One of oldest friends, who happens to also be one of my favourite people in the world, sent me a message last week asking “Why don’t you meet me in Munich?”. After sorting out logistics and childcare, I booked flights and accommodation and started the count down to the moment I’d step onto the airplane and head to meet my friend in Munich.
To be honest, Munich has never been on my bucket list of European cities to visit and I didn’t know anything about it other than bratwurst and beer. Now, I do not drink beer and I had never eaten a bratwurst before my trip to Munich. I’m not a big fan of Bavarian-style food, and prefer to eat food that is leaning towards raw and crunchy. So what were two non-beer drinking girls going to end up doing in Munich in the middle of winter?
Well, thanks to a fantastic concierge at Le Meridien (our hotel) and regular searches on Google, we found some great restaurants to eat at, bars to drink at and things to do in Munich.
We stayed at the Le Meridien simply because it is really central and we could walk to most of the major sites and shopping areas. Le Meridien is also across the road from the main train station, Munchen Hauptbahnhof, making it easy to travel to and from the airport. The train takes the same amount of time as a cab to the station but for a fraction of the price and since I didn’t have much luggage it was a breeze.
Breakfast and Lunch
There are cafe’s and bakeries pretty much on every street in central Munich which makes grabbing a bite for breakfast and lunch really easy. We had breakfast in the hotel for the first morning as we were unfamiliar with the surrounding area but ended up kicking ourselves when we realised how much cheaper it is to venture out. Le Meridien does have a fantastic juice bar, however, with fresh juices on tap during the breakfast buffet.
Our concierge recommended some great restaurants for us to try and they were conveniently situated near trendy bars (not beer houses).
Limoni – authentic, swanky Italian where the ladies are dripping in jewels and the meals are simple, excellent quality and simply delicious. The manager/owner and staff literally fall over themselves to look after you and we had a fantastic time.
Yum – great (not tacky) Thai restaurant with well-spoken, attentive and welcoming staff. The food is fresh, tasty and super fast! We had finished starters and mains before an hour had even passed from the time we arrived. We shared our meals because everything looked so “yum” and we couldn’t decide what to pick.
Brenner Grill – A large grill restaurant that is buzzing on a Saturday night. This restaurant was recommended to us for the tuna tartare, which I agree was great, as was the Burrata salad. It had a good wine list and my friend had the veal and she said it was simply delish. Our waiter was very sweet despite being very busy. I would avoid the bar if you are looking for a drink before/after your meal as the staff are anything but friendly!
During the summer there are heaps of tours, including bicycle tours, but in the winter months I would advise doing something indoors (aka shopping and eating) or something that involves movement (aka shopping and eating). I would recommend:
Maximillianstrasse – more exclusive, luxury brands (think Bond Street in London). Where the rich trot around with their well behaved pooches.
Neuhausestrasse – one of the main shopping areas with high street brands and department stores (think Oxford Street in London). I would start at Karlsplatz and walk toward Marienplatz.
Marienplatz – Munich’s main city square where you can watch the Glockenspiel chime away each day at 11am and 12 noon. Be warned that the Glockenspiel was voted the 2nd most overrated tourist attraction.
Viktualienmarkt – an outdoor market which is a stone’s throw from Marienplatz. There are many food stalls, curio shops, flower stands and a central beer garden. You will also find Munich’s maypole.
Chocolaterie Beluga – Chocolate shop that sits on the street between Marientplatz and Virtualienmarkt. Choose your chocolate fix, order a mug of hot milk, find a sunny spot outside and watch the world go by. We went back to this place on the second day because the hot chocolate is that good.
All in all, I ate, drank, shopped and most importantly slept. A much needed break with one of my best friends. After a weekend away from my husband and kids, I was itching to get back to them for cuddles.