A traveler’s guide to Bavaria’s Munich Central Station

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Munich is one of the most famous travel destinations in the world, full stop. With its magnificent architecture, expansive green spaces and gardens, iconic beer halls, and friendly Bavarian charm, Munich is the ideal European city. Like other European capitals, access to transportation is key to the full experience, linking downtown Munich with the rest of Europe. Munich Central Station, known locally as the Hauptbahnhof, is the primary transportation hub in the city, and arriving here lands you right in the middle of the action. 

 

Within a short walk of the train station, you’ll have some of Bavaria’s most iconic breweries, fantastic museums, and wonderful town squares like the nearby Karlsplatz. There are also trendy pedestrian-friendly shopping streets of Neuhauser and Kaufingerstrasse nearby, with excellent local and international boutiques worth checking out. 

 

If you plan to explore beyond the station while waiting for your next train, Munich Central Station luggage storage is a must to enjoy the experience fully. Here’s our travel guide to Munich Central Station:  

About Munich Central Station

Munich Central Station, known locally as Munchen Hauptbahnhof, is the primary transportation hub in Munich’s city center. Getting off the train, you’ll immediately be treated to one of Bavaria’s architectural marvels. Built throughout the 19th century and inaugurated in 1844, Munich Central Station wonderfully blends neo-Renaissance and modern architecture to make for one of the most impressive train stations in Europe. 

 

Munich Central Station is where most of the long-distance trains throughout Germany and European cities like Amsterdam and Vienna are boarded, making it the perfect stop in a trip through the country or even the continent. 

Best things to do and see near Munich Central Station

Marienplatz

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You’ll see a lot of places with “platz” in the name when you’re traveling through Germany, but this one is easily the most famous. Munich’s central square epitomizes the city’s architectural heritage and communal charm. Munich’s most iconic buildings surround the open square, like the Neues Rathaus (town hall) and its iconic Glockenspiel. It’s the beating heart of Munich’s cultural life and far from just a tourist trap. Actual Müncheners hang out and meet here, which you’ll certainly notice if FC Bayern Munich is playing that day. Being only a short walk from the train station, a stroll through Marienplatz is a must.  

Englischer Garten

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You have plenty of choices when it comes to parks and gardens in Munich’s city center, but the Englischer Garten is the best, and only a short walk away from the train station. Almost matching New York’s Central Park or London’s Hyde Park in terms of acreage, you’ll have an easy time stretching your legs walking around the Englischer Garten after a long train ride. The wild and untamed English style of gardening makes for a natural beauty, and Munich’s main park is one of the best examples. 

Karlsplatz

Known locally as “ Stachus,” this town square is only steps from Munich Central Station. It’s lined with cafés, boutiques, shops, bars, and restaurants, and is filled to the brim with commuters and tourists alike. The architecture is fantastic, most notably the imposing Karlstor Gate. 

Münchner Stadtmuseum

Seemingly everything there is to know about the city of Munich and its history can be learned at this wonderful museum just north of Marienplatz. With exhibits, artifacts, and artwork, the Munich City Museum tells the long and, at times, complicated history of this city. From its prehistory to its status as the seat of kings to its role in the rise of the Nazis, Munich’s history is as fascinating as it gets. 

Alte Pinakothek and Pinakothek der Moderne

Essentially Munich’s museum district, this expansive complex is home to numerous art museums, each specializing in different eras or concepts. The modern art museum is fantastic, with a wide range of paintings, sculptures, and multi-media works from the last century or so. Fittingly, the Alte (Old) Pinakothek showcases classic works from legendary German and international artists. 

Königsplatz

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Another fantastic city square, this gathering place was commissioned by King Ludwig I of Bavaria and modeled after the Acropolis in Athens. Greener than its neighbors, Königsplatz provides a tranquil and leafy place to relax away from the bustle of its surroundings. 

Best places to eat and drink near Munich Central Station

Augustiner Keller

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A stop at one of Munich’s breweries is all but required when visiting the capital of Bavaria, and the country’s best has a wonderful bar only steps from Munich Central Station. A “keller” is the German word for “basement,” and this subterranean bar offers the perfect vibe for traditional drinking sessions where the beer is stored before refrigeration. Situated below a wonderful garden of chestnut trees, this Bierkeller serves traditional Bavarian beer and food from Augustiner. Schnitzel (fried cutlet) and schweinshaxe (roasted pork knuckle) are the most authentic bites on the menu, and they’re perfect for sharing and pairing with their magnificent lagers or wheat beers. 

Schmalznudel – Café Frischhut

If you’ve had a long train ride and need to fuel up your day’s adventures through Munich, stop by this unassuming café for some of the city’s best coffee. Most establishments in Bavaria’s capital skew towards the traditional, and Schmalznudel is the essence of this vibe. If you want to know what it was like commuting in Munich during the 70s, stop in here for a coffee and pastry and sit in their vintage furniture. You’ll get the picture. 

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Lea Zapf Marktpatisserie

If you’re walking around and want something sweet, stop by this lovely patisserie near Marienplatz. It’s a small, cute, well-run machine churning out some of the best choux buns you’ll ever taste. Keep an eye out for some of their more creative flavors, but you’ll have a hard time beating their standard lemon curd and pistachio. 

 

Hofbräuhaus

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The most famous establishment in the entire country may seem like an uninspired choice, but there’s no arguing with the quality of the food, beer, and atmosphere. Even with a capacity of 2,500 people, you’ll have to pack into the traditional picnic tables with the rest of the day’s tourists, but the wonderful decor and delicious beer make for an authentic Bavarian experience. 

Mamma Bao

If you’re not into German food, this trendy Asian spot in nearby Maxvorstadt (the university district) is a short walk from the train station. Pillowy bao buns and biang noodles are so popular with trendy Müncheners that you’ll find a line around the corner on weekends, but it’s well worth the wait! 

Conclusion

Depending on how long you have before or after your train to Munich Central Station, you can assemble quite an itinerary. If you’re stuck with your bags, you’ll want to find a palace to store them while you hit the amazing Marienplatz, Hofbrauhaus, English Gardens, or the many museums. Luckily, services like Bounce make it easy to find and book convenient luggage storage near Munich’s best sights.

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