Germany: Weekend Guide to Munich
Best of Bavaria: Weekend in Munich
Best things to do in Munich| Travel & Lodging Tips
Our weekend guide to Munich will tell you how to make the most of the capital of Bavaria while staying on budget. We have some suggestions of the best things to do in Munich, how to get there on the cheap, and where to stay in Munich on a budget.
If you're looking to discover more of Bavaria and venture outside of Munich, we recommend checking out the small town of Füssen or taking a day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle. If you're more like us and enjoy traveling slower, then we highly recommend taking a free walking tour of Munich and spending an afternoon in the English Gardens.
1) Discover Marienplatz
Marienplatz, which literally translates to Mary's Square, is a beautiful historic piece of Munich. This place has been the town square since 1158, now that's impressive. Marienplatz is home to the New Town Hall, a new gothic style building that is meant to imitate the town hall in Brussels, Belgium. At the top of the clocktower is the fifth largest Glockenspiel in Europe . This Glockenspiel plays three times a day at 11:00, Noon, and 17:00 (except during winter). Large mechanical figurines under the New Town Hall's clock put on a short three act performance lasting just a few minutes.
On the other side of the main square is the Old Town Hall, a beautiful white brick building with orange and teal steeples. This main square is also where you'll find several free walking tours offered daily.
2) Take a Walking Tour
If you're traveling frugally, one of the best things to do in Munich is to go on a free walking tour. They are available in English, German, and Spanish. English tours meet daily at 10:45AM and 2:00PM at St. Mary's column in Marienplatz. As always, these tours are billed as ‘free’ but are donation-based tours so you can decide how much you want to give based on your experience. They're typically 2.5-3 hours long, and if you feel like your guide did a good job we suggest a tip between €8-10.
If you're more of a DIY type person, then check out this self-guided tour option where you can explore the city on your own terms. This way you can take breaks or save a few euros for beer. If you're interested in Germany's darker past, Third Reich Tours are offered daily in English and Spanish at 2:30PM. That is a paid tour option for €15/person.
3) Have a pint at Hofbrauhaus
You might have heard of the beer Hofbrau, it's well known in Germany with deep Bavarian roots. It's original beer hall, Hofbrauhaus, dates back to the 16th century. One of the best things to do in Munich is grab a cold pint at the Hofbrauhaus beer garden. It's especially nice to sit outside during the summer months with a breeze flowing through the open beer hall doors. We decided to have a pint and a quick bite to eat after finishing our free walking tour.
4) Wander the Old Town
Whether or not you decide to do a walking tour in the city, one of the best things to do in Munich is simply admire the beauty walking around old town. If you have nice weather during your weekend in Munich, you'd be hard pressed not to find a beer garden. We may have made more than one stop at Hofbrauhaus to get some delicious schnitzel and pretzels with our beer.
5) Walk the English Garden
The English Garden is definitely one of the best things to do in Munich on a hot summer day. This expansive urban park features 78km of walking and cycling trails. It also has one of the best man made rivers we have ever seen, the Eisbach. The June heat convinced us to take a swim to cool off and we're so glad we did. Near the end of the river is a 'naturally occurring ' wave pool where you’ll see local surfers riding the swell.
Day Trip: See Neuschwanstein Castle (for free)
Depending on how ambitious you're feeling, another one of the best things to do in Munich, or outside the city rather, is take a day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle. We must admit, this is definitely a full day endeavor since it's roughly a 1.5-2 hour drive to get there. Fortunately, we were with my (Josh's) family during this portion of our travels so they helped with transport. Tickets to go inside the castle are €13/adult, but we opted to hike and see it from a distance. If you don't want to pay an entrance fee, don't sweat it, read here about how to see Neuschwanstein Castle for free. We go over how to get to Neuschwanstein, the best view points, and the best time to visit.
Overnight Trip to Füssen
Depending on how long you're in Munich, or if you're looking to see more of Bavaria, we recommend doing (at least) an overnight trip to Füssen. This extremely gorgeous town is nestled right along the German-Austrian border. We fell in love with Füssen's photogenicity, as you can see we went a bit trigger happy with the camera. Molly and I stayed in 'downtown' Füssen at Old Kings Hostel which was great, but a totally different feel than where my family stayed outside town, lakeside at Hotel Geiger. Read more about our short trip to Füssen here.
How to get to Munich on a Budget
Though most people think the Eurorail trains are the best way to get around Europe, taking a bus is really best option to get to Munich on a budget. Hands down our favorite bus operator in Europe is Flixbus. They run to most countries and large cities, and are by far the most comfortable buses with the most leg room.
Füssen ↠ Munich
- Cost: €10.95+
- Time: 2.5 hrs+
- Cost: €23.00+
- Time: 2.25 hrs
Prague ↠ Munich
- Cost: €17.99+
- Time: 5 hrs+
- Cost: €27.90+
- Time: 5.5 hrs+
Zurich ↠ Munich
- Cost: €15.99+
- Time: 5.5 hrs+
- Cost: €18.90+
- Time: 5 hrs+
We also like browsing tickets on CheckMyBus to see the easiest and cheapest options. This website also suggests train tickets, but buses are usually the most cost effective option. Above are rough costs of getting to Munich from a few close-by European cities. Another good website we like to is Trainline for both bus and train tickets. They also offer a comprehensive search of the quickest/cheapest transport between European cities.
Budget lodging for a Weekend in Munich
We ended up staying at the 4You Hostel for three nights then moving onto Füssen to spend two more nights. Overall, the shared dorm experience in 4You was neither here nor there. The beds were decent and we had plenty space for backpacks in our storage locker. The free breakfast was absolutely worth it though. There were plenty of sandwich making materials, perfect for making a lunch to-go.
From our experience, we like to use Hostel World to check out potential hostels, then check other booking websites like Booking.com to make our reservations. Sometimes we also message hostels directly to get a better price. We also like to use Airbnb to book accommodations if its a better deal than hostels. Clicking on either of the icons will give you a deal with either of the sites, but are affiliate links so we earn a small commission.
Dorms: €20.00+ ($21.90+USD)
Private: €24.00+ ($26.30+USD)
Amenities: Free Wifi, Free Breakfast, 24 Hr Reception, Cafe/Bar, Laundry Facilities, Outdoor Terrace, Luggage Storage
Dorms: €12.00+ ($13.15+USD)
Private: €13.00+ ($14.25+USD)
Amenities: Free Wifi, 24 Hr Reception, Bar, Laundry Facilities, Tours & Travel Desk, Luggage Storage, Outdoor Terrace, Self-Catering Facilities
Dorms: €14.00+ ($15.35+USD)
Private: €26.00+ ($28.45+USD)
Amenities: Free Wifi, 24 Hr Reception/Security, Tours & Travel Desk, Luggage Storage, Tea/Coffee Making Facilities, Laundry Facilities