The Capital of Bavaria, Munich is a wonderful home base for exploration of this magnificent region. Germany’s second most popular city, after Berlin, Munich is energetic, compact, and historic – blending modern with ancient in perfect unison. The heart of the city is the Marienplatz square with street musicians, restaurants, shops and all things Bavarian. The summer season brings the tourists and Munich is out to welcome them. In the late afternoon, after a day shopping and touring, sit in a sidewalk café – beer in hand – and just enjoy the entertainment. The Peterskirche tower is a perfect place to see the city, including the open-air market. The Hofbrauhaus is Munich’s largest and most famous beer garden. (Oddly enough, there is an Killian’s Irish Pub right near the square where many expats gather to share experiences.) Munich, Germany is indeed the gem of Bavaria!
Getting away from the core of the city, the Deutsches Museum sits on an island in the Isar river and well worth a visit. The collection is a tribute to German ingenuity and invention featuring scientific and technical contributions. This is not a place you can quickly appreciate and well worth the visit.
You will find the BMW Museum in North Munich with vintage cars and motorcycles on display. They also have experimental models with electric cars and hydrogen fueled engines. This is a free and fun way to spend a day.
If you get to plan a visit to Munich, you may want to go (or not!) during Oktoberfest which is held in September/October each year. Make your reservations well in advance because thousands and thousands of people come for this event and we don’t recommend sleeping on a street corner – although you may see some of that too. If you are not into beer or crowds, the rest of the year may be the time for you.
But what about actually living in Munich? Here’s what we found about this great city.
Housing: Munich is quite a large city and depending on where you want to live and the size house you are looking for, the prices are all over the map. We found downtown stately homes for $2.5 mil and condo/apartments for sale in the $ $400K US range. But whatever you do, acquire the services of an English speaking attorney to process the sale for you. Rents in the city center (one bedroom unfurnished) run in the $1,000-$1,500 range. Munich is considered one of the most expensive expat communities in Europe.
Crime: The crime index in Germany is very low, and lower still in Munich. A recent survey said 91% of the citizens felt safe walking alone during the day and 86% at night.
Healthcare: Munich enjoys one of the highest satisfaction rates with healthcare in all of Europe. There is very little waiting time and the skill and competency of the medical care is rated very high. The Munich University Hospital is quite well known and prepared to handle any situation that may arise.
Transportation: There is a large regional airport in Munich, but most people arrive by train. Many residents do not own cars at all, but the freeway system is modern and well kept.
Climate: The city on the River Isar is close to the Swiss Alps and Salzburg Austria is just two hours away by train. That being said, Munich has 4 seasons with an average daily temperature of 36 F in January and in the mid 70’s in the summer. The area sees 38 inches of rain each year.
We think Munich is a great home-base to spend some time exploring Bavaria in the summer. If you are lucky enough to spend a season, so much the better.
Zoom in and out on the map below to explore Munich and the surrounding area!