11 free things to do and see in Munich

Marienplatz, Munich

If you’re visiting Munich and want to take in some free, must-see sights, here are the city’s 11 most important free activities and tours!

Munich, the state capital, is a city in southern Germany with a population of over 1.5 million, named after an ancient Benedictine monastery that stood exactly where the old town is today.

There are plenty of free tours and activities to choose from, and to help you choose, here’s a selection of the 11 best free tours and activities to do in Munich during your stay. Follow us on our tour!

1. Munich’s Frauenkathedral

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Munich

Located in the city center, Munich’s Cathedral of Our Lady is a major tourist attraction and the city’s landmark, as well as the seat of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising.

A 15th-century cathedral, its domes were inspired by the famous Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Its dimensions are phenomenal, with a length of 109 metres, a width of 40 metres and a height of 99 metres for the two towers.

The Gothic-style interior is extremely simple, but gives an impression of grandeur, and its white walls and columns provide plenty of light.

As you enter the nave, you can see an imprint on one of the Cathedral’s paving stones. According to legend, this is the exact spot where the devil stood when he mocked the windowless church, as the windows are not visible from this point. This mark is called Teufelsritt, or the devil’s kick.

Finally, climb the steps to the south tower for a panoramic view of the city and the Bavarian Alps.

2. Englischer garten

Englischer garten, Munich

Englischer garten, or Munich’s English Garden, is a 375-hectare park in the northeast of the city. Considered a free visit to Munich, as there is no entrance fee, this park is a breath of fresh air after a busy day in the city center.

Its vast expanses of greenery in fact conceal numerous buildings, such as a Japanese teahouse where tea ceremonies are held on a regular basis, the monopteros – a completely round temple – and the Chinese tower, a wooden pagoda over 25 meters high.

It’s a multi-faceted place, and you’ll probably need more than one visit to discover all its nooks and crannies. Note that in summer, the park’s lawns are often frequented by nudists, and have been since the 1960s.

3. Hofgarten

Hofgarten, Munich

A natural extension of the Englischer Garten, theHofgarten is a Baroque park ideal for family walks and picnics. On a stroll through the park, you’ll see numerous flowerbeds, statues and fountains – such as the nymphs’ fountain – as well as the memorial to the Munich man killed in the First World War.

4. Eisbachwelle

Eisbachwelle, Munich

If you’re craving a thrill on your trip to Munich and want a free sporting activity, then Eisbachwelle is an excellent destination. This artificial wave created by a boulder in the artificial stream running through the Englischer Garten is perpetual and will provide the most sporty of visitors with an extraordinary time.

5. Theatinerkirche

Theatinerkirche, Munich

Located in the very heart of Munich – on Place de l’Odéon – the Theatinerkirche is a 17th-century edifice built for the Theatiner Fathers, a religious order founded in 1524. Although partially destroyed during the Second World War, the church was quickly rebuilt and was back in use as early as 1955.

It’s quite an imposing monument, with an impressive dome that, from the inside, will make you lose your balance with its height, structure and multiple decorations. What’s more, the crypt adjoining the church is one of the city’s most important, containing no fewer than 47 tombs of members of the Wittelsbach family.

6. Saint-Pierre church

Whether you’re a Christian or not, you’ll probably want to take a short detour to visitSt. Peter’s Church and admire its impressive works of art.

From the imposing high altar with its magnificent gilding, to the sculpted decoration covering the walls and vault of this church, and of course the statues and works of art hanging on the walls, you’re sure to be blown away by the splendor of this historic 12th-century monument.

7. Asamkirche

Asamkirche, Munich

Photo Credit: Flickr – Joe Parks

Also known as the Asam Church, theAsamkirche is a one-of-a-kind monument and perhaps the most worthwhile of Munich’s free tours. Its late Baroque architecture is simply astonishing and magnificent.

If the outside of the church already sends shivers down your spine, wait until you step inside! The majestic statues and paintings stretching from the floor to the vault will transport you, and the gilding will undoubtedly fill you with wonder.

8. Munich Olympic Park

Parc Olympique, Munich

Munich’s 3 km² Olympic Park is located in the north of the city. It’s easy to spot thanks to theOlympiaturm, a tower over 290 meters high. The park is free to enter and features vast expanses of lawn, as well as the Munich Olympic Stadium, the city’s Olympic swimming pool and other facilities, such as an ice rink and running tracks.

You’ll also find a man-made lake, as well as numerous restaurants and bars that are open most of the time. In summer, the park often hosts concerts and festivals, ideal for music lovers.

9. Rathaus-Glockenspiel

Rathaus-Glockenspiel, Munich

The Rathaus-Glockenspiel is one of Munich’s most popular free activities. This carillon, which reproduces two stories from the 16th century – the first recounting the marriage of Duke Wilheim V, and the second depicting a dance symbolizing the loyalty and perseverance of coopers during a plague epidemic in Munich in 1517 – attracts thousands of passers-by every day.

The carillon is made up of 43 bells in all, and chimes daily at 11am and 12pm, as well as at 5pm in summer, for almost 10 minutes.

10. Prinzengarten

Prinzengarten & Nymphenburg, Munich

Surrounding Nymphenburg Palace, the Prinzengarden is a 200-hectare park where you can enjoy a stroll amidst numerous statues, fountains, streams and ponds. If you get close enough to the lake, you’ll encounter many ducks, but above all, dozens of majestic swans.

11. Gasteig

Gasteig, Munich

Photo credit: Wikimedia/a>

As one of Munich’s most important cultural venues, you’d be forgiven for thinking that all concerts held here have to be paid for. But rehearsals are open to the general public and free of charge, even those of the Philharmonic Orchestra. What’s more, free exhibitions are sometimes held at the Gasteig, so if you’re an art and music lover, you’ll be delighted.

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