As renowned European city break destination Munich begins to recover from the recent crisis, guests may once again discover its many charms, from cobbled squares to contemporary art and the Alps. Here Clemens Baumgärtner, Head of the Department of Labour and Economic Development for the city of Munich, shares his personal tips for rediscovering the Bavarian capital post-Covid-19 from The Charles Hotel.
How do you feel Munich has dealt with and emerged from the recent crisis?
Munich has coped very well, both as a city and as a community. It’s made me happy to see a lot of solidarity between citizens and businesses. As long as you adhere to the important rules – maintaining a distance of 1.5m where possible, wearing a face mask in certain areas and following hygiene protocols – you’re welcome to almost all landmarks and museums.
What are the particular seasonal highlights of visiting Munich during spring, summer, autumn and winter?
There are so many, but here are my personal highlights. In spring, I recommend joining the locals in exploring one of the many markets, for example the Viktualienmarkt gourmet market, with its abundance of colours, smells and tastes. In summer, I recommend the Opera Festival, where fantastic music can be enjoyed as part of an inspiring programme across the streets and squares of downtown Munich. My autumn highlight is the Auer Dult, a charming, traditional folk festival in late October.
Last but not least, winter: of course, the various Christmas markets are definitely a highlight, but honestly, I am really looking forward to an evening with good friends in a cosy brew pub, with local beer and crispy roasted pork.
Are there any particular ways to see Munich that you recommend?
On a first-time visit, it’s a must to walk or take a rickshaw ride through the Old Town to see the unique mixture of small streets and vast Imperial squares – that is typical Munich! Once you’ve done that, take tram no.19 from Munich East to Karlsplatz. It runs through many local neighbourhoods offering a glimpse into everyday life.
Where would you say are the best views in Munich?
The Olympic Tower’s revolving restaurant at 181 metres above Munich offers not only a great view of the cityscape, but also of the Alps!
Now that cultural events are once again on the agenda, what should we be looking forward to this year?
Starting in October, the Lenbachhaus will exhibit the art of Wassily Kandinsky and Gabriele Münter. The couple travel a lot and use their travels to create amazing paintings and photographs. I like the light and airy style of their open-air paintings, and I also like to compare it to what people are posting today on Instagram to show their travel experiences.
In terms of cuisine, Bavaria is famous for its very pure beer and excellent sausages. Where do you recommend trying these?
As long as the weather permits, the beer gardens are definitely the place to enjoy these. But Munich is also home to a number of brewery cellars, where the beer is as fresh as it gets!
Is Munich also a vegetarian and vegan-friendly destination?
Just recently, I came to read a historic Munich city guide dating back to 1924. And the guide featured three vegetarian restaurants in downtown Munich! Today you can find lots of vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the city. One of them even has a Michelin Star.
Finally, are there any unusual attractions in Munich that tend to surprise and delight visitors?
There are plenty! For example, there’s a small river in central Munich that’s popular with surfers all year round! There’s also a small ship known as the “Alte Utting”, located on an abandoned railway bridge, which houses a bar and music venue. It was used as a passenger ship on Lake Ammersee until 2016, then dissembled and reassembled at its current location, where it’s now a popular nightlife spot.
There’s more to Munich than meets the eye – get under the city’s skin with Mr Baumgärtner’s insights with a stay at The Charles Hotel. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book and experience the highlights of your chosen season.