Last summer I went with my friend to Munich for the first time. Since I never traveled to Germany, I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I was excited. It was a fun experience filled with beautiful, fairytale-like castles, walking tours and even naps 🙂
We only went for three days, so we decided to take a night bus from Prague. This meant that we got to Munich at 4:30am, which would not have been an issue, except for the fact that the metro doesn’t open until 5am. So we ended up waiting for thirty minutes on a bench, trying not to freeze. I wish I could say that is where our difficulties with the metro ended, but no. Part of the line we had to take downtown was under construction, so we had to get off, take a bus, get on the metro and switch lines one more time before we actually managed to get to our hotel, the Regent Hotel.
Of course by then it was only 5:45, so we couldn’t check in. After leaving our bags there, we went searching for food and, most importantly, coffee. Luckily our hotel was right next to the train station, making it slightly easier to find a good source of food. So after a quick breakfast, around 6:30am, we decided to go for a walk around the nearly abandoned city. The streets were completely empty. We didn’t really know where to go, so we walked around aimlessly, but we managed to hit the most important landmarks anyway. We walked through Marienplatz and even Englisher Garten, before the streets started to fill up.
Tip #1: Go for a walk early in the morning! The empty city looks completely different and it is amazing to see the city wake up.
By 10:30 we were starving! We weighed the options, and stopped at the nearest affordable place for food, then headed back to our hotel, where we could finally check in and took a “short” nap, which ended up being three hours long. The rest of the day we walked around some more and almost got run over by all the bike riders in the city.
The next day we went on the full day Royal Castles Tour. First stop, Linderhof castle. This was King Ludwig II’s residence, built to resemble the Versailles Palace, but much smaller. We toured the interiors and walked around the gardens a little, before getting back on the bus and going to Oberammergau.
Oberammergau is a picturesque little town, with beautifully painted houses and the most interesting history of the Passion Play. This was a very short stop, so we only walked around for a little bit and looked into a couple of the numerous souvenir shops on the main street. The town is full of very skilled wood carvers, so there are shops with all sorts of toys and clocks and other merchandise.
Last stop, Neuschwanstein castle, the most anticipated castle. The bus dropped us off in Hohenschwangau, a small town under the castle. We had four hours to do whatever we wanted. Obviously we wanted to go up to the castle. What we were not prepared for, was the climb up to it, especially in combination with the extreme heat of the day. After what seemed forever, in reality about 25 minutes, we got up to the castle and it was definitely worth the effort. It is just like a fairytale castle! So naturally we had to take lots and lots of pictures from all angles possible. King Ludwig II had huge plans for Neuschwantstein. Lots of towers and spires were on the original blueprint, but Ludwig died before the castle was completed. After his death the state finished building the castle as quickly as possible and opened it to the public, in hopes of getting some money back. For this reason it was never furnished.
Tip #2: If you are going to walk up to Neuschwanstein, bring enough water for the hike up! You will definitely need it, especially in the summer.
Our walk down was much easier and smoother, so by the time we got down the monstrous hill, we still had about an hour to kill. And what better way to kill time than to do an impromptu photo-shoot by the lake Alpsee. Which was, of course, very exhausting, so we both ended up falling asleep on the bus ride back to Munich.
The next day, which was our last, we took a walking tour of Munich. This was a lot of fun, because we got to see a lot more of the city than we did before. I definitely suggest you do this, because the tour guide will take you to places, like the unofficial Michael Jackson memorial, which you wouldn’t normally come across.
Our last stop, before we got on the bus back to Czech Republic, was the Nymphenburg Palace and the gardens. This was a little out of the way, but we had half a day before our bus, and the summer palace seemed like a great stop. We didn’t take the tour of the interior, but we walked around the gardens for a little bit, before heading to the bus stop.
Munich is a small city, but definitely worth visiting. If you ever go, I definitely recommend taking the Royal Castles tour and the walking tour. Hope you have as much fun as I did! 🙂