In the last two weeks of September, Oktoberfest is taking place in Munich and the city enjoys its annual place in the world’s spotlight. But the Bavarian capital is home to a lot more than beer and lederhosn. Time to talk about the “other 50 weeks” in the city that calls herself the most Northern one of Italy!
Drop your bags and kick off the weekend breathing the vibe of the city at its center. Viktualienmarkt is the best place to start. The market has taken center stage in many stories about Munich and is one of the most important culinary institutions. Stroll around the market and use the opportunity snack your way through it. We recommend Bratwurstherzl, where you can get - yes - German bratwurst. You should also check out Ludwig Freisinger's stall, a fourth-generation business that has specialized in delicious bavarian pickles.
Jean Paul Gaultier at Kunsthalle
Cultured as you are, a city trip is not complete without some art. Conveniently close to Viktualienmarkt, Kunsthalle has prized exhibitions that are always worth a visit. Right now, Jean Paul Gaultier shows “From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk.” Kunsthalle is located in Fünf Höfe, a block-becomes-mall that boasts some of the coolest shops in Munich. Definitely worth a visit.
Mandarin Oriental Rooftop
For the best sundowner overlooking the city we recommend the rooftop bar at Mandarin Oriental. Its beautiful view is the perfect garnish for your cocktail. And since it’s part of a luxe hotel, you can expect the drinks to be well made and the design to be pleasant. What we love most: In winter, the rooftop is transformed into a traditional Alpine hut!
In the evening, we suggest you check out Augustiner Bräustuben. It’s one of the places where we always take friends from abroad because it’s about as Bavarian as it gets. Get some Schweinsbraten (Bavarian pork roast) and order a Stein. Any sane person in Munich will attest that Augustiner is the best beer, so what could be a better place to have your first dinner?
You can feel Munich’s proximity to Italy in many ways. One is the coffee. There are a lot of great Italian coffee bars and Bar Centrale is one of our favorites. Don’t miss out on the pastry here. Their Cornetto Albicocca (Apricot Croissant) transports you a couple of hundred miles south - it tastes just like in Milan.
Germany is famous for its Autobahn and it would be a shame if you didn’t get the feeling of driving fast. So go to your favorite international car rental agency and get some horsepower. We’ll send you south, to Fischmeister at Lake Starnberg, a 30-minute drive from the center of Munich. It’s a very authentic beer garden right at the lake with great food. Plus they have non-alcoholic options for the driver ;-)
Haus der Kunst
Drive back to Munich in the evening and head to Goldene Bar, where Head Mixologist Klaus St. Rainer creates some of the best cocktails in the country. It’s situated in one of Munich’s most important and imposing buildings, Haus der Kunst at Prinzregentenstraße 1, which also hosts Munich’s most famous club (“P1”… any guess why?) and important exhibitions. What’s awaiting you? Skilled barkeepers that take each ingredient as seriously as only Germans can; beautifully ornamented walls that make you feel like a European explorer; and a very cool crowd.
Klaus St. Rainer, Goldene Bar
It’s Saturday and Munich is a club city. Take your time - things don’t start before 1am. Call me Drella is a great spot for your Saturday night: bouncy house and a solid dose of weirdness, thanks to the Box-NY-like setting. When your systems are in full swing and Drella starts to empty, head over to Harry Klein, one of Munich’s best electronic music clubs, to end your night on some good tunes. Every big German electronic music DJ has played here already, including Paul Kalkbrenner and Marek Hemmann.
Two options for breakfast for you to chose from, depending on how your head and stomach feel after that full-on Munich night: Number 1 is Weißes Bräuhaus for a traditional Bavarian breakfast which consists of three things: white sausage, pretzels, and wheat beer. Delicious. Number 2, if your head is still spinning: Café Reitschule, situated in a calm corner of Englischer Garten.
After brunch, head to Eisbach - more specifically, to the spot where this creek comes out of a tunnel and produces a large, standing wave. This is home to Munich’s surfing elite all year round and a great spectacle. Even world famous surfers find it hard to work this wave and have to earn their spot on it.
Still feeling hungover? Stroll down Eisbach to get into Englischer Garten - Munich’s main park (which is larger than Central Park!). If temperatures allow, jump into the creek and let yourself drift. Don’t be shocked if you see naked sunbathers on the way. That’s kind of a thing here.
After days full of Bavarian meals, drinks, and culture, we recommend to finish your weekend with some great Italian food. If you’re looking for fun vibe and a good pizza, go to L'Osteria at Künstlerhaus. For upscale Italian cuisine, we recommend Fratelli. Buon appetito and servus!
p.s. Johannes is from Munich so if you’re planning to go and have a question, drop us a line!