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The Perfect One Day in Munich Itinerary: See the Best of Munich in a Day!

If you’ve only got one day in Munich and are wondering how to make the most of it, you’ve come to the right place! Here’s the perfect 1 day in Munich itinerary, which will help you experience the best of the city!

With a rich history, stunning monuments, and plenty of beer, Munich is one of Germany’s most vibrant cities. 

Munich is known for its Oktoberfest and Christmas markets, and while those are awesome, it is much more than that. You won’t get to do it all in Munich in a day, but it’s enough time to see what makes the city special – and why so many people fall in love.

I visited Munich in winter because I wanted to see the Christmas markets, and to visit the nearby Neuschwanstein Castle. I only devoted one full day to exploring Munich, but I wish I had spent more time in the city because it had so much to offer!

By spending one day in Munich, you’ll get to see some of the city’s iconic historic attractions, see an opulent palace, pop into a couple of churches, and stroll through some beautiful green spaces. And of course, there’s some time left to enjoy a beer (or three, however you roll).

Here is the perfect 1 day in Munich itinerary, featuring the best things to do, see and eat!

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Quick Tips for Your Munich One Day Itinerary

  • Munich is easily explored on foot. Many of Munich’s top sights are located within walking distance from each other. I completed this itinerary just by walking from place to place. Remember to wear your comfy shoes – my favorite travel shoes are from Allbirds and Rothys.
  • If you use public transit, remember to validate your ticket. This is VERY important, and they are VERY strict about this! Either select “issue with validation” when purchasing from a ticket machine, or stamp it at one of the blue validating machines at stations, and on board buses and trams.
  • Get cash: While you can use your credit card at many establishments, Germany is still largely a cash-based society so it is a good idea to have some cash on hand. This is especially true if you are planning on visiting some beer gardens and/or Christmas markets!
  • Mostly everyone speaks English in the main tourist areas. However, knowing a few basic German phrases is always helpful and very much appreciated!
  • Electricity: Like the rest of Europe, Germany uses 230 V Type E plugs. If coming from the United States, be sure to pack a power adapter.

The Perfect One Day in Munich Itinerary


The iconic Marienplatz square is the heart of the city, and the perfect place to start off a day in Munich. 

It has been Munich’s central gathering place since the 12th century, and is surrounded by a number of stunning historical buildings. In the center stands the Mariensäule, a tall golden angel topped column that signifies the center of the city. It was built to commemorate the end of the Swedish occupation during the Thirty Years’ War.

Throughout time, Marienplatz has played host to various celebrations, markets, and tournaments, as it does today. During the holiday season, it’s home to the city’s most well-known Christmas market, regarded as one of the best in Europe.

As the city’s most popular tourist attraction, it does get pretty busy here, which is why I recommend coming first thing in the morning. I actually came in the afternoon, mostly because I was also trying to time it when the Christmas market was open, but I really wish I came in the morning instead to take in the beauty of the square without the flurry of activity and crowds.

The highlight of Marienplatz is the Neues Rathaus, or New Town Hall, with its impressive Gothic architecture. Seriously, I stood there gawking at all the stunning details on the building, it is truly impressive!

If you happen to be in Marienplatz at 11am and 12pm (and also 5pm between March and October), you can also watch the Glockenspiel performance that takes place on the clock tower of the building. The life-sized characters on the clock reenact scenes from Munich’s history. It’s worth catching if you happen to be there, but it’s not something that I’d necessarily plan my day around.

On the other side of Marientplaz stands the Altes Rathaus, or Old Town Hall. The whimsical design of the building is the complete opposite of the Neus Rathaus, but is beautiful in its own way. Today, it houses a toy museum, which is rather fitting.

Admire Marienplatz from Above

One of the best ways to take in the beauty of Marienplatz is to see it from above. This way, you’ll see the square in a new perspective, and catch a birds-eye view of its iconic buildings, the Munich skyline, and beyond.

You’ll find one of the best views in town atop the Peterskirche (St. Peter’s Church), Munich’s old church. For 3 euros, you’ll get to climb up 300 wooden steps located in a narrow stairway. It’s quite a climb and it can get super crowded (it reminded me a lot of trying to climb up the Duomo in Florence), but the view that greets you at the top is worth it, I promise!

At the top, you’ll get a panoramic view of Munich’s city center laid out right in front of you. Seeing this view was one of my highlights of my 1 day in Munich! 

From here, take a moment to admire the architectural details of the Neues Rathaus and Altes Rathaus, and gaze out at all of the city’s orange rooftops. If you’re lucky enough to go on a super clear day, you might even catch a glimpse of the Alps!

Another alternative is to head to the top of the Neus Rathaus, where you can take an elevator. This is somewhat of a hidden gem, and will be less crowded than the Peterskirche. Head over to the Tourist Information Center, ask for a ticket for the Rathausturm (or the City Hall Tower), and make your way up to the elevator.

There’s some debate over which view is better, but you can’t go wrong with either. Personally though, I thought being able to see the Neus Rathaus from Peterskirche was a treat, so I would choose that if I had to pick one. Still, if you can’t or don’t want to go up the stairs, you can’t go wrong with the view from the Neus Rathaus!


Located nearby Marienplatz the Viktualienmarkt, Munich’s bustling open-air marketplace.  Viktualienmarkt had its origins as a farmers market, but today is more of a destination for foodies and souvenir shoppers. 

While you’ll still see produce sold here today, you’ll also find hundreds of stalls selling everything from colorful flowers, delicious snacks, local wine, exotic spices, traditional handicrafts, and more. There’s also a year-round beer garden here, and a Christmas market also takes place during the holidays (the gluhwein here was my favorite!). 

FYI – the beer gardens in Munich all let you bring your own food, so Viktualienmarkt is a fantastic spot to get some goodies for a BYO picnic!

One of the best ways to experience Viktualienmarkt is to do a food tour with a local guide. You’ll get to experience what the market has to offer, as well as learn about its history and significance with a knowledgeable guide. Along the way, you’ll get to sample tons of yummy bites, from Bavarian sausages, German cheeses, exotic fruit, and more. 

If you want to pick up some unique souvenirs to take home, Viktualienmarkt is the best place to do it! Since I visited in December, I found some beautiful wooden Christmas ornaments, as well as decorations made out of dried cinnamon and cloves.

Also look out for the authentic Bavarian Maibaum (maypole) at the center of the market. Maibaums date back to ancient times, and represent the various trades of each village or borough. The one here has scenes from various aspects of life in Munich, including a horse and cart transporting barrels of beer, scenes from Oktoberfest, the flag of Munich, and the two patron saints of brewing, St. Boniface and St. Florian.


Frauenkirche is one of the most iconic churches of Munich, with its twin towers being one of the most recognizable sights of the city’s skyline. The best view of the domes is actually from above from Peterskirche, but it’s still worth a quick stop to take a peek inside one of Munich’s most famous landmarks.

While the inside of Frauenkirche, but it’s known for a rather odd “Devil’s Footprint” located at the back of the church. 

You can also climb atop one of the towers here, but as you are trying to see Munich in one day, you likely won’t have time (and there are better views in the city).


Your next stop on your one day Munich itinerary is Odeonsplatz, one of the city’s significant squares. Dating back to the early 19th century, the square has remained largely unchanged over the years.

The focal point of Odeonsplatz is Feldherrnhalle, a replica of the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence. 

Odeonsplatz has played a role in some historically significant events, some of which are pretty dark. In 1923, it was the site of a deadly conflict between German police officers and what became the Nazis in the climax of the Beer Hall Putsch. This eventually led to Hitler being charged with high treason and thrown in prison, where he wrote Mein Kampf.

During the reign of the Nazis, many rallies and speeches took place here. A statue of Hitler also stood here, and passerbys were expected to honor it. This was demolished in 1945. 

Those who want to learn more about this dark period in Munich’s past, should take this highly-reviewed Third Reich & WWII walking tour. You’ll learn more about the city’s role in the rise and fall of the Nazi movement, as well as its resistance, the beginning of WWII, and more.

Today, Odeonsplatz is one of the most vibrant places in the city. You’ll find that it plays host to many festive events, including beer and wine festivals in the summer. It’s also surrounded by some of the city’s top sights as well.


When I visited Munich, I didn’t know anything about Theatinerkirche – I was just intrigued by the pastel yellow facade.

Well, I later came to find out that it’s one of the most controversial churches in the city, thanks to that very yellow facade. Apparently, not everyone is a fan!

Theatinerkirche takes inspiration from Italian architecture, and has some striking Baroque features. The stunning all-white interior here actually reminded me a lot of the Cathedral in Granada.

It’s free to enter the Theatinerkirche, so it’s worth making a quick stop here (and decide for yourself if you’re a fan of the yellow exterior or not). 

Munich Residenz

The stunning Munich Residenz was my favorite stop during my 1 day in Munich! It was once the home of Bavarian monarchs, and served as the seat of the government from 1508-1918. The massive complex consists of multiple buildings and 10 courtyards, making it the largest city palace in Germany.

It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but once you step inside, you’ll be blown away by the opulence and grandeur of each of its 150 rooms. Even if you’re trying to see Munich in a day, it is absolutely worth it to spend a few hours touring the inside of the Residenz.

As you make your way through the palace, each room gets more extravagant than the last, filled with gold-plated details, magnificent sculptures, stunning chandeliers, majestic paintings, tapestries, and more. 

The absolute highlight here is the Antiquarium, originally built to store the extensive antique collection of the Wittelbach family, who lived in the palace for over 400 years. The long hall features magnificent vaulted ceilings covered with incredible Renaissance-era frescos. 

I first saw photos of the Antiquarium on Instagram, and immediately put it on my bucket list. Once I got there, I stood there in awe, marveling at the grandeur and beauty of the hall. And of course – I couldn’t resist snapping 3948034802 photos.

Also of note at the Residenz is the Treasury, which houses a collection of jewels spanning over 1000 years. It’s one of the most important in the world, and there are plenty of treasures housed here, from Turkish daggers, and Crown of Princess Blanche, which dates back to 1370 and is the oldest surviving royal crown known to have been in England.

If you visit Munich in December, also do not miss the Christmas market that takes place in the courtyard here!


On the way to the English Garden, the next stop on this one day in Munich itinerary, stroll through the idyllic Hofgarten. Located just behind the Residenz, the Hofgarten dates back to the 17th century and was once the exclusive strolling ground of Bavarian royals.

These days, it’s a public garden that is a favorite of both locals and visitors alike. Designed in the Italian Renaissance style, the Hofgarten features beautiful arcade-style passages, fountains, and more. 

The centerpiece of Hofgarten is the Dianatempel Pavilion, a gorgeous twelve-sided gazebo with eight entrance archways. It’s been featured in a number of movies, including the Three Musketeers, and you’ll sometimes find classical musicians playing inside of it, especially in the summer.

English Garden (Englischer Garten)

Stretching from Munich city center to the northeastern city limits, the English Garden (Englischer Garten) is a sprawling green space that is one of the largest urban parks in the world. It’s even bigger than NYC’s Central Park and London’s Hyde Park!

The English Garden was commissioned by Elector Karl Theodor, who in 1789 wanted to create a green space for the public to enjoy leisure and relaxation (you’d think this would make him popular, but apparently he was not). The park was originally named Theodors Park, but was later changed to the English Garden thanks to the fact that it’s laid out like an English country garden.

The park is huge so you won’t see all of it when you’re trying to see Munich in a day, but it’s still worth strolling through and checking all of its highlights. There’s a ton to do and see in the English Garden, and it’s the perfect spot to hang out on a beautiful summer day. But even in the winter, there’s plenty that the park has to offer as well!

Here are some of the sights to check out in the English Garden:

  • Chinese Tower (Chinesischer Turm): The tower is not very authentically Chinese, but it is still one of Munich’s most recognizable landmarks. It’s also the location of Munich’s oldest and second largest beer garden, which is perfect for hanging out on a nice day. And during the holidays, there’s a Christmas Market here as well.
  • Monopteros: This small Greek temple sits on top of a hill in the English Garden, and is one of the most photographed structures in the park. Built in 1838 by the famed architect  Leo von Klenze, it has a gorgeous dome and columns. You can also catch one of the best views of the city from here!
  • Japanese Friendship Garden: Located next to an idyllic duck pond, you’ll find a traditional Japanese garden and authentic tea house. The garden was a gift to Munich as a sign of friendship from the city of Sapporo, Japan during the 1972 Summer Olympic Games, which were held here.

Wherever you end up during your exploration of the English Garden, head back towards the southern end of the park to continue the rest of this Munich 1 day itinerary. 


Located near the southern entrance of the English Garden is one of Munich’s quirkiest attractions, which is one of the most famous surfing spots in the world.

Wait, what, you ask – Munich isn’t even near the ocean, why are there surfers here?!

The Eisbachwelle is part of a manmade river that flows through the park. A stone step at the outlet of the river creates consistent half-meter tall waves; the surfers have even hacked the waves by adding underwater ropes attached to planks, which create two taller, cleaner U-shaped waves.

On any given day, you’ll find a crowd of surfers waiting to catch the waves here. Yes, even in winter. I came over here thinking, “there’s no way people are surfing in this freezing cold”….only to stroll up and find that there were at least 8 people here.

These guys have got some skills, and it was so fun to watch them jump in one right after another and catch some waves. I spent quite a while here watching them, because it was so cool!

Dinner + Beer in Old Town

Afterwards, head back towards the Old Town for dinner. After such a busy day trying to see Munich in a day, I’m sure you’ve worked up quite the appetite!

My suggestion for dinner is to enjoy some traditional Bavarian food at Haxnbauer (note: they are temporarily closed but reopening in summer 2024), which is famous for their Schweinshaxe (fried pork knuckle with crispy skin). This was my favorite meal in Munich – the meat was fall-off-the-bone tender while the skin was perfectly crispy, and I could not get enough of the accompanying Knodels.

The portions here are HUGE – they have half-portions as well, which I appreciated as a solo traveler, but even those are pretty big. 

Another option for dinner is the famous Hofbräuhaus, which is a Munich institution! Even if you don’t go there for dinner, I highly recommend stopping by after for a beer, because while it’s touristy, it’s just one of those iconic Munich experiences you shouldn’t miss.

Dating back to 1589, Hofbräuhaus was originally the official brewery for the royal residence, which used to be right around the corner. Over the years, it has welcomed some very famous patrons, including Mozart.

You can learn more about the history of Hofbräuhaus in this guided tour, which even includes a “beer mass” at the end. Another highly rated experience is the Bavarian beer and food culture tour, which includes a tour of Hofbräuhaus, as well as an exclusive tour of the Oktoberfest museum, and tastings of traditional Bavarian food and beer!

It can get super busy at Hofbräuhaus, and the wooden tables are all first-come, first-served. This might mean that you may have to circle around the establishment trying to look for an open spot, but be patient and eventually you’ll find one.

To be honest, it was kind of awkward being a solo traveler, since almost everyone here is part of a group. This led to an awkward moment with a group of German men, thanks to the language barrier. But all was okay, because another group ended up welcoming me to their table, and by the end of the night, I made myself some new friends!

Have More than 1 Day in Munich?

If you have some extra time in Munich, here are some suggested activities to add to your itinerary:

  • Neuschwanstein Castle: Yes, it’s technically outside of Munich itself, but it’s easily accessible and a must-see! In fact, this was why I was spending a day in Munich in the first place. Neuschwanstein Castle is such a fairytale come to life, and I highly recommend planning a day trip if you have time! It was extra magical when covered in a layer of snow in the winter. It’s easily accessible by train, but if you don’t want to handle the logistics yourself, you can book a day tour.
  • Nymphenburg Palace: If you can’t get enough of palaces, then you should check out Nymphenburg Palace, the summer residence of Bavarian royals. The interior of the palace is stunning, with extravagant rooms, and the gardens are equally beautiful as well.
  • Olympiapark: The site of the 1927 Summer Olympics, Olympiapark boasts green spaces, world-class event venues, and a number of attractions, such as the Olympic Stadium, the Olympic Hall and the Olympic Tower. It’s also known as one of the best places to catch the sunset in the city.
  • BMW Museum and BMW World: Perfect for the automobile enthusiasts, these attractions are dedicated to BMW, which is based in Munich.
  • Dachau Concentration Camp: Another popular day trip from Munich, a visit to the Dachau Concentration Camp is a somber yet moving experience. It is easily accessible by public transportation, but you can also take a guided tour with a professional guide.

Where to Stay in Munich

There are plenty of accommodation options in Munich – where you stay will largely depend on your budget and what your priorities are.

Generally speaking, the closer you stay to Altstadt, the historical center, the better. This is where all of the main attractions on this Munich one day itinerary are, so getting around will be the most convenient. However, rates tend to be the highest here!

I ended up staying in Olympiapark, and found that you got the best bang for your buck here – there were tons of affordable options! And I found it super easy to hop on over to Altstadt via public transportation, so I didn’t find it to be inconvenient at all.

If you plan to arrive and depart via train, you may also consider staying in Glockenbachviertel/Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt. Located just south of Altstadt, this is where the Hauptbahnhof station is located. It’s also the trendiest part of Munich.

Another option is to stay in Maxvorstadt/Schwabing, just north of Alstadt, and the city’s university district. This is where the English Garden is located.

Here are some suggested places to stay in Munich:

  • Mercure Olympiapark: This is where I stayed. I’ve stayed at several Mercure properties, and I can always count on them for a comfortable stay – this was no different. The rates were very affordable (under $100/night when I went), and it’s just a 2 minute walk to the tram to take you into Altstadt.
  • Cortiina Hotel: This elegant boutique hotel is located just a 5 minute walk from Marienplatz. The rooms are comfortable and modern, with stylish furnishings. The staff is said to be super friendly and helpful as well.
  • Hotel Bayerischer Hof: This luxurious boutique hotel is located close to many of Munich’s top attractions. Each of the rooms feature a different design style, from cosmopolitan to colonial. There’s also a rooftop pool, with a stunning view of the city.

Some FAQs for Visiting Munich

How to get to the city center in Munich?

Arriving via Air

Most visitors will fly into Munich International Airport (MUC), located about 40 kilometers (~25 miles) out of central Munich. From there, you have several options to get into the city:

  • Taxi: The fastest but most expensive option – it will take about 35 minutes to get into central Munich, and cost you about €70.
  • Lufthansa Express Bus: This bus service takes you from the airport to the Hauptbahnhof station in 45 minutes. From here, you can get to your final destination via public transit. Buses depart every 15 minutes, and tickets cost €11.50 for a pre-purchased one-way ticket (€12.50 from the driver on board), or €18.50 round-trip.
  • S-Bahn Train: This is not necessarily the cheapest option, but if you need to transfer onto a bus, tram, or U-bahn train, then this might be the better option for you. This is the option I used, and found it relatively easy and straightforward. Take the S1 or S8 train – each line departs every 20 minutes, so basically there’s a train headed for the city every 10 minutes. The trip takes roughly 40 minutes. A one-way ticket is €16; depending on what time of day you arrive and if you plan to use public transportation once you arrive in Munich, purchasing a Zone M-6 day pass (Airport-City-Day-Ticket) for €29.80 may be a better option. If you are traveling in a group of two adults or more, the group all-day ticket will be the most cost-effective.

Arriving via Train or Bus

Munich is connected to many other cities in Germany and Europe via high-speed rail. Trains will drop you off at the central Hauptbahnhof station. From here, you can easily transfer onto a U-Bahn or S-Bahn train, tram, or bus, to your final destination.

If you need to store your luggage, there are luggage lockers available upstairs from the main platforms.

Another option for traveling to and from Munich is via long-distance buses. Munich is served by several bus lines, including DB (Deutsche Bahn) Buses and Flixbus. This can be an economical way to travel around Germany and Central Europe – I ended up taking a Flixbus from Munich to Prague, and it only cost me $20 USD and was a fairly pleasant experience!

Most buses depart and arrive at the ZOB (Zentraler Omnibusbahnhof) Central Bus Station, 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) from the Hauptbahnhof train station, or about a 15 minute walk. It’s also one S-Bahn stop away. 

How to get around in Munich?

This Munich one day itinerary was designed so you can easily explore on foot. Walking is always my favorite way to explore a new city, and Munich was no different – Munich is super walkable, and it really is the best way to see the city! 

In addition, Munich has a very clean and efficient public transportation system. At first glance, the public transportation system might look a bit confusing, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy, I promise! Plus, the trains actually run on time – I was highly impressed!

Munich’s public transportation network consists of the following: U-Bahn trains (underground subway/metro), S-Bahn trains (commuter train, also goes to the airport), trams, and buses. 

Fares are calculated by zones – travel within a single zone costs €3.30 You’ll most likely not leave the M-Zone, which covers the city center, except when traveling to and from the airport. You can also opt to get a stripe ticket for €14, which can be used by multiple people on multiple trips and include 10 trips. 

Honestly, I found the stripe tickets to be super confusing and couldn’t bother trying to figure it out, and ended up just purchasing an all-day ticket instead. For travel within a single zone, an all-day ticket costs €7.80. If traveling in a group, there is also a group ticket available for €14.80 – this covers up to five adults, and is an amazing deal!

You can purchase transit tickets and passes at underground U-Bahn or S-Bahn stations, or from the ticket machines on board buses and trams. Do note that not all ticket machines take credit cards, so be sure to have some Euro coins on hand! An alternative is to purchase using the MVV app, or day passes online

Be sure to carry your ID in case your tickets are checked!

IMPORTANT: Make sure your tickets are validated before boarding and train, tram, or bus! The fines are hefty, and I’ve heard that the ticket inspectors are NOT forgiving. You can do this by selecting “issue with validation” when purchasing tickets from a ticket machine, or stamp it at one of the blue validating machines at stations, and on board buses and trams. 

When is the best time to visit Munich?

Munich is known for its Oktoberfest festival (end of September to early October), and its Christmas Markets (December). The purpose of your visit might be solely to experience one of these events. If not – avoid them altogether, as hotel prices skyrockets and you’ll encounter large crowds.

Visiting during the warmer months make it the perfect time to hang out outside and enjoy the city’s many beer gardens. However, do note that June-August bring summer crowds, as well as hot temperatures.

A better time to visit is during the shoulder season (March-May, early September and late mid-late October). You’ll still get to enjoy the warmer days, but the temperatures won’t be sweltering. The city will be less crowded during peak times, which means that hotel rates won’t be at their highest.

Winter (aside from the holiday season), is Munich’s low season. However, if you want to experience the city without crowds, and enjoy cheap hotel rates, it can be an ideal time to visit. It’s also a beautiful time to visit nearby Neuschwanstein Castle, which is absolutely stunning coated in a layer of snow!

Have you ever been to Munich? What are your picks for what to do with one day in Munich?

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