On this 3-hour Introduction to Munich Tour, we'll join a local historian or expert to trace the history of Munich. We’ll talk about monks and monasteries, the Bavarian Royal family, the Third Reich, and Munich’s evolution from Alpine city to the modern cultural capital that we know today. This Munich Orientation Tour goes beyond the stereotypes that characterise this city—there is so more to Munich’s fascinating history than lederhosen-clad beer drinkers. Our route will take us through downtown Munich as we soak up various sites important to the city’s colorful (and turbulent) past. We’ll walk on the footsteps of former monks and kings as we discuss major events that have carved Munich’s character as we navigate its many eras. This is a fitting tour for first-time visitors who want to delve deep into the history of this Bavarian metropolis and get their bearings in this flourishing city.
Introduction to Munich Tour
Our Introduction to Munich Tour begins at Marienplatz, the official historic center of the city. Known as ‘market square’, this open space quickly became the primary commercial destination in the city, serving as a central meeting spot for artisans and farmers selling their wares. From this scenic setting, we’ll start by discussing the city’s foundation in 1158 using the architecture around us. From the Old Town Hall to Mariensäule with its striking gilded statue of the Virgin Mary poised on top, to the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) in its neo-gothic style, to the renowned Glockenspiel, the square doubles as a feast for the eyes.
Viktualienmarkt and Bavarian Maypoles
After we leave the historically significant square behind, our Munich Orientation Tour may take a number of different directions according to the day. As we continue through Munich’s historic center, we will stop at the key sites associated with the city. We might sniff our way through wafting smells of Bratwurst in Viktualienmarkt as we discuss Bavarian culture under the maypole, or alternatively pop into Frauenkirche (Munich Cathedral) as our docent discusses the impact of World War Two for the city using the cathedral as an example. Relentlessly bombed during the Second World War, its reconstruction in its original style stands in stark contrast to cities like Frankfurt, preserving its old world charm.
From Dukes to Kings
We’ll continue on our Munich Orientation Tour to Max-Joseph-Platz, where we will find a bevy of architecturally impressive structures like the Opera House, Former Main Post Office, and former Royal Residence. The latter served as the seat of government and residence of the Bavarian dukes, electors, and royalty from 1508 to 1918 and offers a fantastic setting to talk about the Wittelsbach monarchs of Bavaria. Standing under the bronze statue of the first King of Bavaria, Maximilian I Joseph, we’ll scratch at the surface of the Bavarian monarchy with our docent. We’ll walk to Feldherrnhalle, commissioned by King Ludwig I of Bavaria to honor the tradition of his army in 1841, but modeled after the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence. Thematically, we might move onto discuss the city’s darker days as we stand in front of this structure, which was the site of Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch in 1923 and subsequently a Nazi rallying point. We’ll touch on this history as we continue our walk through locations prevalent to the Nazi story in Old Town, before finishing up at Hofbrauhaus, a location we know Hitler frequented. Our docent will talk about the importance of beer and beer halls for Bavaria’s political and cultural past and present as we leave one another amidst the cheers of lederhosen and hoppy scents.
At the end of our Introduction to Munich Tour, we’ll be better able to better understand the historic sense of this Bavarian capital. We’ll emerge knowing more about Munich’s monasterial days, its kings and dukes, its role in the darker side of history as well as the effect of World War II from an architectural perspective. Thereafter, you will be able to continue your exploration of the city on your own, possibly by visiting the numerous world-class museums and galleries just around the corner, aware of Bavarian culture and traditions.
Where do we meet? Where does it end?
We meet in Marienplatz where we start the tour and we will end in the historic center of the old town. Your confirmation email will have the exact meeting point details along with a map, and 24 hour phone number for any last minute issues.
What if it’s raining?
Tours operate rain or shine. The majority of this walk is outside, so please be prepared with either an umbrella or a hat/sunscreen.
Can children join this tour?
Yes, we can adjust the time to 2 hours and the content to be more appropriate for younger learners.
Is this seminar walking intensive, and/or wheelchair accessible?
We do cover quite a bit ground on this seminar and therefore we recommend contacting us with any mobility questions; we will be happy to advise if this seminar will be appropriate for you or propose modifications where necessary.