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Munich Travel Guide

The capital of Bavaria is famous for its Oktoberfest, but Munich is also a high-tech hub with a lively arts scene and splendid architecture. The central square of the Old Town is Marienplatz, and there ...

The capital of Bavaria is famous for its Oktoberfest, but Munich is also a high-tech hub with a lively arts scene and splendid architecture. The central square of the Old Town is Marienplatz, and there, the famous 43-bell Rathaus-Glockenspiel rings out daily from the New Town Hall. Munich’s museums rival those of Berlin. The uncrowded Alte Pinakothek houses one of the world’s finest collections of Old Master paintings. The Neue Pinakothek covers 19th-century art, and the Pinakothek der Moderne exhibits contemporary works. I also never fail to visit the Residenz’s astonishing Treasury, home to the Bavarian crown jewels. When the warm weather arrives, residents and visitors alike head for the Englischer Garten park. 

Recommended Luxury Hotels in Munich

All Andrew Harper-recommended hotels offer impeccable accommodations and high levels of personal service. Only the best of the best make our list, so we rate them on a scale from bird icon 90 to 100.

Best Restaurants in Munich

Elegant surroundings on the second floor of the leading Käfer delicatessen enhance a menu of traditional regional cooking. Seasonal dishes might include roasted free-range duck with caramelized red cabbage, rösti potatoes and apple purée along with a lamb’s ear salad with bacon croutons; saddle of local venison with mushrooms and leeks, a blackberry jus and spätzle with sour cream; and hazelnut-crusted halibut with pumpkin risotto and baby spinach. Closed Sunday.

Prinzregentenstrasse 73 Munich US$75

Regional Bavarian cookery is enlivened by international fusion techniques at celebrity chef Alfons Schuhbeck’s remarkable restaurant. Innovative dishes run the gamut from Alpine salmon atop potato mousseline and baby spinach to grilled fillet of local ox with Tasmanian pepper, Brussels sprouts and pumpkin marzipan. Attentive service and a distinguished wine list add to the pleasure of eating here. Closed Sunday.

Platzl 6+8 Munich US$90-US$135

The formal Restaurant Königshof overlooks the bustling Karlsplatz. Typical dishes might include turbot with Jerusalem artichokes, pine nuts and smoked eel; wild duck with red cabbage and hazelnut potato noodles; and veal cutlet with sweetbreads, kidneys, sweet mustard and black rice. Imaginative sommelier and unusual wine list.  Closed Sunday and Monday.

Karlsplatz 25 Munich US$150

On arrival, I invariably eat first in a casual Wirtshaus (tavern), such as the friendly Wirtshaus im Fraunhofer, a short stroll from the old center. The cozy room has an ornate plaster ceiling, wall-mounted antlers and well-worn wooden tables illuminated by candles. Our cheery bilingual waiter served us asparagus cream soup, followed by plates of pork cutlets with bacon-infused roasted potatoes and onion mustard, washed down with a refreshing Maibock (a strong pale lager).

Fraunhoferstrasse 9 Munich

The more upscale Halali is similarly inviting and congenial. Fortunately, tourists have yet to discover it, and the clientele appeared to be almost exclusively local. Here, the chefs deftly update classic Bavarian cuisine, accompanied by wines from a list particularly strong in Austrian selections. I savored an appetizer of eel with a truffled egg atop fresh whole-grain bread, and a main course of venison in juniper sauce with light spätzle (egg noodles) and red sauerkraut. Closed Sundays.

Schonfeldstrasse 22 Munich

No trip to Munich would be complete without a visit to one of its legendary beer halls. This one overlooking the charming Viktualienmarkt, or main food market, is our favorite for its veal goulash lightly seasoned with paprika, accompanied by handmade butter noodles; Bavarian sauerbraten with red cabbage and handmade bread dumplings; and a hearty platter of beer-seasoned bratwurst, veal sausage and pork sausage with sauerkraut, diced bacon and creamy potatoes. 

Viktualienmarkt 15 Munich US$35

This very popular place with a rustic décor of arched paneled walls and wooden tables overlooks the opera house on Max Joseph Platz and serves delicious Bavarian comfort food. Try dishes such as beef carpaccio and an arugula salad with Parmesan, lemon and olive oil; crispy suckling pig with potato and bread dumplings and cabbage salad with bacon; and boiled beef with horseradish, creamed spinach and roasted potatoes. The street level is more casual and less expensive than the upper floor. 

Residenzstrasse12 Munich US$60
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