Updated October 2019
One of our bucket list items was to experience the Christmas Markets in Munich, Bavaria.
We’d heard Munich had one of the best Christmas Markets in Germany, and possibly Europe. So when family friends invited us to stay with them in Munich, we said “Yes.”
We changed our itinerary to add a four-day Munich stopover after our 6-week housesitting assignment in Spain.
Leaving the balmy 14 degrees Celcius of Madrid, our mid-afternoon flight to Munich was to a very chilly 2 degrees Celcius. Winter is not our favorite season.
It was going to take us an hour to get to the small village of Babenried where our friend was there to meet us. Then it was only 15 minutes drive to a wonderfully warm house Germans are known for.
As we went to find the train, the festivities of Christmas had already started.
Unexpected Munich Airport Christmas Market
Munich really gets you into the Christmas spirit with its Airport Christmas Market.
Outside the Munich Airport Center, the area is transformed into the spirit of Christmas. Christmas stalls and Christmas trees sparkle as you wander through looking for gift ideas.
Munich Airport Christmas Market 2019: 15 November to 29th December
When It’s Freezing in Munich, It’s Magical
One of the best things about winter in Munich is the German house is always warm.
So, when we awoke in the morning to find crystals on the trees, it was an amazing sight. The overnight moisture had crystalized on the tree branches.
Terry was awestruck!
The sun was bouncing off the crystals and you couldn’t help but smile at the beauty of nature.
With the sun shining, the day looked promising even though it was cold. Even a rabbit was enjoying the snow.
Indoor and Outdoor Winter Day in Munich
With the whole day in Munich to explore, we made a plan to experience the Munich Christmas Market from late afternoon. As we wanted to wait until the light was fading when the Christmas lighting creates its magic.
In the meantime, there were other things to see in Munich outside of the old town.
Getting around Munich in Winter
But when it’s freezing cold, walking is ok but public transport is oh so much warmer.
We purchased a Group Day ticket (2-5 person) costing €12.80 allowing us to travel on trains (S-Bahn), underground (U-Bahn) and buses.
Our first stop was a train to Olympic Park (1972) station to visit the BMW Museum and the 1972 Olympic Park.
1. Surprises at the BMW Museum
A car museum may not be top of your list, but who can resist the famous BMW museum.
Bavarians are very proud of their local industry and wandering through the museum seeing the various cars from different eras, you can see why.
2. Unbelievable Views from Olympic Tower
A highlight for us was the Olympic Tower, built for the 1972 Munich Olympics.
This tower has 360-degree views of Munich city, plus a panoramic view of the Bavarian Alps. The tower has three viewing levels, with two levels being outside.
The ticket costs €7 per person, with the lift travelling 200 meters at 7 meters per second. Wow, that’s fast.
And as it was time for our morning coffee, we met the barista with the “best work view” who happens to make an awesome coffee.
We are loving the views and the reflections of the pond below.
3. Ice Cold Hands Feeling like a Kid Again
Feeling revived after our coffee, we left the tower and walked along the pond we had seen from above.
Those bits of white on the surface we thought were duck feathers were ice.
The pond was frozen – time for some fun.
We spent the next quarter of an hour finding large chunks of ice and skipping them across the ice.
The ice was “chiming” as it hit the frozen surface. It was surreal until Maura just missed hitting a duck!
Kiddie time over, we walked up to the hill viewpoint within the park.
All this exertion and we had to shed the large winter jackets as the sun was providing enough warmth.
We sat for a while enjoying the sun and the great vantage point for views of the tower. But it was time to move on. Nymphenburg Palace was next on the plan.
4. No Surprises, Getting Lost Again in a Big City
Back to the train for our next stop to revisit Nymphenburg Palace, but alas, not to be.
The Germans rarely make a mistake, but today the train we boarded for the Palace was changed at the last minute and headed in the opposite direction!
We hopped off at the next station to wait for the correct train but got distracted when we found a yummy bakery for lunch.
Feeling a lot better with full tummies, we boarded the next train that we thought was going to Nymphenburg. But alas, it went direct to the Munich Hauptbahnhof, the main train station of Munich.
Not to worry. We took it as fate and exited the train station into Karlsplatz, where the Christmas festivities greeted us. This is what we had to come to see.
Munich Christmas Market at Marienplatz
There are a variety of stalls at Munich Christmas Market selling German food, Christmas decorations, chocolate, lebkuchen (Maura’s favourite spiced biscuits) and lots, lots more.
The aromas of the spices, the sausages, and the mulled wine were wonderful.
And the shop windows were decorated with active displays. Some of them are quite “cute.”
We even stood and watched a tall Christmas tree being offloaded and carried into a church.
As we walked the full pedestrian area to Marienplatz, the streets were abuzz with people. With the cooler temperatures and failing daylight, it was quite magical.
While we waited for the sun to go down, we refueled on a Bratwurst roll, or maybe two but with different meats.
But what really kept us going was Glühwein (like a mulled wine with spices). Our first Glühwein had an orange liquor. It was delicious, warm and very drinkable.
The sun setting around 4-5 pm we wandered back around Marienplatz admiring the many lights and experiencing the feel of a winter Christmas.
Making our way back along the pedestrian area of Karlsplatz we found adults and children enjoying an ice rink.
Laughter and Fun Ice Skating at Karlsplatz
Something we weren’t expecting to see at Munich’s Christmas Market was an ice skating rink.
Not overly big, but big enough to enjoy some fun.
You can hire skates or bring your own. And for those of you who would rather watch, the wooden beer hut selling delicious Gluhwein is a great choice.
We were enthralled watching families having fun, the teenagers trying not to look intimidated and some of the older, less experienced skaters, finding the handrail useful.
Wrapping Up and Moving On
Staying in Munich is a great place to use as a base to see more of Bavaria.
Not satisfied with just one German Christmas Market, we took the train to Nuremberg the following day. But we did return to the Munich Christmas Market one more time.
We embraced the winter spirit by wrapping up warm and getting outdoors.
We ate lots of gingerbread and bratwurst, with delicious Gluhwein.
And decided winter in Munich is one of those memorable travel ideas we’re glad to have experienced.
We encourage you to come and see for yourself. It’s magical.
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