Munich is my beautiful hometown. Museums, castles, parks, mountains, churches, theaters – there are just so many things to do and it really never gets boring. But as a tourist, how many days in Munich should you stay? One? Three? Or a full week?
In this guide, I’m going to show you exactly what you need to know. All the top tourist attractions you need to see, some hidden gems and how much time you should calculate to see them. I’m also going to provide you with a couple of different itinerary options for Munich.
Before I start, I’d like to point out some related and very helpful posts to you:
- The 20 best tourist attractions in Munich
- A detailed 3-day itinerary for Munich
- How to spend one day in Munich
I would also like to point out that there are well over 20 amazing day trips you can take from Munich. There are some beautiful castles near Bavaria’s capital and quite a lot of outstanding UNESCO World Heritage sites you reach within an hour or two by train.
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1,2, or 3 days in Munich?
Most tourists planning their Europe or Germany itinerary don’t have unlimited time. So, of course, spending a week in Munich is not an option. In this section, I want to show you want you can and what you can’t see in one day, two days, or three days in Munich.
Stay one day if…
…you want to see the highlights in the immediate city center. If you just want to explore Marienplatz, the Munich Residence Castle, and one or two of the world-renowned art museums, then 24 hours will be plenty. A lot of tourists decide to go on a guided walking tour to make the most of their short time.
You won’t be able to see the amazing highlights a bit further outside (BMW World, Nymphenburg Castle, etc) and obviously doing a day trip isn’t possible either.
Suggested 1-day itinerary:
- 8:30 am: Start at Odeonsplatz & beautiful Theatinerkirche;
- 9:00 am: Munich Residenz Palace
- 10:50 am: Walk towards Marienplatz, enjoy the Glockenspiel & climb Alter Peter for the best views of the city.
- 11:45 am: Lunch at Viktualienmarkt
- 1:00 pm: Pedestrian area & Church of our Lady
- 1:30 pm: Marvel at Königsplatz
- 2:00 pm: Alte Pinakothek art museum
- 4:00 pm: Englische Garten, Chinese Tower & Eisbachwelle
- 6:00 pm: End your day at Hofbräuhaus.
Stay two days if…
…you want to cover all the top tourist attractions in Munich. There will certainly be enough to do a tour through the outstanding Nymphenburg Castle and its beautiful park. You’ll also be able to visit the BMW World and the BMW museum or do a Tour of the Dachau Concentration camp.
You won’t be able to do a day trip and you’ll still probably have to cut down on the museums and palaces you want to visit. There won’t be much time to explore hidden gems and highlights that are a bit off the beaten paths (like the colossal Bavaria statue) either.
Suggested 2-day itinerary:
Day 1: Same as above – so basically a walking tour through the old town & the two most important museums
- Visit BMW World & museum in the morning
- Explore the Olympic Park & have lunch in the Olympic tower
- Visit Nymphenburg Palace in the afternoon
Note: Switch either BMW World or Nymphenburg for Dachau Concentration camp if you want to explore Munich’s Nazi past
Stay three days if..
…you want to visit Neuschwanstein Castle. A trip to the original Sleeping beauty castle will take almost a full day. While you certainly can stay a night in Füssen (where the castle is located), it really doesn’t make a lot of sense for most itineraries – except you got your own car.
Personally speaking, I feel that 3 days in Munich is the ideal time to get a good feeling for the old and the new in Bavaria’s capital. Even though your itinerary might still be a bit tight, there will be plenty of spare time to explore the nightlife in Munich, go shopping (amazing pedestrian area!). Also, you won’t be forced to rush through every attraction and are allowed to breathe once or twice in between 😉
Suggested 3-day itinerary:
- Day 1: Same as above (old town & museums)
- Day 2: Day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle; You will be back around 5-6pm; Go to a beer hall or the Opera in the evening.
- Day 3: Same as day two above (so Nymphenburg Palace and BMW World)
Stay a week in Munich or longer if…
Day trips to Bamberg, Salzburg, Augsburg, Regensburg, Nürnberg, or Blaubeuren (all UNESCO World Heritage sites) are all possible by train (each less than 2hours). If you don’t want to change accommodation too often, picking Munich as a home base can be quite a smart idea.
Suggested 5-day itinerary:
- Day 1: Explore the old town (see above)
- Day 2: Day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle
- Day 3: Hidden gems in the morning & Dachau Concentration Camp in the evening
- Day 3: Day trip of your choice (I recommend Salzburg, Regensburg or Blaubeuren)
- Day 5: Nymphenburg Palace & BMW World
Further things to consider
Are you staying in Munich for Oktoberfest? Or in December for the Christmas market? These can be amazing times to visit my hometown. But it will also be an incredibly busy time. Long lines and crowded tourist attractions mean you will much more time to see the points of interest on your list.
Also, visiting these festivals will take considerable time. Calculate at least half a day for Oktoberfest. As there are tight security fences around the festival grounds, you can’t just walk in and out for an hour.
On a more positive note, Munich does have an excellent public transport system. Suburban trains, subway lines, trams, and buses connect every corner of the city. It’s a cheap and very fast way to get around. If you download the app, it’s more or less a fool-proof way to get around.
If you plan to visit a lot of tourist attractions, do consider getting the MunichCard (buy it here) for free public transport and discounts on most entrance fees. Unlike the expensive MunichPass, it’s really worth getting that one.