Bavaria’s capital has carved out an intriguing dual identity as both the heartland of traditional southern German culture and a thriving financial and business centre. Once the royal seat of the Wittelsbachs, Munich has hosted everything from Wagner premières to regal coronations, endowing the city with a diverse mix of historic architecture, world-class performance venues and enchanting gardens.
Munich’s imposing main square lies between the Old and New Town Halls. The latter’s much-loved glockenspiel uses charming wooden automatons to re-enact the marriage of Duke Wilhelm V to Renata of Lorraine, accompanied by jousting knights and a couple performing the Schäfflertanz, a traditional jig still danced in the city today.
No building in Munich may stand taller than its cathedral, the Frauenkirche. This symbol of the city is an intriguing mixture of Gothic, Renaissance and Neo-Byzantine architecture. Its famous onion-domed towers provide views across the city and over to the Alps.
These extensive gardens are a tranquil oasis of 3.7km², stretching from the city centre to the suburbs. A stroll or traditional carriage tour along the meandering paths will reveal Chinese pagodas, a Japanese teahouse, a manmade lake and even pastoral scenes of grazing sheep and hay meadows.
Admire the extraordinary talent of Old Masters such as Tintoretto, Rubens and Rembrandt at the Alte Pinakothek, one of the three Pinakothek museums in Munich’s art district. The Neue Pinakothek houses 19th-century masterpieces, including one of van Gogh’s iconic ‘Sunflowers’, while the Pinakothek der Moderne’s collection highlights contemporary interior design and works by Warhol, Picasso and their contemporaries.
The opulent National Theatre was formerly the royal theatre of Bavaria. The same auditorium that hosted the world’s first performance of Tristan und Isolde continues to welcome world-class performances by the Bavarian State Orchestra and State Ballet.
This open-air farmers’ market is a magnet for gourmands, with bustling stalls offering a tantalising array of exotic cuisine and traditional Bavarian delicacies, including Schweinshax’n, (roasted ham hock) and Leberkäs (meatloaf).
Dating back to the 17th century, the Baroque splendour of this palace is matched only by the exquisite Italian-style gardens. Still the official summer residence of the Wittelsbachs, the Schloss Nymphenburg is renowned for its Hall of Mirrors, the magnificent frescoes in the Stone Hall and its collection of delicate Nymphenburg porcelain. Summer follies and gondola rides lend a fairytale aesthetic to the vast grounds.
This 18th-century church is one of the finest examples of late Baroque architecture in southern Germany. Built by the famed Asam brothers in the 1730s as their own private chapel, the sculptures and ceiling frescoes highlight their exceptional talents.
Once the palace of the ruling Wittelsbachs, the Residenz is a grand statement of royal power. The opulent state rooms include the Renaissance Antiquarium, a vaulted hall lined with ancient busts and sculptures. The Treasury houses priceless regalia, tiaras and necklaces, as well as gifts from foreign rulers.
This exclusive street, one of the four royal avenues, is the city’s home of haute couture. Shop for jewelry at Cartier, then pick out a complementary outfit and accessories at Hermès, Dior or Chanel.
To search for your own palatial Bavarian home, simply visit Engel & Völkers online or at any one of our three Munich offices.