Introduction to Munich
From beer steins to BMWs, and alpine kitsch to modern art, Munich is a metropolis where century-old traditions and sleek design coexist in perfect harmony. As the capital of the state of Bavaria in Germany’s south, Munich is Germany’s most prosperous city and wears its good fortune good-naturedly, being dubbed the ‘city of laptops and lederhosen.’ It’s where you’ll find stunning castles and architecture in the Altstadt (Old City), with world-class modern museums like the BMW Museum and Deutsches Museum, and stunning alpine scenery and green spaces along with futuristic architecture and sleek design.
More than 1.4 million people live in Munich (and up to 6 million in the metro area) making it Germany’s third-largest city. With modern infrastructure, über-efficient public transport and an international centre for business, engineering, medicine and research, Munich is regularly in the top 10 cities for best lifestyle. And its cultural attributes of music venues, art galleries and museums are considered to give the capital, Berlin, a run for top billing in the hi-tech, high-art stakes.
But when you think of Munich, what usually comes to mind is Oktoberfest – that annual celebration of Bavarian culture, and yes, beer. The Alpine costume of lederhosen for the herren and dirndls for the damen also looms large in peoples’ imaginations, along with a reputation for being conservative and staid as one big country town. What’s unique about Munich is that it embraces the traditional but still manages to surprise with massive clubbing complexes, designer boutiques and high-powered industry that’s anything but provincial.
The post-World War II legacy is never far away and can be seen in the rebuilt architecture and nearby Dachau Memorial Site, but Munich today is all about an all-inclusive and ultra-friendly atmosphere. For a scenic city that pulses with charm and getmütlichkeit (comfort), as well as all-night dance clubs and famous festivals - here’s cheers to Munich.