Best Things to Do in Munich in Winter + Travel Tips
- 1 Best Things to Do in Munich in Winter + Travel Tips
- 2 TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR TRIP TO MUNICH IN WINTER
- 3 BEST WINTER ACTIVITIES IN MUNICH, GERMANY
- 3.1 See the Christmas Markets
- 3.2 Dine at an Inn
- 3.3 Take a Walking Tour
- 3.4 Visit Deutsches Museum
- 3.5 Stroll the English Garden
- 3.6 Try Bavarian Curling
- 3.7 Visit a Sauna
- 3.8 Visit a Museum
- 3.9 See Munich From Above
- 3.10 Go Shopping
- 3.11 Visit the Botanical Gardens
- 3.12 Ride the Christmas Tram
- 3.13 Experience the Cinema
- 3.14 Day Trip to Neuschwanstein Castle
- 3.15 Day Trip to Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- 3.16 Day Trip to the Alps
- 3.17 Day Trip to Salzburg
- 4 FINAL THOUGHTS ON VISITING MUNICH IN THE WINTER MONTHS
Munich, the capital of Bavaria in Germany, is well known for its yearly Oktoberfest event. But winter in Munich is another excellent time to visit. And if you are wondering about the best things to do in Munich in winter, then this post is for you. Find out about the best Munich winter activities as well as some more travel tips.
Despite the cold and snow, or maybe because of it, Munich retains its beauty and charm. From the historic Old Town to lovely Christmas markets, Munich has plenty of things to do in the wintertime, from late November until February.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR TRIP TO MUNICH IN WINTER
If you’re looking for the best things to do in Munich in the winter, where to go & what to see, this post will point you in the right direction. I also have travel tips about the weather, what to wear, and how to get around This post will help you make your Munich winter vacation exciting and memorable.
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Weather in Munich in Winter
The 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.
- The average high is between 3ºC (38ºF) and 4ºC (40ºF) from December to February. The lows are between -3ºC (27ºF) and -1ºC (29ºF). But there might be warmer days in Munich with some sunshine and temperatures “much“ higher than 4ºC.
- Snow falls throughout the winter months, but it usually melts by afternoon in the city proper, leaving the sidewalks and streets slushy.
It pays to know what to pack in preparation for your Munich winter holiday with this kind of weather.
What to Pack for your Winter Munich Trip
Munich in 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, a 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 relatively easy. Public transportation in the city is efficient and easy to use. While there might be some issues if the weather is bad, I had nothing to complain about for the most part.
- If you want to use the hop-on and hop-off buses, check out the prices here.
- There is no need for a car. Instead, I would – if needed – call a taxi.
- Also, many attractions are quite close to each other, so you can even walk to many sights.
Where to Stay in Munich in Winter
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 beautiful rooms and excellent on-site dining, stay at the Mandarin Oriental Munich. It is located right in the center of Old Town.
- For a mid-range option, Hotel Mercure München City Center is a popular choice. It is centrally located and offers most facilities you’ll need for a weekend stay.
- Another good choice for mid-range accommodation would be King’s Hotel First Class. This hotel has modest rooms but is located in the city’s heart and close to the train station and city landmarks.
For more – general – Germany travel tips, check out this guide.
BEST WINTER ACTIVITIES IN MUNICH, GERMANY
Okay, here are the best things to see and do in Munich between December and February.
See the Christmas Markets
The Christmas Markets are not to be missed if you are visiting Munich in December. You will see beautiful decorations and stalls selling handicrafts, food and drinks, and much more throughout the city.
- The Christmas Markets run from the end of November until Christmas. In 2022, they start on the 21st of November and last until the 23rd or 24th of December (there might be different opening hours for the different Christmas Markets)
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.
Check out the one in Marienplatz, which features a giant Christmas tree illuminated with 2,500 lights in front of the Town Hall. The market on Münchner Freiheit offers excellent 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.
Dine at an Inn
How can you visit Bavaria and not try some of its specialties? With most beer gardens closed for the winter, an inn is a perfect place if you want to enjoy a drink, too. As a vegetarian/vegan myself, I am not a fan of Bavarian food. If you do not eat pork, you will also not enjoy the cuisine, but if you do, you could eat some specialties. However, there are also some vegetarian/vegan options (even though not in all-ins).
The obvious choice is to dine at the famous Hofbräuhaus. It’s pretty iconic, so you may want to stop in 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.
Take a Walking Tour
Munich also offers some exciting activities throughout the year. If you want to explore the city and its history and landmarks, then take a walking tour in winter.
I enjoy these kinds of tours, and they are a great way to learn about a new place. Numerous companies offer tours of the city, so check and see which one would best suit you. Some specialize in different languages and focuses.
There are free tours in Munich, but even though the tour is free, I suggest leaving a tip for your guide if you enjoyed it – it is nice 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.
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 to visit Deutsches Museum.
This huge museum offers tons of exhibitions and collections. If you are interested in science and technology and significant scientific discoveries, 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. 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 it 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, then give Bavarian curling a try. There are some charming palaces in Munich, and you can visit them in winter and enjoy some curling there.
I suggest heading to the Nymphenburg Palace for this. When it gets cold enough, the shallow water in the canal near 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 to ice skate in the long, narrow rinks. The only catch is that you will need to bring your 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.
Visit a Sauna
Munich has some beautiful 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. Saunas are said to increase circulation, which improves immunity and metabolism. These are the perfect thing to ward off the cold and a fun winter thing to do.
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, Dantebad is where you want to go this winter.
- Open from early in the morning until late at night.
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 and special winter exhibitions that change.
If you prefer modern art, then visit Pinkakothek der Moderne or Museum Brandhorst. The Bavarian National Museum is wonderful at this time of year, so make a stop there, if only for some outdoor photos.
- 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 most incredible things to do is to take a look at the city from above.
From the snow-dusted roofs of the Old Town buildings to the towers of Old St. Peter’s Church, seeing Munich from a new perspective is a treat. You can get up to the new city hall’s belfry or buy a ticket for the Alter Peter bell tower for views in central Marienplatz.
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 great way to see Munich in all its wintry glory.
If you are visiting Munich in December, then shopping is probably on your mind. For Christmas gifts, the Christmas markets I already mentioned are a great place to start. But if you wanted to do more general shopping, then the city center is great for all kinds of shopping.
There are also many luxury shopping stores but actually, there are shops for all budgets. 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 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 a break from sightseeing in the cold, then I suggest exploring by tram. Munich offers a cute Christmas tram to take you around the city center.
It runs throughout Advent and is a nice antidote to the wintry cold. The relaxing 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 – 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. 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 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 in the village of Hohenschwangau.
To go up to the castle, you can take a shuttle, hike, or drive. I suggest skipping the carriage ride and do the hike instead. Once you arrive, you will be awed by the mixture of history, romance, and nature.
- You can visit during the winter from 10 am – 4 pm.
This is a great day trip to take from Munich. Check out guided tours to Neuschwanstein Castle.
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 – such as seeing 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 sunset 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.
- Check out guided tours to Rothenburg ob der Tauber here.
- Here is my travel guide for Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
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 Alps’ north edge. Munich only sits about 30 miles (50 kilometers) 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, some 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.
- Check out my post with the best places to visit in Bavaria (you might find more travel inspiration for Bavaria!).
Day Trip to Salzburg
While I have not been to Salzburg in the winter myself (just in the fall), I am pretty sure that Salzburg is a perfect winter day trip from Munich.
After all, Salzburg is one of the prettiest cities in Europe – and is known to be even more beautiful in the winter. So, if you base yourself in Munich, I highly suggest making an effort to visit Salzburg, Austria but near the German border.
Start your day early to explore the city center with its many sights and attractions and, if you visit in December you can also head to the Christmas Markets. You can check out guided tours to Salzburg here.
- If you are looking for more Salzburg tips, check out my Salzburg itinerary.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON VISITING MUNICH IN THE WINTER MONTHS
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 winter in Munich trip.
Check out my Bavaria itinerary here.
Planning your first trip to Germany? Then check my travel tips for your first trip to Germany.