Best Things to Do in Winter in Munich, Germany
- 1 Best Things to Do in Winter in Munich, Germany
- 1.1 Winter in Munich Travel Tips
- 1.2 Great Things to Do in Munich in Winter
- 1.2.1 See the Christmas Markets
- 1.2.2 Take a Walking Tour
- 1.2.3 Dine at an Inn
- 1.2.4 Visit Deutsches Museum
- 1.2.5 Stroll the English Garden
- 1.2.6 Try Bavarian Curling
- 1.2.7 Visit a Sauna
- 1.2.8 Visit a Museum
- 1.2.9 See Munich From Above
- 1.2.10 Go Shopping
- 1.2.11 Visit the Botanical Gardens
- 1.2.12 Ride the Christmas Tram
- 1.2.13 Experience the Cinema
- 1.2.14 Day Trip to Neuschwanstein Castle
- 1.2.15 Day trip to Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- 1.2.16 Day Trip to the Alps
Munich, the capital of Bavaria in Germany, is well known for its yearly Oktoberfest event. But winter is another great time to visit and this post is for you if you are wondering about the best things to do in Winter in Munich.
Despite the cold and snow, or maybe because of it, Munich retains its beauty and charm even during the winter months. From the historic Old Town to lovely Christmas markets, Munich has plenty of things to do in the winter time, from December until February.
Winter in Munich Travel Tips
If you’re looking for the best things to do in Munich in the winter, where to go and what to see, as well as the most fun Munich winter activities, this post will point you in the right direction. I also have travel tips about the weather, what to wear in Munich in winter, and how to get around. This post will help you make your Munich winter vacation exciting and memorable.
Weather in Munich in Winter
Weather in Germany has changed a lot – and winter is not always as cold and freezing as it used to be.
However, Munich can get quite cold in the winter, with temperatures dropping below freezing.
From December to February, the average high is between 3ºC (38ºF) and 4ºC (40ºF). The lows are between -3ºC (27ºF) and -1ºC (29ºF). Snow falls throughout the winter months, but it usually melts by afternoon in the city proper, leaving the sidewalks and streets slushy.
But there might be warmer days in Munich with some sunshine and temperatures “much“ higher than 4ºC.
With this kind of weather, it pays to know what to pack in preparation for your Munich winter holiday.
What to Pack for your Winter Munich Trip
Munich the winter is beautiful, and you don’t want the low temperatures to keep you from enjoying it. Make sure you pack warm clothes, as well as a decent winter jacket, a scarf, hat, and gloves. Because of the snow and slush, bring along waterproof boots, too. The bottoms should be slip resistant because the streets can be slippery, even after being salted. Pack for comfort and warmth, as well as fashion.
How to Get Around
Getting around Munich is quite easy. I found the public transportation in the city to be efficient and easy to use. While there might be some issues if the weather is bad, for the most part, I had nothing to complain about.
Where to Stay in Munich
I prefer to book my accommodations through Booking.com because of their generous cancellation policy, which fits my spontaneous style. So, if you are looking to make a hotel reservation during your stay in Munich in winter, here are a few suggestions.
For a luxury hotel with beautifully-appointed rooms and excellent on-site dining, stay at the Mandarin Oriental Munich. It is located right in the center of the Old Town.
For a mid-range option, Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski München is a popular choice. It is centrally located and offers nice rooms, breakfast, and free WiFi. A good choice for a budget accommodation would be King’s Hotel First Class. This hotel has modest rooms, but is located in the heart of the city and close to the train station and city landmarks.
Great Things to Do in Munich in Winter
Okay, here are the best things to see and do in Munich is between December and February.
See the Christmas Markets
The Christmas Markets in Munich are not to be missed if you are visiting in December. Throughout the city, you will see beautiful decorations and stalls selling handicrafts, food and drinks, and much more.
Enjoy some festive mulled wine or Feuerzangenbowle, which is a red wine punch. Taste German delicacies and shop for handmade decorations to bring home. These markets are also great for picking up Christmas gifts.
The Christmas Markets run from the end of November until Christmas. Check out the one in Marienplatz, which features a huge Christmas tree illuminated with 2,500 lights in front of Town Hall.
The market on Münchner Freiheit offers great arts and crafts. Others to see are Chinesischer Turm, inside the Munich Residenz, and Wittelsbacherplatz. These are truly some of the best places to visit in Munich at Christmas.
Take a Walking Tour
Munich also offers some interesting activities throughout the year. If you want to explore the city, as well as its history and landmarks, then take a walking tour.
I really enjoy these tours and they are a great way to learn about a new place. There are numerous companies that offer tours of the city, so check and see which one would best suit you. Some specialize in different languages and focuses. The best tour guides are both knowledgeable and entertaining.
There are free tours in Munich, but even though the tour is free, if you enjoyed it, I suggest leaving a tip for your guide. This is not required, but is a nice thing to do. Most tours leave from Marienplatz in the center of the Old Town. Remember to wear comfortable shoes or boots, and maybe even bring a walking stick if the roads are slick.
Dine at an Inn
How can you visit Bavaria and not try some of its specialties? Eating at one of the restaurants is one of the best things to do in Munich in winter.
With most beer gardens closed for the winter, an inn is the perfect place if you want to enjoy a drink, too.
The obvious choice to dine at the famous Hofbräuhaus. It’s quite iconic, so you may want to stop in just to check it off your bucket list. Otherwise, there are many other restaurants to try that are favorites of the locals, such as Augustiner Braustuben, Fraunhofer, Der Klinglwirt, Gasthaus Isartor, and Wirtshaus in der Au. Any of these restaurants will be perfect for a meal and a place to warm up after exploring Munich.
Visit Deutsches Museum
With the cold weather, sometimes it’s nice to get indoors for a while. If you’re looking for a fun learning experience that keeps you out of the cold, then one of the things you should do in Munich in winter is visiting Deutsches Museum.
This huge museum offers tons of exhibitions and collections. If you are interested in science and technology, and great scientific discoveries, then this museum will have plenty to offer.
Because of how much there is to see, I suggest booking a tour to get the most out of these exhibitions. You probably won’t have time to see everything (unless this is the only thing you do in Munich!), so choose in advance what you want to see the most, to avoid missing out.
Stroll the English Garden
Few things are more beautiful than a garden covered in untouched snow. For a great free thing to do in Munich in winter, head to the English Garden and take a stroll – and don’t forget your camera.
The best time of day to come here is in the morning, before many others have trod through the snow or it has melted under the afternoon sun. The meadows and winter scenery are so pretty that you’ll be glad you brought your camera to capture the moment—and share on Instagram.
Another beautiful thing to check out is Kleinhesseloher Lake, which you’ll find in the middle of the English Garden. If it’s been cold enough, then the lake freezes over and provides the perfect place to ice skate. Gliding over the frozen lake with such beautiful scenery in the background is one of the top things to do in Munich in winter.
Try Bavarian Curling
If ice skating isn’t enough for you and you’re wondering what else to do in Munich when it’s cold, then give Bavarian curling a try. I suggest heading to the Nympenburg Palace for this. When it gets cold enough, the shallow water in the canal in front of the palace freezes over, creating Munich’s longest curling track. It encompasses the 500 meters between Hubertusstraße and Gerner Bridge.
This is great for amateurs and experts alike – all are welcome. Since the beer garden is closed, they clear the benches so people can ice skate in the long, narrow rinks. The only catch is that you will need to bring your own skates. But whichever you choose to do, warm up afterward at the palace’s coffee shop. Enjoy a warm drink with the other winter sports enthusiasts. This is good for families, couples, or singles.
Visit a Sauna
Munich has some wonderful places to warm up and relax. After a long day of sightseeing, or even just a planned-in day to chill, the public baths and saunas in the city will offer a welcome respite.
Müllersches Volksbad is a great place to start. Done in an art nouveau style, this spa has indoor pools that are perfect for doing laps. Norbad is another option that is good for swimmers, with 33-meter lanes available. And if you would like to swim outside in a heated pool, then Dantebad is where you want to go this winter.
Saunas are said to increase circulation, which improves immunity and metabolism. Open from early in the morning until late at night, these are the perfect thing to ward off the cold and a fun winter thing to do.
Visit a Museum
While I already mentioned Deutsches Museum, there are a couple of other museums in Munich that you might want to consider stopping at during your winter visit. These are great for broadening your knowledge – and also keeping you out of the cold!
I admit that I have an amateur appreciation for art, but if art is something you enjoy, then here are a few options. The Lenbachhaus has an exhibit that shows off the art from the Blaue Reiter movement, as well as special winter exhibitions that change. If you prefer modern art, then visit Pinkakothek der Moderne or Museum Brandhorst. The Bavarian National Museum is really beautiful at this time of year, so make a stop there, if only for some outdoor photos. The museums also make great places to visit in Munich in December because of their lovely nativity scenes.
If you are visiting on a Sunday, entry to the public museums only costs a euro or two.
See Munich From Above
One of the greatest things to do in Munich during winter is to take a look at the city from above. From the snow-dusted roofs of the buildings in the Old Town to the towers of Old St. Peter’s Church, seeing Munich from a new perspective is a treat.
You can get up to the belfry of the new city hall or buy a ticket for the Alter Peter bell tower for views in central Marienplatz. Since visibility is at its best in winter, you might want to go up Olympia Tower for the chance to see Munich’s city center. If the weather cooperates, you can even see the Alps in the distance. Olympia Tower provides protective glass to obstruct the chilly winter air. This is a really great way to see Munich in all its wintry glory.
If you are visiting Munich in December, then shopping is probably on your mind. In the case of Christmas gifts, the Christmas markets I already mentioned are a great place to start. But if you wanted to do more general shopping, then I have some other suggestions.
Galeria Kaufhof is a well-known department store chain that has stores throughout Germany, and one in Munich, right in Marienplatz. It is especially good for getting edible gifts. For flea markets, you can go to Flohmarkt Olympiapark, which covers 35,000 square meters and has over 450 stalls.
And while shopping for German gifts and souvenirs is one of the best things to do in Munich in December, you should also consider a shopping trip in January. After the holidays, there are many great sales and discounts to entice post-Christmas shopping. So visit the stores, markets, and shops for some great buys to bring home with you.
Visit the Botanical Gardens
Visiting the Botanical Gardens is a fun thing to do in the winter in Munich. Despite the cold temperatures, the flowers and plants continue to flourish. Thanks to greenhouses, you can see some of Munich’s most beautiful plant life during your visit in December, January, or February.
Stroll through the gardens and see beautiful orchids and palms. There is a large cacti collection you can also view. And if you have never seen a carnivorous plant before, then this is your chance. In winter, the gardens even have a butterfly house.
There’s no need to rush and I suggest strolling leisurely through the beautiful scenery. This is just the place to relax and enjoy nature before exploring more of the city of Munich in winter.
Ride the Christmas Tram
Another fun winter activity in Munich is to ride the Christmas Tram.
If you’d like to take a break from sightseeing in the cold, then I suggest exploring it by tram. Munich offers the cutest Christmas tram to take you around the city center. It runs throughout Advent and is a nice antidote to the wintry cold. The cozy trip is perfect for couples visiting or families with children.
The tram departs from Sendlinger Tor throughout weekday afternoons and evenings and throughout the day on weekends. The ride takes about 25 minutes and it’s wonderfully relaxing and fun.
Festive music, delicacies, mulled wine, and children’s punch is offered to get everyone in the spirit. This is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Munich in December.
Experience the Cinema
Cinemas are very popular in Munich, and you can find plenty within the center of the city. They are easy to get to if you are using public transportation and can be a nice break from the subzero temperatures outside.
If you want to watch the latest from Hollywood, then head to Cinemaxx, Mathäser Filmpalast, or Münchner Freiheit cinemas. For more independent films, try ABC Kino, Neues Rottman, or Theatiner Filmtheater.
Opera and theater are also popular in Munich, with the Bayerische Staatsoper being heralded as one of the world’s leading opera houses. Tickets are hard to come by though.
If you’re wondering what to do in Munich in winter, this is the perfect plan for film and performance lovers.
Day Trip to Neuschwanstein Castle
One of the most romantic things to do in Munich in winter is to take a day trip from Munich. There are quite a few great trips to take but the best one is probably to the gorgeous Neuschwanstein Castle. This famous castle looks even more beautiful in winter, with a dusting of snow on its turrets as it sits high above the trees and land below.
The fairy tale castle is just as imposing and picturesque in person as it is in pictures. It was built in the 19th century in the Romanesque Revival style, and is located in the village of Hohenschwangau.
You can visit during the winter from 10am – 4pm. To go up to the castle, you can take a shuttle, hike, or drive – but for a more romantic option, I suggest the carriage ride.
Once you arrive, you will be awed by the mixture of history, romance, and nature. This is a great day trip to take from Munich.
Day trip to Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Another day trip from Munich in winter that you could take is to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. It will take about 3.5 hours to reach from Munich.
This trip might be best taken in December because the city is well known for its Christmas market. But there are other things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber as well, such as see its well-preserved medieval Old Town and lovely half-timbered houses.
Visit St. Jakob’s Church and see a 500-year-old altarpiece. Spend some time doing your holiday shopping. Watch the sun set from the Town Hall tower – or better yet, see it while strolling the 1.5-mile stretch of wall that surrounds the Old Town.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, like Neuschwanstein Castle, is a part of the Romantic Road, and therefore, very popular. Once you arrive, you’ll see why.
Day Trip to the Alps
My last day trip suggestion is perfect for a winter vacation in Munich. With a 1-2 hour train ride from the city, you can be at the north edge of the Alps. Munich only sits about 30 miles from the mountains, so this is an easy day trip, but worth a visit.
The iconic Alps look gorgeous in winter, even if it is a little cold to be outside. Dress warm, wear comfortable shoes, and prepare to explore this mountainous area.
If you take a tour, there are some that will take you from Munich up to the summit of Zugspitze, which is Germany’s highest peak. From there, you can take a cable car ride and get amazing views from this high perspective.
With the Alps only hours away from Munich, you should consider adding a day trip to visit this stunning mountain range to your itinerary.
Whether you are looking for the best things to do in Munich in December, January, or February, there are tons of great activities and places to see. I hope this list helps you pick out the best places and things for your Munich winter trip.
Check out my Bavaria itinerary here.
Planning your first trip to Germany? Then check my travel tips for your first trip to Germany.