We’ve written previously about the first White Christmas of our lives spent in Bavaria. With many travelers heading to Munich for Christmas, we thought we’d writeup about our trip & experiences. Apologies in advance for potato-cam pics 😛
Things to do
Christmas Market at Marienplatz: Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way. Marienplatz in Central Munich is an epic gothic setting for a big Christmas market. Comes complete with a Christmas tree, wooden toys, food, mulled wine & traditional Christmas gifts at a fairly reasonable price.
Tip: Visit the market at around noon to enjoy the carillon sounds of the Rathaus-Glockenspiel, preferably on a weekday as it attracts many tourists.
Catch a breather at English Gardens: After revelling in the Christmas markets and partaking of the amazing Food & Drink (next section, must read) Munich has to offer, one may feed the need to take a nice, peaceful walk away from the crowds. The Englischer Garten is just the place to do so, a short bus ride north of Downtown Munich. In the summer, it’s known for man-made surfing but at Christmas time, it’s a veritable & picturesque oasis.
Go skiing at Zugspitze: Munich is a great base for a few daytrips (including to Salzburg, our next post). The one we’ve been to was the ski resort of Zugspitze (highest point in Germany) and that too on Christmas day as Munich shuts down like most western cities. It was a wonderful experience mostly due to the scenic train rides and massive amounts of snow.
Visit churches on Christmas Eve night: This was the surprise find of our trip. Churches are open through the night on the 24th and we stumbled into a few early in the night around 9 PM. It was such a peaceful and spiritual experience. We especially loved the Theatine Church.
Food & Drink
Welcome to my Haus: Even though it’s overrun by tourists, one must visit the legendary Hofbrahaus Munchen for beer and fun times. The food is average & does not break the bank. Here’s a pic of our beer with hands for scale 🙂
We had two superlative Haus experiences not far from Hofbrahaus. The first was at Weisses Brahaus where we reached at 11:30 AM to eat it’s speciality breakfast white-sausage made of veal. One of the most flavour-ful sausages we have ever had in our lives. Last order for that sausage is at noon (we’re serious, the servers check their watches when you place the order!) so get in at 11 AM.
Weisses Brahaus is heavily frequented by locals which was a bit awkward for us as we’re visibly foreigners. However, we were made comfortable by a Bavarian dad who came to feed his son Knödel (dumplings) and ended up buying us wheat beer. We did not want to offend any Bavarian sensibilities so accepted the “tourist” size 300 ml glass as a pre-noon drink (still too early).
Lastly, our best sausage experience was at Gaststatte Nurnberger Bratwurst Glockl am Dom. We had a variety of sausages there and by God were they good. Their pretzels were really good too. We somehow lost our pic but take our word for it and visit that place if you like sausages.
Sweet Tooth: After having so much savoury food, one might want to satiate their sweet tooth. Café Kreutzkamm is a great place to enjoy dessert, especially the multi-layered cake called Baumkuchen. The chocolate-covered Baumkuchen in particular is divine.
Public transport logistics
If you doing a day-trip within Bavaria or to Salzburg, make a Bayern Ticket for 23 EUR + (5*n) EUR where n is the number of additional travellers (28 EUR for 2 people). You can get this made at Munich HB (central rail station) & gives unlimited travel within Bavaria.
A day ticket for inner Munich costs 6,40 € and we used to catch the tram between Munich HB to Marienplatz and the bus to the English Garden.
Finally, to go to the airport, take the S-Bahn suburban train S8 to and from the airport to downtown (slightly shorter journey than the S1).
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