One of the most beautiful and verdant cities of Germany, Munich is the capital of Bavaria and a gateway to the Alps. It’s in this enthralling city that one can explore a sublime convergence of tradition and technology, from the architectural artefacts of Bavaria’s royal past to the country’s renowned cars and cuisine. Even at its core, Munich is clean, comfortable and cordial, leaving no wonder with regards to its high worldwide ranking in terms of quality and standard of living.
Here on a layover? Don’t miss out on the magic Munich has to offer! Follow us on a journey of up to 24 hours in Toytown, and read on for your best layover guide yet.
Munich International Airport (MUC)
Known officially as Flughafen München, Munich Airport is the second busiest airport in Germany and a modern hub of activity. Even among locals, the place is a great go-to place for a multitude of shopping, culinary and excursive experiences. If you’ve got less than six hours in Munich, get a taste of Bavaria right here before taking off.
Visas are vital! (For some of you, at least)
Before you launch into a short, exciting exploration of Munich, make sure you have all your documents in order. Germany has a long list of 116 countries whose citizens require a visa to enter, so if you’re from these countries, prepare a valid visa before attempting to leave the airport.
However, if you’re a citizen of a country in the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), or European Free Trade Association (EFTA), good news! You’re free to enter Germany without a visa.
Stop lugging around your luggage!
Your clothes, your toiletries, your personal in-flight entertainment and all those heavy bags – I hope you’re not planning on lugging all that around with you! If you need a place to temporarily store your luggage, Munich International Airport offers a Left Luggage facility to store your luggage. Simply approach the airport’s Service Centre at Terminal 1 for assistance on this.
However, do note that this service does come with a fee that increases with the size and number of bags, as well as the duration for which they are stored. Payment is accepted in cash (euros), by credit card, or by EC card.
Left Luggage at Munich Airport
Address: 24-hour Service Centre, found on Level 3 of Terminal 1
Contact: +49 89 975-2 14 75
Prices: Hand baggage, ≤5kg - 2.30 EUR (2.40 USD) per item (3 hours), 3.80 EUR (4 USD) per item (24 hours or part thereof). Regular baggage, ≤20kg - 3.30 EUR (3.50 USD) per item (3 hours), 4.80 EUR (5.10 USD) per item (24 hours or part thereof)
Website: Left Luggage Facilities
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If you have fewer than five hours: Things to do within Munich International Airport
1. Go plane-spotting at the Visitors’ Terrace
Built for aviation fans of all ages, the Visitors’ Terrace is a glassed-in attraction where you can get a panoramic view of the airport’s eastern apron, both of its runways, and the recently unveiled satellite facility of Terminal 2. Take this picture-perfect opportunity to learn more about the workings of airplanes on land, and peer through the telescopes for an up-close look at the aircrafts and ground crew!
Address: Terminal 2, Level 7
Price: Free admission
Opening Hours: 8am – 10pm daily
Access: via the Skywalk, a glass tunnel leading up from Level 5
Website: Munich Airport: Visitors’ Terrace
2. Taste the brews of Bavaria at Airbräu
Who says you need to leave the airport for an authentic taste of Bavaria? If you’re looking for a meal in the hours before your next flight, head for Airbräu, the world’s first airport brewery. Here, you’ll find seven different types of beer, all brewed by a master brewer using regional ingredients. At a price of just 2.30 EUR (2.40 USD) for half a litre, beer at Airbräu is among the most affordable in Munich.
Of course, Airbräu offers its own menu of Bavarian cuisine. In fact, it’s so delicious and affordable, locals travel from the city just for a meal here. If you’re visiting in late September or early October, lucky you! This is the Oktoberfest period, when special meals are offered – perfect for those who can’t make it to the celebration in the city.
Address: Terminal 2, Level 5; behind security check of Departure Gate H
Price: ≤10 EUR (10.60 USD) for a main course; 2.30 EUR (2.40 USD) for a 0.5L beer
Opening Hours: 8am – 1am daily
Contact: +49 89 975-9 32 80
3. Pilot a plane at the iPilot Flight Simulator
Ever wanted to fly a plane or explore its cockpit? Now you can! With Munich Airport’s iPilot flight simulator, you can choose from up to 24,000 different airports and embark on a ‘journey’ as the pilot of a Boeing 737. You might not know what this light means or that button does, but worry not – an experienced pilot instructor will be there to guide you every step of the way.
iPilot Flight Simulator
Address: Terminal 2, Level 03, Public Area
Price: 79 EUR (84 USD) for 1-hour trial flight, 158 EUR (168 USD) for a 2-hour flight experience
Opening Hours: 10am – 9pm daily
Duration: 1 to 2 hours
Contact: 089 41 41 41 040
Website: Make A Reservation
If you have fewer than eight hours: Visit Freising (**(Small tour)** 1 hour long, costs 6 EUR or 6.40 USD; **(Big tour)** 2 hours long, costs 9 EUR (9.60 USD), includes a beer dégustation and a free glass of beer.)
If you’ve got between five and eight hours to spare, escape the confines of the airport to the nearby town of Freising. As one of the oldest settlements in Bavaria, Freising is small but rich in culture and history – perfect for a quick yet immersive experience of local culture. Explore the town’s highlights, such as Freising Cathedral, full of architectural and artistic wonders, or the Bavarian State Brewery Weihenstephan, the oldest existing brewery in the world. If you’re feeling hungry, beer gardens and restaurants such as Bräustüberl Weihenstephan and Weissbräu Huber serve classic German cuisine and beer.
Address: Domberg 36, 85354 Freising, Germany
Opening Hours: 8am to 5pm/6pm (in winter/summer respectively) daily; opens at 2pm on Thursdays
Contact: +49 8161 1810
Website: Der Freisinger Dom
Bavarian State Brewery Weihenstephan
Address: Alte Akademie 2, 85354 Freising, Germany
Price: (Small tour) 1 hour long, costs 6 EUR or 6.40 USD; (Big tour) 2 hours long, costs 9 EUR (9.60 USD), includes a beer dégustation and a free glass of beer.
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 4pm (Mon to Thurs); 8:30am – 3pm (Fri)
Duration: 1 to 2 hours
Contact: +49 8161 5360
Address: Weihenstephaner Berg 10, 85354 Freising, Germany
Opening Hours: 10am – 12am daily
Contact: +49 8161 13004
Website: Bräustüberl Weihenstephan
Address: General-von-Nagel-Straße 5, 85354 Freising, Germany
Price: ~25 EUR (27 USD) for one main dish, one drink and one dessert; shared platters cost 30 EUR – 33 EUR (32 USD - 35 USD)
Opening Hours: 11am – 12am (Mon to Wed); 11am – 1am (Thurs & Fri); 10am – 12am (Sat & Sun)
Contact: +49 8161 548686
Website: Weissbräu Huber
To get to Freising, use one of the following transport methods:
- Hail down a cab for a 20-minute drive from the airport. (24 EUR to 29 EUR or 25 USD to 31 USD for a one-way trip)
- Take bus 635 from Terminal 1 and alight after 6 stops.
- Take Munich’s S-Bahn train along the S1 (light blue) line and alight at Neufahrn, then change to the train bound for Freising. Alight at Freising station.
Taxi2Airport is the easiest and most reliable way to get to and from the airport. Through secure online payments, you can book your airport transfers in advance, saving up to 35% on your journey.
To take the bus or train, you will need two single tickets per person (priced at 5.40 EUR or 5.70 USD each for adults and 1.30 EUR or 1.40 USD each for children aged 6 to 14). Each single ticket is only valid for a single one-way trip.
If you have eight hours or more: Make the most of Munich!
To travel to Munich, take the S1 line (light blue on the station map) towards the city centre – and that’s it! The S1 line is just one of the city’s seven S-Bahn lines, suburban train lines which travel through the main places of Munich. You can even switch between these lines to travel to places outside the city, like Dachau.
To find an S-Bahn train station, look out for their simple symbol of a white ’S’ against a circular green background (look carefully at the side of the train above!). For a day-long trip to Munich, purchase a Day Ticket (Tageskarte), priced at 12.40 EUR (13 USD) for individuals and 23.20 EUR (25 USD) for groups of up to five adults (two children aged between 6 and 14 count as 1 adult). These tickets allow for unlimited travel on all buses, trains and trams, from the time validated till 6am the next day.
Before you embark on your journey, get your tickets validated at stamping machines. These are available at U- and S-Bahn stations or on trams and buses. Be sure to remember this, as travelling without a validated ticket warrants a fine of 40 EUR (43 USD).
You can also take a taxi to and from the airport. Through Taxi2Airport you can book your airport transfers in advance, saving up to 35% on your journey.
2. Get some fresh air at Englischer Garten
Finally! After braving the stuffy air and cramped seating of your flight, it’s time to take a breath of fresh air. What better place to do it than Englischer Garten?
One of Europe’s largest public parks, Englischer Garten is to Munich what Central Park is to New York City. There’s more than just typical park activities to do here – have a pint of beer at the Chinese Tower or by Kleinhesseloher Lake, find photo opportunities at the park’s multicultural sights, stumble upon some (perfectly legal) nude tanners in the summer, or watch as daredevils catch a wave along the river Eisbach!
Address: 80805 Munich, Germany
Opening Hours: 24 hours daily
Access: 15-minute walk from Marienplatz station
Nearby Food: Seehaus (by Kleinhesseloher Lake, off Gysslingstrasse); Restaurant und Biergarten am Chinesischen Turm (1-minute walk from Chinesischer Turm bus stop)
Website: Englischer Garten
3. Have lunch at Hofbrauhaus
Not every day does one get to enjoy a country’s signature food within one of its most historic surroundings. Seize the opportunity to check this off your bucket list by dining at Hofbrauhaus, Munich’s oldest beer hall and one of the world’s most famous. Besides brewery classics, Hofbrauhaus also serves a wide range of Bavarian cuisine, from sausage dishes to in-house roast pork specialties. To top it all off, enjoy your meal in the midst of an authentic Bavarian atmosphere with traditional music performances!
Though Hofbrauhaus is open till 11:30pm daily, crowds in the evening can be unbearable, so it’s best to stop by for brunch or lunch instead.
Hofbräuhaus am Platzl
Address: Platzl 9, 80331 München, Germany
Price: 8.40 EUR (9 USD) for 1 litre of beer; main courses range from 4.90 EUR – 18.90 EUR (5.20 USD - 20 USD)
Opening Hours: 9am – 11:30pm daily
Access: 6-minute walk from Marienplatz station
Contact: +49 89 290136100
Website: Hofbräuhaus München
4. See the symbolic Frauenkirche
An absolute must-visit of this list is Frauenkirche, one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Considered a symbol of the Bavarian capital city, Frauenkirche is the largest hall church in the world and the tallest monument in Munich. Attend a mass at this Roman Catholic church and discover the Devil’s Footprint, or explore Bavarian history in its crypt, home to tombs of the Wittlesbach dynasty, Bavaria’s former royal family. When you’re done, ascend the church’s south tower for a panoramic view of Munich’s cityscape and the breathtaking Alps.
If you happen to be lucky enough to stop by during a festival, take time to appreciate the melody of the church bells:
Address: Frauenplatz 12, 80331 München, Germany
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 8:30pm
Access: 4-minute walk from Marienplatz station
Nearby Food: Augustiner am Dom (Bavarian cuisine & beer hall, 1-minute walk), Spatenhaus an der Oper (Bavarian cuisine & beer hall, 6-minute walk), Hofbrauhaus (7-minute walk)
Website: Der Münchner Dom
5. Shop for a material memory of Munich at Kaufingerstrasse
Round off your layover with some souvenirs from Munich’s shopping capital, Kaufingerstrasse. Running from Marienplatz to the city central of Hauptbahnhof, Kaufingerstrasse is one of Munich’s oldest streets, now home to numerous international chains like Zara, H&M and Swarovski.
Keep up with the latest fashion trends in the malls of the main street, or traverse the district’s other areas for more diversity. Find Turkish and Greek delicacies on Goethestrasse and Schillerstrasse, or head to Viktualienmarkt, Munich’s oldest and biggest farmer’s market. If you’re really running short of time, take a quick walk down to servus.heimat on Brunnstrasse. Here, you’ll find a quirky shop stocked with all sorts of keepsakes, from run-of-the-mill snowglobes to marionette dolls and even a tumbler shaped after the spires of Frauenkirche!
Address: Kaufingerstraße, 80331 München, Germany
Opening Hours: Shops are usually open from 8am – 6:30pm on weekdays and 7am – 8pm on Saturdays.
Access: 2-minute walk from Marienplatz station
Website: Guide to Kaufingerstrasse
Address: Brunnstraße 3, 80331 München, Germany
Opening Hours: 10am – 7pm, Mon to Sat
Access: 7-minute walk from München Karlsplatz station, 8-minute walk from Marienplatz station
Contact: +49 89 24294780
Munich, the world city with heart
Who says layovers have to be boring? In just under 24 hours in Munich, you’d have explored a spectrum for the senses in this convivial, cultural city. Even without leaving the airport’s vicinity, you’d have treated yourself to some of the best Bavarian culture has to offer, leaving you with memories, knowledge and anecdotes to last a lifetime.
So as your plane takes off from Munich International Airport, allow the hills of Freising and the glittering lights of Munich to bid you farewell, inviting you back for another visit to this historic and hip city.
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