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Like every For Dummies travel guide, Europe For Dummies, 4th Edition helps you make the most of your vacation. It includes:
Whether you want to marvel at majestic cathedrals or go on a pub crawl in Dublin, have a 5-star meal in Paris or a picnic lunch amidst the ruins of a Mycenaean city overlooking the Mediterranean, take in museums and castles or hike the Alps, explore the historic (or prehistoric) sites or experience diverse nightlife, with Europe ForDummies, 4th Edition, you’re on your way to a fantastic European holiday.
In This Chapter
* Getting to Munich
* Checking out Munich's neighborhoods
* Discovering the best places to sleep and eat
* Exploring the city's highlights
* Heading into Bavaria with stops at Neuschwanstein and Dachau
Munich is Germany's center of intellect and industry, a lively European arts-and-culture hub, and the world capital of beer and classy cars (but don't mix those last two). The city is equally comfortable as a vibrant university town, where the Nobel Prize winners Thomas Mann and Albert Einstein rank among the famed intelligentsia, and as an economic powerhouse surrounded by cutting-edge industry. Munich is also the gateway to the rustic, folklore-saturated Bavarian region.
Each autumn, Munich is home to beer and food bashes during a monthlong celebration called Oktoberfest. Munich's cultural events, theatres, and museums are sure to keep you busy for several days.
With one of the most modern airports in the world and one of the largest train stations in Europe, Munich's status as a major travel hub means that you'll have no trouble finding your way there.
Arriving by air
The ultramodern Munich Airport International (089-97-500; munich-airport.de) is 18 miles northeast of Munich. At the information desks on levels 3 and 4 of the mainconcourse, you can make hotel reservations for Munich and the surrounding area. The desks are open 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. A 24-hour Internet point is in the airport's center area, and ATMs are located throughout the airport.
You can catch the S8 S-Bahn (light-rail train), which leaves the airport every 20 minutes, for the 45-minute trip to Munich (8 [euro]/$9.20).
Arriving by train
Trains to Munich arrive at the high-tech Hauptbahnhof train station on the city's western edge. From here, the S-Bahn runs into the center of town.
For help or tickets, skip the lines and head to the private EurAide agency (euraide.de), staffed by English-speakers and geared toward helping rail-pass holders by selling tickets and supplements and helping you plan rail journeys from Munich (Room 3 next to Track 11). The office is open June to October 3, daily from 7:45 a.m. to noon and 1 to 6 p.m.; in winter, hours vary.
Orienting Yourself in Munich
Munich's sights are not confined to its Altstadt, or old center - as in many European cities. Munich's cultural attractions are spread across town. The tangled streets of the Altstadt are at the core of the city, bearing a combination of medieval and contemporary structures that have been restored or replaced after World War II bombings.
Introducing the neighborhoods
Marienplatz is the heart of the city, with its bustling square and a light-rail juncture underneath. Neuhauserstrasse is one of the city's main east-west routes and begins at Karlsplatz (a few blocks east of Hauptbahnhof station). This street changes names to Kaufingerstrasse and beyond Marienplatz, it becomes Im Tal. This street leads east into Isartorplatz, on the Altstadt's eastern edge. Just a few blocks away is the Isar River, which borders the eastern edge of the city.
Art galleries and designer boutiques fill Maximilianstrasse, the other main east-west route. This fashionable street runs from the Isar River west into the Altstadt and ends at Max Joseph Platz - the location of the Residenz royal palace - just a few blocks north of Marienplatz. Residenzstrasse runs from Max Joseph Platz to Odeonsplatz. Odeonsplatz is an elegant, if heavily trafficked, square surrounded by neo-Renaissance buildings; it marks the Altstadt's northern edge.
From Odeonsplatz, Ludwigstrasse/Leopoldstrasse heads due north toward the University district and Schwabing, a trendy quarter filled with restaurants and cafes. Prinzregentenstrasse runs east-west just north of the city center. This street passes along the southern border of the Englischer Garten park and is lined with several museums (including the Bavarian National Museum). An area of neoclassical buildings houses more museums (including both the Neue and Alte Pinakotheks) to the northwest corner of the Altstadt. You can reach this area via Briennerstrasse, which heads west out of Odeonsplatz.
Finding information after you arrive
The main tourist office, Fremdenverkehrsamt (089-233-0300 or 089-2339-6500; munich-tourist.de), is at the Hauptbahnhof at the south exit opening onto Bayerstrasse. Open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., it offers a free map of Munich and can reserve hotel rooms (089-2339-6555). Tourist information can also be obtained in the town center on Marienplatz inside the Rathaus Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Getting Around Munich
Munich was one of the first cities to close many of the streets in its Altstadt (old center) to cars, making getting around the inner city by foot both enjoyable and a necessity (not even trams are allowed). But buses, trams, and two light-rail systems (the U-Bahn and S-Bahn) are available to help you get around Greater Munich.
Buses, trams, S-Bahns, and U-Bahns all use the same tickets, which you buy at machines in S-Bahn/U-Bahn stations. The longer your trip, the more zones you have to cross, and the more you'll pay. One zone covers about two S-Bahn or U-Bahn stops or four bus or tram stops. If you have a Eurail pass, you can use it on the S-Bahn, so don't buy a separate ticket.
A single-journey ticket for a ride within the city's central Zone 1 - a large area that few tourists ever leave - costs 2.10 [euro] ($2.40). However, if you're traveling four stops or fewer, you can buy a "short trip" ticket for just 1.10 [euro] ($1.25). If you go to the outermost zones of the subway system, your ride could cost as much as 8.40 [euro] ($9.65).
You can save money by purchasing a Streifenkarte (strip card), which gives you ten strips to use over several rides for 9.50 [euro] ($11). Fold over the ticket to the number of strips your journey "costs." Brief trips of up to four stations cost one strip, but each full zone costs two strips. Each time you stamp a set of strips, those are good for three hours (one hour for a "short trip" of four stops) and unlimited transfers, as long as you're headed in the same direction (in other words, it doesn't cover your return trip). You can also use the strip card for multiple passengers - for two people to ride two zones, simply stamp four strips.
The Tageskarte (day ticket) is an even better deal. For 4.50 [euro] ($5.20), you have unlimited access within the central zone for a full day (11 [euro]/$13 for three days). For 9 [euro] ($10), you can have access to all of Greater Munich - a 50-mile radius. Partner versions of the tickets are valid for two adults and cost 8 [euro] ($9.20) for the inner district (18.50 [euro]/$21 for the three-day variety), or 16 [euro] ($18) for Greater Munich.
Your other option is the Munich Welcome Card; see the introduction of the "Exploring Munich" section, later in this chapter.
By U-Bahn and S-Bahn (subway and light rail)
The S-Bahn is a state-run commuter train line that covers a wider area than the U-Bahn (and is often aboveground); the U-Bahn runs mostly underground as a city subway. In the center of Munich, they're both, effectively, subways providing visitors with an overlapping, interchangeable set of networks. The most important difference between the S-Bahn and the U-Bahn is that you can use your rail pass on the S-Bahn, but not on the U-Bahn. The major central junctures of multiple lines are Hauptbahnhof, Karlsplatz, Marienplatz, Sendlingertor, and Odeonsplatz.
Most S-Bahn lines discussed in this chapter (S1 through S8) run the same east-west route through the city, and stop at Hauptbahnhof, Karlsplatz, Marienplatz, and Isartorplatz. The most useful of the U-Bahn lines (U3 and U6) run north-south through the city center, and stop at Sendlingertor, Marienplatz, and Odeonsplatz before going to Schwabing.
By tram and bus
Trams and buses are great for getting to a few areas within the Altstadt and for traveling out into Greater Munich, but they're less effective at getting you where you want to go in the center of town. The 19 tram runs along Maximilianstrasse and the northern part of the Altstadt before heading to Hauptbahnhof. The 18 tram trundles from Hauptbahnhof through Sendlinger Top and Isartor right to the Deutsches Museum.
With Munich's efficient public-transportation system, you don't need to take taxis - and at their steep prices, you probably won't want to. The initial charge is 2.50 [euro] ($2.90) and then 1.45 [euro] ($1.65) for each kilometer up to 5; 1.30 [euro] ($1.50) per kilometer for kilometers 5 through 10, then 1.20 [euro] ($1.40) for each kilometer over 10. You're charged an extra 0.50 [euro] (60[cents.]) per bag for luggage. You can call a taxi to pick you up by dialing 089-21-610 or 089-19-410 or 089-450-540, but you'll pay 1 [euro] ($1.15) more for the convenience.
Staying in Munich
Munich has a healthy supply of hotel rooms that serve a large tourist population, as well as a commercial and industrial trade. Unfortunately, year-round demand keeps prices high.
Rates in Munich rise when a trade fair is in town, during the summer tourist season, and during Oktoberfest. You'll want to book a room well in advance for the city's big keg party, or you'll pay high prices or end up a long way from the center - or both.
If you arrive in town without a hotel, the tourist office can land a room for you. Call them at 089-2339-6555, or see "Finding information after you arrive," earlier in this chapter, for locations.
Munich's top hotels
An der Oper $$$ Near the Residenz
An der Oper is a great value right in the heart of town, near major sights, shopping, theater, and the Hofbrauhaus. Rooms are modern and basic, with sitting areas and little touches like mini-chandeliers instead of bedside lamps. Most rooms are midsized to large. The restaurant serves a mix of Bavarian and French cuisine.
See map p. 290. Falkenturmstrasse 11 (just off Maximilianstrasse, near the Residenz end). 089-290-0270. Fax: 089-2900-2729. hotelanderoper.com. Tram: 19. Rates: 150 [euro]-235 [euro] ($173-$270) double. Rates include breakfast. AE, MC, V.
Bayerischer Hof $$$$ Near the Residenz
A Bavarian version of New York's Waldorf-Astoria, this hotel is in a swank location, opening onto a little tree-filled square. Rooms range from medium size to extremely spacious, each with plush duvets; many beds are fourposters. Decor ranges from Bavarian provincial to British country house chintz. The large bathrooms have tub/shower combos, private phones, and state-of-the-art luxuries.
See map p. 290. Promenadeplatz 2-6. 800-223-6800 in the U.S., or 089-21-200. Fax 089-212-0906. bayerischerhof.de. Tram: 19. Rates: 205 [euro]-416 [euro] ($236-$478) double. Rates include breakfast. AE, DC, MC, V.
Hotel Am Markt $ Near Marienplatz
You may have to hunt to find this budget favorite near Munich's outdoor market. The owner keeps the place spotless, welcoming all sorts of visitors from families to students to stars of stage and opera. Rooms are sparse but functional, small but comfortable. This is one place that doesn't raise prices for Oktoberfest.
See map p. 290. Heiliggeistrasse 6 (a tiny alley between the Tal and the Viktualienmarkt). 089- 225-014. Fax: 089-224-017. hotelinmunich.de. U-Bahn or S-Bahn: Marienplatz. Walk under the arches of the Altes Rathaus; the hotel is down the first right turn off the Tal. Rates: 66 [euro]-68 [euro] ($76-$78) double without bathroom, 87 [euro]-92 [euro] ($100-$106) double with bathroom. Rates include breakfast. MC, V.
Kempinski Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten $$$$$ Near the Residenz
You may have to splurge at this grand old hotel, built in 1858 for Maximilian II to accommodate the overflow of guests from his nearby Residenz. But the extra cash is worth it if you appreciate discreet service, constantly renovated rooms, a rooftop pool, a bevy of fine restaurants, boutique shops, posh accommodations, and the proximity of shopping, theatre, and galleries. The least expensive rooms are in the uninteresting 1972 wing (although the rooms themselves are vintage 2002); if you're splurging anyway, go for the modern rooms in the original building.
See map p. 290. Maximilianstrasse 17 (3 blocks from the Residenz and hard to miss). 800-426-3135 in the United States; 089-21-250 in Germany. Fax: 089-2125-2000. kempinski-vierjahreszeiten.de. Tram: 19. Rates: 345 [euro]-495 [euro] ($397-$569) double. Rates include breakfast. AE, DC, MC, V.
Splendid-Dollmann $$$ Near the Isar
This Old World hotel offers great value. Oriental carpets, chandeliers, and antiques fill public rooms; bedrooms are outfitted in neo-Bavarian baroque country style. Splendid is located just outside of the Altstadt (with free parking, no less), near the river, and close to several museums. You can get an inexpensive room without a bath (there's one just down the hall), and enjoy your breakfast on the trellised patio in summer.
See map p. 290. Thierschstrasse 49 (at Maximilianstrasse, 1 block before the Maximilian Bridge over the Isar). 089-296-606 or 089-238-080. Fax: 089-291-3176 or 089-2380-8365. hotel-splendid-dollmann.de. U-Bahn: Lehel. Tram: 17, 19. Rates: 115 [euro]-170 [euro] ($132-$196) double. Breakfast 10.50 [euro] ($12). AE, DC, MC, V.
Munich's runner-up accommodations
$$ Near the Englischer Garten Adria is a stylishly modern place triangulated between the Isar River, the Englisher Garten, and the old center. See map p. 290. Liebigstrasse 8a. 089-242-1170. Fax: 089-2421-17999. adriamuenchen. de.
$$$ Near the Isar This minimalist contemporary hotel sits comfortably between Isartorplatz and the river. See map p. 290. Baaderstrasse 1. 089-216-310. Fax: 089-216-3190. hotel-advokat.de.
$$ Near Alte and Neue Pinakotheks Visitors enjoy the neo-baroque comfort of this hotel on the edge of trendy Schwabing, very near Munich's art museums. See map p. 290. Furstenstrasse 12. 089-282-061. Fax: 089-284-391. renner-hotel-ag.de.
$ Near Goetheplatz This four-story town house, originally built in 1895, is one of Munich's best pensions. The location faces the meadow where the annual Oktoberfest takes place. See map p. 290. Mozartstrasse 23. 089-530-377. Fax: 089-543-9120. pension-westfalia.de.
$$$ Near Isartorplatz This place has basic, modern rooms with a 15th-century pedigree, and it's just inside the edge of the Altstadt. See map p. 290. Tal 41. 089-242-340. Fax: 089-234-235. torbraeu.de.
Dining in Munich
The primary food groups in Munich are sausage, beer, salted white radishes, and pretzels, so don't even think about dieting while you're here. Sausages (or wurstel, to the natives) come in many shapes, sizes, and stuffings. Look for bratwurst (finger-sized seasoned pork), frankfurter (the forerunner of hot dogs, but more appetizing), blutwurst (blood sausage), leberwurst (liver), and, Munich's specialty, weisswurst (veal, calf brains, and spleen, spiced to mild deliciousness and boiled). The proper way to eat weisswurst is to cut it in half, dip the cut end in mustard, and suck the filling out of the casing in one fell slurp.
Another word you may see on menus is knodel, which means "dumpling." Knodel may be made of semmel (bread), leber (liver), or kartoffel (potato). You can usually get these specialties in a beer hall tavern, where people sit communally at big tables. The outdoor biergarten is a wonderful Munich tradition. For more on this, see "More cool things to see and do," later in this chapter.
Excerpted from Europe For Dummies by Reid Bramblett Excerpted by permission.
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