made. Apparently, Bayern Munich FC filmed their latest advert here which is pretty cool! Even though it’s still a working studio, you can get a guided tour of it all which is of course a must do if you’re a fan of movies. These are so cool because you get all of the information about how the films are made, whilst walking through these fake city’s that they use for some of the movies. There’s also a few other attractions there that are worth checking out also, such as the 4D ride which takes you on a virtual tour of the studios. Out of all of the top ten hidden gems in Munich I think this one deserves so much more attention – no one really knows about it, not even the locals!

Legoland

Another thing that’s not actually in Munich itself but is super close by is Legoland. I don’t know if this is really a hidden gem, but I think it’s totally one of the most unusual things to do in Munich. I ended up going here a couple of weeks ago and it brought back so many memories of when I used to live in Copenhagen and we would visit the Legoland there – I forgot how fun the place is! If you have kids, then I think it’s perfect because it’s pretty much guaranteed to keep them entertained all day. You get the smaller attractions that suit smaller children, but you also get big rides like the Fire Dragon Rollercoaster that are really cool for teenagers. It’s not even that expensive either – if you look on their website you can usually find some kind of deal on there so it’s worth checking out! When I visited I drove, although you can get there by train and shuttle bus but I’d say that driving is the easiest.

Long Night of Music

The reason I love Munich so much is because even though it’s a small city, there’s just always something really cool happening somewhere. One of my favorite unique Munich experiences is actually this thing we do called the Long Night of Music. Basically, this is an evening where you purchase just one ticket, which then allows to go and watch around two-hundred and fifty live performances at over one hundred venues across the city. I remember going to see some really special jazz shows that were actually held in the lobby of a hotel at last years event. Both the big and small venues take part, and a ticket only costs around fifteen Euros as well which is pretty amazing considering what you get! If you want some interesting things to in Munich at night and you’re in the city during May, you should totally check this one out.

The Rathaus

Unique Munich experiences don’t get much more special than a visit to the Rathaus building. Although this is basically Munich’s Town Hall and it’s easily one of the most iconic buildings in the whole city - it’s probably the best place to kickstart your trip - so you might be thinking it doesn’t count as a hidden gem. But for an alternative experience, you have to go to the top! All of the old gothic architecture is cool to see from down in Marienplatz, but it’s even better when you’re at the top of the tower. From up there, you can see everything from the city right underneath you, to the snowy Alpine mountains all the way in the distance. Nowhere even comes close the city views that you get from the top of the Rathaus, and for just four Euros, it’s totally worth it. You can choose to go up the stairs or lift – it’s completely up to you.

Haxnbauer Restaurant

I think a lot of people kind of think that eating out in Germany usually means sitting down with an ice cold beer and picking at something on the side, but that’s not really true. We have a fascinating history with food, and there’s nowhere better to explore it than the Haxnbauer Restaurant. This is a super fancy restaurant that basically just serves authentic Bavarian food in a really nice, traditional atmosphere. The warm Bavarian decor is perfect for enjoying some of their amazing apple strudel. The star of the show here is definitely the meat though. Pretty much all locals agree that this is where you get the best Haxn in the city - which should be one of your must try foods. It might be a little bit pricier than normal, but you kind of get you pay for so it’s a good option if you want to splash out a little. It really is the best of Munich in terms of food - and of course that’s alongside some of the best beer in the city.

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