A street lamp and old buildings at Gärtnerplatz in Munich

Overview and Test: Adventure Neighbourhoods

Is it really all Munich?

One is much like all the others, right? No way! Munich's districts couldn't be more different. Take our test to find out which district beats your heart the most and then learn how Munich went from a medieval market town to a multifaceted city of millions.

Welcome! The neighbourhoods of Munich present an array of contrasts, ready for you to experience. The home of proud “Münchners” is full of countless wonders: from the Opera to Olympiapark (Olympic Park), graffiti to Greece, the university to UFOs, BMW to Baroque splendour, kings to carousels, and Pinakotheks to Pumuckl. This is where you can find the “reds” supporting Bayern Munich, as well as the Blue Rider – better known as Der Blaue Reiter, a renowned historic group of expressionist artists. So – to translate the title of Munich-filmed comedy “Zur Sache Schätzchen” – let’s go, baby!

Something that puzzles us: Who but a super-strong Pippi Longstocking could have manoeuvred the old steamboat onto the bridge in the Schlachthofviertel? A stroll through the city located on the Isar river quickly dispels the stereotype of Munich as a rather staid village of a million people. In Bahnhofsviertel you’ll find cafés that are so Middle Eastern; Haidhausen has streets that feel so Parisian; while in Munich’s Westend neighbourhood you can head to Westpark and wonder at the temples which are so east Asian. No one would blame you if you were to also find yourself wondering if it can all really be part of one and the same city.

How can you decide? With our district self-test you can easily find out, even if with a wink, which district suits you particularly well.

Test: Which district suits me?

Frage x von y

Once you've found the right neighbourhood, let's go! Go on a journey of discovery by public transport, by bike or on foot. No path is really far in Munich.

Have fun on your very own adventure in Munich's neighbourhoods!

A lot of water flowed down the Isar before Munich became the liveable and lovable cultural and pleasure metropolis we know today.

 

A brief history of Munich’s city districts

Munich started out as a little oval of a place: the walled medieval market square measured just 17 hectares. To give you a sense of scale, today Munich’s Olympiapark (Olympic Park) is exactly five times that size. First recorded as “Munichen” in 1158, the settlement grew into a burgeoning trading centre under its founder, Henry the Lion (Heinrich der Löwe) of the Welf dynasty. In fact, it was so successful that it soon outgrew its boundaries, and the city was extended just 100 years after its founding.

The Wittelsbach dukes added a second defensive wall to the town during the 13th century, thereby creating significantly more space for their future royal seat. That original little oval grew into what we now know as Altstadt (Old Town) – a big, fortified, mushroom-shaped neighbourhood. There would once have been many gates to the city, of which three of survive splendidly today: Sendlinger Tor, Karlstor and Isartor. In the Middle Ages the city was separated into four parts – and even now we refer to districts as Stadtviertel, which simply translates as “city quarters”. You’ll find that the word “Viertel” is much more commonly used about neighbourhoods in Munich than in cities that were never divided into literal quarters.

It used to be the case that the gates in the city walls were closed every night; however, by the end of the 18th century residents were complaining that this custom made them feel trapped rather than safe. So from 1791, the fortifications started to be dismantled and the ditches filled in. It was not long before new suburbs sprang up around the historic city centre, most notably Maxvorstadt (with multiple world-renowned museums in its Kunstareal area), followed a little later by the neighbourhood around Gärtnerplatz, which was one of the first construction projects in the Isarvorstadt district.

The Wittelsbach family were enthusiastic art lovers and builders. Architectural ensembles dating from the time of King Ludwig I (1786 – 1868) are defining characteristics of the cityscape to this day, including the royal avenue of Ludwigstrasse; neoclassical Königsplatz where the Glyptothek art gallery is; and the impressive buildings of the Pinakothek galleries.

Insider Tip: City Hiking

Munich is so compact that you can walk through it in one day. We have tested two tours for you:

The 21-kilometre North-South Passage leads from BMW Welt and the Olympic Park always towards the sun to the beer gardens on the Isar in the south of the city. The East-West Passage starts in Bogenhausen and ends in Nymphenburg Palace. Both tours can also be comfortably covered in several stages.

Next came the incorporation of nearby places which were much older than Munich – some of them already with town status, such as Au and Schwabing. By 1900 all these places had been incorporated, and they still retain their original names as city neighbourhoods today: Haidhausen and Au were followed by Giesing, Sendling, Neuhausen and Schwabing, and finally Bogenhausen, Nymphenburg and Thalkirchen.

Extremely diverse settlements and municipalities were thrown together to form one large whole: farmsteads, former seats of nobility and Schloss Nymphenburg (Nymphenburg Palace), but also urban municipalities such as Au, with its working class suburb of Haidhausen. The individual character of each neighbourhood is still tangible today, and each city quarter is a world of its own.

 

 

Text: Karoline Graf; Photos: Frank Stolle, Dominik Morbitzer, Fabian Christ, Redline Enterprises, Waldperle1
A church window in the Salvatorkirche in Munich

Munich's church windows

The most beautiful windows of the city

Michael Mayer of Mayer’sche Hofkunstanstalt presents the most spectacular church windows.

Fascinating people for centuries: Michael Mayer of Mayer’sche Hofkunstanstalt presents the most spectacular church windows the city has to offer.

The monument to Max I. Joseph in front of the Residenz

Munich’s royal monuments

Four kings and a prince regent

In Munich there are fantastic monuments to admire. Where they are and what makes them so special.

In Munich there are several fantastic monuments to admire. Where they are and what makes them so special: an overview.

The tour guide Alvestad-Aschenbrenner stands in the Museum for Abgüsse Klassischer Bildwerke Munich

Ludwig I of Bavaria

When Munich became an „Athens on the Isar“

Ludwig I of Bavaria converted Munich into his "„Athens on the Isar“, many buildings still remind us of this today. An interview.

Ludwig I of Bavaria converted Munich into his "„Athens on the Isar“, many buildings still remind us of this today. An interview with a tour guide.

Young woman sitting at a window in a tram in Munich.

Column

A vacation in my own city

Our author used to be a travel blogger. Now she has started to explore her own city: Munich!

Our author used to be a travel blogger. Now she has started to explore her own city: Munich!

View from the inside of a figure of the carillon in the New Town Hall in Munich.

New Town Hall

The Glockenspiel in ten pictures

An exclusive look behind the scenes.

The Glockenspiel on Marienplatz has been enchanting visitors and locals for over 100 years. An exclusive look behind the scenes.

Panoramic view of Karlsplatz / Stachus in Munich with the Frauenkirche in the background photographed from the air.

Munich's city centre

Classical and curiosities

Numerous Munich stories can be told along the roughly one-kilometer-long route between Karlsplatz-Stachus and Marienplatz square. A city walk.

Numerous interesting Munich stories can be told along the roughly one-kilometer-long route between Karlsplatz-Stachus and Marienplatz square. A city walk.

Weissenburger Platz in Munich photographed from above with a drone.

Haidhausen and Au

A village in the city

Haidhausen and Au have developed from working-class quarters into popular residential areas.

When strolling along the narrow streets of the districts Haidhausen and Au with small shops and green courtyards, it almost feels like being in a village in the middle of the city.

The Academy of Fine Arts in Munich in autumn.

Schwabing

From artists and writers

Around 1900, it was the artists and writers who settled around the university and the art academy and shaped the spirit of Schwabing.

In the heyday of the Schwabinger Bohème around 1900, it was the artists and writers who settled around the university and the art academy and shaped the spirit of Schwabing.

Flowerbed at Gärtnerplatz in Munich.

Gärtnerplatz and Glockenbach

Where the night begins

Independent labels, hip bars, pubs and cool inns attract the young and the young-at-heart.

The Gärtnerplatz and Glockenbach neighbourhoods are known as trendy quarters. Their independent labels, hip bars, pubs, cool inns and calm backyards attract the young and the young-at-heart.

Munich Card & City Pass

Discover Munich in a relaxed and uncomplicated way: discounts for the diverse range of art, culture and leisure activities with our guest cards.

Public transport is included

Many discounts with the Card, many things for free with the Pass.

Online or at the tourist information offices

Munich's Palace of Justice

Justizpalast Tour

During the guided tour of the present-day seat of the Bavarian State Ministry of Justice, you will learn everything about the history and significance of the neo-baroque court and administrative building.

Book now for only 20€ !

During the guided tour of the present-day seat of the Bavarian State Ministry of Justice, you will learn everything about the history and significance of the neo-baroque court and administrative building.

Small meeting room of the Neues Rathaus in Munich

New Town Hall Tour

Explore the Neue Rathaus on Marienplatz with an official City of Munich tour guide. A visit of the famous law library is also included!

Book now from 20 €

Explore the Neue Rathaus on Marienplatz with an official tour guide. A visit of the famous law library is also included!

Magistrates, Monachia and magnificent celebrations: explore the Neue Rathaus on Marienplatz with an official City of Munich tour guide. A visit of the famous law library is also included!

Exterior view of the Hofbräuhaus Munich at dusk.

Hofbräuhaus Tour

Discover the most famous beer hall in the world with an official guide of the city of Munich and enjoy a fresh Mass of beer afterward!

Book for 28€, Mass beer included!

Discover the most famous beer hall in the world with an official guide of the city of Munich and enjoy a fresh Mass of beer afterward!

Discover the most famous beer hall in the world with an official guide of the city of Munich and enjoy a fresh Mass of beer afterward!

Towers at Marienplatz in Munich

Old Town Tour

The city walk for everyone who wants to become acquainted with the most beautiful parts of Munich's city centre.

Book now for 18 €!

The city walk for everyone who wants to become acquainted with the most beautiful parts of Munich's city centre.

Wort kettle at the Spaten brewery in Munich.

Spaten Brewery Tour

Experience a brewery tour at Spaten with a look behind the scenes, interesting facts about the company history and beer tasting in the brewery tower.

Book now for only 22 €!

Experience a brewery tour at Spaten with a look behind the scenes, interesting facts about the company history and beer tasting in the brewery tower.

A woman with varnished fingernails holds a gift with the inscription "simply Munich".

Vouchers

Buy now vouchers for your visit in Munich. The ideal gift! Guided tours, guest cards and more...

Buy vouchers from 6,50 €

Buy now vouchers for your visit in Munich. The ideal gift! Guided tours, guest cards and more...

A stone jug with the inscription Oktoberfest Munich.

Order now!

Oktoberfest Shop

Bring a piece of Oktoberfest home: Purchase official souvenirs such as the Wiesn poster or the Oktoberfest beer stein in the official Oktoberfest shop.

Bring a piece of Oktoberfest home: Purchase official souvenirs such as the Wiesn poster or the Oktoberfest beer stein in the official Oktoberfest shop.

Bag on green background

Vouchers

Give the gift of a special Munich voucher: we also offer vouchers for all our guided tours. Here you can book unique Munich experiences directly online, print them out and give them as a gift voucher to friends or family.

Buy vouchers from 6,50 €

Give the gift of a special Munich voucher: we also offer vouchers for all our guided tours. Here you can book unique Munich experiences directly online, print them out and give them as a gift voucher to friends or family.