Munich is the third largest city of Germany and the capital of the state of Bavaria (in German: Bayern).
In the old centre (Altstadt) there are many interesting historical buildings. The Marienplatz is the heart of the city with the beautiful neo-gothic Neue Rathaus. This building has a tower with the symbol of Munich, a little monk. The name of the city derives from the German word for little monk ('mönchen').
Every year - beginning on the last Saturday of September - Munich is the stage for a big party, the Oktoberfest. Large quantities of beer are consumed and millions of tourists are attracted.
The city has 1.3 million inhabitants, but including the suburbs, Greater Munich has a population that is twice as big.
Munich is located on the river Isar in the south of Germany, close to the northern mountains of the Alps. Due to its location, its summers can be rainy and its winters fairly cold. Sometimes there is a warm wind from the mountains (the föhn), which may increase the temperature within a matter of hours.
The city has the strongest economy of all Germany. Munich plays a leading role in biotechnology, ICT and new services. Microsoft's German headquarters, for example, are located in Munich, as are technology giants Siemens and Infineon. The automobile and machine industries are also represented well, with the factories and headquarters of BMW, MAN (lorries), MTU Aero Engines and Krauss-Maffei.
Also, the city is a financial centre. The insurance giants Allianz and Munich Re have their headquarters in the city. There are also many publishing houses and many fairs and conferences are held in Munich.
The international Franz Josef Strauss airport is located 30 kilometres to the north-east of the city. The Airport has many international connections to for example London, Amsterdam and Paris. There are two train connections (Schnellbahn) to the airport: the S1 from the east of the city and the S8 from the west. There are plans to connect the airport to the Hauptbahnhof via a magnetic hover train. This means that the airport can be reached from the centre in 10 minutes.
Munich has an excellent public transport network, consisting of city trains (S-Bahn), metro's (U-Bahn), trams and buses. The Hauptbahnhof and the smaller train stations Pasing and Ostbahnhof are public transport nodes. The tram and the U-Bahn are very suitable to explore the city centre. For the suburbs, the S-Bahn is the best form of public transport.
You can buy a day ticket, which is valid for the entire network. In addition, there is what is called the Streifenkarte, comparable to the Dutch strip card.
Traffic and Parking
The city is located on a junction of the German motorways (Autobahn), which all connect to the central ring road (Mittlerer Ring) around the city. Keep in mind that these motorways are extremely busy during morning and evening rush hour, during the winter and during weekends, and at the beginning and end of German school holidays. There can be extremely long traffic jams on the motorways around the city.
As the political, economic, social and cultural centre of South-Germany, Munich is a busy city. It can be problematic to orientate and at the same time pay attention to the busy traffic. Also, it can be difficult to find a place to park. The best way is to park your car in a car park and to proceed on foot or by public transport. Near the Hauptbahnhof is the large Karlsplatz car park, and just to the south of the shopping area Kaufingerstrasse is the Faebergraben car park.
The city has a huge number of possibilities to stay the night. Around the Hauptbahnhof you will find both cheap (youth) hostels and luxury hotels. However, anywhere in Munich there are hotel accommodations in every price range, with a concentration in the area of Schwabing and around the Ostbahnhof. Munich attracts many business travellers and tourists. We strongly recommend booking your hotel room in advance. If you want to visit the city during the Oktoberfest, you have to book your accommodation months (even up to a year) in advance.
For more information about Munich, we recommend Google, and the following sources: