24 hours in Munich
Written by Stuart Anderson Illustration by Patrick Hruby
They call this the city of ‘laptops and lederhosen’, and although Munich’s menfolk usually strap on the leather breeches only at Oktoberfest time, it’s a saying that nicely sums up the city’s split personality.
The ‘laptops’ symbolise Munich’s status as vanguard of Germany’s powerful economy. It’s a financial and publishing hub and home to world-famous firms such as Siemens, BMW, and Allianz. A low unemployment rate and the highest quality of life of any German city attract scores of economic immigrants lending the streets a cosmopolitan flair. The ‘lederhosen’ means Munich hasn’t forgotten its roots. Traditional clothing and festivals are celebrated with gusto. Its low skyline and compact centre confer a big village atmosphere and the locals are fittingly friendly. All that coupled with Bavaria’s fairy-tale landscape studded with castles, lakes, and medieval villages just a stone’s throw from the Alps make Munich one destination you won’t be in a hurry to forget.
The U-Bahn and S-Bahn networks are clean, cheap, and run like clockwork, although the ticket machine system can be confusing.
These are good for getting to where the subway doesn’t go. The public transport system is fully integrated so you won’t need a new ticket.
Central Munich’s main streets are pedestrianised so the car is not an option – explore on foot and get a little lost amid the laneways.
You can rent a bicycle for as little as €10 (US$13) a day and there’s no better way to traverse Munich’s parks and leafy riverside.