Spring in the Maxvorstadt district.

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

Covid-19: current regulations

Hotels and accommodation establishments, shops, indoor and outdoor catering, and also clubs and discos are open. However, restrictions apply. All other important information on the coronavirus and your stay in Munich can be found here.

A stroll through the Werksviertel with Loomit

Our author meets Munich personalities on a walk. This time: street art artis Loomit shows us around his Werksviertel-Mitte.

Our author meets Munich personalities on a walk. This time: street art artis Loomit shows us around his Werksviertel-Mitte.

The Asam brothers and their sacred chamber

The Asamkirche is the masterpiece of the Asam brothers. In Munich, however, it is not only the church that reminds us of their work. A tour.

The Asamkirche is the masterpiece of the Asam brothers. In Munich, however, it is not only the church that reminds us of their work. A tour.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

The Karlsplatz-Stachus was an important junction in Munich in the sixties. This is most likely where the expression „Da geht’s ja zua wia am Stachus“ originates from.

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.

One of the most beautiful squares in Haidhausen: Weißenburger Platz is always planted differently.

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.

Academy of Fine Arts in the Maxvorstadt district.

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.

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

Hogwarts sends his regards: in the small meeting room of the Neues Rathaus on Munich's Marienplatz.

Exclusive tour through the town hall

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 18 €

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!

The game of suffering, death and resurrection

The inhabitants of Oberammergau staging probably the world's most successful and largest amateur play. Buy your Tickets here.

The inhabitants of Oberammergau have staged what is today probably the world's most successful and largest amateur play. Buy your Tickets here.

Dates, tropical and exotic fruits are also offered at the Viktualienmarkt.

Viktualienmarkt Tasting Tour

Discover the most delicious delicacies of the city and learn all kinds of interesting facts about Munich's most famous food market.

Book now for 32 €!

Discover the most delicious delicacies of the city and learn all kinds of interesting historical facts about Munich's most famous food market.

Climb 306 stairs up to the viewing platform of St Peter’s Church and enjoy exactly this view of the Marienplatz and the Frauenkirche.

Visit to the Town Hall Balcony

Join us on the famous balcony of the New Town Hall, where FC Bayern has celebrated a triumph many times - and enjoy the beautiful view over Marienplatz.

Book now for only 6 €!

Join us on the famous balcony of the New Town Hall, where FC Bayern has celebrated a triumph many times - and enjoy the beautiful view over Marienplatz.