If you haven’t been to Munich, make sure you add it to your list of spots to visit! This German city is filled with world-class museums and churches, hosts some of the best festivals you’ll find anywhere, and is well-positioned if you’re on a mission to explore the area through day trips, making it a natural addition to most travelers itineraries.
Another good reason to visit Munich? It’s pretty budget-friendly. Many of the city’s best attractions are free or come at a minimal price, so it’s easy to see and do a lot without spending up all of your Euros.
Not so sure how you can have fun in Munich without spending a ton of cash? I have some ideas! Here are just a few of the best free and cheap things you can do when you’re in Munich:
Olympiapark is a massive complex of parks, stadiums, and other facilities originally built to support the 1972 Summer Olympics. Once the Games concluded, Munich faced the same challenge that other host cities struggle with: what to do with the new infrastructure once the games are finished.
Instead of letting it fall into disrepair, Munich converted Olympiapark into a spot locals and tourists alike can enjoy. Aside from getting to tour the park and see some of the buildings where history was made during the Olympic games, you can participate in a variety of fun activities while you’re there. Go for a swim or a spin on the ice rink, get a bird’ s-eye view of the city from the Olympic Tower, check out the Sea Life aquarium, and more!
You can also check the local event calendar to see if there are any concerts, sporting games, or performances worth seeing while you’re in town.
TOUR THE FRAUENKIRCHE CHURCH
The Frauenkirche in Munich is one of the city’s most recognizable and historically significant churches, and it’s absolutely free to visit, making it a must-do when you’re trying to enjoy the city on a budget. You can tour the church’s plain but striking interior; still, the real allure of the Frauenkirche is the opportunity to climb one of the church’s two towers, the onion-domed spires that stretch skyward over the rooftops of Munich. It’s definitely one of the best views of the city, so don’t miss your chance to appreciate it firsthand.
WALK THROUGH THE MARIENPLATZ
A trademark of many European cities is a large, central public square, and Munich is no exception. The Marienplatz is the heart and soul of Munich, and you’d be missing out if you didn’t stroll through at least once while you’re in town.
The square itself doesn’t always contain much of interest, except for the occasional market or festival, but the buildings that line the square are excellent examples of Munich’s early architecture. Grab lunch or a snack at a local cafe and people-watch for a little while, or time your visit to see the Rathaus Glockenspiel perform its traditional show, which takes place a few times each day.
TAKE A FREE WALKING TOUR
One of the best ways to get a feel for a city is to explore on foot. While taking cabs and public transportation can be quick and convenient, you don’t always get a chance to truly experience a city when you’re shuttling from one spot to the next, going underground to pop up again at the next tourist spot.
Instead, bring a good pair of walking shoes and hit the pavement. For a great, free way to learn more about your destination and see what it’s all about, find a free walking tour. Some cities offer free tours as a service through the local tourism department, while in others, you’ll find free tours available out of the kindness of the locals’ hearts – and their desire to share the city they love with curious visitors.
There’s a good chance your tour will take you through the Marienplatz and past most of Munich’s top attractions. Take one early during your stay to orient yourself and make it easier to navigate the city for the rest of your trip.
WATCH LOCAL SURFERS RIDE THE EISBACH WAVE
Witnessing the local surf scene firsthand may not be what you had in mind when you planned a trip to Munich, but while you’re there, you’ll want to check out this bizarrely entertaining attraction. Tucked away in the Englischer Garten, there’s a certain spot where a man-made stream has generated a never-ending wave. When the locals found out, they did what anyone would do – brought out their surfboards and took advantage of the opportunity!
Since the wave never breaks, surfers can ride the wave as long as they can maintain it – which, in some cases, can go on for quite a while. Stick around long enough, and you’ll get the chance to watch surfers of all skill levels, from beginner to seemingly professional, have a blast on the water.
VISIT A MUSEUM FOR A EURO ON SUNDAYS
While more and more European cities are moving away from making museums free to the public, many still offer free and discounted days, and Munich is no exception. If you’re in town on a Sunday, consider incorporating a museum or two into your itinerary – many of the town’s best exhibits only cost a single Euro on Sundays, making it an absolute steal of a price to pay to see some world-class artwork.
You can visit the Alte Pinakothek, one of the world’s oldest art galleries, or explore the Bavarian National Museum for a taste of German life and history over the centuries. Other museums that participate include the Museum of Man and Nature, the Schack Gallery, and the Egyptian Museum. Whether you prefer art- or history-focused museums, you’ll find something to enjoy for a Euro when you’re here!
There are clearly lots of different things to see and do when you’re in Munich that won’t cost a ton of cash. On the contrary, you can easily incorporate a few – if not all – of these activities into your plans to keep your trip to Munich, especially budget-friendly.