Just back for a short break in Munich with the family (kids aged 9, 12 & 14). Despite the cold, fog & drizzly weather, we had a brilliant time exploring this quintessential German gem. Highlights included Surfers in the city, Neuschwanstein Castle, lots of good food & fresh bakery & excellent public transport.
Many years travelling with kids has taught me that the secret to success and a memorable holiday for everyone, lies in the little things. Plan ahead, with a balance of; plenty of downtime, plenty of pool time or a “Netflix button” & lots of food, to complement soaking up the culture & history of a new place.
For a short 2-3 day trip, for a taste of German culture, Munich is perfect. It is very compact, endearing, reasonably cheap and easy to get around. (Most things are free for kids, I mean entrance to Museums etc) Excellently priced public transport, the UBAHN family day ticket is just €12,80.
Airport straight to the hotel and the Ubahn (train) straight to Marienplatz, Munich’s main square. Spend some time looking around this lovely pedestrianised area with plenty of cafes and shops and street entertainers. (remember all shops are closed on Sundays, so it’s quiet) The Viktualienmarkt (food market) is also here.
From Marienplatz, it is less than 10 minutes walk to the Hofbrauhaus (am Platz 9 80331, the world famous Beer & Food Hall). Hofbrauhaus really exceeded my expectations, buzzing with atmosphere, good food and drink. Try not to be tempted by the Hard Rock Cafe just across from it as the food at Hofbrauhaus is really tasty, even for kids! Ask for a menu in English and enjoy plenty of choice and reasonably priced food, eg Roast Chicken dishes & Ravioli. You will not be disappointed. It is an hour well spent enjoying German music, food and beer and be sure to try out the fresh breads (Pretzels & Donuts) from the ladies in traditional costume. (See the tripadvisor reviews HERE. Be sure to click Traveller Type – Family!)
KIDS TIP – On route to the Disney Inspired Neuschwanstein Castle, I did a quick ‘google’, to read some of the history of the castle so that we all had some context before the visit. My kids loved the story of King Ludwig and this really helped engage better during the visit.
TICKETS-I booked the tickets two days before, online, from the Ticket office. Very reasonably priced at €13 for adults, kids are free but there is a service charge of €1.80 per person. Tickets must be collected 90mins before your tour time. I thought this seemed crazy initially but it was no time in passing as the Ticket Office is 20-30mins uphill depending on your method of transport (bus or horse&carriage). No public cars allowed. Neuschwanstein castle is accessible via public transport (train and bus combo from Munich) and via Bus Tour companies. However, we had a car hired, so travelled by car from Munich to the ticket centre in Hohengaustein (approx 1hr 40mins) which is the little town at the bottom of the hill from the castle. The carpark is just beyond the ticket office (fixed charge of €6).
It is approximately a half hour hike from the ticket centre uphill, to the castle or there is an option to take a bus or a horse and carriage ride. We opted for the horse and carriage ride for the experience but in hindsight the bus would’ve been a better option for us (the carriage holds 13-15 people and we were concerned for the animals) It’s pricey anyway (€7 per person age 7+, under 7s are €3.50). Alternatively the bus ride is €3.50 per person. The carriage drop off leaves you approx 5-7 min walk from the entrance to the castle. There is a restaurant just at the carriage stop for sit down food or a short walk up further, there is a cafe serving hot coffees in proper cups and fresh bakery which was a really nice treat as it was a very cold day.
Upon entering the castle, each person receives a headset (to listen to the guide) as you won’t hear him/her unless you’re walking in close proximity. The really enjoyable tour lasts 30 minutes. We walked back down the hill via the forest,20-30mins. Despite a heavy mist hanging over Neuschwanstein and the cold and wet weather that day (which meant I didn’t get the classic photo of the castle from the bridge), we all really enjoyed and highly recommend. (Also just a ten minute drive to the idyllic town of Fussen for dinner afterwards). The small Hohenschwangau Castle is nearby also for medieval castle fans.
The worlds largest science and technology museum, the Deutsches Museum, is a ten minute walk from Marienplatz. Definitely worth a visit with kids.
KIDS TIP – Be sure to download the Deutsches Museum app, which we found really handy and a great help for planning our time. For example, the app has a “short highlights route”, a “longer highlights route” and a “family route” etc. It was perfect for keeping any short attention span or always hungry kid on board.
Our highlights were the Mines, the Submarine, the Wright Brothers aircraft, the Hall of Mirrors & the Planetarium. Be sure to book any shows on arrival as they book out fast. Family ticket: €25, Planetarium is €3 extra pp. (Approx 2-3 hours will be sufficient with this age group, restaurant/cafe inside)
There’s no exaggerating how good this ‘Surfin in the City’ experience was. My kids would’ve stayed watching the surfers for hours. Can’t recommend enough. It was amazing to watch, so entertaining. We had some difficulty finding the exact spot in the Englischer Garten, initially and had to be redirected by a few different people. The exact location is at the bridge just beyond the Haus der Kunst art museum. (The nearest U-Bahn I think is the Odeonsplatz via Galeriestrasse) The River Eisbach Wave does not disappoint, allow time as you won’t want to leave!
We usually seek out cheap and cheerful Airbnb’s, but this time we had the chance to stay at the Munich Marriott ,which I highly recommend, it ticked most every box including;
Close to the U-Bahn station (5 mins walk)
6 stops to Marienplatz (Munich’s main square)
Tonnes of English TV Channels
Robes for the kids
Lovely Pool & Spa open until 10pm
Huge breakfast buffet
Express Airport Bus every 15mins (30 minute ride, €11 Adults, €6 Kids)