This morning your guide will meet you at your hotel to take you on an overview walking tour of Munich’s Old Town.
You will see the Karlstor (Carl’s Gate) which was once part of the city’s medieval fortifications. Further east, you will pass the Burersaal (Citizens' Hall) which dates from the early 18th century and was initially a house of worship for the local Jesuits before becoming a church in 1778. Heavily damaged by the Allied air raids in the Second World War, it was rebuilt to its original form in 1945 and 1946. The façade with its double pilasters is the original, as is the statue of the Virgin with the Child on a crescent moon over the entrance.
Just a block away, the Renaissance-style St. Michael’s church was erected in the late 16th century as the spiritual center of the Counter Reformation. The church’s impressive façade is decorated with columns and rows of niches containing the statues of Bavarian rulers. The ground floor is dominated by a bronze figure of St. Michael slaying the dragon.
Next, you may wish to see the historic Frauenkirche church. This site was originally occupied by a small chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, before this new church with the distinctive copper onion domes was erected in the 15th Century. It is one of Germany’s largest Gothic buildings, able to accommodate a congregation of up to 20,000. You can take the elevator to the top of one of the over-300-feet-tall onion-domed towers for a good view of central Munich. Just right of the entrance, the sarcophagus of the Emperor Ludwig IV is carved from black marble and surrounded by figures of kneeling knights.
You will see the Marienplatz (Mary’s Square), which has been Munich’s focal point since it was first laid in the 1300s. Originally a marketplace, the square was later used for public events like fairs, proclamations, and executions. It is now dominated by a golden statue of the Virgin Mary atop a column erected in 1638 to celebrate the end of the Swedish occupation of the city. Don’t miss the Viktualienmarkt, the open-air food market frequented by locals and tourists alike. It’s a great place to pick up a fresh pretzel for a snack.
Continuing your walk north of Marienplatz, you will soon reach the historic street Maximilianstrasse which was built to connect the Old Town and the Imperial residence with the river Isar further east. Today, this exclusive avenue is lined by neo-gothic palaces which house, among others, the Schauspielhaus - one of the most important German language theaters in the world; the building of the Bavarian Parliament; and the Museum of Ethnology. The western portion of Maximilianstrasse is known for its designer shops, luxury boutiques, and jewelry stores.
Crossing Maximillianstrasse, you will reach the Residenz – the former residence of the Bavarian kings and the largest downtown palace in Germany. A fortress was first built on this spot in the 14th Century, which was gradually replaced by a palace complex, which itself was later modified and expanded in stages and styles through the centuries. Restored to its original form after the bombings of the Second World War, the huge palace complex now contains seven courtyards, lavish living quarters which have housed foreign dignitaries, and several museums including the Residenz Museum, the Treasury (Schatzkammer), the richly gilded Rococo Cuvilliés Theater, and the Antiquarium – a large Renaissance ceremonial hall which is also the oldest surviving part of the palace complex.
Finally take a short drive to Nymphenburg Palace for a tour. This summer palace was first begun in 1664 and has been enlarged over the centuries. Don’t miss the palace’s most famous feature – the Gallery of Beauties – 36 pictures of local ladies painted for King Ludwig.