The 20 Best Museums in Munich, Germany

A list of the best exhibitions, galleries, and art museums in Munich, Bavaria’s beautiful capital.

There are few cities in the world with more museums than Bavaria’s capital. In fact, there are more than 60 museums in Munich itself and many others in the towns and cities nearby. It’s virtually impossible to visit them all – especially as there are so many other things to do in Munich.

For a first-time visitor, it can be a bit overwhelming. This is why I listed the best and most popular of Munich’s museums for you. There are some amazing technical museums, street art places, and not just art exhibitions with dusty cabinets.

An exhibition room inside the alte pinakothek museum in Munich

The first 6 entries are, without a real ranking, absolute must-see places. These museums are world-renowned and have hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. They are also featured in my 3 day Munich itinerary. But it all depends on your personal interest and you are free to make your own choice.

You should definitely buy the Munich Card if you plan to visit multiple museums, as it gives you big discounts and free public transport for a day. Buy it here.*

There is also the Munich Pass for 39,90€, but it’s usually not worth it, as you’d have to visit 5 or more museums in one day.

So, let’s get started, shall we?

1. Deutsche Museum

The entrance of the Deutsche Museum - the most visited museum in Germany
The entrance of the Deutsche Museum

The most visited Museum in Munich and the largest technical museum in the world is by far the Deutsche Museum (“German Museum”). The complex is dedicated to natural science and it’s absolutely huge. It takes probably a full day to see all the exhibitions, which is why you should definitely plan ahead and maybe focus on those you are really interested.

Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Geology, Aviation, Biology, Prosthetics – the list of special sections in the Deutsche Museum is sheer endless. There is even a mine in the basement and a huge planetarium on the roof. The museum is particularly fun for kids and basically every school in Bavaria plans at least one excursion to this museum in its curriculum. Definitely check the website for special shows and workshops!

  • Website: https://www.deutsches-museum.de/
  • How to get there: You can take the suburban train to Isartor and walk the last 500 meters. Tram 17 stops right in front of the entrance.
  • Useful information: You need an extra ticket for the Planetarium; But it at the entrance, it’s worth the extra 3€

2. Alte Pinakothek

The Alte Pinakothek Museum in Munich
The Alte Pinakothek

The Alte Pinakothek (“old picture gallery“) is one of the most important collections of old masters in the world. Leonardo Da Vinci, Rafael, Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyk – there is a sheer endless wealth of outstanding masterworks inside. On top of that, you’ll also usually find a spectacular special exhibition in the basement. And the best part, it’s almost directly in the city centre.

An exhibition room inside the Alte Pinakothek in Munich
An exhibition room inside the Alte Pinakothek

The Alte Pinakothek is the oldest museum in Munich and the collection was started by the Bavarian prince-electors in the early 16th century. You will probably need around 2 hours for the full tour. It’s the only place where you will often see queues, especially on weekends.

  • Website: https://www.pinakothek.de/en
  • How to get there: Take subway U2 to Königsplatz and walk the last 300 meters. Bus 100 stops right in front of it, and so does tram line 27/28
  • Useful information: Closed on Mondays, only 1€ entrance fee on Sundays.
  • Opening hours: 10 am – 6 pm (Tuesdays & Wednesdays till 8:30 pm)

3. BMW Welt & Museum

The entrance of the BMW world and the bwm musuem in munich
The BMW World & museum

The BMW World in the North of Munich has always been a tourist’s favorite. It’s more of a gigantic car saloon or theme park, and not so much a museum, but still worth a visit, especially as there is no entrance fee. The architecture is simply stunning and there is even a three-star Michelin restaurant on the top floor.

The BMW Museum and BMW tower in the north of Munich
The beautiful BMW Museum

Right next to it you’ll find the BMW towers and the BMW group plant, but also a proper museum. Here, you’ll learn all about the long history of the Bayerische Motorenwerke and their most important innovations. A really fascinating place for car lovers (and fans of beautiful architecture)

  • Website: https://www.bmw-welt.com/en.html
  • How to get there: Take the U3 to Olympiazentrum. The entrance is right beneath the subway exit.
  • Useful information: The museum is closed on Mondays, the BWM World only open until noon on Sundays.

4. Pinakothek der Moderne

The Pinakothek der Moderne in the Art Quarter of Munich
The Pinakothek der Moderne

Do you love modern art? Picasso? Gerhard Richter? Joseph Beuys? Then the Pinakothek der Moderne is the right place for you. It’s a beautiful building to begin with and you’ll find yourself taking pictures inside all the time. But the collection is quite spectacular as well and there are few art museums in the world with more masterpieces from the 20th century.

In the basement, you’ll also find an arts & design collection and there is also an architecture section. It’s a well-rounded museum you can easily spend 4 hours or more on a rainy day in Munich.

5. Lenbachhaus

The old part of the Lenbachhaus Museum in Munich
The historic Lenbachhaus museum

The Blue Rider (“Blaue Reiter“) was one of the most defining art movements of the early 20th century. Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky changed the way we perceive colors, forms, and lines forever. These days, their work fetch millions of euros at auctions, but back then they were actually shamed as “degenerated art“.

The Lenbachhaus is the beautiful historic mansion of the famous artist Franz von Lenbach and you’ll find the most important collection of the Blaue Reiter in the world inside. They also acquired two important installations by Joseph Beuys, which really makes it a must-visit.

  • Website: https://www.lenbachhaus.de/
  • How to get there: Take subway U2 to Königsplatz. The entrance is right across the street
  • Useful information: Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays until 8 pm, all other days 6 pm.

6. Bavarian National Museum

The Bavarian National Museum in Munich
The historic building of the Bavarian National Museum

The Bayerische Nationalmuseum is my personal favorite museum in Munich. Why? Well, to a foreigner it might sound a bit like a dull history exhibition, but you’ll actually find priceless treasures from the past 1,000 years inside.

Think ivory, jewelry, porcelain, fashion, weapons, furniture from the royal court, and even an outstanding nativity scene exhibition (most of them look like modern movie sets!). I want to be honest with you: 10 years ago, the museum was a bit old fashioned, which is probably why not a lot of old tourist guides feature it. But they renovated almost all their exhibition rooms and now you’ll find state of the art cabinets with interactive elements. Do visit!

  • Website: https://www.bayerisches-nationalmuseum.de/
  • How to get there: Take the Bus 100 from Odeonsplatz (or Ostbahnhof) and there is a bus stop right in front of the museum. As an alternative, you can take the U2/U4 to Lehel and walk the rest.
  • Useful information: Closed on Mondays, only 1€ entrance fee on Sundays.

7. Hypokunsthalle

The entrance of the Kunsthalle München in the pedestrian area
Easy to miss: The entrance of the Hypokunsthalle

The Hypokunsthalle is the most diverse museum in Munich. You’ll find it right in the pedestrian area and they actually don’t have a permanent exhibition at all. Instead, they open a stellar special exhibition every 3 or 4 months. And when I say stellar, I mean it!

Here are just some of their past exhibitions: Jean Paul Gaultier, Rembrand & Tizian, O’Keefe, The gems of the Maharajas, Walt Disney, Mark Rothko, August Rodin, Helmut Newton, Fabergé and many more. Most of these collections take years in the making and the insurance sums are this side of crazy. Definitely check out their website before your stay.

  • Website: https://www.kunsthalle-muc.de/
  • How to get there: You can either take any suburban train to Marienplatz and walk towards Odeonsplatz or take any subway (U3, U6, U2, U4) to Odeonsplatz and walk towards Marienplatz. The Hypokunsthalle is right in the middle Theatinerstraße
  • Useful information: Mondays 50% off; every third Wednesday of the month open until 10 pm

8. Museum Mensch und Natur

The museum Mensch und Natur in Nymphenburg in Winter
The museum Mensch und Natur in Nymphenburg

The “Museum Humans & Nature” is one of the best museums in Munich for kids. It’s another natural science exhibition, but the focus is more on the explanatory side. There are a lot of buttons and levers you push to interact with the different exhibits and it’s generally a great place if you want to find out the how’s and why’s in nature.

  • Website: http://www.mmn-muenchen.de/
  • How to get there: Take tram 17 from the central station and get out at Schloss Nymphenburg. The museum is in the right wing of the palace.
  • Useful information: Closed on Mondays, children under 18 get in for free

9. Haus der Kunst

The Haus der Kunst contemporary art museum in Munich
Exhibition banners on the facade of the Haus der Kunst

The Haus der Kunst “House of the Art” is your first address when it comes to contemporary art in Munich. It’s also one of the very few private museums in Munich. There is no real permanent exhibition, though. Instead, it’s ever-changing special exhibitions.

The house is huge and was originally designed by the Nazis (which is somewhat ironic, as they hated that sort of art). There is a lovely bar on the ground floor and even a famous VIP club downstairs (The P1). Usually, they got 3 or 4 different exhibitions to choose from.

  • Website: https://hausderkunst.de/en/?locale=en
  • How to get there: Take the Bus 100 from Odeonsplatz (or Ostbahnhof) and there is a bus stop right in front of the museum. You can also walk from Odeonsplatz (about 500 meters)
  • Useful information: Every first Thursday of the month free entrance between 6 and 10 pm

10. Museum Brandhorst

The colorful backside of the Museum Brandhorst
The main building of the Museum Brandhorst

Another fine address for contemporary and late 20th-century art is the Museum Brandhorst. It is actually a branch museum of the Pinakotheken and was only finished 10 years ago. It’s probably the most accessible museum for Millenials and thus quite popular.

Inside the museum Brandhorst (a room dedicated to the roses of Cy Twombly)
Inside the museum Brandhorst (a room dedicated to the roses of Cy Twombly)
  • Website: https://www.museum-brandhorst.de/
  • How to get there: Take subway U2 to Königsplatz and walk the last 300 meters. Bus 100 stops right in front of it, and so does tram line 27/28
  • Useful information: Closed on Mondays

11. Treasury Museum Residence Palace

The bavarian crown jewels in the Treasury Museum in the Munich Residence Palace
The Bavarian crown jewels

The Munich Residence is one of the biggest city palaces in the world. Even if you only got one day in Munich, you should visit. But did you know there is a fantastic treasury museum in the basement? That’s right! You can actually see the Bavarian crown jewels in here and so many other precious items from the famous Wittelsbacher clan collected in the past 800 years.

The medieval english crown in the treasury museum of the Munich Residence Palace
A medieval English crown inside the Treasury Museum of the Munich Residence

Do you like palaces and castles? Then check out this post with the top castles near Munich.

  • Website: https://www.residenz-muenchen.de/englisch/treasury/index.htm
  • How to get there: Get out at Odeonsplatz and walk down the Residenzstraße for 500 meters. The museum is on the ground floor of the palace
  • Useful information: There’s a combination ticket with the residence museum for 14 euros.
  • Munich Residenz hours: 9 am – 6 pm (In winter it’s only 10 am – 5 pm)

12. Antikensammlung Königsplatz

Panorama of the Königsplatz square in the heart of Munich
Panorama of the Königsplatz square

Even if you don’t plan to visit a single museum in Bavaria’s capital, there is one place you have to check out: Königsplatz. The neoclassical architecture is nothing short of spectacular and forms the backdrop for a nice picture or two.

There are two museums in the buildings to the left and the right (you cannot visit the monument in the middle). Both focus on ancient Greek and Roman art and are quite lovely. I particularly love the ancient jewelry collection in the basement of the Antikensammlung but they certainly have some beautiful statues as well.

Note: The Glypothek is currently closed until 2021 (estimated).

  • Website: https://www.antike-am-koenigsplatz.mwn.de/
  • How to get there: Take the subway U2 to Königsplatz. The museum is right next to the subway exit. You can also walk from the central station (800 meters)
  • Useful information: Closed on Mondays

13. Ägyptisches Museum

The golden burial mask of queen Satdjehuti Satibu in the Egyptian Museum in Munich
The golden burial mask of queen Satdjehuti Satibu

The Egyptian Museum in Munich is quite an insider tip. For some inexplicable reason, not many travel guides mention the outstanding collection. Personally, I think it is one of the best places to get in touch with the ancient world of Pharaohs in the world. It’s not just mummies and sarcophagi, but rather a very interactive exhibition with an audio guide that will provide you 3-D background information on everything you walk past.

Naturally, they also have quite some important masterpieces, like the oldest datable glass vessel, a beautiful golden burial mask, and some iconic statues. I love the digitally annotated installation of the Book of the Dead.

  • Website: https://smaek.de/
  • How to get there: Take the tram 27/28 and get out at Karlinenplatz. The museum will be right around the corner. As an alternative, you can also walk from Königsplatz on the U2
  • Useful information: Closed on Mondays, children 18 or younger get in for free.

14. Villa Stuck

The Villa Stuck contemporary art museum in Munich, Bogenhausen
The historic Villa Stuck Museum in the district of Bogenhausen

Did you know that Munich is one of the best places to see Art Nouveau architecture? No? Well, most tourist guides ignore it, but there is a wealth of historic mansions to be explored. The Villa Stuck is the prototype of them all and was once the atelier of the artist Franz von Stuck. Even today, you can visit the historic apartments, which are a must-see if you love Jugendstil.

Apart from that, there are usually some amazing contemporary art exhibitions at Villa Stuck, so it’s definitely a place you should check out.

  • Website: https://www.villastuck.de/
  • How to get there: Take bus 100 from Odeonsplatz to Ostbahnhof. The bus stops right in front of the entrance. You can also walk down the Prinzregentenstraße from Prinzregentenplatz on the U4 subway line.
  • Useful information: Closed on Mondays, children 18 or younger get in for free, first Friday every month open until 10 pm.

15. Münchner Stadtmuseum

The entrance of the Munich city Museum
The Munich City Museum

Are you interested in the history of Munich? Then there is no way around visiting the city museum. It’s quite a special place with lots of different sections and usually quite empty.

  • Website: https://www.muenchner-stadtmuseum.de/
  • How to get there: Walk from Marienplatz (take any suburban train or subway lines U3/U6) towards the Rindermarkt. The Museum will be right around the corner
  • Useful information: Closed on Mondays; there is a movie museum in the basement with often very interesting features.

16. Sammlung Schack

Are you a fan of late romantic art? Arnold Böckling, Carl Spitzweg, Anselm Feuerbach and another famous artist from the 19th century? Then you have to consider visiting the Schack Collection. It’s the original collection of a German count and has remained unchanged ever since his death.

It will give you a unique glimpse into the life and preferences of an aristocratic collection and of course some outstanding masterpieces. It’s one of the important museums, but also one of the least visited. So, a lovely off the beaten path addition to your itinerary.

  • Website: https://www.pinakothek.de/en/visit/sammlung-schack
  • How to get there: Take Bus 100 towards Ostbahnhof and get out at Reitmorstraße. The museum will be right across the street.
  • Useful information: Closed on Mondays; Entrance fee is just 1€ on Sundays

17. Jüdisches Museum

The jewish museum and Synagogue in Munich
The Jewish Museum & Synagogue

After World War II, the once important Jewish community in Munich was almost completely wiped out. Those who didn’t get the chance to flee died in concentration camps like Dachau. But some returned after the war and some very few survived and they started over again in their hometown. Now, Munich has once again a synagogue and a true Jewish community.

Right next to the beautiful Synagogue close to Marienplatz, you’ll also find a small museum, which focuses both on the present and the past of Jewish life in Munich. Quite charming and quite unique.

  • Website: https://www.juedisches-museum-muenchen.de/
  • How to get there: Walk from Marienplatz (take any suburban train or subway lines U3/U6) towards the Rindermarkt. Or Get out at Sendlinger Tor and walk down the Oberanger street until you see the Synagogue on your right hand side.
  • Useful information: Closed on Mondays

18. Marstallmuseum

An ornate gilded coach in the Marstallmuseum in Nymphenburg munich
One of many ornate gilded carriages in the Marstallmuseum

One of the most surprising places to visit in Munich is the Marstallmuseum. See, I got you. I have been to quite a lot of carriage museums in my life and most of them were sort of meh. Usually, there is some odd horse taxidermy and some gilded coaches.

What makes the Marstallmuseum different is the sheer ingenuity of King Ludwig II. He loved riding and had some spectacular contraptions built. There are carriages so ornate and golden they’d put any modern Holywood movie to shame. The different sleighs are straight from a fairy tale as well.

19. NS Dokumentationszentrum

The NZ Documentation center near Königsplatz in Munich
The NSDocumentation center near Königsplatz

One of the newest additions to Munich’s museum landscape is the documentation center for the Nazi times. Inside, you will find answers to all your questions about Hitler’s cruel regime. Where did their ideas come from? Why were they so successful, and how did it all fall apart.

You’ll find old photographs, movies, and texts of perpetrators and victims alike inside. The setting is quite special as well because the windows will allow you to glance at the remains of the Nazi architecture in the heart of Munich. And don’t worry, there are subtitles for English speaking guests.

  • Website: https://www.ns-dokuzentrum-muenchen.de/home/
  • How to get there: Take the subway U2 to Königsplatz and walk across the square. The museum is right behind the historic buildings. You can also walk from either the central station or Stachus (about 800 meters).
  • Useful information: Closed on Mondays, children 18 or younger get in for free.

20. Museum Fünf Kontinente

The entrance of the Museum Fünf Kontinente (formerly Völkerkunde museum) in Munich
The entrance of the Museum Five Continents

At the end of the 18th century, the world suddenly got global. It was the grand time of the explorers. South East-Asia, the Arctic, the Antarctic, Inner Africa, all those far-flung regions suddenly became more and more accessible. Much like their counterparts all over Europe, the Bavarian kings send envoys and explorers to all those regions. They brought back treasures and specimens from all over the world, which you can now see at the Museum Fünf Kontinente (Museum Five Continents, formerly Völkerkundemuseum)

Looking back, they employed sometimes a bit more questionable means to acquire the treasured art objects. But most of the museums here in Germany did their homework and repatriated where possible (or are still in the process of doing so).

  • Website: https://www.museum-fuenf-kontinente.de/
  • How to get there: Take the Subway U4/U2 and get out at Lehel. Walk towards Maximilianstraße and the museum will be right across the street. You can also take the tram 16 or 19 and get out at Maxmonument, which basically stops right in front of the Museum.
  • Useful information: Closed on Mondays, children under 18 and pupils get in for free, Sundays only 1 € entrance fee.

[Honorable Mention] Neue Pinakothek

The entrance of the Neue Pinakothek in Munich
The entrance of the Neue Pinakothek

There is one museum that deserves to be mention, even though you currently cannot visit it: The Neue Pinakothek. You’ll find it right across the street from the Alte Pinakothek (no big surprise, eh?), but they are renovating the building. It will probably be closed until 2025 (!). Until then, you can see parts of the amazing collection from the 19th century in the Alte Pinakothek and the Sammlung Schack.

Other Museums in Munich

Munich’s Toy Museum (inside the old city hall)

I want to be honest with you: My list was already quite exhaustive. While there are indeed other museums, a lot of them are quite obscure (like the Potatoe Museum or the Hunting Museum). The Archeological museum deserves to be mentioned though, as so does the memorial of the White Rose.

If you love Geology, then the Museum “Reich der Kristalle” might be something for you, and kids might enjoy the Toy Museum right on Marienplatz. The Coin Museum is also quite famous among collections, and there is also a big public transport system.

You could also do a day trip to the Museum Buchheim at Lake Starnberg or visit Schleissheim Palace, where you’ll find baroque sections of the Pinakotheken. Here is a guide with other day trip ideas from Munich.

So this is it. These were the 20 best museums in Munich. I hope you enjoyed this travel guide and I was able to help you plan your itinerary. Feel free to comment below!

The 20 best museums in Munich, Germany | There are not just art musuems in Munich but also amazing palace museums and techology museums you really have to check out. The best exhibitions and galleries you need to see in bavaria'S capital | Germany travel guide

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