Whether you're visiting Munich to delve into its fascinating history or for a taste of contemporary Bavarian life, there is something to be found here for everyone.
Arriving in Munich, visitors will be greeted by a rich bustling city displaying characteristics both old and new. Munich's architecture pays homage to its historic role as regional centre over the centuries and many of the city's iconic buildings were built as far back as the 15th century. Of these, perhaps the most notable is Schloss ('Palace') Nymphenburg, a Baroque castle that was summer residence to Bavarian royalty from the late 1600s onwards. Similarly the Old Town Hall, in central Munich's Marienplatz square, has a history that stretches back hundreds of years. Along with its counterpart, the New Town Hall, which has been the centre of municipality since 1874, they create two of Munich's most prominent landmarks.
Despite its historic monuments, Munich is far from a city trapped in the past. The city has thriving arts, shopping and nightlife scenes and is brimming with restaurants and bars offering everything from traditional Bavarian specialties to contemporary cuisine. Bavaria is perhaps most famous for its beer and every year millions flock to Munich for the world-famous 'Oktoberfest' beer festival during September and October. Held in the city since 1810 it has become a modern phenomenon mixing all aspects of Bavarian culture.
Also a major cultural centre, art galleries and museums are prolific around Munich and the city is even home to one of the world's first science museums, The Deutsches Museum. Visitors should also make time to visit the newly opened Jewish Museum Munich and the Munich Stadtmuseum (City Museum) as well as the landmark BMW headquarters and museum, opened in the same year as Munich's 1972 Summer Olympics. The Olympic Park itself has become a top landmark in the years since the Games. Its facilities are still widely used, including the Olympiaturm (Olympic Tower) which allows fantastic views of the surrounding area.
The Olympic Park is set amongst grass covered stretches, one of many areas of green space throughout the city. Of these, perhaps the most renowned is the Englischer Garten (English Garden). Found in the centre of Munich, it is one of the world's largest urban parks, covering close to 1000 acres.
Visitors to the south German region need not confine themselves to the city limits. The city makes an excellent base from which to explore surrounding areas and attractions. Munich is found just to the north of the Alps, making the mountains easily accessible for any walking or skiing enthusiast. Many choose to visit the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, right on the Austrian border and in the shadow of Germany's highest mountain, Zugspitze.
Also in the mountains in the border region of Austria is Kehlsteinhaus, commonly known as 'Eagle's Nest', residence of Adolf Hitler during his time in power and Obersalzburg, now a museum site run by Munich's Institute of Contemporary History. War time history can likewise be found in Dachau concentration camp to the north of Munich, which has been commemorated as a memorial to those who suffered there.
Fans of quintessential Germany, in the meantime, should take to the 'Romantic Road'. The route passes traditional German towns, picturesque structures and a number of beautiful castles. The 19th century Neuschwanstein Castle is one of these. Perched on a mountain top, it is so iconic that it served as inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle and can't help but draws gasps of appreciation from anyone who visits.