Best Things to Do in Munich in Winter + Travel Tips
Are you ready for some winter fun in Munich? You most likely know that Munich is famous for its Oktoberfest, but do you know that Munich is also an awesome winter destination? Don’t let the cold and snow scare you away because there are so many cool things to do in Munich in the winter!
Whether it is the beautiful Old Town or the Christmas markets in Munich – winter in Munich is great to experience these attractions.
But that’s not all. Munich offers plenty of winter activities to keep you entertained, from ice skating in beautiful outdoor rinks to exploring museums and galleries without the crowds.
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.
A warm, waterproof jacket: A good, insulated coat is a must for staying warm in Munich’s cold winter weather.
Sweaters: Pack a few sweaters or fleece pullovers to layer under your coat for added warmth.
Thermal underwear: Thermal underwear can help keep you warm and comfortable, especially if you plan on spending a lot of time outdoors.
Scarf: A scarf is a stylish and practical accessory that can help keep your neck and face warm.
Gloves or mittens: Don’t forget to pack a pair of gloves or mittens to keep your hands warm.
Hat: A warm hat will help keep your head and ears warm, and can also be a fun fashion statement.
Waterproof boots: Munich can get snowy and slushy during the winter, so pack a pair of waterproof boots with good traction to prevent slipping.
Warm socks: Thick, warm socks will help keep your feet warm and dry while exploring Munich.
Jeans or pants: Bring a few pairs of pants or jeans that can be layered with thermal underwear or leggings.
With these essential clothing items, you’ll be ready to take on Munich’s winter weather and enjoy all the city has to offer. Don’t forget to also pack a camera, portable charger, and travel adapter so you can capture all your winter adventures!
How to Get Around
Getting around Munich in the winter can be a breeze with a little planning. Here are some ways to navigate the city during the colder months:
- Public transportation: Munich has an excellent public transportation system, including buses, trams, and trains. The city’s U-Bahn and S-Bahn train systems can get you anywhere you need to go quickly and efficiently, and they run year-round, including during the winter months.
- Walking: Munich is a walkable city, and walking is a great way to take in the beautiful winter scenery. Just make sure to wear appropriate footwear, like waterproof boots with good traction, and bundle up in warm clothing.
- Cycling: If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also rent a bike and explore the city on two wheels. Just be sure to dress warmly and bring gloves and a hat to stay comfortable. Also, just rent a bike if the streets are not frozen and slippery.
- Sightseeing bus: Join a double-decker bus for a panoramic hop-on hop-off tour of Munich and soak in the stunning views of the city. Marvel at iconic landmarks such as the Olympic Park and Nymphenburg Palace, and have the flexibility to hop on or off the bus at any point of interest. If you want to use the hop-on and hop-off buses, check out the prices here.
- Car rental: If you plan on exploring the surrounding areas outside of Munich, renting a car may be a good option. Just keep in mind that winter driving conditions can be challenging, so be sure to check the weather and road conditions before setting out. Also, in the city center of Munich, there is no need to rent a car.
With these transportation options, getting around Munich in the winter should be a breeze, allowing you to fully enjoy all the winter magic the city has to offer.
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.
MID-RANGE: 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. Check out rates here.
For more – general – Germany travel tips, check out this guide.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN MUNICH IN THE WINTER MONTHS
Okay, here are the best things to see and do in Munich between December and February.
See the Christmas Markets
If you’re in Munich in December, you have to check out the Christmas Markets! These markets are not to be missed, and trust us, you won’t regret it! Everywhere you go in the city, you’ll see beautiful decorations and colorful stalls selling all sorts of handicrafts, food, drinks, and more!
Don’t forget to try some of the festive drinks like mulled wine or Feuerzangenbowle – a red wine punch that’ll warm you up from the inside out! You can even shop for handmade decorations to bring home with you! Talk about a win-win!
One of the best markets to visit is the one in Marienplatz. It’s got a giant Christmas tree illuminated with 2,500 lights right in front of the Town Hall – how cool is that?! And if you’re into arts and crafts, the market on Münchner Freiheit is the place to be. But don’t stop there! Check out the markets at Chinesischer Turm, inside the Munich Residenz, and Wittelsbacherplatz, too! Trust us, these are some of the BEST places to be in Munich during Christmas. So, go on and get your holly jolly on!
- 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)
Dine at an Inn
How can you go to Bavaria and not try some of the specialties? Seriously, it’s a must-do! Sure, most beer gardens are closed during the winter, but no worries! You can still enjoy a drink or two at an inn. And as a fellow vegetarian/vegan, I totally get it – Bavarian food isn’t always the most veggie-friendly. But fear not, there are some options out there (even though not all-ins).
If you want to go for the obvious choice, then you gotta check out the legendary Hofbräuhaus. It’s kind of a big deal, so why not cross it off your bucket list while you’re in Munich? But if you’re up for exploring more local favorites, then you can’t go wrong with Augustiner Braustuben, Fraunhofer, Der Klinglwirt, Gasthaus Isartor, or Wirtshaus in der Au. Trust us, the locals know what’s up!
No matter where you choose to dine, any of these restaurants will be perfect for a cozy meal and a place to warm up after a day of exploring Munich. So, don’t miss out on Bavaria’s amazing cuisine!
Take a Walking Tour
Did you know that Munich has some super exciting activities all year round? Yes, even in the winter! If you’re up for exploring the city’s history and landmarks, then a walking tour is the way to go. Trust me, I’m a big fan of these tours – they’re a fun and informative way to learn about a new place.
There are tons of companies offering walking tours of Munich, so be sure to check out which one would best suit your needs. Some tours specialize in different languages or focus on specific areas of the city.
And get this – some tours are even free! But just because the tour is free doesn’t mean you can’t leave a tip for your awesome guide if you enjoyed it. It’s always nice to show your appreciation.
Most tours start from Marienplatz in the center of the Old Town, so it’s super convenient to get to. Just remember to wear comfy shoes or boots, and maybe even bring a walking stick if the roads are slick. Let’s hit the streets and explore Munich together!
Visit Deutsches Museum
Brrr, it can get pretty chilly in Munich during the winter, am I right? So, why not take a break from the cold and head indoors for a while? And if you’re looking for an educational yet fun experience, then you gotta check out the Deutsches Museum!
This place is massive and has so many cool exhibitions and collections to explore. If you’re into science, technology, and significant scientific discoveries, then you’re gonna be in nerd heaven! But with so much to see, I recommend booking a tour to get the most out of the exhibitions. Trust me, you won’t want to miss a thing!
Just a heads up, you probably won’t have time to see everything (unless you plan on staying in the museum 24/7 – we won’t judge!), so it’s a good idea to choose in advance what you want to see the most. That way, you won’t miss out on anything on your must-see list.
So, what are you waiting for? Beat the cold and head to the Deutsches Museum for an epic indoor adventure that’ll educate and entertain you all at once!
Stroll the English Garden
The English Garden in Munich is the perfect spot to take a winter stroll and soak in all that snowy goodness. But here’s a pro-tip: the best time to visit is in the morning before too many people have trampled through the snow, or before it melts under the afternoon sun. The meadows and winter scenery are so stunning that you’ll be snapping pics left and right. Don’t forget to share them on Instagram to make all your friends back home jealous!
Another must-see spot in the English Garden is Kleinhesseloher Lake. If it’s been cold enough, then the lake freezes over and turns into a winter wonderland! And what’s even better? You can ice skate on it! Gliding across the frozen lake with such a beautiful backdrop is seriously one of the coolest things to do in Munich during the winter. So, lace up your skates and get ready for an unforgettable winter adventure!
Try Bavarian Curling
Are you looking for a unique and exciting winter activity to try in Munich? Well, look no further than Bavarian curling! And if you’re looking for a charming backdrop to your curling match, then you gotta check out some of Munich’s palaces.
Our top pick for Bavarian curling is Nymphenburg Palace. When the temperatures drop, the shallow water in the canal near the palace freezes over, creating Munich’s longest curling track! How cool is that?! The track covers a whopping 500 meters between Hubertusstraße and Gerner Bridge. So, grab your broomstick and get ready to slide and sweep your way to victory in one of the most beautiful settings imaginable!
If you’re an amateur or an expert, it doesn’t matter – everyone is welcome to join in the fun at Munich’s Nymphenburg Palace! And get this, they even clear the benches in the closed beer garden to create long, narrow rinks for ice skating. How awesome is that?!
But here’s the thing, you’ll need to bring your own skates to take part in this winter wonderland. But trust us, it’ll be totally worth it! And once you’ve worked up an appetite from all the skating, head to the palace’s coffee shop to warm up with a delicious hot drink. You’ll be surrounded by other winter sports enthusiasts, so you can swap skating tips and stories. It’s the perfect way to end a fun-filled day on the ice!
Bavarian curling at Nymphenburg Palace is an experience you’ll not forget so quickly. Put on your warmest clothes, lace up your boots, and get ready to have a blast on the ice!
Visit a Sauna
You know what’s perfect after a long day of sightseeing in Munich or even just a day to chill? A visit to the city’s public baths and saunas! Not only will they offer a welcome respite from the chilly winter weather, but they also have some amazing health benefits. Did you know that saunas are said to increase circulation, which can improve your immunity and metabolism? It’s the perfect way to ward off the cold and stay healthy during the winter months.
So, where should you go for a relaxing day at the spa? Well, we recommend starting at Müllersches Volksbad. This place is done in a beautiful art nouveau style and has indoor pools that are perfect for doing laps. If you’re a serious swimmer, then Norbad is another great option. They have 33-meter lanes available that are perfect for getting in a good workout. And if you’re looking for something extra special, then head to Dantebad. They have a heated outdoor pool that’s perfect for swimming in the winter!
No matter where you choose to go, a visit to one of Munich’s public baths and saunas is the perfect way to relax and recharge. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s dive into a world of relaxation and leave all our worries behind!
- Open from early in the morning until late at night.
Visit a Museum
hile we’ve already talked about the awesome Deutsches Museum in Munich, there are a few other museums that you absolutely have to check out during your winter visit. These museums are not only great for broadening your knowledge but also for staying warm and cozy indoors!
Now, I must admit that I’m just an amateur when it comes to appreciating art. But if you’re an art enthusiast, then Munich has a few options that you’ll absolutely love. For starters, there’s the Lenbachhaus, which has an exhibit showcasing the art from the Blaue Reiter movement and special winter exhibitions that change regularly.
If modern art is more your thing, then be sure to visit the Pinakothek der Moderne or the Museum Brandhorst. And finally, the Bavarian National Museum is simply wonderful during the winter months. Even if you only stop by for some outdoor photos, it’s totally worth it!
So, whether you’re an art lover or just looking for a warm place to hang out during the winter, these museums are the perfect option.
- 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 doing 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
A winter trip to Munich is an absolute must-do for any adventurer seeking a unique and unforgettable experience. From ice skating at the Nymphenburg Palace to warming up at the city’s public baths and saunas, there’s no shortage of fun and exciting activities to try. And let’s not forget about the Christmas markets, where you can shop for handmade decorations.
For those looking to learn more about Munich’s history and culture, there are plenty of museums and walking tours available. And of course, no trip to Munich would be complete without trying some of the city’s famous Bavarian cuisine, including a visit to the iconic Hofbräuhaus.
With its beautiful winter scenery and charming atmosphere, Munich is the perfect destination for a winter getaway. So, pack your warmest clothes and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in one of Europe’s most stunning cities!
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.