During the majority of our trip to Germany we were based in Munich, the capital of Bavaria and a perfectly located central spot for road tripping to several fairytale locations around this part of the country. Basing ourselves here meant that we had plenty of time for some chilled days in between the sightseeing and day trips when we could explore the city at our own leisurely pace. Down days and a slower pace are crucial when travelling with a little one – especially when travelling alone with a little one as we both needed a bit of a break at times!
I am lucky enough to have the lovely Allane from Packing My Suitcase as a friend and as she lives in Munich it meant that I had my own personal tour guide around the city, plus her baby girl was a great little travel companion for Evie. She also ended up being our photographer (Allane not her daughter!) which meant that I was in lots of photos – always a bit tricky getting photos with yourself in when you travel alone with a toddler!
I only now realise due to the amount of photos in this post that we actually packed in quite a lot while we were in Munich. But the city is fairly small and is so easy to get around by tram or metro, or purely walking and taking in the sights on your way. So here is my itinerary for the top things to do in Munich with or without kids!
Munich’s main square, Marienplatz, is not much different to most central squares in European cities – a big church and a town hall sitting in the centre with lots of streets full of (expensive) shops and cafes leading off in all directions.
But this square has something a bit different as the crowds gather several times a day below the Glockenspiel to listen to it chime and to watch the puppet statues dance around the clock tower. It was a little bit too high up for Evie to see but slightly older children would love it!
We then wandered down the cobbled side streets of the Old Town (Altstadt) with its impressive Baroque architecture and pretty buildings.
Even though Marienplatz is the central heart of Munich I preferred getting out into the quieter less crowded areas. It was so sunny while we were there that we ended up spending most of our time exploring the city’s many beautiful green parks and beer gardens which are pretty much a rite of passage in Munich.
On a sunny day there’s nothing better to do than enjoy a day at the park with lunch (and a beer or two) in a beer garden. Full of both locals and tourists, there’s music, entertainment, playgrounds for the children and some, like Hirschgarten (which was my favourite because it was so family friendly), even have lots of friendly deer which kept both us animal lovers entertained for ages and Evie copied the big kids by trying to feed the deer.
I’m not a big beer drinker but I am a big food lover so I skipped the alcohol and enjoyed the food instead. Namely a pretzel bigger than my head and chocolate covered strawberries of which I only ended up getting two because I travel with a mini food thief. Not that I can blame her as she obviously seems to take after me.
Another fun beer garden is the Chinesischen Turm in the middle of the English Gardens where a live band often play in the Chinese Tower and there’s a playground and an old antique carousel to keep young ones entertained.
The English Gardens are so huge I got lost more than once trying to find my way around, and because it’s so big with so many lovely areas it never felt overcrowded or busy here even at the weekend.
We wandered past green lawns and Japanese teahouses, through peaceful woodland areas and colourful flower gardens, over trickling streams, to the end of the Eisbach River where amateur surfers test out their skills on the water. Yes really. People go surfing in the middle of a river in the centre of Munich. It was very surreal but lots of fun to watch!
The location of the 1972 Olympics, Olympia Park is also a great area to explore with its huge park. Although we didn’t quite have enough time to properly enjoy the park we had an impressive view of the Olympic Tower from our hotel room at Motel One where we stayed on our last night in Munich.
For most of our time here though we stayed at Hotel Laimer Hof which is one of the most family friendly accommodations in the whole of Munich. The friendly and traditional guest house is in the Nymphenburg district which is the loveliest residential area with cute little houses with colourful front doors and pretty flower pots, bicycles leaning up against lampposts outside, a very peaceful and neighbourly atmosphere but an easy 10 minute tram ride into the city centre. Staying here meant that we were only a few minutes’ walk from both Nymphenburg Palace and Hirschgarten (the gardens I mentioned earlier) and some of my favourite days from our trip were spent here.
The Palace is best visited early in the morning and because we were staying right around the corner we took an early morning stroll there before all the tourists arrived.
Apart from the ducks, swans and the occasional jogger or cyclist, we pretty much had the place to ourselves making us feel very much at home being the princesses that we are.
Wandering further into the grounds it became even more magical with a covered woodland path leading to the prettiest pink building. I have no idea what the building actually was but it was pink so of course I loved it.
The palace grounds became even more stunning when we found the lake that sits in the centre surrounded by a field of daisies with gondola rides that you can take you up and down the lake.
Evie picked the perfect moment to fall asleep so when I came across the pretty outdoor café, feeling very Alice in Wonderland-esk, I sat down and enjoyed a slice of cake with an iced coffee. And here the iced coffee is made with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream instead of simply ice which is clearly the way all iced coffees should be made.
There are so many huge fountains dotted around Munich and, being the water baby that she is, Evie was obsessed with them. Every time she saw one from afar we had to stop so she could sit on the edge and wave her arms about in excitement.
Munich actually felt a lot like London in many ways – its architecture, its bustling centre, the big green parks, the many places to eat, the statues, monuments and fountains all over, and even good old Aldi to pick up Evie’s normal nappies! – so I found myself feeling very pleasently at home here in a city that is very easy to love.
Have you visited Munich? What was your favourite part of the city? Let me know in the comments below or at:
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Thank you to Allane for showing us around the city and taking so many lovely photos of us! If you’re after a brilliant friendly photographer to take some photos of you on a trip to Munich while also showing you around the city, make sure you get in touch with Packing My Suitcase.