Spotlight: Munich in the winter – guest post by Geraldine Simms. Munich is a beautiful city to visit at any time of year, but during the winter months it really comes into its own and gains an old-world romance that’s hard to beat. A major stopping-point for tourists from all over the world, this city in southern Germany takes on a magical feel during the festive season, particularly when it is covered in a blanket of snow.
Anyone lucky enough to find themselves on Munich city breaks at this point in the calendar can enjoy a host of attractions. The Bavarian metropolis boasts world-class museums and galleries, and it is dotted with churches and cathedrals. In the run-up to Christmas, these religious buildings are filled with the sounds of musical recitals and singing.
One attraction that isn’t to be missed is the Christkindl Market. Dating back to 1642, this collection of stalls is located on the city’s central square. As a centrepiece, it features a huge Christmas tree and visitors can sample festive favourites including mulled wine and gingerbread. Meanwhile, anyone who fancies picking up some gifts for loved ones back at home can peruse the selection of handmade toys, glass crystals and woodcarvings on offer.
A short walk from here is the manger market or Kripperlmarket. With origins tracing back to the mid-16th century, this spectacle features mangers and nativity figures that have been crafted in Germany. Visitors who feel inspired to create their own nativity scenes at home can buy souvenirs to take away with them.
Another must-see attraction is the city’s open-air ice rink. Open every November and December, the rink is located at the Karlspatz Square in the shopping district.
Of course, Munich is not all about Christmas. There are plenty of year-round attractions that can be enjoyed by visitors whatever the season. For example, the city is home to a vast English Garden. Among Europe’s biggest urban parks, it even surpasses London’s Hyde Park and it contains paths that wind through trees and meadows. At the centre of the park lies the Kleinhesseloher See. This picturesque lake is a great place to stop for a break, and luckily there is a beer garden nearby for anyone who is in need of refreshments.
For a spot of culture, the Kunstareal is hard to beat. Thought of by many as the centre of the city’s art scene, this area is home to the Alte and Neue Pinakotheks, the Pinakothek der Moderne and the Museum Brandhorst. Within these varied and impressive buildings, visitors can view a host of works from the likes of Van Gogh, Rubens, Raphael and Cezanne, as well as contemporary figures including Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst.
There are also plenty of opportunities for visitors to indulge in a spot of retail therapy while in Munich. It’s worth noting that prices are not cheap; in fact, the most expensive retail space in the whole of Germany can be found along the city’s main shopping street the Kaufingerstraße. However, there is an impressive selection of outlets on offer, including an independent book store named Words’ Worth that sells a selection of tomes, as well as English-language newspapers.
Written by guest writer Geraldine Simms. Geraldine Simms is a freelance travel writer with a passion for cultural destinations and an ever-growing checklist of places to visit next.