Munich can be a very expensive place. Exactly how expensive depends on who you ask, but there are some things you can do to push down that cost quite significantly and perhaps even add to your experience.
Sights and Sounds
- Free Walking Tour - You can get an excellent value and fascinating insight into the history of Munich by going on the free walking tour by www.newmunichtours.com. Just rock up to the Mari statue in the middle of Marienplatz at 10:45am or 1pm and you’ll get hours of rich history and culture you might never otherwise discover. Feel free to give your tour guide a little tip at the end, depending on how much you enjoyed it.
- The Glockenspiel: Voted the second worst tourist attraction in Europe (behind a Czech pencil museum I believe), this is a 100 year old free show that happens at 11am, midday and 5pm in the Rathaus in Marienplatz. It doesn’t last long, but the square fills up to watch it and it’s quite entertaining.
- View over the city: You can also go up to the top of the Rathaus. Two and a half Euros buys you a nice view over the city, a welcome breeze in summer and some excellent photo opportunities.
- Endless green spaces: Munich has an almost infinite supply of parks and gardens. In particular, the Schloss Nymphenburg is a huge palace, museum and landscape garden with entry fees starting at 6 Eur 50 (more expensive entry fees are available but the basic one gets you access to all the key areas).
The Englischer Garten, the largest city park in Europe, is completely free and you could lose yourself for days in there. It has everything from miles of tranquil empty space to crystal clear babbling streams to biergartens (I personally recommend the Seehaus) to a Chinese pagoda. It even has surfing by the Koniginstrasse.
Food and Alcohol Free Liquid
Like most cities, good local food is in abundance from markets and street vendors. You can get a quick sugar hit for 30 or 40 cents or munch your way through the different kinds of wurst for a couple of Euros a go. You can even top up your water from a drinking fountain in Marienplatz. The Viktualienmarkt just south of Petersplatz caters for just about everything if you really can’t decide.
Yes, the Munich beer is *that* good. But you don’t have to spend all your time drinking in the expensive bars and bierkellers. The people of Munich drink everywhere except for the public transport.
A good place is on the River Iser, just by Fraunhoferstrasse station on the U2 line. It’s been turned into a sort of beach and stacks of locals go to hang out there on a nice evening. You put your bottles in the river to keep them cool, maybe get a barbecue going and definitely set about having some good times. It’s the same tasty beer but it costs you about a Euro a bottle from the local shop.
Even better, included in the price of each bottle is a 25 cent deposit to encourage recycling. So if you make the effort to recycle your bottles then 25% of your beer is essentially free. There are recycling points dotted all over the city and in many of the supermarkets.
As you’d expect from a major city, tickets are valid on all U bahn, S bahn, bus and tram services. There are a bewildering number of options available, from single fares, 3 day passes, 7 day passes, specific inner or outer zones, tickets for individuals, couples, families etc. With a bit of digging you should find the cost to be not too unreasonable. A 3 day individual ticket for the main districts will cost you 21 Euros, for example.
The public transport is cheaper than hiring a bike, but hiring a bike would be more fun. Munich is known as the 'City of Bikes'.
Luckily a friend of mine lives in Munich, so I stayed with him, but if you need to pay for accommodation then consider The Tent hostel (http://www.hostelworld.com/hosteldetails.php/The-Tent-Munich/Munich/3787) located near the Schloss Nymphenburg and about a 20 minute tram ride to the city centre. This is just about the cheapest accommodation in Munich and was personally recommended to me by several people while I was there.
Don’t Get Fined!
There are a couple of random rules to be aware of.
- Don’t cross at crossings unless the green man is showing, otherwise you might get slapped with a 40 Euro fine. This law is actually enforced :-/
- Remember to validate your ticket. After you buy your travel ticket you have to put it in a machine located on the platform to get it validated. As a Brit, this is very much an alien concept to me but remember to do it or you may also get fined.
Munich very quickly became one of my favourite places. That may have happened/ happen to you too!