What You Need To Know
Munich is the capital and largest city of the German state of Bavaria, on the banks of River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps. Munich is the third largest city in Germany, after Berlin and Hamburg, and the 12th biggest city of the European Union. The city is a major center of art, advanced technologies, finance, publishing, culture, innovation, education, business, and tourism in Germany and Europe and enjoys a very high standard and quality of living, reaching #1 in Germany and #4 worldwide according to the 2015 Mercer survey.
The city is known for its annual Oktoberfest celebration and cavernous beer halls, including the famed Hofbräuhaus, founded in 1589. In the walkable Old Town, Marienplatz is a central square containing landmarks such as Gothic Neues Rathaus (town hall), with a popular glockenspiel show.
Area: 119.9 mi²
Population: 1.388 million (2013)
- The euro (€), is the single currency of Germany and other participating countries. Exchange rates of participating countries are locked into a common currency fluctuating against the dollar. Money can be exchanged local bank.
- Credit cards are another safe way to carry money. They also provide a convenient record of all your expenses, and they generally offer relatively good exchange rates. You can withdraw cash advances from your credit cards at banks or ATMs but high fees make credit card cash advances a pricey way to get cash.
- Munich’s city climate lies between the humid continental climate (Köppen classification: Dfb) and the oceanic climate (Köppen classification: Cfb).
- The city center lies between both climates, while the airport of Munich has a humid continental climate. The warmest month of the year, on average, is July. The coolest month of the year, on average, is January.
- Showers and thunderstorms bring the highest average monthly precipitation totals in late spring and throughout the summer. June, on average, records the most precipitation of any month. The winter months tend to bring lower precipitation, on average, and February averages the least amount of monthly precipitation for the year.
The official language in Munich is, of course, German. With many Munich residents coming from other German regions or from abroad, “Standard German” dominates as spoken language in Munich. Nevertheless, some residents will speak with a more or less strong Bavarian dialect, which can deviate substantially from the standard German.
English is widely spoken and understood throughout the city in restaurants, cafes, tourist attractions, shops as well as by ordinary citizens
Munich is a very safe city for its residents and travellers: it is one of the safest German cities overall and violent crime is extremely rare. Take the usual precautions (such as don’t leave your camera unattended) and you will not encounter any crime at all.
Munich is an open-minded, international city with a large number of immigrants and expatriates living in the city (25% of residents have a migration background), so you are very unlikely to encounter any problems because you are a foreigner. Gay and lesbian travellers should neither experience any trouble: Munich has a large and vivid gay and lesbian community and the Rosa Liste, a gay rights party, has been part of the city government since 1996.
The main safety hazard in Munich is the local beer drinking culture in combination with the high accessibility of alcohol. Think twice before trying to keep up with the locals or looking for your maximum level of alcohol intoxication – being drunk will sharply raise your chances of injuring yourself. Another issue for people not used to driving or walking on ice or snow, are wintery road and sidewalk conditions.
Pharmacies are open 09.00 to 18.00 Monday to Friday and 09.00 to 12.00 Saturday. They all provide addresses for services outside of opening hours.
German medical facilities are among the best in the world. If a medical emergency arises, your hotel staff can usually put you in touch with a reliable doctor. If not, contact your embassy or consulate; each one maintains a list of English-speaking doctors. Medical and hospital services aren’t free, so be sure that you have appropriate insurance coverage before you travel.
The water is safe to drink throughout Germany; however, do not drink the water in mountain streams, regardless of how clear and pure it looks.
If you suffer from a chronic illness, consult your doctor before departing. Pack prescription medications in your carry-on luggage and carry them in their original containers, with pharmacy labels otherwise they won’t make it through airport security. Carry the generic name of prescription medicines, in case a local pharmacist is unfamiliar with the brand name.
- Don’t Ask Someone How Their Day is going, unless you are prepared to hear their sob stories
- Don’t Spit, spitting is Considered quite rude in Germany.
- Do Talk Politics and Anything Taboo, Germany is the land of the thinkers and poets and the Germans love to get into all hairy topics.
- Do Tip but Not Too Much, Tip is around 5-10% depending on how nice the restaurant is
- DO try the local food. It’s delicious, besides the many consonants in the names. The white sausages, Bavaria’s signature dish, are incredibly tasty with pretzels and sweet mustard. Kässpatzn, the German version of mac & cheese, and Obatzda, the beer-infused French mongrel of Camembert cheese, are the way to go for vegetarians.
The best way to travel around Munich – without using your own feet – is the public transportation system consisting of suburban trains (S-Bahn), underground trains (U-Bahn), streetcars (Tram), and buses. There is only one ticket system, called MVV, which means you can use all modes of transportation with the same ticket. You can get individual, group, daily, weekly and monthly tickets.
Like almost everywhere in Germany, Munich taxis can easily be recognized by their beige color and the yellow-black taxi sign on the roof. Taxis can be found at taxi stands throughout the city, at train stations, and at the airport. It is also possible to stop a taxi (if it is not occupied) or to call one of the many taxi companies in Munich.
The police may tow your car away if it obstructs the traffic or endangers other people. Watch out for fire brigade access roads which are marked with small signs reading “Feuerwehrzufahrt”. There is no stopping and standing – parking will result in immediate towing.