From 5 to 10 September 2023, the International Motor Show (IAA) will be held in Munich for the second time. This trade fair is not merely an automotive show; it covers the full range of urban mobility options as well as presenting solutions for the future. There is a great deal more to be discovered in Munich on the topic of mobility too, whether by means of an open-air city tour by rickshaw or a visit to one of the many museums and exhibition halls exploring the subject. 10 tips.
The IAA Mobility 2023, the leading global mobility platform with a festive character, seeks dialogue with the city's guests and locals on the future of mobility from 5 to 10 September. Established large companies will exhibit their vehicles and mobility solutions as well as dynamic start-ups. Vehicle highlights, autonomous means of transport and brand-new technologies will also be presented outside Messe München. The city's most beautiful squares, such as Marienplatz, Odeonsplatz and Königsplatz, form an "open space" with the opportunity to experience innovative mobility live and also to test it.
For example, emission-free cars will be available at several drop-off points in the IAA Open Space as part of the "Test Drives". In the English Garden, bicycles and e-bikes can be tried out on two circuits of different lengths.
Located on the site of the former Deutsche Bahn railway repair shop with listed locomotive hall, visitors to the centre can marvel at luxury-class automobiles 365 days a year – and with free entry. Many of the magnificent Bugatti, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and BMW models, to name but a few of the more than 25 luxury brands on display, have their own glazed parking box.
And there’s more to do than just look. From classic cars to sports supercars and even motorbikes, with accessories and repair services for your special vehicle on offer, there are plenty of interesting shopping opportunities here. The décor of the Ameron München Motorworld four-star hotel and the various restaurants in the grounds also plays with the topic of automobiles. The three Car & Bike Studios at the Ameron are a very unique offering, providing stylish accommodation not only for guests, but also for their vehicle: devoted owners need never take their eyes off their car or bike while in the ground-floor studios, as only glass separates the living quarters from the vehicle.
Now that the planes are taking off and landing again, life has returned to the visitor park at Munich Airport. This is where visitors can come to watch planes take off and land up-close, from the viewing hill. From Wednesday to Sunday enthusiasts can also join the daily tour of the airport grounds at 3.00 p.m., and the mini golf course, large playground and beer garden at the Visitors’ Park are all now open as well. Air travel fans will find model aeroplanes and anything else their hearts desire at the airport shop.
What could be more exciting than discovering Munich from the comfort of a rickshaw while you savour a cool beer and a pretzel, with a friendly, knowledgeable guide all to yourself? A rickshaw makes it possible to travel to many places in Munich’s historic Altstadt neighbourhood which cannot be accessed by car or bus. This tour also gives you the freedom to spontaneously decide whether to take a short break to browse the stalls at the Viktualienmarkt or spend some time at the Englischer Garten or by the Isar river. The rickshaw will be available for a full 90 minutes to take you wherever you want to go.
Is it true? Was Munich really a pioneer of European graffiti? Yes, that’s right – and to this day the area around the Isar river is home to a lively street art scene. The Museum of Urban and Contemporary Art (MUCA) in Munich’s Altstadt offers a regular bike tour of the city’s Halls of Fame in addition to its in-house exhibitions. Our author has already tried the tour for anyone interested in taking it. You can find her report and a collection of photos from the experience here
The two subsidiary branches of the Deutsches Museum in Munich – the Verkehrszentrum (transport museum) and the Flugwerft Schleißheim (aviation museum) – are the first ports of call for everything you need to know and see when it comes to mobility, from its origins to perspectives on future forms of movement. The main museum on Museumsinsel (Museum Island) includes a transport section which focuses on shipping and historic aviation. Meanwhile, you can see the world’s first petrol car at the Verkehrszentrum near the Oktoberfest fairgrounds, along with the first sports car and the wooden precursors to our modern bicycles. Flugwerft Schleißheim has impressive exhibits of its own, from an early glider to the Eurofighter fighter jet. All Deutsches Museum venues offer a wide range of guided tours. You can find more detailed information here.
BMW Welt and the BMW Museum in Munich are great for independent exploration, though BMW has now begun offering guided tours again if that’s what you prefer. At BMW Welt, a distinction is made between open guided tours and exclusive guided tours, with the latter additionally catering to specific guest requests as well as providing details of the historic development, architecture and automotive delivery processes.
The BMW Museum tour will lead you through the entire collection of around 125 exhibits. Last but not least, the BMW Group Classic Tour is also available for group bookings. The tour takes visitors back through the history of how the company developed, and includes an opportunity to see the museum’s heritage collection of vehicles as well as visits to the BMW Group Classic Center and the historic workshop.
Anyone with an interest in industrial architecture has good reason to visit this museum. The entrance hall is a “workshop cathedral” that dates from the early 20th century. So it’s no surprise that the MVG museum, which spans some 500 square metres, is used for all kinds of events. The main attraction of the collection here is that it encompasses everything you need to know about the 130-year history of Munich’s local transport system, from horse-drawn trams to electric buses.
The museum has around 25 historic trams, buses and work vehicles from various eras on display, as well as a wealth of photos and text artefacts illustrating the technical details of these means of transport and detailing where they were used. The exhibition also includes a section dedicated solely to city history in connection with the development of transport over the years. Uniforms and accessories, signs and advertisements, signals, machinery and tools are included among the exhibits on show. At the end of the tour you can look forward to browsing the fan shop and partaking of some light refreshments at the in-house bistro to recharge your batteries.
Apparently someone finds love on one of Germany’s major dating services every 11 minutes. A bit less often, though still pretty regularly, Munich native Daniel Hahn falls in love with another decommissioned means of transport. It might be a rail car or an entire ship – as in the case of the Alte Utting. In 2017, Hahn poured his entire financial capacity – and indeed, all of his nerve – into having this disused pleasure boat transported from Lake Ammersee to Munich’s Schlachthofviertel, where it was hoisted by crane onto a disused railway bridge.
With his brothers – who are no less go-getting – Daniel spoke to us about this task and the motivation behind a number of his other projects in an interview at the time. The Alte Utting has since become a much-loved breakfast café, beer garden and cultural venue for readings and concerts. No-one should leave Munich without at least one sunset photo of them posing as captain at the steamboat’s historic wheel.
The Marstallmuseum (Museum of Carriages and Sleighs) is located in the historic stables adjoining Schloss Nymphenburg (Nymphenburg Palace) to the south. This is where the Wittelsbach family’s saddle horses were housed during the summer from the mid-18th century onwards. The Marstallmuseum opened its doors here in 1950. It is home to more than forty carriages and sleighs belonging to the Wittelsbach family. Highlights include the coronation coach of Emperor Karl VII, built in the French Rococo style, and the fairytale coaches belonging to King Ludwig II. Richly ornamental harnesses, riding accessories and historic pictures offer further insights into the courtly world of travel and prestige.