A local’s guide to the best places to see the autumn foilage in Munich and other things to do in
I always keep on saying that Munich is worth a visit all year round. There are just so many things to do in Bavaria’s capital. But there’s no denying that autumn might just be the prettiest time. So, in case you are visiting in October, then I compiled a list of the best places to see the autumn foliage in Munich.
Most locals will agree that autumn truly is the best time in the city. It starts with the famous Oktoberfest and from there it only gets better. Usually, temperatures are still favorable, and especially in the first half of autumn sunny days are prevalent. Thankfully, Munich is a very green city, so there are tons of places to check out when the leaves are turning red.
Let’s dive right into my list, eh?
1. Englische Garten
By far the best place to see the autumn foliage in Munich is the Englische Garten. The huge landscape park has a lovely little monument right in the middle called Monopteros. From the top of its hill you can enjoy a lovely view of the whole city.
Try to be here very early in the morning, when mist still covers the sweeping meadows and the dawn is painting the October skies in a peachy red.
Even if you are there very early, you will see people going to and fro on their way to work. The Englische Garten is, after all, Munich’s most beautiful shortcut.
2. Banks of the river isar
Almost as beautiful are the banks of the River Isar. There are broad avenues lining Munich’s lifeline and the views will be quite spectacular in autumn. My favorite viewpoint is the Prince Luitpold bridge (Luitpoldbrücke). It truly looks like in a Disney Movie. Be there in the morning for the best lighting.
Another magnificent spot to see fall foliage in all its many-colored hues is the Max-Joseph Brücke. But really, just head towards the river and you will be quite amazed by the stunning vistas in either direction.
3. Nymphenburg palace gardens
Nymphenburg Palace and its surrounding landscape garden is always worth a visit. It’s one of 15 beautiful castles near Munich and probably the best choice if you want to see dramatic autumn foilage.
There are 5 smaller castles sprinkled around the park and they are just as enchanting as the main palace. You could even visit the adjacent Botanical Garden and its arboretum if you are really serious about seeing as many colors as you want.
Very close to my home, you will find the Friedensengel. The monument is one of the best places to watch the sunset above Munich and is quite popular among locals. In Autumn, the surrounding trees reflect in red-golden tones from the Angel at the very top of the column. Just beautiful.
If you are short on time but still want to see at least some autumn colors, then head to the Hofgarten right in the middle of the city. The small park behind the Munich Residenz is quite picturesque.
It’s a very beautiful spot to enjoy your take-away lunch or simply sit a couple of minutes in the sun to relax your sore feet. There’s also a nice little beer garden right at the entrance – so don’t miss it.
I actually ranked it among my top 20 photography spots in Munich. So take your time, and enjoy all the adjacent sights. Like the Munich Residenz or the state chancellery that line its sides.
If you want it a bit more dramatic, then head out towards Olympiapark. Munich’s Olympic park is not only quite beautiful in and by itself in autumn. From the top of the Olympiaberg (Olympic hill), you also get to enjoy a free view of the whole city.
While you certainly can, there’s no need to take the (somewhat expensive) elevator up the Olympic tower. The views won’t be much different, big promise. Generally speaking, the best time to visit is late in the afternoon or very early in the morning. Depending on the weather conditions, the view might still be a bit hazy. On a good day, you will be able to see the mountains in the background, though.
And if you have a bit of spare time, you could even drop by at the BMW World nearby. Or maybe go to the Sealife Aquarium if it’s a bit colder or rainier outside. Both attractions are within walking distance. Click here for 20 more world-famous museums in Munich.
7. Visit The beergarden at the Chinesische Turm
A true must-visit, while you stay in Munich, is certainly a traditional Bavarian beer garden. The best spot in terms of autumn foliage is certainly the one at the Chinesische Turm in the heart of the Englische Garden – especially as it’s so sunny. But don’t discount the Hofbräukeller at Maxweberplatz either.
Another great choice – especially if you are traveling with kids, is the Hirschgarten. The lovely park is in walking distance from the S-Bahn stop “Hirschgarten” and does not only feature a huge and quite lovely beer garden. There’s also a deer park (Hirschgarten actually literally means deer park) and it’s a particularly nice spot in autumn.
9. Siegestor & Leopoldstraße
When I moved to Munich, the Leopoldstraße was the place to be. If you wanted to be seen, you strolled along the broad avenue and maybe sat down in one of the many cafés. From there, you could see people and their fancy new cars riding by. Things changes a bit in the past 10 years, but it’s still a lovely street with lots of trees that turn into a bright shade of yellow at the end of October.
10. Bavarian National Museum
It’s probably no big secret that the Bavarian National Museum is my favorite museum in Munich. Ever since they started renovating it, the exhibitions truly became stellar. I mean, the collection was always world-class but the display a bit dusty. Not anymore! And even if you don’t want to go inside, the imposing historic building is quite the sight in and by itself.
When is the peak foliage time in Munich?
This is actually quite a difficult question. For two reasons: First of all, there are quite a lot of different types of trees growing in Munich. It’s not just maple trees. Typically, chestnut trees will be the first to turn yellow/red, while okas will be among the last. So, the good news is that the time where you can see fall foliage in Munich is pretty long.
But there’s really not one peak time you could pinpoint. On top of that, the weather can be quite fickle. In fact, that’s the reason why they originally moved the famous Oktoberfest into September more than a hundred years ago. It’s not unheard of that there is snow in Munich in October but we’ve also had 20° Celsius and above. As a result, trees may start shedding their leaves earlier or later.
I looked through my folder of pictures from past years in preparation for this article and the 3rd week of October typically was a very good time to see fall foliage in Munich. Sometimes it started a bit earlier and sometimes it didn’t last much longer but I guess that’s the case anywhere else in the world as well.
If you are super flexible, I recommend checking out the many webcams in Munich and then visit on short notice and when the weather is favorable.