Munich, Germany is a fantastic travel destination and made even better with so many cool free things to do in Munich!
Affectionately known as the capital of beer in Bavaria, Munich attracts travelers from around the world to discover the beautiful plazas, view the impressive and different styles of architecture, and let’s be honest, drink lots of beer and get our fill of brats and beer.
From exploring beer gardens and regular gardens to celebrating Oktoberfest, there are some fun free things to do in Munich to keep your travel costs low.
I’d recommend going in late summer or early fall to catch Oktoberfest, but there are some free and low cost activities available year-round.
Are you looking to save a few bucks in Bavaria? Add these 10 activities to your Munich travel itinerary!
Best free things to do in Munich
1. Free walking tour
Discover the sights of the Bavarian capital on a guided walking tour of Munich. There’s a morning tour and afternoon tour, both are two and a half hours and pass by many of Munich’s major attractions.
This Munich sightseeing tour starts in Marienplatz to see the Glockenspiel, then you pass by the Hofbrauhaus, learn about Oktoberfest celebrations, walk by Frauenkirche, and learn about the Bavarian royal family as you see the Royal Residenz.
The tour is free but reservations should be made in advance online and tips are greatly appreciated based on what you think the tour is worth.
2. Enjoy free entertainment in Marienplatz
Join the crowd in Marienplatz to see the 15-minute show during the chiming of the Glockenspiel. Complete with 43 bells and 32 life-sized figures, the show reenacts moments of history and has been running for more than 100 years and is a treat to catch.
The show starts at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. and an additional show at noon is added during the summer. After the show, enjoy the impressive architecture in the square and the hustle and bustle of the popular plaza.
3. Discover the churches
Munich is home to some impressive churches and are must-sees in the city. Start with Frauenkirche in Marienplatz to see the Devil’s Footstep or Teufelstritt and climb to the top of the towers for an amazing view of the city below the Bavarian Alps in the distance.
Asamkirche is next and is a complete wonder as soon as you step inside. The interior is rich in color and ornate decorations with pretty much every inch covered in paintings, stucco, or gold leaf.
4. Enjoy Englischer Garten
I loved hanging out in Englischer Garten as we biked through the park’s picturesque trails, lush greenery, and then including a perfect sotp at the beer garden at the Chinesischer Turm for a little snack – a giant pretzel and half a liter of beer (gotta keep hydrated!).
Englischer Garten is bigger than New York’s Central Park and London’s Hyde Park and is a natural oasis in Munich. We did a bike tour through the park, but we saw many people walking, enjoying picnics, boating on the lake, or playing some sports on the grounds. There are areas of the park where you can sunbathe in your birthday suit if you wish.
5. See the Eisbach surfers
On our way into the park we stopped and watched the surfers on the Eisbach river. There’s a huge rolling wave at the southern tip of the Englischer Garten where men and women in wetsuits take a quick ride on the fast-flowing river.
It is extremely dangerous with its strong currents and rocky bottom and was actually illegal to surf there for a while. They have plenty of signs telling you that you surf at your own risk, so best to just watch from the sidelines and let the pros have fun with it.
6. Feel like royalty at the Residenz
If you want to go into the museum it’ll cost you, but you can wander the grounds of the 14th- century palace for free. Stroll the gardens and courtyards and imagine what life was like for the Bavarian monarchs who lived here.
7. Visit Olympiapark
Explore the park that housed the 1972 Summer Olympic Games and let out your inner athlete as you escape the crowds in Munich. If you visit in August, be sure to stick around for a free concert thanks to the Theatron Festival.
8. Shop the Viktualienmarkt
Discover Munich’s oldest farmers’ market, dating back to the 1800s! Find fresh produce, baked treats, and of course beer here at the Biergarten Viktualienmarkt.
Oktoberfest and the parade are free to attend, though the beer and food will cost you. Join the largest beer festival in the world, though the original was in 1810 to celebrate the marriage between Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese; today’s festival welcomes six million people to drink copious amounts of beer, listen to oompah music, and dress up in your best dirndl or lederhosen.
10: Museum Sundays
So, not free but definitely affordable! Museum Sundays take place at about a dozen of Munich’s museums and reduce admission to one euro. Stop by the Alte Pinakothek, Neue Pinakothek, Pinakothek der Moderne, the Egyptian Museum, or the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum. Take in some art or bone up on your history as you nurse your hangover.
Did we miss any cool free things to do in Munich? Tell us in the comments below or share on Twitter by tagging us at @bttpassport.