Exploring hidden gems in Munich
The proximity to the Alps causes many rainy days in Munich. Thus, its people cherish the moments when the sun comes out and flock outside for a city walk.
Here is one of our favourite walks through streets and parks of the Bavarian Capital. The route will take you to famous locations as well as hidden gems of Munich. It is about 7,5 km long and takes two to three hours. Start in the afternoon for the best light.
The mighty medieval city wall had protected the people of Munich from intruders over centuries. Isartor is one of Munich’s three remaining gothic town gates. It dates back to the 14th century.
Check out the clock on the gate’s central tower. If you look at it from the west, its hands move counterclockwise. It’s to remember the words of Willy Brandt: ‘In Bavaria, the clocks move differently.’
St. Luke’s Church
From Isartor, head to St. Luke’s Church (St. Lukas Kirche). You can either choose to walk along the Isar river on Steinsdorfstraße or pass by some lovely Art Nouveau facades on Thierschstraße. St. Luke’s is the biggest Protestant church in Munich. The beautiful stained-glass windows lure passers-by to take a closer look at the late 18th-century building inspired by the historicism movement.
Observe the bell towers more carefully. One of them is home to two beehives, where city bees can enjoy the tranquillity of a closed tower.
Form St Luke’s continue along the Isar until you reach Maximilian’s bridge (Maximiliansbrücke), where you cross to the right side of the Isar river. At the end of the bridge on a small hill, overlooking the shopping street Maximiliansstraße, you’ll see the Maximilianeum.
The late 19th-century neo-gothic building with a renaissance façade houses the Bavarian parliament and a college for elite students.
The terraced park on the east bank of the Isar is attached to the Maximilianeum building. The badly corroded terrain, which had been used for grazing sheep was transferred into a green oasis at the end of the 19th century.
King Ludwig II Monument
While exploring the park, be sure to pass by the statue of King Ludwig II.
He was the legendary fairytale king of Bavaria. On each side of the statue’s pedestal, you’ll find a craved miniature of his famous castles, and a festival hall, which had never been built.
Angel of Peace
Continue towards the Prinzregentenstraße until you reach the Monument of the Angel of Peace (Friedensengel). This symbol of Munich was built to commemorate 25 years of peace after the Franco-German war in 1871. Also, enjoy the beautiful view from the statue’s platform.
Tip: Friedensengel is a perfect place for watching sunset during a warm summer evening. Be there early and bring your supplies for a romantic evening. It gets a little crowded when the weather is good, and there is no shop or bar close by.
Chinese Tower in the English Garden
Soon after Friedensengel, you’ll reach Max-Josef-Bridge. Cross the Isar again and head to Munich’s most famous city park – the English Garden. Follow the sounds of a brass band, clinking glasses and the smell of hops, and you’ll soon reach the Biergarten by the Chinesischer Turm, a 25 metres pagoda-style wooden construction.
Get a glass of Helles in Munich’s second largest Biergarten and enjoy the Bavarian Gemütlichkeit for a while.
Insight: On the way to the Chinese Tower, you’ll cross the Oettingerstraße. The building complex at the number 67 nowadays houses university seminar rooms. Until 1995 it was the headquarters of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. During the Cold War, the network used to broadcast news to the countries, where there was no access to free information. Until today, the high fence reminds us of the time, when the headquarters needed protection from spies and attacks.
After the refreshing break, head for another monument of the English Garden – the Monopteros.
From the hill, you’ll have a fantastic view of the English Garden as well as the roofs of the Frauenkirche Church, the Theatine Church (Theatinerkirche) and the Bavarian State Chancellery. Monopteros is beautifully illuminated at sunset.
Ludwigsstraße / University (Universität)
As the park gets darker towards the evening, proceed to the west until you’re out of the park on Ludwigstraße. Pass by the university building. If you don’t want to walk anymore, take the metro (U6 or U3) to the city centre. If your feet can still hold you, continue on Ludwigstraße towards Odeonsplatz.
Tip: Enter the university building on Geschwister-Scholl-Platz and pay tribute to the members of the White Rose (Weiße Rose) anti-Nazi movement. The memorial is opened every day until 5 pm (4:30 pm on Saturdays). The brave students distributed critical anti-regime pamphlets and were brutally executed. Today, the flyer-like stolperstein on the floor in front of the university commemorates the heroic actions of the group.
Odeonsplatz is the final stop on the walk through the parks and streets of the Bavarian Capital. Admire the Feldherrenhalle (Field Marshals’ Hall), an iconic monument built in the middle of the 19th century to honour Kind Ludwig I’s army tradition.
Tip: A perfect place for a pre-dinner drink with a view over Odeonsplatz is the big terrace of the newly renovated Tambosi cafè. The service is a little slow, but the atmosphere is worth it.
Check out the full route here.