München Museumsquartier

City hike through Munich: 5 tips for your city trip

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In March 2019, I was in Munich for the first time. For far too long, I didn’t have the Bavarian capital in my sights as an exciting city break destination that was super easy to reach from Zurich. From the weekend trip back then, I not only brought back numerous tips for a city trip to Munich, but also the realization that there will be a reunion. At that time, the three days were much too short to explore all the exciting corners of the city.

And so it is not surprising that this year at the beginning of March – before the worsening Corona situation led to border closures from one day to the next – we took the train to Munich again. This time we wanted to go on hiking trails – in the middle of the urban area – and cross Munich on one of the two city passages. The focus of our second trip to Munich was the East-West Passage, the city walk with a length of almost 12 kilometers from the Haidhausen district to Nymphenburg Palace right through Munich’s city center. A route that we divided into two stages – this time we deliberately wanted to shift down a gear and engage with this section of the city with all our senses. And we succeeded! Without hectic, we let ourselves be guided along the East-West Passage through Munich’s various districts, looked into courtyards, watched swans, allowed ourselves a culinary stop here and there, chatted with shopkeepers, enjoyed the warm spring sun and returned to Zurich after two days with many stimulating impressions and ideas.

In the following, I will show you how you too can make your city trip to Munich a wonderfully decelerating experience with a city hike.

1. Get to know new neighborhoods

As a rule, accommodation on city trips should be as central and optimally accessible as possible by public transport. As a result, we usually prefer locations around main train stations. On our first visit to Munich, we also stayed at the Ruby Lily near the train station. But if you want to take a look behind the bustling facades of a city, you are just as well served by accommodation that may seem “decentralized” at first glance.

Munich City Quarter

This time, our accommodation is located a good twelve minutes by tram from the main train station on the right side of the Isar in the Au-Haidhausen district. The district is characterized by a harmonious mix of historic buildings, lively squares, charming residential streets and casual trendy restaurants.

On my first visit, I had made my way here especially because of the ice cream parlor True & 12 Handmade Icecream. And this time, too, I secure an ice cream first before we check in at the neighboring Jams Music Hotel. Newly opened in March 2019, the boutique hotel is located not far from Rosenheimer Platz and is ideally located as a starting point for our city walk through Munich. Nostalgics will enjoy the record player, which is part of the room inventory – the matching records can be borrowed at the reception.

Jams is also a great place to have a relaxed breakfast. There is no buffet, but a pretty, small menu that is full of delicacies. Dishes not only sound good, but are served really nicely arranged and also taste delicious!

2. Gain new perspectives on sights

On city trips, the focus is usually on “sights”. And while we rush euphorically from one attraction to the next, it is easy to forget that there is still a lot to discover in between. This time, we’re turning the tables. On the East-West Passage, the journey is the reward. Facades, streets, paths and materials, trees, blossoms, flowers – today we focus our attention on the small details along the way. This opens up unexpected perspectives and makes some sights that we have already looked at last time appear in a new light.

The East-West Passage starts at Prinzregentenplatzin the Bogenhausen district – less than a 15-minute walk from our hotel. The square is bordered by buildings from the Wilhelminian period as well as the Prinzregententheater. From here, the city walk takes us along the straight road axis to the Angel of Peace. At lofty heights, the golden angel watches over the city – and for us there is the first beautiful view over the Isar towards Munich’s old town.

Prinzregentenplatz München
Statue Friedensengel
Friedensengel Aussicht

Now the city hiking trail branches off to the right and leads us on secluded gravel paths through the green area, which stretches along the banks of the Isar in a northerly direction. At this point, we add a small additional detour and visit the idyllic Bogenhausen cemetery – a gem that some Munich personalities – including the writer Erich Kästner, whose books also accompanied me through my first years of school – chose as their final resting place from the middle of the 20th century.

Englischer Garten Spazieren

We continue over the Isar into the English Garden. Theoretically, you could walk for hours on the extensive network of paths. But a slowly emerging feeling of hunger drives us further towards Maxvorstadt. We have received a hot tip for refreshments in advance and do not want to miss the stopover in the casual garden salon. The restaurant is located in “backyard style” in the easily overlooked Amalienpassage and has plenty of delicious dishes on offer.

Gartensalon München

From here it is only a stone’s throw to the art areal. I have already summarized my highlights of this area in last year’s article on Munich. Here you can either “work your way through” the museums to your heart’s content or treat yourself to a siesta on one of the green spaces. In any case, it is worth planning a little more time for the crossing of the art area and therefore dividing the city walk on the East-West Passage into two stages.

München Museumsquartier

After a detour to the café in the Vorhoelzer Forum (with a wonderful roof terrace), we walk along former Munich boulevards towards Königsplatz.

Vorhölzer Forum Dachterrasse

At Stieglmairplatz we leave the magnificent buildings behind us for the time being and follow Dachauer-Strasse westwards. Street art, hidden creative districts, informal interim uses – this is where Munich once again shows itself with its rough edges.

München Stadtansichten
Bunte Fassaden München

On the last two kilometres, however, there is once again plenty to draw on in terms of magnificent architecture. The Hubertus Fountain is the prelude to a royal promenade that leads us straight to Nymphenburg Palace. The former summer residence of the Wittelsbachs is one of Munich’s top sights – for us, the visual final bouquet of this incredibly varied 12 kilometres through the middle of the Bavarian capital.

München Stadtwandern Ost-West Passage
Auffahrtsallee München
Schloss Nymphenburg Schwäne

3. Discover sustainable players

The city walk through Munich not only offers us the opportunity to linger on park benches or visit charming backyard cafés, but also to look out for cool shops. Munich currently has more than 20 stores that are dedicated to the topics of “fair”, “sustainable” and/or local design. The trend towards small, sustainably produced labels is also supported and promoted by Munich’s Greenstyle. In 2018, the first trade fair for sustainable fashion took place – the fourth edition this spring was held virtually, depending on the situation.

An overview of the locations of sustainable shops can be found on the website of “the green fashion Tours“. Here you can either be inspired and make a note of one or the other stopover for your own city walk, or take part in a public tour. On our approximately two-hour green fashion tour through the Kunstareal and Maxvorstadt, we were accompanied by Marisa Kohler, who herself runs the blog “myfairladies” and writes about fair fashion and a sustainable lifestyle. The exciting thing about the guided tour with a local and expert guide (which Marisa is undisputed) is that you learn a lot of background information as well as personal motivations of the shop owners and at the same time discover shops that you might not otherwise enter – such as the shop of milliner and master milliner Nicki Marquardt. Here we stop after we have treated ourselves to a coffee and a sweet refreshment in the packaging-free “Ohne” supermarket.

Nicki Marquardt Hutmacherin

But Marisa also shows us some really great shops, which even tempt me (as a self-confessed shopping grouch) to buy a pair of fairly and sustainably produced trousers as well as a matching T-shirt. By the way, in the spirit of sustainable consumption, the pants replaced the jeans I had taken with me for this trip and whose fabric was already completely worn through (unfortunately – because who likes to give up their favorite jeans?). All my favorite Munich addresses are located on the city map at the end of this post.

4. Experience less and yet more

Don’t rattle off top ten lists or “must-sees”, but enjoy the moment – and that also includes ending a balmy summer evening in Munich style in the English Garden.

Monopteros Englischer Garten
Englischer Garten München Sonnenuntergang

5. Enjoy thoughtfully and consciously

Munich not only has a dynamic shop scene, where a lot has happened in recent years in terms of sustainability and fair fashion, but also a committed slow food community. The Slow Food Association Germany lists around 15 restaurants and pubs on its list of recommendations for Munich. Among them is the “Bavarian bistro” Sir Tobi. The small restaurant is hidden in a side street not far from the Friedensengel and inspires with a consistently seasonal menu – including some classics of southern German cuisine.

If you prefer to try an excerpt of international cuisine, you are in good hands at the “Über den Tellerrand” not far from the Hotel Jams. The café, which is run by a non-profit association, promotes personal exchange between refugees and locals by cooking together. New approaches are also being taken here when it comes to payment – there is no fixed price, but a price range depending on the respective available budget.

More tips for your city walk through Munich

  • The detailed and official route description of the East-West Passage through Munich is available on komoot.
  • In the Slow Down Guide of Munich you will find a whole range of further suggestions on how and where to “slowly” shop and enjoy in Munich.
  • You can find even more tips and information about Munich on the website of einfach München: Wiedersehen in München

All sights, museums, viewpoints, cafés and restaurants mentioned in my two Munich posts with guaranteed decelerating effect can be found in the following map. Have fun exploring Munich!

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