Munich was our stop for Germany trip. Why we choose Munich? Munich is the capital and the most populated city in the German state of Bavaria, on the banks of the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps. Munich is also the third largest city in Germany, after Berlin and Hamburg, and the 12th largest city in the European Union.
Bavaria’s capital, is home to centuries-old buildings and numerous museums. The city is known for its annual Oktoberfest celebration and its beer halls, including the famed Hofbräuhaus, founded in 1589. In the Altstadt (Old Town), central Marienplatz square contains landmarks such as Neo-Gothic Neues Rathaus (town hall), with a popular glockenspiel show that chimes and reenacts stories from the 16th century.
Things to see in Munich was another reason, we want to see Fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle. It is a 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany.
We spent about 3 days to explore some of the attractions in Munich includes 1 traveling day.
Trip in December 2015 | €1 = MYR4.60
Departure: 15:05 Helsinki (Vantaa), Terminal* 1
Arrival: 16:05 Riga
Flight: BT304 / Economy class / Basic ticket, E
Operated by: airBaltic, Boeing 737-500
Layover at Riga for 1 hour then catch Air Baltic to Munich.
Departure: 17:00pm Riga
Arrival: 18:15 Munich, Terminal* 1
Flight: BT223 / Economy class / Basic ticket, E
Operated by: airBaltic, BOEING 737-300 (WINGLETS)
Adult/-s Fare: €170.00
Fuel surcharge: €108.04
Checked baggage: €19.99
Transaction fee: €5.99
| 21st December 2015 |
On the first day, was traveling day, we flew from Helsinki to Munich via Airbaltic. It was night time once we reach at our accommodation.
6:15pm: Arrived Munich Airport and quickly catch train direct to Munich city then to nearest station to our accommodation at A&O München Laim. Total train journey was 45 minutes. We have to walk about 8-10 min from the Laim station to our hostel.
Hotel: A&O München Laim
Address: Landsberger Straße 338 Laim,
München, 80687, Germany
Cost: Twin Room with Private Bathroom – €126 for 3 nights
After checked in done, we went out to look something to eat. There are Italian restaurant just across the road named Nuova Italia. You can dining-in or takeaway from this restaurant. They make simple pizzas for takeaway which you can pay cheaper price than dining-in. So we prefer takeaway and eat it at our hostel’s lounge where we can get free flow of coffee and tea. Regular Pizza Tonno e Cipolla at €6.50 only.
| 22 December 2015 |
Today’s plan was visit to Top sight around Munich. We start early morning to visit some places on my wish-lists. Never buy special pass for the public transport, we bought normal train and tram tickets throughout the day. Here’s places of interest we got a chance to visit for 1 whole day;
National Museum/Haus d.Kunst
Haus der Kunst in Munich is a key global center for contemporary art located in Munich, Germany. We didn’t visit the interior of the building.
- English Garden/Englischer Garten
English Garden is one of the largest urban parks in the world. The layout has undergone constant change throughout the centuries as new buildings and green spaces were added time and again.
Created in 1789 the English Garden is situated in the heart of Munich and offers many leisure activities: Not only is the park used for picnicking in summer by hundreds of people, you can also go for a swim in the Eisbach, an icy stream running through the area, and enjoy a beer in several different beer gardens, such as the Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower) or the Seehaus (“lake house”) at the Kleinhesseloher Lake.
One of the most special attractions of the English Garden are the surfers in the Eisbach: A stone step constructed under water at the mouth of the stream creates a standing wave that can be used for surfing all year round. Spectators can watch the expert surfers perform daring stunts from a bridge on Prinzregentenstraße. We went on an absolutely freezing day and there were still people surfing.
- St. Luke Church/Lukas Church
Slightly off from the tourists beaten path, this beautiful church is undoubtedly among the most beautiful in the city, or perhaps better the outside facade and beautiful steeples. Really huge and absolutely a must-see attraction, but only if you have enough time, Munich reserve wonderful surprises, and this is one of those.
Church of St. Luke, also called Lukas Church, is the third Protestant-Lutheran church in Munich. The church was built in 1893-1896 according to plans by Albert Schmidt. St. Luke is the only almost completely preserved Protestant church of historicism in Munich. The location near the river Isar is beautiful, especially when the sun goes down behind the church.
It is used as a central square for the capital city. The square even has political importance: in 1923 Hitler’s coup attempt was stopped here; however, 10 years later National Socialism was glorified. Today the popular Open-Air Classics Concert take place yearly at Odeonsplatz. In the vicinity is the Hofgarten (“court garden”) in which many Munich residents meet to play boules and relax.
Odeonsplatz is also the northern boundary of the pedestrian zone and the starting point of Ludwigstraße. Around the square are the royal residence including court garden, the Feldherrnhalle, the Theatinerkirche, some city palace and the elongated bazaar building.
I should say this is nice spot in Munich to hangout and visit. Here, you will see many people having their a cup of coffee and sitting down watching sunset. You can buy yours at Starbucks and do the same.
Another good place to stop by was Mercedes-Benz Gallery. Not just another outlet of Mercedes Benz but more a real show room with big windows inviting you to stop and take a look. From old timer to concept cars, ever-changing exhibitions show you that cars can be quite exciting.
Don’t forget to get your personalized dummy card for free here. You can treat as souvenir to bring back home.
Done Odeonsplatz, we walk towards Marienplatz, along the way we stop for shopping spree. Among the well-known and affordable brands are H&M, Mango and Zara. During X’mas sale you will get a lot of good deals.
Last but not least, had snack in Xmas Market. It a must-do thing when you’re in Munich.
| 23 December 2015 |
On 3rd day in Munich, we planned to visit Neuschwanstein Castle.
We heading to Munich Main Station as early as possible. Reached there about 9:33am. We already bought the return ticket to Fussen (gateway to the castle). Ticket cost was €30 return tickets non-reserved seat for 2 person (€15 p.p). Our train departed at 10:00am.
Lets read my tips how to go to Neuschwanstein Castle.
📌 This beautiful castle can be reached by train from Munich Hbf (Munchen Hbf) to Fussen. Travel about 2hours – 3hours (depending on your ticket type). Ticket price one way between € 7- € 44 (price by class). Tips for those who buy cheap tickets, buy in advance via online. Anyway, you still can get return tickets at €15 if you buy the day before departure date.
📌 Train operates by Deutsche Bahn, standby at tracks / platforms 27-36. The head of the train has written “Fussen”. Orait, once u see the train, please hurries up when the door opens. Don’t be choosy, just sit whenever you see an empty seat. If you’re late, means you’ll standing for more than 2 hours. The earliest train schedule departs from Munchen Hbf’s from 4:00am and the last departure is 8:44pm. While the return schedule from Fussen to Munchen from 4:46 pm and the last is 10: 37pm.
📌 Get out from Fussen station, get bus no 78. This bus is going direct to Hohenschwangau / Alpseestraße (entrance ticket counter) in less than 10 minutes. The bus will standby same time as the train timetable in Fussen. You will see everybody running to get seat on the bus. Whenever the bus is full, they leave.
📌 Ticket to enter the castle has quota per day. So, you are encourage to book the ticket online first. So, you do not have to queue. Because reserve tickets has special lane to collect your tickets. When booking, must book before 3 pm at least 2 days before leaving.
📌 If you do not wish to enter the castle, you can save € 13. You can tour around the castle by yourself and enter the free section areas.
📌 Opening hours:
- Ticket counter: April to 15 October: 7.30 am-5 pm. 16 October to March: 8.30am- 3:00pm.
- Neuschwanstein Castle: April to 15 October: 9 am-6 pm. 16 October to March: 10 am-4 pm. Open daily except 1 January and 24/25/31 December.
📌 Entrance price:
- € 13 regular price.
- € 12 discounted price.
- Free for children under 18.
📌 Königsticket (King’s ticket) is to enter both Castle (Neuschwanstein Castle and Hohenschwangau Castle) on the same day:
- € 25 regular price
- € 23 discounted price.
📌 Combination ticket “Königsschlösser” (King Ludwig II’s palaces combination ticket): € 26. This combination ticket is valid for 6 months You can visit each of the following castles – Neuschwanstein, Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee once more Information click on the combination ticket “Königsschlösser”. – With discount tickets, click here for more information – general information.
📌 Okay lets talk about Neuschwanstein Castle. There are 3 options to get up to the castle;
- Walking for 30-40 mins. If your stamina is not strong it may take more time because the climb is steep about 1.5km long.
- Take shuttle bus. Bus fare: Uphill trip € 2.50 / downhill trip € 1.50, or return trip € 3 (as of 1 June 2018). I recommend taking a return trip, save time and definitely you will take the same bus to downhill. Pay as you ride the bus. Departure place is from P4 parking (under Hohenschwangau Palace). The shuttle bus will follow Bleckenaustraße road to Jugend lookout point (Marienbrücke bridge), From here you have to continue walk to Castle about 10-15min by foot. It’s an easy walk, while walking, you can snap some picture and see the scenery below. *Reminder, Buses are not operational when snowy or icy roads (only in peak winter season).
- Ride the horse-cart. The horses standby in front of Hotel Müller, Alpseestraße, Hohenschwangau. Price: Uphill trip €6 / downhill trip €3 (as of 1 September 2017). Pay directly to the coach. The horse does not stop at the Castle, he stops at the castle parking area, you will continue by foot uphill about 450 meters or 5-10 min to the castle. Similarly with a shuttle bus, the carriage do not operate if the roads are snowy and icy.
📌 You can also see Neuschwanstein Castle from far at the Marienbrücke bridge. Only walking distance from shuttle bus stop. During my visit, the bridge was under construction. So we climb to the edge of the nearby hill to get the same view. There, it’s not crowded. because it’s not an official place to sightseeing. Only a handful of people went there.
📌 Done visiting Neuschwanstein Castle, you can also hang out at the lake near the car park or continue to visit Hohenschwangau Castle.
By 3:30pm, we left the place and catch train back to Munich Main Station. We continue to walk towards Marienplatz.
What is Marienplatz?
This prominent public square, the largest in Munich, still stands as the center of social activity in the city, much as it has throughout history.
From Marienplatz you can perfectly start a shopping spree. No matter which direction you go, there are shops everywhere. The pedestrian zone with the most shops is Kaufinger Straße, which leads from Marienplatz to Karlsplatz (Stachus). I went into my favourite shop, H&M and get a good deals for winter wear. Seems everyday in Munich, we went into shopping outlet.
Oh by the way, the outer jacket I wore below was from H&M which i bought the day before at only €25!
We went during Christmas time because we want to feel the Christmas atmosphere here, especially the Christmas markets/Weihnachtsmarkt. The experience was fantastic and I would recommend to anyone who loves Christmas. There were many things to look and buy, the food was delicious and it felt so lively. It’s a very enjoyable experience for us and once again, I would totally recommend going for the Christmas markets.
What will you see around Marienplatz?
- New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) – Impressive building. Must to see in Munich. Good example of neo-gothic architecture style. You can go also to the tower for nice sightviews of Munich old town. In the building is the city municipal offices, restaurant, clock tower. Went during christmas and it was bustling with people, music and christmas markets!. recommended!.
- Marienhof (Park Marienhof) – Really nice park with many banches to sit and rest after walking along city streets. Big open green space and relaxing ambient in the middle of the city.
- Altes Rathaus – Town hall dating back to the 14th century with gothic facelifts after lightning damage & bombing.
- Frauenkirche – Cathedral with 2 towers top, this restored Gothic church, bombed in 1945, known for its legendary Devil’s footprint.
Munich Christmas Market on Marienplatz.
We left Marienplatz a bit late but managed to catch the train back to our hotel. Rest & Sleep.
| 24 December 2015 |
Today was our last day in Germany. After left the hotel, we proceed to Munich Main Station to catch a train to Berchtesgaden, Germany (our last stop in Germany). We bought the one-way ticket to Salzburg, Austria the day before and the ticket can also be use for public transportation on the same day as the ticket date for 24 hour.
Berchtesgaden is a German town in the Bavarian Alps on the Austrian border. Many things to do in Berchtesgaden & surrounding, you can explore this charming little mountain town, along with the remains of the Nazi stronghold on the Obersalzberg, the Eagle’s Nest and Hitler’s Berghof.
You can even sail on the Königssee Lake, hike the alpine meadows, tour the salt mine and visit the local hofbräuhaus. Since we visited during eve of Christmas day, the boat not sailing on that day.
Distance from Munich Central Station is about 3 hour 30 min with 1 stop at Freilassing Station. Once we arrived at Berchtesgaden Main Station, we leave our luggage at coin operated locker.
We choose to just walk around the Berchtesgaden town and Königssee Lake. How to go to Konigsee Lake from Berchtesgaden?
Several buses stop at the Königssee: Bus No839, 841 and 843. They run hourly. You can catch it from the bus stop in front of the Berchtesgaden Main Station (Hauptbahnhof).
The bus will stop at their bus stop and you have to walk few 350 meters inside to the Lake.
Lake Königssee with its emerald green color and nestled at the foot of the imposing eastern wall of Mount Watzmann in the heart of the Berchtesgaden National Park is one of nature’s true masterpieces.
From the Königssee car park, a path leads past the picturesque boat huts to the Berchtesgaden National Park. You will past the nice Café Malerwinkel, the walk leads to the so-called Malerwinkel. This hike is also very popular as a winter walk, then the way to the Malerwinkel is cleared and scattered. Here, you can hear the echo of the Königssee. The hike about 10-15 min depending on individual stamina.
Malerwinkel, the so-called painter’s corner, is the only point easily reached on foot on the lake’s banks. The steep mountains surrounding the lake forbid the development of any trails or roads around lake Königssee making it unique among Central Europe’s larger lakes.
There’s another spot to see the lake a little bit higher but the hike can be reached in about 1.5 hours via a hiking trail, The Rabenwand. According to some hikers I met at Malerwinkel viewpoint, they said the view from Rabenwand is about the same. So, if u skip the hike to Rabenwand, you didn’t missed anything.
One last important things you need to be aware is the bus timetable from Konigssee to Berchtesgaden Hbf. Don’t missed the bus unless you have budget to spend on taxi fare.
We back to Berchtesgaden Hbf and catch train to Salzburg, Austria. We finished our Germany trip here. Would love to come back here to explore other part of Germany.