Our final stop was Munich, Germany (though we actually flew back to Dublin for our flight home…somehow it was cheaper that way?), and it was predictably The Husband’s favorite. Number 1 reason why? Beer. Number 2? Pretzels. ;)
We had actually planned a day trip with a tour group to go to Austria from Munich, but that was unfortunately cancelled as all the trains in and out of Germany were not running due to the refugee crisis. Which was a bummer because it took a whole country off of our list, but probably ended up working out in our favor. We used the full day to really, REALLY explore Munich and really got a feel for the city, and then we had several other days to do some other day trips.
Top Ten Things to Do In and Around Munich (in the order we did them):
- Eat a Doner Kebab/Kebap – My parents had taken my brother and I to Germany when I was in third grade (because they’re brave and flights were cheaper back then?), but one of the number one things I remember is eating TONS of doner kebabs/kebaps. So, I had to have one immediately on arrival to Germany to honor that. Basically it is meat rotating vertically on a stake, shaved/cut off, and put into a pita-like bread with lettuce, tomatoes, and other toppings. I LOVE THEM. We happened to have an amazing doner shop right by our AirBnb, and we may or may not have eaten there three times!
- Marienplatz and the Glockenspiel – The Marienplatz (Mary’s Square) is kind of the central location of the city of Munich, and it happens to have a large clock tower with a glockenspiel that goes off twice a day (11:00am and noon). The glockenspiel chimes and tells two different stories (one about a 1600 wedding and another about the plague). It was hilarious to see it start up, because nearly everyone in attendance gasped like they weren’t expecting to see it! Definitely worth a viewing if you’re in Munich!
- Rick Steves Walking Tour – I love Rick Steves’s tours. They’re informative without being a over-the-top history bore, and you get to do them on your own (without looking like a super tourist). The Munich walking tour took us about 2.5 hours (with some breaking away from the tour stops to explore further on our own) and took us pretty much to all the city’s important stops. Besides the glockenspiel and the Viktualienmarkt, I think my favorite stop was Asam Church. You walk into this church and are basically blinded by all the fanciness. We’re talking marble/gold/ornate details everywhere, but it turns out…everything is almost faked!
- Dine at Hofbrauhaus – Omg. What an experience! We went for lunch on our first day there and had a great time. We first ordered beer (radler for me, which is 1/2 beer and 1/2 lemon soda…yum!) and a pretzel each, and then – almost on cue – a German folk band started playing! We also shared a creamy mushroom stew, potato dumpling, and some wursts (sausages) with mustard. We went back that same night to see some more entertainment and drink some more beer, and they had another folk band, dancers, and a guy that cracked this huge whip in time with the music! So so so fun and such a unique experience!
- Ride the Romantic Road – This was one of our day trip adventures. We boarded a large tour bus and headed out to three stops: a castle, a town that successfully avoided the plague by performing “The Passion Play” and still continues to do so in honor of their past, and Rotenburg. Rotenburg (a medieval town still surrounded by the fortress wall) was probably my favorite stop, since we had time to explore the colorful cities (nearly all the houses are painted one main color and one super contrasting color), eat lunch (street bratwursts for the win!), and meander on our own. I don’t know if I would recommend this day trip, since there are SO many other things you can do with your time in Munich!
- Schnitzel and Noodles – Just kidding, we didn’t have any noodles (I don’t think they actually eat them that way), but we did eat at Andy’s Krablergarten, which is known for its delicious and massive plates of schnitzel. I ordered the spicy one and The Husband ordered the horseradish/sweet mustard one. Both were amazing! This restaurant was super authentic and there were tons of locals eating dinner there. We might have been the only “tourists” in the restaurant, which was a pretty cool thing to experience!
- Viktualienmarkt – This is basically like a giant farmer’s market that happens EVERY SINGLE DAY. Fresh produce, beautiful flower arrangements, cheese shops, sausage shops, bakeries, beer stands, butcher shops (which, yes, are different than sausage shops!), fruit juice stands, and much much more! We walked through here several times and always ended up stopping to get something!
- Beer, Beer, Beer – Not much explanation needed here, since Munich is home to Oktoberfest (which we purposely missed by one day!). The Husband is big big BIG on beer and enjoyed plenty of it on our trip (though he lost 2 pounds…someone explain that to me!). In addition to going to Hofbrauhaus, we also dined at Augustiner-Brau, which is another beer hall. This is where the very best radler is, in my opinion, and this place is a whole experience of its own. You basically fight for a table, squeeze in next to some locals, flag down a waiter, and enjoy the ambience and beer (and really really really good food)!
- Tour the Castles – This is one of the top reasons to go to the Bavaria/Munich area of Germany…to see King Ludwig II’s castles! He was a hermit (his whole life story is SUPER interesting and mysterious), and he built multiple palaces/castles to get away from the public and his various families members. Neuschwanstein is the most popular (and dedicated to Richard Wagner), and it is known as the “Cinderella castle,” as Walt Disney was thought to have modeled Cinderella’s castle after Neuschwanstein. Both the castles/palaces that we visited were gorgeous and definitely worth the trip through the beautiful German countryside.
- Visit Dachau Concentration Camp – Dachau is about 20 minutes outside of Munich and is one of the Nazi concentration camps (specifically one that almost was open the longest amount of time). We were in a small tour group with a guide that had been giving tours of Dachau for 12 years, and he had even given tours to survivors and soldiers who had liberated the camp. It was super informative and moving, and definitely a sad note to end on, but beyond worth a visit.
And that’s it! All four countries that we visited and an in-depth look at our trip (plus four easy travel outfits)! We’re lucky to have gone and enjoyed ourselves so much (despite the crazy travel schedule and mishaps along the way), but we’re glad to be back to our home, bed, and puppy!
Now to start planning the next trip! ;)
- On Target item: Merona Leopard Print Tassel Flats (super similar)
- Sweater: Talbots (exact)
- Nail Color: “Rhapsody Red” (exact)
- Purse: vintage Coach (thrifted; super similar)
- Jeans: Denizen, Target (exact)