Overview

Munich sunset
Munich sunset © Polybert49

The Bavarian city of Munich is one of the country's favourite tourist destinations, offering a unique combination of modern flair and traditional charm, all mixed together with a heavy helping of Gemutlichkeit, the special German term for hearty, happy and healthy togetherness.

München, to give it its German name, is traditionally known for its breweries and beer halls, conjuring up images of jolly red-cheeked men in lederhosen downing steins of beer served by friendly waitresses done up in blonde pigtails. While there's plenty of this sort of fun to be had, there's much more for travellers to sample other than just excellent beer. The city has numerous great museums, art treasures, hi-tech industries and gems of Gothic and baroque architecture, and also serves as the gateway to the Bavarian Alps, drawing winter sports enthusiasts from near and far.

Founded in 1158 on the banks of the River Isar, the city acquired its name, which roughly translates to 'by the monks', because of the Benedectine monastery located in its current Old Town. It was the monks who started the beer brewing tradition for which the city is now world-famous, particularly since a certain annual beer festival began in 1810. Today about six million people visit Oktoberfest every year, consuming more than five and a half million litres of beer during its two-week run. All in all, Munich is a fun-loving and vibrant town of charm and celebration.