Consistently voted one of Germany’s most liveable cities, Munich is a wonderful place for a weekend break. Its old town oozes Bavarian charm, the museums and galleries are world-class, and it’s home to the hedonistic, overindulgent Oktoberfest celebration. If you’ve booked a trip but you’re not sure where to stay in Munich, use our guide to the best areas and top hotels.
For those wishing to be close to the Oktoberfest action, staying near the Hauptbahnhof is a safe bet. The beer-drinking revelry is held on the Theresienwiese, an open space just south of the main train station.
The single most important thing to know about Oktoberfest is that it’s all over after the first Sunday in the month it’s named after. The bulk of the Fest, which lasts sixteen days, therefore generally takes place during the last two weeks in September, depending on when the first weekend in October falls. The first draught Mass (1 litre stein) of Oktoberfestbier is always pulled with much (televised) ceremony, after which Bavarian television keeps up a regular live feed.
Hauptbahnof is ideal area to stay if you want to join in the hoppy fun, or if you’re inter-railing and are zipping in and out of the city by train.
Best on a budget:MEININGER Hotel
This hotel is a great affordable option, with clean dorm and private rooms. A lovely social space has table football and pool.
Best for good clean fun:Aloft Munich
Situated right next to the train station for convenience. Excellent, comfortable rooms and a great courtyard garden.
On the west bank of the Isar river lies Glockenbach, Munich’s LGBTQ+ centre. Full of cool cafes and restaurants during the day, and a pretty, leafy park, when darkness falls it turns into a nightlife hub. Clubs and bars bustle with the city’s young, fun crowd. The 24-hour kiosk on the Reichenbachbrücke bridge feeds hungry hedonists all through the night.
If partying is your bag, this is by far the best place to stay in Munich.
Best for design flair:The Flushing Meadows
A top choice for those with an eye for interior design. It emanates style, with minimalist decor and funky artworks throughout. Plus, there’s a brilliant rooftop bar and restaurant serving excellent coffee and cocktails.
Best for affordable fun:Cocoon Sendlinger Tor
This quirky, modern little hotel offers small but perfectly formed rooms at reasonable prices. There are bigger, more expensive options too. They’ve made clever use of all the space in each bedroom. The lobby restaurant and bar has fun seating – think floating orbs filled with cushions – and a great breakfast buffet.
The city’s university district is also home to the top museums and galleries, as well as bookshops and independent boutiques that could eat up hours of your time. If you can drag yourself away from the shopping, while away a few hours in Alte Pinakothek, which houses major European neoclassical artworks. Alternatively, visit the Lenbachhaus, where works from Kandinsky and the Blue Rider movement are on display.
Best for clean, cool and central:Ruby Lilly Hotel & Bar
This hotel sells itself as "lean luxury". Its uncomplicated decor is a breath of fresh air in this busy city, the breakfast buffet is almost entirely organic and there are cool co-working spaces and a rooftop terrace on the 7th floor.
Best for museums, architecture and beer:Eden Hotel Wolff
This stylish hotel offers individually decorated rooms that range from classic to modern in style. Some rooms feature Alpine details. The hotel is just one underground stop from the Theresienwiese, where the Oktoberfest festival takes place.
The capital of Bavaria might be a cosmopolitan city for the most part, but Munich also has its old town. Altstadt is a medieval neighbourhood, though much of it was destroyed during World War II. Its buildings, still in the historical style, are actually modern. It still retains an air of old world Germany, though, with its Gothic spires and even a crenellated Old Town gate.
It’s here you’ll find royal landmarks, such as the Residenz – a sprawling palace with stunning ceiling murals and opulent Baroque details. If you can’t make a day trip to one of Bavaria’s traditional towns, Altstadt will hit the spot.
Best for splashing out:Hotel Bayerischer Hof
One of Munich’s most luxurious hotels. Expect marble bathrooms, plush beds and a brilliant outdoor pool and hot tub. The breakfast room and roof terrace have excellent views of the Frauenkirche cathedral.
Best for bright and bold:LOUIS Hotel
A lovely modern retreat right in the heart of Munich, with light, airy rooms, a fabulous grill restaurant serving Kobe beef and even vegan options, and bikes to rent.
Every city has one, and this is Munich’s: Schwabing is the arty, bohemian neighbourhood where creative types reside and hang out in cafés by day. In the north of the city, it has plenty of excellent high street and independent shops worth browsing, and some superb restaurants. Plus, there’s the daily food market on Elisabethplatz where you can pick up cheese, wine, bread and more for a picnic in the nearby Englischen Garten.
Best for minimalist style:Schwabinger Wahrheit by Geisel
An incredibly cool concept hotel, encapsulating the neighbourhood vibe perfectly. Expect bare but beautiful private rooms with unusual features like a ping-pong table, and dorms with plenty of lockable storage.
Best for a sumptuous stay:Hotel la Maison
A fabulous boutique, French-themed property with plush decor, fantastic breakfast and rooms with balconies.
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Top image: famous big wheel at the Oktoberfest in Munich © Shutterstock