This past week, I had the opportunity to travel to Munich for a soccer match with some colleagues for work. Rarely do I get to travel overseas for work. Actually, I never get to travel overseas for work. So in this case, I was excited to be able to take part in the trip, especially when the majority of the expenses are covered. Count me in.
Munich itself is fairly easy to navigate. Everything really centers around Marienplatz. Similar to a bicycle spoke, the main sites of the city all stem from the center. It has some interesting architecture. Some of the building sites are ornate and rich in history. Others are a weird mix of sudo-contemporary buildings that were likely built after WW2. In some cases there doesn’t seem to be much emphasis on aesthetics which is a shame because Europe is really one of those dramatically different places where the buildings tell a story. Munich has it’s own story, but in most cases, the architecture doesn’t pay tribute to it.
As a guest on the trip, I didn’t have a choice in selecting the hotel, but I must say that I absolutely loved our accommodations at the Roomers Hotel, a Marriott property. The hotel is chic and modern, with a small lobby that surrounds a bar and plenty of seating areas. There’s an excellent restaurant onsite, IZAKAYA, that also serves as a late night bar and the location for the morning breakfast buffet, which is also phenomenal. The rooms are a bit smaller, but have contemporary decor. Black and gold accents throughout, open shelving and wardrobes, a relaxing rain shower and a large balcony with a pleasant seating area.
My favorite addition to the hotel however, was the complementary candy station in the main lobby. Apparently there is a Haribo factory nearby, so at the base of the elevators in the lobby is a candy spread similar to one you might find in a specialty candy store, where you purchase candy by the pound. There are little takeaway baggies and just about every sweet you can imagine – all complementary! Personally, I have a major sweet tooth and it was hard to resist helping myself to a scoop of gummy candies every time I passed by.
The Roomers Hotel is situated just west of the main train station. It’s within walking distance, but it is a bit of a longer walk than I would prefer. However, just in front of the hotel is Landsberger street and there are frequent trams that picked up usually every 5 – 7 minutes just outside the hotel. Ubers are frequent and easy to hire and the regular Uber cars (being in the heart of Germany) tend to be Mercedes, BMWs, Porsches and the like, so you feel like you’ve been upgraded every time. The only downside to hiring an Uber is the flow of traffic. We found it much quicker and easier to take the tram to a stop close to our destination and then walk in as many of the streets are one way and flow through or around the center of town which tends to be very congested. We found that a combination of walking and tram rides is really the most efficient way to get around the city if you’re trying to make the most of your time.
See and Do
Munich is a great city to walk around and site see in. It doesn’t quite have the same old-world appeal as other European cities, but it definitely has a lot to admire. Some of my favorite sites included Marienplatz and the surrounding area, the market at Viktualienmarkt, the cafes just outside of Frauenkirche are for great people watching, the Love and Hate installations at Siegestor, Hofgarten and it’s gorgeous rotunda, watching the surfers at the natural wave pool at Eisbachwelle and finally, climbing the 300 stairs up to the lookout on top of St Peters church.
If you happen to be in town for an FC Bayern Munich game, definitely check out Allianz Arena. The stadium is massive and the Munich fans are loyal like no other. I attended my first European soccer match while visiting and sure was impressed by the size of the stadium and the scale of the crowd.
Eating and Drinking
If you’re hoping to experience some luxury while in Munich, definitely stop into the Bayerischer Hof hotel and grab a drink or a meal. The interior of the hotel is dramatic and jaw dropping and the bar is a great place to see and be seen.
San Francisco Coffee Shop is a nice little spot near Hofgarten to stop in and grab an espresso or a quick bite.
If you’re looking for a traditional German beer hall experience, just up the road from Roomers is the Augustiner. We fell into this crowded hall on a Saturday night and made friends the the locals at the communal tables, enjoyed way to many oversized pretzels and drank beers larger than our own heads. It’s a great place to make friends and talk with the locals and tourists alike.
One of the best meals I had in the city was at this amazing little Italian place called Rocca Riviera. The food in Munich is heavy, traditional German-style food in most places, so if you’re looking for something out-of-the-norm, Rocca Riveria is an excellent option. The food was exceptional and the cocktails and wine were perfect additions to the meal. They had a charming outdoor space, but also, the interior of the restaurant is fun and chic. Their menus even have a sort of tropical feel with palm leaves and flamingos on the exterior.
Munich is a nice German city with some interesting sights to check out. It was certainly worth seeing as part of our trip to Allianz – which is an incredibly impressive arena. The area around Marienplatz is definitely worth walking around and exploring, as well as the sights mentioned above. However, I don’t think I could have spent more than a day or a day and a half sight seeing. The architecture in Munich is a blend of contemporary (although contemporary could be considered a stretch) and gothic or baroque buildings and, overall, I just didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it either, but I don’t know that it would be on a ‘must see’ or ‘must do’ list for me.
Have you been to Munich? If so I’d love to hear your thoughts. Send me a message or comment below.