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Top Five Must-See Attractions & Museums in Munich

Welcome to Munich, a city where rich history, cultural treasures, and modern innovation harmoniously coexist. For first-time visitors, Munich offers a captivating array of attractions and museums that embody the city’s vibrant spirit.

In this guide, we’ll delve into the top five must-visit attractions and museums in Munich. Whether you're a history enthusiast, an art aficionado, or simply seeking to immerse yourself in Bavarian charm, Munich has something special for everyone. From the world-renowned Oktoberfest to the opulent Schloss Nymphenburg, the vibrant Marienplatz, the majestic Munich Residenz, and the fascinating BMW Museum & BMW Welt, Munich promises a captivating adventure filled with history, art, and innovation.

While Munich has a wealth of attractions beyond the ones on this list, these top five must-see attractions and museums in Munich serve as an excellent starting point for first-time visitors looking to plan a trip to the vibrant city of Munich, Germany.


It's impossible to discuss Munich without highlighting the iconic Oktoberfest! Oktoberfest in Munich is the world's largest beer festival, drawing millions of visitors from around the globe to celebrate Bavarian culture, food, and, of course, beer. The festival originated in 1810 as a celebration of Crown Prince Ludwig's marriage to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen and has since grown into a globally recognized event that embodies the spirit of Bavaria.

Hacker Tent_Sky
Held annually from late September to the first weekend in October (Saturday, September 21 - Sunday, October 6, 2024), Oktoberfest takes place at the Theresienwiese fairgrounds, commonly known as the Wiesn. (Locals will also refer to Oktoberfest itself as Wiesn!) The heart of Oktoberfest is the series of 17 large beer tents hosted by Munich's renowned breweries, each offering a unique atmosphere, traditional Bavarian cuisine, and, of course, copious amounts of beer served in Maß (liter-sized) steins. Visitors can indulge in classic dishes like pretzels, roast chicken (Hendl), sausages, and other Bavarian specialties while enjoying live music and dancing.

The festive atmosphere at Oktoberfest is infectious, with locals and tourists alike donning traditional Bavarian attire (also called Trachten) such as Dirndls and Lederhosen to fully immerse themselves in the experience. The sense of camaraderie, laughter, and merriment permeates the festival grounds, creating unforgettable memories for attendees of all ages.

Oktoberfest has become synonymous with Bavaria, cultural pride, and a celebration of life, making it a bucket-list experience for anyone looking to experience the vibrant spirit of Munich and its rich traditions. Describing the unforgettable experience that is Oktoberfest is a challenge, but it unquestionably ranks as one of the most enjoyable events we've ever had the pleasure of attending. Prost!

Oktoberfest Lion

For additional details on Oktoberfest, such as event dates, beer tent operating hours, and more, visit the official Oktoberfest website. Looking to uncover insider tips and tricks for an unforgettable Oktoberfest trip? Dive into our blog for a comprehensive guide on everything you should know about this iconic festival!

Schloss Nymphenburg (Nymphenburg Palace)

Schloss Nymphenburg, or Nymphenburg Palace, is a majestic Baroque palace located in Munich, renowned for its opulent architecture, beautiful gardens, and rich history. Commissioned by the Bavarian royal family, it was originally intended to serve as a summer residence and hunting lodge, eventually evolving into a magnificent complex that reflects the splendor of Bavarian royalty.

Schloss Nymphenburg_Pond
The palace is a stunning example of Baroque architecture, featuring elaborate facades, grand halls, and intricately decorated rooms that showcase the wealth and power of the Bavarian monarchs. The main building is flanked by pavilions and surrounded by expansive gardens, creating a picturesque ensemble that exudes elegance and charm. Schloss Nymphenburg undoubtedly stole our hearts as the most captivating museum in Munich and one of the most enchanting palaces we've ever explored.

Visitors to Schloss Nymphenburg can explore its lavish interior, including the opulent State Apartments with their exquisite furnishings, art collections, and ornate decorations. Highlights of the palace include the Gallery of Beauties, a collection of portraits commissioned by King Ludwig I, and the Great Hall featuring an elaborate ceiling depicting the Olympian heaven and the nymph, Flora, who gives Schloss Nymphenburg its name (shown below).

Great Hall_Schloss Nymphenburg

Marstallmuseum (Stables Museum) 

Also located at Schloss Nymphenburg, is the Marstallmuseum. The Marstallmuseum showcases a remarkable collection of royal carriages, sledges, and equestrian artifacts from the Bavarian royal court. Housed in the former royal stables at Nymphenburg Palace, the museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the pomp and pageantry of Bavaria's past, highlighting the importance of ceremonial transportation and equestrian culture in the region. Visitors can admire intricately designed carriages adorned with lavish decorations, learn about the craftsmanship behind these exquisite vehicles, and gain insight into the lifestyle of Bavarian royalty through the lens of transportation and horse-drawn carriages. The Marstallmuseum's rich displays and historical significance make it a hidden gem worth exploring during your visit to Munich.

More information about Marstallmuseum can be found here.

Schlosspark Nymphenburg

The Schloss Nymphenburg palace grounds (also called Schlosspark Nymphenburg) are equally enchanting, featuring beautifully landscaped gardens, fountains, and scenic pathways that invite leisurely strolls. The expansive park surrounding the palace offers a peaceful retreat, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in nature while admiring the architectural splendor of Schloss Nymphenburg.

Schlosspark Nymphenburg
Whether exploring the rich history within its walls or enjoying the tranquility of its gardens, Schloss Nymphenburg offers a captivating experience that showcases the grandeur of Bavaria's royal heritage.

More information about Schloss Nymphenburg, including advance ticket purchases, can be found here.


Marienplatz is the vibrant heart of Munich, pulsating with history, culture, and a lively atmosphere that captivates both locals and visitors alike. This historic square, named after the Mariensäule (Mary's Column) erected in the center to celebrate the end of Swedish occupation during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648), has been a focal point of the city for centuries.

Surrounded by stunning architecture, Marienplatz is home to some of Munich's most iconic landmarks. The Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) with its distinctive Gothic Revival facade and the famous Glockenspiel (mechanical clock) is a must-see attraction. Visitors can watch the Glockenspiel's mechanical figurines come to life, reenacting historical events and Bavarian folklore to the delight of onlookers.

Marienplatz is also a hub of activity, featuring markets, street performers, and an atmosphere that reflects Munich's lively spirit. The square hosts various events throughout the year, from traditional festivals like the Christmas market to cultural celebrations and public gatherings.

Surrounded by cafes, shops, and historic buildings, Marienplatz invites visitors to soak in the city's ambiance, whether it's admiring the architecture, enjoying a leisurely coffee, or simply people-watching in this bustling urban square. Its central location makes it a convenient starting point for exploring Munich's other attractions, making Marienplatz a must-visit destination for anyone experiencing the charm of Bavaria's capital city.

Munich Residenz 

The Munich Residenz stands as a testament to the grandeur and splendor of Bavarian royalty, offering visitors a glimpse into centuries of opulence and cultural heritage. Originally built in the 14th century as a modest castle, it gradually expanded over the centuries into a magnificent palace complex that served as the seat of Bavarian rulers until 1918.

Today, the Munich Residenz is not just a historic landmark but also a thriving museum that showcases an extensive collection of art, artifacts, and royal treasures. The museum's exhibitions are divided into various sections, each representing different periods and styles of art and design, providing a comprehensive journey through Bavaria's rich cultural history.

Munich Residenz_Ancestral Gallery
Highlights of the Munich Residenz include the Antiquarium and the Ancestral Gallery. The Antiquarium, the oldest room in the Munich Residenz is adorned with intricate stucco and frescoes, housing a remarkable collection of antique sculptures. Within the Ancestral Gallery, visitors can admire over 100 portraits of the Wittelsbach family, each intricately framed with ornate gilding, acting as a majestic family lineage depicted in a grand fashion.

Munich Residenz_Throne Room
The Residenz also boasts magnificent state rooms, including the Throne Room (Kaisersaal) and the ornate Court Chapel (Hofkapelle), showcasing the lavish lifestyle and artistic patronage of the Bavarian monarchs. Additionally, the Cuvilliés Theatre within the palace, particularly its original painted wood carvings which survived World War II, is a masterpiece of Rococo design.

Munich Residenz: Treasury (Schatzkammer)

Another must-visit area is the Treasury (Schatzkammer), where visitors can marvel at exquisite jewelry, royal regalia, and precious artifacts that once belonged to Bavarian rulers. Unfortunately, during our visit in September 2023, the Treasury was closed. However, Brian had the opportunity to view the Treasury during a previous trip to Munich and thoroughly enjoyed the treasures on display. 

Munich Residenz_Treasury

The Munich Residenz is open daily. More information about the Munich Residenz, including opening hours and admission costs, can be found here

BMW Museum & BMW Welt

The BMW Museum & BMW Welt stand as iconic symbols of German engineering excellence and automotive innovation. The BMW Museum traces the history and evolution of the BMW brand, showcasing a captivating journey from its humble beginnings as a manufacturer of aircraft engines to its current status as a global leader in luxury automobiles.

BMW Museum_3 Series Exhibit

Visitors to the museum are treated to a chronological exploration of BMW's iconic models, groundbreaking technologies, and motorsport achievements. From vintage classics to cutting-edge concept cars, the exhibits offer a comprehensive overview of BMW's contributions to the automotive industry over the decades. Interactive displays, multimedia presentations, and immersive experiences provide visitors with a deeper understanding of BMW's ethos of performance, luxury, and sustainability.


For us, a real treat was seeing the recently restored BMW 507 that belonged to Elvis Presley during his military service days while stationed in Germany. During our visit, we also had the opportunity to experience the excitement of the 100th anniversary celebration of BMW Motorrad (motorcycle) in 2023. This special occasion granted us access to an impressive exhibit showcasing a diverse collection of BMW motorcycles at a temporary exhibit in the BMW Museum.

BMW Motorrad 100

Adjacent to the museum, the BMW Welt (BMW World) serves as a state-of-the-art exhibition and delivery center. The futuristic architecture of the BMW Welt is a sight to behold, with its striking double-cone structure and modern design elements.

Together, the BMW Museum & BMW Welt offer a fascinating glimpse into the past, present, and future of automotive design and technology, making them must-visit destinations for automotive enthusiasts and anyone intrigued by the intersection of art, engineering, and mobility.

Additional information regarding the BMW Museum and BMW Welt can be found here. BMW Welt is open daily; however, the BMW Museum is closed on Mondays. Please note, the BMW Museum does not accept cash payment for tickets.

Other Top Attractions & Museums in Munich

Munich is home to a wealth of museums and attractions beyond those already mentioned, each offering unique insights into art, history, and culture. Here are a few other notable museums worth visiting on your trip to Munich:

Alte Pinakothek 

The Alte Pinakothek is a treasure trove of European art, housing one of the world's most extensive collections of Old Master paintings. From works by Rembrandt and Rubens to Dürer and Raphael, the museum's impressive galleries showcase centuries of artistic brilliance, making it a must-visit for art enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

More information about visiting the Alte Pinakothek, including admission cost, current exhibits, and opening hours can be found on the museum's website. Please note, however, that the Alte Pinakothek - along with most museums in Munich - is closed on Mondays.

Deutsches Museum

For those interested in science and technology, the Deutsches Museum is a fascinating destination. As one of the world's largest science museums, it features interactive exhibits, historic artifacts, and displays covering a wide range of disciplines, from astronomy and physics to aviation and engineering. Visitors of all ages can engage in hands-on learning experiences and explore the wonders of innovation and discovery.

The Deutsches Museum is open daily. More information about visiting the Deutsches Museum, as well as admission cost, current exhibits, and opening hours can be found on the museum's website.

Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism (NS-Dokumentationszentrum or NSDOKU)

If you're intrigued by the darker chapters of German history, the Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism (NS-Dokumentationszentrum or NSDOKU) offers a poignant and thought-provoking exploration of Munich's role during the Nazi era. Through multimedia exhibits, archival materials, and informative displays, the museum sheds light on this critical period in German history, fostering reflection and dialogue about the lessons learned from the past.

Admission to the museum is free of charge. The NS-Dokumentationszentrum is closed on Mondays, except for public holidays that happen to fall on a Monday. For additional information, including opening hours, please visit the museum's website

Pinakothek der Moderne

Art lovers should also consider visiting the Pinakothek der Moderne, a modern art museum showcasing works from the 20th and 21st centuries. With collections spanning contemporary art, design, architecture, and graphic arts, the museum provides a dynamic and diverse perspective on artistic expression in the modern age.

More information about visiting the Pinakothek der Moderne, including admission cost, current exhibits, and opening hours can be found on the museum's website. Please note, however, that the Pinakothek der Moderne - along with most museums in Munich - is closed on Mondays.

These museums and attractions, among many others in Munich, offer enriching experiences that deepen your understanding of art, history, and society. Whether you're drawn to classical masterpieces, scientific exploration, or thought-provoking exhibits, these cultural institutions add depth and richness to your visit to Munich, inviting you to delve into the diverse tapestry of human creativity and heritage.

Looking for more information on Germany and Munich? Check out our Munich Travel Guide for more popular sites, incredible restaurants, and general information about this historic city! Looking for general information on Germany before embarking on your trip? From money matters, to train information, we have it all in our Germany Travel Guide

Have you visited Munich? We would love to hear from you! 

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