Munich will surprise you. The Bavarian capital is one of the richest in Europe, boasting an impressive imperial skyline and a rich motoring history. But a quainter side emerges around the gorgeous neighbouring countryside, where idyllic villages dot Alpine lakesides.
The beer, of course, is a draw here. But first, visitors should take in celebrated art museums like Neue Pinakothek – a bastion of contemporary 19th century art amassed by King Ludwig I that includes pensive German Romantic paintings by Caspar David Friedrich – and the Alte Pinakothek, one of the world’s oldest galleries that houses the local and long-ruling Wittelsbach dynasty’s royal collection.
Fine dining is a given in a city that boasts around 11 Michelin-starred restaurants. Feted spots include the 3-starred classic Atelier, and Tian, a vegetarian haven overlooking the gourmet farmers’ market Viktualienmarkt in the city centre, itself home to an abundance of fine luxury shopping. When in Bavaria, do as the Bavarians do and browse boutiques for updated tracht (the name for traditional Bavarian and Austrian clothing) like at Noh Nee, which uses African fabrics to make trad garb geared toward millennial tastes.
Finally, there's the rather messy but always fun Oktoberfest, when thousands of brew lovers from around the world descend upon the city, donning lederhosen and dirndl and merrymaking with mugs full of beer. Prim and proper goes a long way with Münchners but when it comes time to let your hair down, you just might be the one struggling to keep up.