World-class cultural highlights, top international cuisine, exclusive shopping worlds and spectacular surroundings: Munich has a lot to offer in every season of the year. Here you will find a few additional and individual ideas for each month of the year.
Barbecuing on the Isar reminds you just how great it is to be alive. On warm summer evenings, people flock to the river in their thousands. The banks are jam-packed all the way up and down stream. Since its renaturisation, many locals see the Isar as their second home. It’s a place where they can relax, enjoy the sunshine, meet their friends, grab a beer or bite to eat. And it’s incredibly simple, too. The only things you need to spend the evening at the Isar after a hard day’s work is a picnic basket full of treats, a blanket and a barbecue. You can find a handy single-use version of the latter at petrol stations and supermarkets. It’s important to take care when picking your spot. While picnics are allowed almost anywhere along the Isar, barbecues are not. In the city centre area, the section known as Flaucher, to the south of Brudermühlbrücke bridge, is the only part that allows barbecues. The second BBQ zone stretches around the island near Oberföhring in northern Munich. Security guards keep an eye out and issue fines to anyone in breach of the rules. If you are unsure whether barbecues are allowed, you can check the City of Munich’s free Isar app, which contains a wealth of information. The BBQ areas also have large bins where you can empty your charcoal.
Grainau’s Midsummer Night bonfire is one of the finest in the entire Alpine region. Every year, locals from the village of Grainau light their fires in the mountains on the evening of 23 June. Before the fires are lit, young men from the village ascend the mountain, building fires on peaks, ridges and ledges. As darkness begins to descend, Waxenstein ridge slowly transforms into one long chain of lights. The mountain appears to light up, looking almost as if it’s engulfed in flames. While this is going on, the young men start their descent back down to the valley, using flares and headlamps to light their way in the dark. These bonfires can be traced back to a pagan ritual performed on 23 June for thousands of years. This is the day when the night is at its shortest and the day at its longest. These days, the fires are lit in honour of a saint. On 24 June, Catholics remember John the Baptist, which is why the bonfires are known Johannifeuer (St John’s Fire).
The southern part of Munich is home to lots of trees and water – the ideal destination for a bike tour, particularly in hot weather. Menterschwaige is a popular finishing point for tours. This beer garden and its canopy of chestnut trees is located directly above the Isar river so it is pretty easy to find. Simply follow the Isar southwards out of the city centre, past the Tierpark zoo, Flaucher park and power station. Menterschwaige is directly opposite the statue of the Isar raftsman on the eastern banks of the Isar. There are several paths leading to the beer garden. If you’re not quite ready for a break, cross over Menterschwaigstrasse and Schmorellplatz to Geiselgaststeigstrasse. This road leads you past Perlacher Forest, which is also a nice place for a detour. The smaller forest paths have been gravelled and there are a few larger tarmacked paths. If you decide to stick to Geiselgaststeigstrasse and go north instead, you can either stop at Harlachinger Jagdschlössl (a former castle-turned-restaurant with its own beer fountain) or Harlachinger Einkehr, a restaurant on a hill above the Tierpark zoo. From here, a path will lead you back down to the Isar. Many underground stations or S-Bahn stations have MVG bikes available to rent (provided by the local transport network). There is also a number of private rental agencies.
More about this: The Eisbach surfers and nudists in the Englische Garten have literally laid bare the Munich motto of “Live and let live” for all the world to see. So how much skin can you actually get away with flashing in city life? A trip through the city in your swimming shorts.