I have lived in Munich since I came here from my hometown, Schopfheim, in Southwest Germany as a student more than 11 years ago. Munich is the capital city of the state of Bavaria, famous for its long royal history. For 750 years, Bavaria was the seat of power for the kings of the Wittelsbach Dynasty. Relics of its medieval past remain in its culture, art, buildings, and castles. Munich also has plenty of green spaces thanks to the city council’s planning. With downtown Munich designated a traffic-free zone, much of the tranquillity of old Bavaria can still be experienced here.
But, as a capital city, Munich is also very much a vibrant, modern place. It was named the world’s most livable city in 2010 by Monocle magazine, a global affairs magazine. I agree unreservedly. Its mix of present and past, nature and high-tech industries, quiet and electrifying buzz makes me fall in love with the city every day.
As the gateway to the German Alps, Munich is an ideal destination for winter sports. From my serviced residence, Citadines Arnulfpark Munich, the peaks are so near – a 15-minute walk to the Central Railway Station from which an hour’s ride will get you to the slopes - you almost feel you can reach out and touch them.
I would definitely recommend skiing at the Alps. I learnt to ski when I was five and I have not stopped since. I love the vintage view the mountains afford, the thrill of speeding down the slope and sense of solitude and control that come with the sport.
Another winter sport worth exploring is snowshoeing which is basically walking or hiking in the snow. No skills are required. All you need is good pair of snowshoes, warm clothing and the ability to walk. Since this is done at a leisurely pace, it is one of the best ways to take in the beautiful Bavarian winterscape.
When visitors come, another must-do activity unique to Munich that I always recommend is surfing at the Eisbach, a small man-made river that flows through the Englischer Garten Park (English Garden Park). A five-minute drive from my serviced residence, you can surf there all year round but taking on the ice-cold waves during the winter months is something not to be missed. If you don’t have the fortitude to brave the freezing waters, watching the surfers is just as exhilarating. Walk to the bridge near the Haus der Kunst (House of Art), a non-collecting art museum, for the perfect viewing spot.
When it gets very cold, the Nymphenburg canal becomes the stage for ice-skaters. Also a five-minute drive from the serviced residence, you can either take part in the fun or watch the skaters spin their magic on the ice. But if you prefer to watch the real professionals on ice, make a date with Munich’s own ice-hockey team - the EHC Red Bull Munich.
After all that chilly outdoor activity, there is nothing like a mug of German beer to warm you up. Choose from any number of beer gardens (Biergartens) and beer cellars (Bierkellers) dotted throughout the city. A convenient choice is a beer cellar just across from the Citadines Arnulfpark Munich. Here, you can sample brews from the city’s six famous breweries known worldwide: Augustiner Bräu, Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu, Hacker-Pschorr, Paulaner, Hofbräu and Löwenbräu . Have a swig of Weissbier, a wheat beer that is a Bavarian specialty and Helles, a translucent goldbeer that is the most popular in Munich.
But do not forget to visit Hofbräuhaus, the most famous beer hall in the world. Right at the heart of Munich's old town about five kilometres from the serviced residence, it is just a few steps from the central square Marienplatz. For somewhere quieter, I prefer the nearby Bratwurstglöckl.
To go with the beer, sample the best of Bavarian cuisine. Many of Munich’s specialties are hearty country dishes that are great for keeping warm during the cold months. Have some Schweinsbraten (pot roasted pork) with Knödel (dumplings made from potatoes or white bread), or Kraut (cabbage) and a Schweinshaxe (pork knuckle). For the adventurous, there is Beuscherl , a platter of lung, heart and spleen also served with dumplings. Sample, a Bavarian baked sausage loaf, often served with potato salad, is another delicacy of the region. Then there arguably Germany’s most famous soup, Leberknödel (liver dumpling) Soup, made with the dumpling and seasoned with liver and onions. Another Munich delicacy is Weißwurst ('white sausage'), traditionally eaten before noon with fresh-baked pretzels. I love German bread and Bavarian pretzels are my all-time favourite.
Just because the temperatures fall does not mean you cannot have fun. Munich is proof that when winter hits, there are a host of cool activities and cuisine that can up the thrill factor several notches.
Come stay with us…Citadines Arnulfpark Munich