Munich is the capital of one of the oldest states in Europe. But while it has one foot in the old world, its other is firmly planted in the new. Our guide to the southern German city will point you in the direction of our favourite family-run hotels and steer you towards the kitchens serving the best Bavarian classics. We’ll also map out the postwar modernist structures worth seeing and tell you where to grab your culture fix, from a Florentine-style 19th-century villa to a former power plant.

Need to know

Get to grips with the basics

  1. Hi priorities: Punctuality is paramount and, if you find yourself in a business setting, the use of titles and surnames is also recommended – and be sure to offer a firm handshake upon greeting and departing.
  2. Royal relations: The Wittelsbach dynasty have contributed considerably to the growth of the city. They led the charge to rebuild the city postwar and, while their titles are no longer sanctioned, their legacy is still celebrated.
  3. Culture crawl: Sundays see many of the city’s most important institutions grant access for €1. Inspect ancient Greek sculptures at the Glyptothek for less than the price of a coffee.
  4. Tipping point: Service and vat will be included on most bills but it’s customary to up the amount to a round number. If this turns out to be negligible, it’s good manners to add 5 to 10 per cent.
  5. Retail restrictions: Banks usually close for the day at 16.00. More and more shops are extending their opening hours to 20.00 on weekdays and Saturdays but even supermarkets shut on Sundays.

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Hotels

Hospitality at its finest

  1. Cortiina, Altstadt-Lehel

    Pillow talk

    Its 75 rooms span three buildings and include a couple of two-bedroom apartments and a maisonette. The stone-tiled bathrooms and velour textiles are plush but understated.

  2. Lovelace, Altstadt-Lehel

    Labour of love

    While a court battle drags on over the use of a building behind Bayerischer Hof, entrepreneur Gregor Wöltje has moved in with a pop-up hotel.

  3. Bayerischer Hof, Altstadt-Lehel

    Family affair

    There are 360 rooms available at this first-class hotel, ranging in design from rustic Bavarian to more muted contemporary tones.

Vocabulary

Local lingo

  1. Servus: Hello
  2. Griass Gott: Good day
  3. Dahoam: Home
  4. Wiesn: Oktoberfest
  5. Mass: One litre of beer
  6. Prost: Cheers
  7. Brezn: Pretzel

Food and drink

Smart bites and top stops

  1. Weinhaus Neuner, Altstadt-Lehel

    Wine and dine

    Built in the late 15th century, this townhouse became a wine house in 1892 and has continued that tradition ever since. Unsurprisingly, the wine list is special and features an extensive range of bottles from both Germany and Austria.

  2. Cafe Luitpold, Altstadt-Lehel

    Life is sweet

    This café is worth visiting for its decadent selection of cakes and pralines by master confectioner Albert Ziegler. But the charming and historic location also offers versatile brunch and lunch menus.

  3. Schumann’s, Altstadt-Lehel

    City institution

    This joint celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2012 and still runs on the same ethos that its founder Charles Schumann set out with: quality food and drink without the bells and whistles.

  4. Bar Centrale, Altstadt-Lehel

    La bella vita

    Steamy espresso machines, foaming milk, terrazzo flooring and an old price list above the counter that’s missing a letter or two: coffee shops don’t come much more charming than this.

  5. Goldene Bar, Altstadt-Lehel

    Mix master

    This bar at the back of Haus der Kunst takes its name from the gold-hued paintings on the wall, created by Karl-Heinz Dallinger in 1937. Classic cocktails are on offer but it’s worth trying new creations such as Klaus of Pain and Gintelligence.

Retail

Shop talk

  1. A Kind of Guise, Maxvorstadt

    Local heroes

    This shop is as clean and cosy as the clothes on the racks, which include everything from denim jeans handmade in Germany to reversible blouson jackets, as well as sleek and timeless womenswear items and vegetable-tanned leather accessories.

  2. Lodenfrey, Altstadt-Lehel

    Traditional traders

    Five floors are dedicated to exclusive women’s and menswear collections, as well as tailor-made clothing and one of the city’s best selection of traditional Tracht. Meanwhile, an expansive children’s department can be found upstairs.

  3. Stereo Muc, Altstadt-Lehel

    International brands

    As well as peerless customer service, Stereo Muc offers an international selection of clothing and accessories by brands such as Barena, Maison Kitsuné, Frescobol Carioca and Grenson.

  4. Soda, Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt

    Magazinesfully loaded

    Soda is one of the world’s best magazine shops, carrying titles such as The Gentlewoman, Surface, Dog, Ambrosia and local publication Curves. The shop is fitted out with minimalist wooden shelves to display hundreds of magazines shipped in from around the world, not to mention myriad coffee-table books.

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