Yes, some of the cliches about Munich are true: the classic Bavarian neatness, the immense beer cellars and the unapologetically carnivorous diet are all present and correct.
But contemporary cool is to be found.
Think edgy art museums, a burgeoning vegetarian food scene and uber-hip cocktail bars. With British Airways now offering daily flights from London City, it’s time to discover the great destination for yourself.
Where to stay
Snug as a bug in a rug: A bedroom at the Cocoon Strachus in Munich whose ‘eccentric woodland themed decor blends in with a cascade of orange Seventies furnishings’
Mixing retro with rural, this is the pick of the three Cocoon hotels, which are unique to Munich. A design hotel, but without designer prices, the eccentric woodland themed decor blends in surprisingly well with a cascade of orange Seventies furnishings in cosy rooms just a minute’s walk from Altstadt, the old town.
B&B doubles from £82 (cocoon-hotels.de)
The concrete exterior may look bleak, but inside all is bucolic Bavarian charm.
Run by Christine Sevdas for more than 20 years, rooms are in light, pastel hues with farmhouse-style wooden furnishings and traditional Bavarian fabric covers known as hakelspitze. Spend an extra £8.50 for a room with its own bathroom.
B&B doubles with a bathroom from £86 (hotel-monaco.de)
If you’re looking for both sleek contemporary Munich and a smidgen of Bavarian chintz, then the Jedermann delivers. Rooms have a modern feel with pale woods and soundproof windows, while the breakfast room does a robust traditional fruhstuck with tables groaning with meats, cheeses, breads and cakes.
B&B doubles from £81 (hotel-jedermann.de)
Hotel Laimer Hof
THIS Neo-Renaissance villa is a 20-minute train ride from the centre of Munich, but is just a five-minute walk from Nymphenburg Palace, one of the largest, and most ornate, Royal Palaces in Europe. Owners Sebastian and Alex preside over 23 simple, yet immaculate rooms and greet guests with a welcome glass of beer.
B&B doubles are from £86 (laimerhof.de)
Where to eat
Drink-it, then trinket: Visitors to Munich’s largest and most famous tavern, Hofbrauhaus, which holds 5,000 drinkers and serves pork knuckle and veal sausage can take home a souvenir
This is the daddy . . . or vater, we should say. Holding more than 5,000 drinkers and serving gargantuan platters of pork knuckle and veal sausage (mains about £11), the city’s largest and most famous tavern is an essential Munich experience.
If the noise of the live oompah band gets a bit much then there are (slightly) quieter seating areas upstairs. hofbraeuhaus.de
Respite from the near-ubiquitous hearty Bavarian staples is assured at this funky spot near the Viktualienmarkt which serves vegan pastries and cakes, huge soups and salads. Mains about £10. Siggis.jetzt
This dark wood old-timer is the best spot in town for a Bavarian breakfast (only served until noon, £10) of white sausage (with veal and pork) served up alongside a pretzel and Schneider weisse (wheat) beer. schneider-brauhaus.de
Pfalzer Residenz Weinstube
Cheers for the beers: Drinkers don traditional costumes (above) to enjoy their beers, like the waitresses at Pfalzer Residenz Weinstube where wine is more the order of the day
Waitresses in traditional ‘dirndl’ attire, long wooden tables and the smell of roasting meat surely mean a beer is only seconds away. But nein, this is a hub for local wines in the former home of Bavarian kings that specialises in zesty Rieslings and Gewürztraminers (mains about £13). pfaelzerweinstube.de
Nurnberger Bratwurst Glockl
When it comes to bratwurst, there are many pretenders in Munich but only a handful of truly great purveyors. Around since 1893, the rostbratwurst at Nurnburger is, hands down the best in the city, served up with small mountains of sauerkraut, horse radish and potato salad for £7.50. bratwurst-gloeckl.de
What to see and do
Make some waves
The Englischer Garden looks just like Bavaria with its walking trails, meadows and lakes. Yet, daring locals noticed that a concrete break on the Eisbach river creates an artificial wave suitable for surfing. Watch daredevils ride the ‘wave’ before retiring for a beer.
The Englischer Garden, pictured, looks just like Bavaria with its walking trails, meadows and lakes
Try Oktoberfest year round
Don’t worry if you’re not in town for the biggest party of the year. The Oktoberfest Museum (bier-und-oktober festmuseum.de, £4.20) provides the fascinating history of how King Ludwig I’s wedding party in 1810 has grown into an event which now pours 7.5 million litres of beer for more than six million visitors.
Lunch on the go
An aerial shot of the outdoor Viktualienmarkt, which is Munich’s premier food market
Eating in Munich isn’t expensive in general. But nowhere does bargains like the outdoor Viktualienmarkt. Do as the locals do at the city’s premier food market, (closed on Sundays) and graze on gargantuan bowls of goulash soup (£5.05) at Suppenkuche, a piping mug of ‘schokolade’ (hot chocolate) at Karnoll’s Kaffeestandl for 75p, and a jug of beer from the central stand for £3.50.
Meander through the museums
Locals complain that it used to be free. But it’s hard to argue with the 85p Sunday-only admission charge for a host of the city’s finest museums.
If you only have time for one, make it Pinakothek der Moderne which contains works by Jasper Johns, Joan Miro and Salvador Dali (pinakothek.de).