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Munich

Text: Vesna Šteblaj Photos: iStock, Deutsches Museum, Marisa Segadelli, Marc Mueller

Munich is a modern city with a thousand years of history; here the bustle of a great city is interwoven with the calm of nature, "strictly business" blends with hearty entertainment, and the roar of the U-Bahn contrasts with the sound of horses' hooves and the rattle of carriages.

Boasting the slogan "Simply Munich", this unique city never disappoints. Quite the opposite: you will want to stay longer, go back again, and show it to family and friends. Because Munich attracts families as well as businesspeople. Because it's "cool".

Munich
Munich

Marienplatz

You cannot really know Munich unless you have visited its Old Town. At its heart lies a real jewel, the ancient Marienplatz (St Mary's Square), surrounded by centuries-old buildings. Dominating the square is the New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus), an imposing neo-Gothic edifice complete with clock tower. Every day at 11.00 a.m., 12.00 p.m. and 5.00 p.m., the 43 bells in the clock tower play a special melody while 32 life-size figures act out events from the city's history. Watch out for the golden bird that chirps three times at the end of each performance.

Marienplatz is the starting point for most guided tours, which are adapted to the requirements of all different kinds of visitors. Youngsters can explore the city by taking part in an organised treasure hunt, solving puzzles and clues to discover the city's sights and learn about their history.

Children's eyes will light up at the sight of the teddy bears, dolls, train sets and countless other toys from all over the world collected in the four-storey Toy Museum (Spielzeugmuseum) in the Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus). The toys beloved by our grandparents are very different from most toys today, yet they are still fascinating.

Marienplatz
Marienplatz

Englischer garten

This beautiful city park is one of the largest in the world, even bigger than New York's Central Park. It is the green heart of the city, where locals and visitors go for relaxation and recreation, to listen to concerts, take a break from work and to socialise.

Wander through the woods and over the green lawns, relax by the streams and ponds, take a gentle stroll or go for a run, ride a bicycle, take a boat trip or enjoy a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. You can even surf on the rapids of the river Isar. If this last option sounds a little too extreme, you can admire the breathtaking stunts of skilled surfers from the safety of the river bank at any time of the year, or dip feet that are tired from walking in the cool, refreshing water.

The English Garden is an oasis for locals and visitors alike. It gets its name from the design of the park, which aims to mimic the natural landscape, in contrast to the severe lines of precisely organised French baroque gardens. The park also contains a number of beer gardens – we are in Bavaria after all – although they serve more than just beer and sausages: there are plenty of choices for children too. One of the largest beer gardens, with more than 7,000 seats is the Chinese Tower, a 25-metre-high structure designed to resemble a pagoda

Englischer garten
Englischer garten

Deutsches Museum, Bmw Welt And Allianz Arena

The German Museum of Masterpieces of Science and Technology, or Deutsches Museum as it is usually known, is a place where you can see things that people once believed impossible, until someone invented them: the first motor vehicle, the first diesel engine, and more than a thousand models ranging from tiny miniatures to full-size replicas of submarines, locomotives and aircraft, from historical inventions to the latest scientific breakthroughs.  Even the building itself is a monument to progress: it was in fact one of the first reinforced concrete structures in Germany. The museum offers a range of interactive exhibitions for inquisitive children and more than a thousand activities await fidgety hands in the Kids' Kingdom, with free admission for under-sixes. 

A visit to BMW Welt ("BMW World") is a real treat for all car and motorbike enthusiasts. The futuristic building situated next to the BMW factory and museum is full of stories and history. And BMW's current model line-up. It also presents BMW's vision of the future of mobility. Besides BMWs, you can see models from legendary marques Mini and Rolls-Royce, both of which are today part of the BMW group.

And for sports enthusiasts? Close to Munich's Olympiapark, a magnet for tourists from all over the world, stands the Allianz Arena, the stunning home of FC Bayern Munich. You can visit the stadium from close up, with guided tours available for groups and individuals, and even special tours for children. If you are visiting Munich by car, you can park next to the stadium for the whole day for just €5 and set off to explore the city aboard one of the numerous hop-on hop-off double-decker buses.

Deutsches Museum, Bmw Welt And Allianz Arena
Deutsches Museum, Bmw Welt And Allianz Arena

Zoo and sea life

Is there anything that children and the young at heart enjoy more than animals? Munich's Hellabrunn Zoo is a special experience because it is designed in such a way that instead of being shut up in cages, most of the animals are separated from visitors by natural features. This gives the impression that you are seeing them in their natural environment, as though on an urban safari. Hellabrun is a "geo-zoo", which means that the animals are divided by continents, and is the first zoo of its kind in the world. You will see rare species that are hard to find in the wild, and others that you didn't even know existed. A great opportunity to learn about the wonderful world we live in. If you feel yourself running low on energy while exploring this truly enormous park, simply stop and recharge your batteries at one of the many food stalls and restaurants offering a choice of fast food and traditional, sit-down meals.

The Olympiapark is the right destination for all sports enthusiasts, but it is also home to a wonderful collection of marine life, the SEA LIFE aquarium, where you can see creatures ranging from the tiniest colourful clownfish and seahorses to ancient turtles and terrifying sharks, and where you can feed some of the species yourselves and even touch them. An experience you are sure to remember for a long time.

Zoo and sea life
Zoo and sea life