CONTRIBUTED BY JESSICA MARIE
If you search around, you can find some seriously affordable travel deals. My boyfriend and I managed to secure bus tickets through MeinFernBus taking us from Stuttgart to Munich, for only 16 euro per person (including the return!). While travelling on a bus for more than a couple of hours might not be everyone’s cup of tea, the cash saved can go towards extra bakery sweets or beers, if you’re into that kind of thing. Hey, even if you’re not into that kind of thing, you’re in Munich… and you should have at least one beer. That was the argument my boyfriend used on me, anyway. By the third night it didn’t make much sense anymore, and I was quite happy with my cola.
Accommodation in Munich didn’t appear to be the cheapest. It put a big damper on our mood… until we decided to give Airbnb a look. Of course staying in a stranger’s spare room doesn’t give you the warmest fuzzy feelings, but give the website a good study. Read their profiles, comments from previous travellers, and check out their photos. You’ll get a much better feeling after seeing all the other positive reviews… and realising that the hosts put great effort into making their room as welcoming and comfy as they can. (Ours even put a little packet of Haribo on our pillow). Three nights for less than 200 euro, in a central area.
Here is a rough schedule of the four days that followed our arrival. While it is in no way a perfect schedule (the early closing and late opening times can make planning things difficult!), and we wish we could have managed to fit in a few more things, we had a good time regardless. Perhaps you can learn from my mistakes.
Arrive at the HBF, Friday at noon
Get your public transport tickets straight away! Because we were there for four days, and there were two of us, we got a four day group ticket for the inner zones. About 20 euro per person, it definitely works out cheaper than buying a single ticket each time you jump on a tram, U bahn, S bahn or bus.
Spend the afternoon exploring the city! Get to Marienplatz and check out the amazing Neues Rathaus. At 11am, 12pm and 5pm, the figurines in the building put on a small performance. While this whole act has apparently been labelled the second most over-rated tourist attraction (according to our tour guide)… well, just that title alone makes me curious enough to spend a few minutes watching. If you get peckish, there are countless bakeries (we had bakery food for every breakfast and lunch). Pop in to get out of the cold, get a warm beverage and a schnitlauch brezel (chive and butter pretzel) – my favourite, yum!
At dinner time, check out the famous Hofbräuhaus. It’s a huge beer hall that holds a lot of history, a definite must for travellers, and the pork knuckle was sehr lecker (very tasty)! I’m not a fan of beer. I’ve never liked it. But my boyfriend bought me a half a litre, and put forth a challenge. If I were to finish my half a litre before he finished his whole litre, my meal would be on him! I left dinner with a full wallet, the hiccups… and for whatever reason, rather carefree! (Helpful tip – if you have the time, google the Hofbräuhaus menu beforehand so that you can translate it and easily choose what you want).
All Day Saturday
Get out of town to the Neuschwanstein Castle. It takes a little while to get to the castle, so make sure you have an early night before! (And not too many beers). Even though this outing meant another few hours spent on transport, I was not discouraged. This castle inspired the Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle! As if I was going to pass up seeing that!
Get a train to Füssen, then once you walk out of the station, you’ll see the buses that go to the castle. Of course the majority of other passengers getting off the train will also be walking in this direction to catch these buses, so that helps too. We are firm believers in “following the crowd” in these situations. Your 4 day ticket is valid on these buses. It won’t be valid all the way to Füssen, as it is not located in the inner zones. We didn’t feel like buying tickets to get into the castle, we were happy enough to walk around outside. The inside is supposed to be pretty awesome though. This was Ludwig the Second’s castle, and apparently he was quite, eer… “flamboyant.” See the link below for more information about visiting Neuwschwanstein.
If you’re happy to observe the outside architecture and surroundings and give the inside a miss, you get to bypass the giant queue of people and keep walking! Now, if you’re here in wintery conditions like we were (Snow. Snow everywhere.) it is very likely that the shuttle buses will not be running to take you to the castle. Walk a little further past the ticket collection area, and maybe you will see another small line. This is a line for a horse and carriage ride! Yes, yes, yes. I will take a horse and carriage ride over walking up hill on iced paths any day. It’s 6 euro per person for a lovely horse and carriage ride (3 euro more for the return). What a romantic valentine’s day this was shaping up to be!
Another downer, if you’re there in wintery conditions (Snow. A plethora of snow.) a lot of paths might be closed off to the public. I questioned this, as even though paths were blocked with barricades, 90% of people were just hopping over them. This is when my boyfriend used my previous saying against me… “follow the crowd”. Since we did not pay the 12 euros to get inside the castle, the main goal was to reach Marie’s bridge (Marienbrücke) – a bridge with a magical lookout. Even though walking the steep iced over tracks in my converse shoes with no grip whatsoever was one of the most frightening experiences I’ve gone through whilst on holiday, the end result made it completely worthwhile.
Whatever you do, get to this bridge. The view will leave you breathless.
For dinner, head to the Augustiner Bräustuben (on Landsberger Strasse). This is Germany’s oldest brewery! I ordered a spätzle, bacon and mushroom sauce dish. It was delicious.
All day Sunday
At 10:40am on Sundays there is a free walking tour of the city. Head into Marienplatz, in front of the Neues Rathaus. There will be many “free walking tour” companies, so go with whichever you fancy. I absolutely love doing free walking tours. Because I’m a broke student, I can easily give a 5 euro tip at the end and not feel too guilty. Make sure you grab a takeaway hot chocolate before the tour starts, because if you’re unlucky like we were, it will be mind- boggingly cold. (There’s a small café in the corner of the platz! You don’t need to walk around in a panic for ten minutes like we did). Can you see the cannon ball still stuck in the window of the old church? How cool is that!
The tour will go for roughly three hours. After that, head over to the Deutsches Museum – the world’s largest museum of science and technology. Not really my kind of thing, but considering I wanted to drag my boyfriend off to the art gallery, I figured there should be some compromise. It’s 9 euro entry for adults and 3 for students/children.
Next, we found the Neues Pinakothek! This gallery houses the famous “Sunflowers” by Vincent Van Gogh. A must see on Sundays, as entry is only 1 euro. I wish we could have had more time here, as I was power walking by the end with only 15 minutes to go. Give yourself at least two hours for this lovely gallery. For a pleasurable day, I do not recommend cramming in as much as we did. (We could have gone to the Deutsches museum on our arrival day).
For dinner we ate at Augustiner Keller (on Arnulf strasse). This place is much smaller and less populated than the previous two. Its décor is much more “traditional Bavarian” (think antlers and checkered tablecloths), which makes sitting and eating your dinner a real cultural experience. I ordered a plate of assorted sausages, potatoes and sauerkraut. Another classic meal that did not disappoint!
Leave Monday at 8pm
BMW Welt is a museum all about BMW cars. Maybe you will be more organised than us and actually plan for a tour in advance. I think doing this would be much more beneficial. Walking around can get a little boring – being able to go to some of the behind the scenes areas would have been much more interesting. But if you really love cars and motorbikes, I guess you could enjoy just taking a stroll through! The entry is free. You won’t need to spend very long here. An hour would be more than enough time. But maybe that’s just coming from me.
Dachau Concentration Camp may not be the most pleasurable event to end our trip on, it was definitely a touching and worthwhile experience. They offer guided tours at 11am and 1pm, for 3 euro per person. Going to a place like this, I would very much recommend a tour, so you can hear about its history. Of course the entire camp is not open to public (it’s a massive area), but what is open gives you a clear picture to imagine what must have gone on. If you are in Munich, you should definitely visit. This was the very first concentration camp established by the Nazi government.
So, that was our four (kind of…) days! We didn’t get to do a few things like go to the English garden or the Olympic area, simply because it was too cold. If you’re going in the cooler months, make sure you pack the warmest clothing you have. Eat brezels, drink beer, and be merry! Enjoy Munich!