A 10 km walk (roughly 6 miles) through Munich's city centre as the old saying goes: Always heading for the sun! Soaking up the warmth of spring and, at the same time, enjoying unforgettable insight into the city.
The merry month of May. Everyone heaves a collective sigh. Spring has clearly arrived, the jackets are off, the beer gardens are filling up and the trees are in bloom. I love this season, not just because nature has finally re-awoken from its hibernation, but for the city and its inhabitants as a whole. Where for months it seemed so quiet, sun terraces are now bursting at the seams as if by magic, because locals and tourists are sat out on chairs, smiling blissfully and stretching their faces towards the sky. It is the perfect time to explore Munich on foot and spend the whole day outdoors!
"At Morso it’s all about: familiarity. And it’s this wonderful getting-together between neighbours that makes the atmosphere so great."
10:30 am – Morso Caffetteria: A whistle-stop tour of Italy
The teeny-tiny Morso exudes Italian flair like no other place. In the morning, the few available chairs in front of the Caffetteria are quickly filled, where guests crane their necks towards the sun in wonderful style. But there is always a free spot after a short wait, because many of the regulars see it like the Italians do: Just a quick espresso, a spot of chit chat and then on they go. At Morso it’s all about familiarity. And it’s this wonderful getting-together between neighbours that makes the atmosphere so great.
I make my way around the corner at half past ten and spot one last empty seat in front of the café. The portafilter rattles away, and I find it so hard to choose between the many different types of focaccia and panini on offer. At the bar, I order a cappuccino and take a cornetto filled with chocolate, a little something seductively prepared for you to help yourself to. It's still warm and my mouth is watering. Then I sit outside, the sun is already shining directly on my spot and into the recesses of the small cafe. I doubt very much that there could be any better start to the day. A small yet beautifully special piece of Italy, situated between Maxvorstadt and Schwabing.
11:30 am – Ludwigstrasse: Walking along Boulevard Ludwig I.
From Café Morso, Munich’s expansive Leopoldstrasse is just a short walk through Schwabing. I make my way along Georgenstrasse, admiring the many striking buildings and monuments that can be found here, before arriving at the end of the road and turning south to Leopoldstrasse. Having already arrived at the Siegestor, the path takes me further and onto Ludwigstrasse; with its wide pavements, it is one of the best streets to enjoy a walk towards the old town: past the Geschwister-Scholl-Platz and the university via various neo-romantic and neo-renaissance buildings towards Odeonsplatz. Naturally, it should be mentioned at this point that it is all thanks to King Ludwig I and his vision for this boulevard that we are able to bask in today’s sunshine at this spot.
12:30 pm – Max-Joseph-Platz: Enjoying the city centre buzz
I decide to take a breather at the Max-Joseph-Platz, which I arrive at via the Residenzstrasse after just a five-minute walk. The plentiful seating available along the Königsbau and on the steps of the Nationaltheater mean that you always catch a bit of sun here. I decide to take the weight off my feet at the Königsbau and let my eyes wander over the sun-drenched Max-Joseph-Platz. To my left lie the beautiful Nationaltheater and the Residenztheater, situated directly opposite the Kuffler, an elegant restaurant whose loggia – designed by the architect Leo von Klenze and now under monument protection – offers a great view of the entire square and the Maximilianstrasse that leads from it.
After enjoying a few minutes to catch my breath, I realise that I'm thirsty but also (and most of all) I want to leave the hustle and bustle behind for a moment and take in a new perspective. In order not to become tangled up in the fray of the pedestrian zone, I turn right at Max-Joseph-Platz in Maffaistraße and go to Hotel Bayerischer Hof in the direction of Lenbachplatz.
1:15 pm – Kulturdachgarten: Dive into an oasis on the parking deck
Just a few minutes walk from Lenbachplatz, there is the parking garage situated on Stachus in Adolf-Kolping-Strasse. No, I’m not lost, don’t worry. I'm right here, because it's up to the sundeck for me from here! So to speak. I take the lift to the top where the Kulturdachgarten is located – a nice café, perhaps even something of a little oasis in the city centre. It is situated right in the middle of the parking deck and is made of light wood; it contains a small selection of plants and even some garden boxes that anyone can use to plant with as they wish.
The great thing about the Kulturdachgarten is that it has no roof at all and because of its elevation, it gets a lot of sun. Assuming, of course, that the sun is shining. In midsummer, it can get pretty crowded up here on the rooftops after work; many come here to enjoy a few drinks while waiting for a pink, instagram-perfect sundown experience. Now, at lunchtime, there are only a few places occupied.
I order an iced juice spritzer at the counter and collapse blissfully into the big cushions. It is comfortable here, calm and decelerating. And if I feel the sun slowly getting to me, I then retreat under one of the creatively designed shade sails made with wood.
Oh, and by the way: If you are hungry, you will also find a few delicious dishes on the menu and, of course, there are coffee variations and alcoholic drinks to complement the juice spritzers.
3:30 pm – Preysingstrasse: Roaming the 1-million strong village
It's time for one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods that Munich has to offer: Haidhausen, the million-strong village, so to speak, because: Haidhausen radiates pure Bavarian charm, it is not far removed from the city centre and yet it stands out thanks to its village character and one of the most beautiful streets the city has: Preysingstrasse. To arrive there, I make my way back to Odeonsplatz around 2:30 pm and then go via Maximilianstrasse to the Isar, at which point I cross over the bridge. Moving from the imposing Maximilianeum building – home to the state parliament – the Wienerplatz (and the heart of the district) is just a stone's throw away. Here, shady chestnut trees are scattered around and a blue-white maypole can be seen, which welcomes me in traditional fashion to Haidhausen.
Oh, and by the way: If you don’t fancy the walk, you can arrive at Karlsplatz-Stachus on Tram 19, heading in the direction St.-Veit-Strasse and get off at Max-Weber-Platz. From there, it is only a short walk to Wienerplatz.
"The road is lined with small houses, raising the tantalising question: Is this a village or a big city?"
I turn into Preysingstrasse and once again am confronted with the reality: Even if Munich is as relaxed as it is, and the desire for cosiness is almost as important as the desire for a nice cool beer, this spot really is the epitome of serenity. The road is lined with small houses, raising the tantalising question: Is this a village or a big city? One highlight visitors will enjoy is the Kriechbaumhof, the clubhouse of the German Alpine Club, an alpine hut situated in the middle of the district.
4:30 – Gaststätte zum Kloster: bolster your energy reserves with Bavarian cuisine
In Preysingstrasse there is the quaint restaurant 'Gaststätte zum Kloster', where local neighbours in particular love to meet. I'm heading there now because my stomach is beginning to grumble, and the blossoming cherry trees that shade the place are so inviting. I look for a spot on the beautiful terrace and order from a hand-written menu of the day the courgette and cream cheese, which tastes fantastic. The afternoon sun continues to permeate through the leaves and the refreshing beer cools my throat – everything just as it should be.
6:30 pm – Maximiliansanlagen & Friedensengel: Enjoying a walk through the Maximiliansanlagen to the Friedensengel
At around 7 pm I make myself comfortable at the Friedensengel. Watching the sun go down slowly and seeing Munich become enveloped in a golden light is a beautiful end to a long spring day.
Just to let you know: If you’d like to savour a drink at the Friedensengel, you can buy a bottle of wine, beer or something else from the kiosk at Gasteig (Rosenheimer Strasse 8) or the organic market (Wiener Strasse 52) situated at Wiener Platz.
8:30 pm – Haus der Kunst: Immerse yourself in the elegant ambience of the Golden Bar
And because even after sunset I still have not had enough of this city, its warmth and the stunning interplay of colour throughout the day, I walk across Luitpold bridge and head to Prinzregentenstrasse, which leads me past the banks of the Eisbach and ends at the Haus der Kunst.
"Drinks are top notch and cost a pretty penny, the air is fresh thanks to the adjoining English Garden and with luck a DJ will put on some music that will carry me through the night."
Behind it awaits one of Munich’s most elegant terraces belonging to the Goldene Bar, and it certainly lives up to its name. The terrace is well staffed, the sky is painted pink, the crowd a wonderful blend of bright and beautiful personalities: From the tourist, who has just been to an exhibition at the Haus der Kunst, to young students, to business types who are just finishing work. Drinks are top notch and cost a pretty penny, the air is fresh thanks to the adjoining Englischer Garten and with luck a DJ will put on some music that will carry me through the night.
The sun has long set as I make my way home. Inspired by the day I realise once again that this city will always be my favourite at this time of the year – and lucky for me, I still have a few months ahead before the sun obscures itself from view behind the house facades.