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The first stop on my swing through Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein was Munich. This was my first time in Munich, first time in Germany, and I had only one full day, so I knew I had to make it worth it.
And I also wanted to keep it cheap. I knew that my upcoming TBU adventure would involve spending some cash, so I wanted to keep expenses low while I could.
I was staying in the Euro Youth Hotel (which I recommend), with a very reasonable nightly rate of €15.50 for a 12-bed dorm, which made it a great budget option.
But what for the entertainment?
When my sister traveled through Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam this summer, she recommended New Europe Tours — free tours of different European cities given by guides who work only for tips. Sarah told me the guides were hilarious and very well-informed about their city.
She was right! The Munich tour was great and informative as well as offbeat. Three hours is a LONG tour, and because of that, you can make it the main activity of your day.
Some main landmarks of Munich were visited, starting with Marienplatz, one of Munich’s most famous squares.
Then things got more freaky. We visited a church built BY THE DEVIL HIMSELF, so the legend says:
We saw Hitler’s favorite place to give speeches. It was definitely creepy hearing that while we were sitting in that same exact place.
And finally, my favorite part: the MICHAEL JACKSON MEMORIAL!
Really, the memorial is remarkable. They built the memorial around a statue of a composer that happened to be around the corner from the hotel where Michael stayed in Munich. People are always coming to the memorial and tending it each day, our guide told us.
At the end of the tour, our leader collected tips. Some people gave €5, some gave €10, and most shamefully slinked away without donating anything. Really, after such a great tour, you’d just try to pretend you were never there? I can’t stand when people do that.
As I’ve said before, one way to make friends while traveling solo is to do day tours like these. I made a friend on the tour (during our tour’s stop for Augustiners!) and we ended up checking out Viktualienmarkt, one of the city’s bigger food markets and home to a biergarten popular with locals.
And I had to take the stereotypical Germany shot with a liter beer and a bratwurst:
After a morning and afternoon exploring Munich, I headed back to the hotel, met up with my friend Dylan the Travelling Editor, we put together a ragtag group of travelers from the hostel, and went back out to the biergartens.
Munich’s biergartens are definitely worth visiting, and so easy — you just grab a table, head up to one of the stalls, grab a plate of food and a beer, and pay. No waitress service and it’s lightning fast — the beers are poured just before you pick them up.
Now, why would I include drinking liter beers as a cheap activity?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: when you’re a solo female traveler, you get more free drinks than you can shake a giant mug at.
Just a fact. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
I enjoyed my brief time in Munich and wish I had been able to see more of the city. As it’s such a big transport hub in Europe, I’m sure I will!
25 thoughts on “A Day in Munich — On the Cheap!”
That’s a good tip about doing a lengthy city tour, kills time without hurting the pocket. Bizarre MJ memorial. I witnessed a similar thing last year in Paris. Dozens of fully garbed up fans occupying a fenced off square of grass near the Champ des Mars with djs balsting out the tunes… and nothing else apparently happening. I’m not sure what it was in aid of since it wasn’t even the anniversary of his death.
Jools, I was one of those in Boston…heh.
I was only in Munich for two days and I fell madly in love with it. It was such a vibrant city with nice people and so much to take in, even without doing a lot. We rented bikes and covered a lot of ground that way. If you go back, I’d recommend going to the English Garden. There’s a river that runs through it that people surf on!
Your post brings back a lot of great memories. Thanks!
That tour sounds so fun! Your lodging was a great deal too. Once I get myself to Europe I’m definitely going to mimic your trips =).
That’s a huge compliment, Lori — thanks!
We did the exact same things just before you were there!
Too bad we just missed each other!
I love that they include the Michael Jackson Memorial in that tour – awesome!! I think it’s great that Munich actually left the memorial – in London they took it down after a couple of weeks.
Glad you enjoyed the beer gardens – definitely a MUST every time we go to Munich. You really should go back in a couple of weeks for Octoberfest, you would L O V E it!!
I have the feeling I wouldn’t survive…
What a great idea for a day tour! Thanks for sharing, Kate. I’ll be sure to check it out next time I’m across the pond!
Last day of Race to the Alamo voting. Put mine in. Munich looks incredible and the biergartens too. Have a few for me. Enjoy and be safe.
May I ask how you even have the money to go gallivanting around Europe right now after your trip to Asia? Surely you cannot make that much money on this blog. Do your parents help?
Do my parents help?! Are you KIDDING me?! Of COURSE not!
I make a lot of money on several different web sites, in addition to consulting, freelance writing and other work.
I need to run and catch a shuttle now, but really…my parents helping? Seriously?! Never. This is my business.
Hahahaha I LOVE reading your replies each and every time you get asked this question.
(I support myself too, by the way)
I absolutely love Munich, I think it’s one of my favorite cities in Europe. Did you go to the Chinese Beer Garden in the English Garden? Awesome!
When I was there (it was for work) we did the bike tour of the city w/ Frankie’s Bike Tours, it was fantastic but not ‘free’ (for most people)– on that note I have never had a bad New Europe Tour and think they are worth the three hours by far. You can pick your own price but I’ve rarely given less than 10-15 for them, they are just worth it!
I enjoyed Munich when I solo traveled through it about 20 years ago. Really nice city.
I love Munich! Hands down one of my favourite cities in the world
WOW! I just happened to stumble upon your site and I am super stoked about it. I grew up in a two small for words town in NE Florida and am just now, at the age of 24, realizing the immense possibilities and beautiful places and people out there. I’m going to Europe for the first time to study alone (in Germany) and your blog is going to be my new best friend. SO excited to learn the tricks of the trade!
I am SO excited for you, Lindsey! Congratulations!!!
So where is Hitler’s favorite location for giving speeches?
I took the same tour and you get a VERY thorough tour of the city that way and it is a shame when people run away without tipping the guides!
As someone who has been living in Munich for quite a while now, I’d say you saw a lot in just one day. The hostel you stayed in is pretty famous for its parties, too. So if you come back, try their wodka tonic 🙂
It’s hard to do Munich on the cheap since Beer cost so much! Just visited this summer and cheap food and drinks costed 6-8 Euro’s. Not that cheap. To keep it cheep we would book hostels that offer breakfast then out of breakfast make lunch. (the backpackers trick). That allowed us to have better dinners so eat cheap then to save even-more. Great blog post! I would give Munich 4 days to see and experience everything. Travel On!