Print
  • Hold down Ctrl key and select the sections you want to print. If using a Mac, hold down the Cmd key.
  • Use Ctrl + A or on Mac, Cmd + A to select all sections (if you are using the Chrome browser).
  • Click "Apply" and the site will customise your print guide in the preview below.
  • Click the "Print" button and a print pop up should appear to print to your printer of choice.

Moving to Munich

The gorgeous city of Munich lies just north of the beautiful Bavarian Alps and straddles the River Isar. The city is one of the most picturesque in Europe with centuries-old architecture and scenic lanes, but it's probably best known for it its beer, and more specifically its world-famous Oktoberfest which celebrates the city's wonderful brewing culture.

With a city motto like 'Munich Loves You', it shouldn’t be long before expats moving to Munich feel welcome in the Bavarian capital. With an exuberant mix of trendy shops and restaurants, bellowing beer halls and leafy parks, it's easy to see why it attracts so many expats.

One of Germany's most prosperous cities, Munich is a centre for biotechnology and software development, attracting professional expats looking for high living standards and a chance to grow their careers. With its favourable business climate, it boasts one of the country's lowest unemployment rates and is home to some of its highest earners – the fleets of luxury vehicles cruising down the Autobahn show that it's as much a place of style as it is of wealth.

There's plenty to see and do in Munich. It's rich in history and culture, and its events calendar is packed throughout the year. The city embraces modernity while preserving heritage, creating an atmosphere where small-town living meets high-tech innovation. It hosts numerous multinational business headquarters, but also features historical sites such as the bustling Marienplatz, Maximilianstrasse, and the city's cultural epicentre in Maxvorstadt.

The standard of accommodation in Munich is excellent, although finding a suitable property can be difficult because demand often outstrips supply. Still, whether they're young professionals or parents after a quieter neighbourhood, expats are likely to find a suburb in Munich that suits them.

Expats living in Munich also have access to private and public healthcare. It's home to numerous surgical centres and specialised practitioners, and features some of the most advanced hospitals in the world. All expats working full-time in Munich are obliged to have health insurance.

No matter what expats are looking for in a city, they can find it here without compromise – while some cities have to rely on certain distinguishing features to make up for those that may be lacking, Munich really has it all.

Weather in Munich

Munich's weather tends to be somewhat unpredictable. Summers are fairly warm, but can also be exceptionally wet, and a typical day could see lovely sunny weather interspersed by dramatic thunderstorms. Winters are cold with light snowfalls.

In summer (June to August) average temperatures range between 50°F (10°C) and 73°F (23°C), while winters (December to February) see the mercury fluctuate between 25°F (-4°C) and 39°F (4°C). The Alps cause two unique aberrations in Munich weather. Southwesterly winds crossing the Alps can push up temperatures markedly even in winter, while northwesterly winds blowing from the mountains bring unseasonably low temperatures, rain and even snow on odd days.

Expats can look forward to experiencing quite a variety of weather in Munich. But, irrespective of the weather, there is always something to get up to in the city, and expats will learn to love the differing seasons and the variety of activities they bring.

 

Working in Munich

Expats looking for a job in Munich are likely to face stiff competition in the job market. The standard of education in Munich is high and the city hosts numerous academic institutions, so residents are often highly qualified and skilled. This, coupled with a focused work ethic, is the driving force behind the city's many innovative industries.

Core sectors include information and communication technology, automotive engineering, aerospace, life sciences and finance, while the media and publishing sector is claimed to be the largest in Europe.

Secondary to these, but rapidly developing, are medical engineering, environmental technology, nanotechnology, and measurement and control systems. Service industries, tourism, retail and trade also make a smaller but significant contribution to the city's success as an economic powerhouse.


Job market in Munich

Even though the Bavarian capital boasts one of Germany's lowest unemployment rates year on year, it doesn’t mean that finding a job and working in Munich will be easy for expats – especially since the country's immigration laws have been tightened to protect local jobs.

Unless they're highly qualified or can prove they'll make a significant entrepreneurial impact on the local market, job seekers will find that the job market in Munich can be challenging. But expats who are successful find that working in Munich pays well and offers benefits such as subsidies for childcare, housing and travel.

Munich's main business hub is in the city centre, while industrial areas are mostly found on its outskirts and in the surrounding countryside. Luckily, travelling to work isn't usually a problem as public transport in Munich is efficient, punctual and accessible from almost anywhere in the city. Those who intend to drive should try to avoid the heavy congestion of the city's peak-hour traffic. 

The average working week is under 40 hours, although this may not always be the case, especially for expats in high-profile positions. Annual paid leave is normally between 18 and 30 days, depending on the company, and workers are entitled to six weeks of paid sick leave, after which health insurance covers a portion of the person's salary.

Maternity and paternity leave is also generous, particularly for mothers, who sometimes receive leave periods of up to three years. They don't draw a salary during this time but may return to work once the agreed period is over. This arrangement isn't mandatory for expats, but it's often granted and worth discussing with a potential employer.  

For self-employed expats, the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce has offices all around the world and can give advice on starting a business in Munich.


Finding a job in Munich

Many expats move to Munich with a confirmed job offer in hand. Major companies tend to headhunt employees from abroad for positions that can't be filled by the local German labour force.

For those who aren't lucky enough to have been recruited in advance, there are a number of channels that can be used to help in the hunt for a job. It is wise for expats to try and make contact with specialist recruitment companies before moving to Germany – these professionals can offer great insights into the type of jobs available in a particular field. Online job portals are also a good source of information. Once in Munich, expats can consult the job listings in local newspapers for information on vacancies. Company websites also regularly list vacancies.

Expats who are not EU citizens will need to ensure they have a valid work permit to work in Munich.


Work culture in Munich

Business culture in Germany in general is formal and efficiency in the workplace is paramount. Time is money – so being punctual is important. Once the meeting begins, Germans get straight down to business and there's little room for small talk.

Punctuality and appearance are important, so expats should dress well and arrive at meetings fully prepared and on time. It's best to avoid humour, especially at first, as it can be misconstrued. One should expect to be asked detailed questions and have facts and figures on hand to back up what is being presented.

Although most Germans speak English well, many prefer to speak their own language when it comes to business negotiations. Expats who don't speak German should consider hiring a translator for important meetings. Newcomers to Munich will find that Germans are private and maintain a strict separation between their work and home life, so it will take some time to forge more personal relationships with colleagues.

Cost of Living in Munich

The cost of living in Munich is the highest in Germany. In the 2020 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, Munich ranked 72nd out of 209 cities across the world, ranking as more expensive than other European cities such as Madrid and Brussels, but cheaper than Milan and Paris.

While housing and utility costs are quite high, expats can save money by using public transport to get around the city. They'll also need to factor in the cost of compulsory health insurance. And while expats with children can send them to free public or bilingual schools, those that opt for international schooling should try to negotiate an allowance in their employment contract to cover the high costs.


Cost of accommodation in Munich

The biggest expense for expats in Munich is likely to be the cost of accommodation, though rental prices vary quite dramatically, depending on the time of year and specific area.

Naturally, expats with families can expect to pay more for a larger property. Also, given that Munich is a university city, the chances of finding reasonably priced accommodation are reduced because of the high demand for student housing.


Cost of food in Munich

Expats can expect groceries in Munich to cost around what they would in most European cities, but North American expats are likely to find food products cost slightly more than they are used to. The cost of entertainment and eating out depends on one’s personal preferences, but can be fairly pricey.


Cost of transport in Munich

Munich has an extensive public transport system. Monthly passes are reasonable by European standards, depending on how many zones the cardholder needs to travel through.

Cycling is another option for getting around and is the transport of choice for many of the city’s residents, especially students. It's an environmentally friendly way to get around and cyclists don’t have to pay parking fees. 

Most residents cycle or use public transport rather than drive. Expats that do choose to drive in Munich will find that cars are fairly expensive even though petrol prices are reasonable. Car insurance can also be quite high, and parking is often difficult to find and costs can add up.


Cost of healthcare in Munich

As is the case throughout Germany, private healthcare in Munich is quite pricey. Luckily, expats are entitled to public healthcare. Anyone earning less than a certain amount per month is automatically entered into the state healthcare scheme, and their healthcare contributions are split with their employer. Expats earning more than the threshold will need to invest in private health insurance. Some employers may be willing to contribute to private health insurance and it's something worth discussing in the contract negotiation process.


Cost of education in Munich

There are two options for education in Munich: public schools and international schools. Fees at German public schools are low or non-existent, but expat students will need to overcome the language barrier.

There are several international schools in Munich which can be a great alternative option, but their fees are expensive.


Cost of living in Munich chart

Note that prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Munich in March 2021.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 1,000 - 1,500

One-bedroom apartment outside city centre

EUR 750 - 1,200

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 1,900 - 3,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside city centre

EUR 1,300 - 2,200

Food and drink

Milk (1 litre)

EUR 1

Eggs (dozen)

EUR 2.65

Loaf of bread (white)

EUR 1.70

Rice (1kg)

EUR 1.95

Chicken breasts (1kg)

EUR 7.20

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

EUR 7

Utilities

Monthly internet (uncapped ADSL or cable)

EUR 35

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

EUR 0.10

Monthly utilities for standard household (electricity, water etc.)

EUR 270

Hourly rate for a domestic cleaner

EUR 15

Eating out and entertainment

Three-course meal for two at mid-range restaurant

EUR 60

Big Mac Meal

EUR 8.25

Cappuccino

EUR 3.20

Coca-Cola (330ml)

EUR 2.85

Beer (local)

EUR 4

Transport

Taxi/km

EUR 2

City bus

EUR 3.30

Petrol per litre

EUR 1.30

Accommodation in Munich

Finding accommodation in Munich isn't easy, but it's usually worth the effort. Most apartments and houses are comfortable and almost always close to amenities and public transport.

From up-and-coming professionals wanting to immerse themselves in Schwabing's bustling energy, to those seeking a taste for Bogenhausen's upmarket offers, or family-oriented parents looking for Pasing's suburban tranquillity, Munich has a diverse range of accommodation to suit all expats.


Types of accommodation in Munich

The standard of accommodation in Munich is on par with what one would expect to find in most Western European cities. Properties are comfortable and finished to a high standard, but they can be on the small side. 

A variety of furnished and unfurnished accommodation can be found in Munich. While shipping furniture is a viable option, especially for expats moving from elsewhere in the EU, expats generally shouldn't have any difficulty buying new items for their home in Germany. 

Those looking to live centrally in Munich will find that their choice of property is limited to apartments. Expats moving to Munich with a family will need to consider areas and suburbs further away from the city centre, where they'll find more spacious housing with gardens and surrounding open spaces.


Finding accommodation in Munich

Most expats rent an apartment in Munich. However, the process of searching for the perfect home can be laborious and costly. 

The first step to finding one is to approach an agent or to subscribe to a website that lists rentals. Local newspapers also contain listings. 

Expats who use an agent will need to submit a form that summarises what they're looking for. The agent will contact them if there are any properties that match their specifications and give a time and date for a viewing. House hunters shouldn't be surprised if there are several other people at the viewing, and the trick is to stay professional and express interest immediately. Once they've been short-listed, potential tenants are sent an application form which they should submit as soon as possible. If their application is successful, they can expect to pay a three-month security deposit upon signing a contract, as well as an agent's fee equivalent to around two months' rent.


Renting accommodation in Munich

After finding a suitable property, expats need to arrange a time to view it with the landlord/agent. Group viewings are fairly common in Munich and it might be a little overwhelming to find as many as 25 other potential tenants viewing the same property.

Making an application

If interested in a property, expats should express this as soon as possible. In many cases, especially in the more popular areas, landlords will have the pick on applications. As such, expats should ensure their paperwork is in order to complete an application quickly. Usually, applicants are required to provide a copy of their ID/passport, work permit (if applicable) and wage slips or contract of employment. In some cases, expats may be required to provide references from either their employer or previous landlords. 

Leases and deposits

The length of a lease in Munich can vary, but it is usually a year long. Expats should read the document carefully to ensure that they are aware of how much notice they are required to give their landlord should they wish to terminate the contract early. An inventory should also be carried out and any damage to the property noted down formally to ensure that the full security deposit is returned at the end of the lease.

Most landlords ask for up to three months' rent to cover the security deposit on a place in Munich. The deposit is refundable and is usually returned at the end of the tenancy provided there are no damages to the property. Otherwise, cleaning or repair costs will be taken out of the deposit before the balance is refunded. It is advisable to obtain proof from the landlord that he has kept the security deposit in a separate account from the monthly rent.

As rental contracts are in German, expats are advised to consult someone who knows the language to go through each clause to fully comprehend the terms and conditions.

Utilities

New arrivals should note that there is 'cold rent' and 'warm rent' in Germany. The ‘warm rent’ includes heating and miscellaneous costs but excludes electricity. ‘Cold rent’ excludes the cost of all utilities.

Utility bills are based on an approximate rate, which is dependent on the size of the apartment and the number of people living there. The monthly repayments can be adjusted accordingly and the company issues an annual invoice stipulating the actual amount used and if there are any outstanding payments to be made. If one has paid more than the amount used for the year, they should receive a refund from the company.

Areas and suburbs in Munich

The best places to live in Munich

The city has a large variety of accommodation and deciding between the areas and suburbs in Munich is one of the biggest challenges expats will face.

The neighbourhood expats choose to live in will depend on factors such as their budget, proximity to their workplace and good schools, as well as the availability of amenities.

Naturally, housing becomes more affordable away from the city centre. Central Munich is home to numerous shops, museums, parks and theatres, so it offers limited scope in terms of housing. Given that it's a hub for business and cultural activity, if expats do find a suitable home in the city centre they should expect to pay a high price for it.


City living in Munich

MunichHaidhausen

Haidhausen is a trendy area that's popular with a younger crowd. The area is close to the city centre but its buildings have a rural character. Weisenburger Platz and Pariser Platz are mainstays of local pub culture. Expats who enjoy an active lifestyle will be able to jog, cycle or stroll along the Isar River which cuts through the area. It's well served by public transport, making it easy to get around Munich.

Maxvorstadt

This is a highly desirable neighbourhood in Munich due to its location close to the city centre. Residents have access to great shopping facilities and lots of social amenities such as nightclubs, bars and sports centres. The U-Bahn connections close to the area make it easy to get around, and residents have little need for a car. The demand for rental property in Maxvorstadt is high and therefore housing prices have been driven up, making the area only affordable for a select few. The types of expats that live here tend to be single executives earning good salaries.

Neuhausen

This is a chic residential area of Munich located close to the city centre. Properties here are small but luxurious and most come in the form of high-quality, modern apartments. Public transport connections are excellent, which makes travelling really easy, and residents have access to a wide variety of facilities and amenities. Neuhausen is close to the Nymphenburg Palace and its grounds, which is a paradise for dog walkers, runners and recreational cyclists. It's popular with wealthy professionals and young expats with substantial disposable incomes.


Family-friendly suburbs in Munich

BogenhausenBogenhausen

Property in Bogenhausen is more affordable than in areas closer to the city centre. But its housing is still of an excellent standard and expats benefit from being a little bit removed from the bustle of city life. Expats living in Bogenhausen can enjoy the tranquillity that comes from living close to the Isar River and the English garden. The area is well-connected thanks to the U-Bahn and S-Bahn, and residents are just a short commute from the city. The area is popular with family-oriented expats.

Giesing

Giesing is located on the edge of the city centre and along the Isar River. It's a cosmopolitan area that's home to several established immigrant communities. Accommodation here is generally affordable and more spacious than properties in other areas close to the city centre. It doesn't boast much in terms of nightlife, but it is home to good restaurants and a handful of decent bars. Public transport connections to the area are good and the journey into Munich’s city centre takes around 20 minutes. This is a great area for expats looking to save money and interact with locals.

Berg am Laim

Berg am Laim is a southeastern suburb that's close to Bogenhausen and Haidhausen. The area is pleasantly quiet and great for families with young children. It has several leafy parks and properties are relatively spacious. It's also close to various good international and bilingual schools. It has its fair share of restaurants and shops, with the U-Bahn station providing easy access to the city centre.

Pasing

This suburban area is about 40 minutes away from Munich’s centre and is a great option for expats looking for quieter surroundings. Its main square has a large concentration of shops and restaurants, which reduces the need for travelling into the city centre. It's also home to a large student population that attends the University of Applied Sciences. Properties here are generally affordable, houses are large and they often come with decent sized gardens. It's close to a number of good bilingual schools, so it's popular with families.

Neuperlach

Situated to the south of Munich, Neuperlach is a pleasant area popular with expat families looking to save money during their stay. The houses are large and comfortable, although some of the architecture is a bit dated. The community is well served by supermarkets, small shops and a few restaurants and bars. There are several U-Bahn stations and bus lines, which make commuting into the city quite straightforward.

Healthcare in Munich

As is generally the case in Germany, healthcare in Munich is top-notch but can be expensive. That said, expats have access to options in both the private and public sectors.

Expats who work in Munich are obliged to have health insurance. Freelancers may be excused from this rule, but getting private health insurance is still recommended as medical costs can be expensive for people who aren't fully covered.

The city features some of the world's most advanced hospitals and is home to numerous surgical centres and specialists. It goes without saying that there are plenty of general practitioners of equal calibre, so expats will have access to well-rounded, efficient healthcare services.


Hospitals in Munich

Deutsches Herzzentrum München

www.dhm.mhn.de
Address: Lazarettstraße 36, Munich

Krankenhaus Barmherzige Brüder München

www.barmherzige-muenchen.de
Address: Romanstraße 93, Munich

Schön Klinik München Schwabing

www.schoen-kliniken.de
Address: Parzivalplatz 4, Munich

University of Munich Hospital 

www.klinikum.uni-muenchen.de
Address: Lindwurmstraße 2a, Munich

Education and Schools in Munich

Most expat children attend international schools in Munich where, besides being exposed to different cultures, they also receive an education in their home language. Alternatively, expats could send their children to a public or private school in Munich.


Public and private schools in Munich

Tuition for private and public schools is usually affordable or free from kindergarten up to university level, but the language of instruction is German. This can be highly beneficial for younger students, but it's often difficult for older students to adapt to.

Children usually attend kindergarten at the age of three, and start Grade 1 at grundschule from age six. All pupils learn a standardised curriculum until Grade 4, after which they attend one of three types of schools: hauptschule, realschule or gymnasium. The child's academic ability usually determines which school they attend, but the final decision rests with the parents.

Regardless of which kind of school they attend, all students have to complete at least nine years of education. Schooling is usually conducted during the morning, and they often receive a lot of homework, so they can't get too involved in extra-curricular activities.

  • Hauptschule offers the same subjects as realschule and gymnasium, but teaches at a slower pace and includes vocational courses. In Grade 10, students study at a vocational training school and then attend berufsschule, where they receive further education and apprenticeship training up until Grade 12. 

  • Realschule, on the other hand, is attended all the way through Grade 10 and students go straight to berufsschule. Depending on their academic progress, realschule students can go to a gymnasium upon graduation.

  • Gymnasium is generally accepted as being aimed at academically inclined students. It covers Grade 5 through 13 and students receive the Abitur qualification when they graduate.


International schools in Munich

International schools in Munich are more directly aimed at expat students and offer modern facilities and more extra-curricular activities than most public and private German schools. The majority of the international schools in Munich offer the International Baccalaureate curriculum, while others offer curricula from specific countries, such as the UK and the US. But these benefits come at a price, and fees can be high, particularly for senior grades. Space may be limited at these schools so expat parents planning a move to Munich need to apply as early as possible.


Special needs education in Munich

Children in Germany, regardless of disability, have the right, according to the Basic Law (Grundgesetz), to early childhood education, and primary, secondary and tertiary schooling. Children with disabilities are supported as far as possible in mainstream schools and there have been recommendations for increasingly inclusive educational practice in general education and vocational schools.

The goal is to enable children to be educated together regardless of ability and to guarantee and develop the standards achieved in special education teaching, advisory and support services. Ultimately, the government tries to ensure that those with special needs can comfortably attend their nearest school, have access to the same standard of education as their peers, learn and play in a safe environment and be able to make good academic and social progress.


Tutoring in Munich

Education is extremely highly valued in Germany, and tutors are widely used to improve and assist children's schooling. Tutors might be employed to assist in specific subjects such as maths or science, or expat parents will often hire a tutor to improve their child's German language proficiency. Tutors are further used in preparation for important exams or for university entrance exams.

Newcomers to Germany might also find that their child may benefit from having a guiding hand in navigating a new school system or just to build some confidence. Top private tuition companies include Lernwerk and Teachers24 Network.

International Schools in Munich

There are fewer international schools in Munich than Berlin, so expats should apply as far ahead as they can to secure a place for their children.

International schools follow various curricula and have special programmes to help students make a smooth transition into life in Munich.

Expats should try to negotiate an educational allowance into their employment contract since fees at German international schools are high and can easily exceed EUR 15,000 per year. On top of this, parents often have to pay for uniforms, stationary, school excursions and various extra-curricular activities.


International schools in Munich

Obermenzinger Gymnasium

The Obermenzinger Gymnasium is a small secondary school area where each child is treated as an individual. The school follows the Bavarian curriculum and promotes and fosters the German language. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: Bavarian
Ages: 10 to 19
Website: www.obermenzinger.de

Bavarian International School 

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 4 to 18
Website: www.bis-school.com 

International Kids Campus

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3 to 10
Website: www.internationalkidscampus.com

Munich International School

Gender: Co-educational 
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 4 to 18
Website: www.mis-munich.de

St. George’s British International School Munich

Curriculum: International Baccalaureate, Cambridge IGCSE
Gender: Co-educational
Ages: 2 to 18
Website: www.stgeorgesschool.com/munich

Lifestyle in Munich

Expats can expect an exciting yet balanced lifestyle in Munich. Whether they're foodies, shopaholics or fitness fanatics, the city has a broad range of activities to suit all tastes and preferences.

New arrivals are likely to spend a fair amount of time getting to grips with the tourist attractions such as the Nymphenburg Palace, Alte Pinakothek and Hofbrauhaus. But the fun doesn't stop there, and on top of the city's multitude of annual events, expats will find countless activities to keep them busy. 


Shopping in Munich

Shopping in Munich includes trendy upmarket boutiques and antique stores, as well as high-street labels in its shopping malls. Shoppers can feast their eyes on top fashion merchandise by strolling down Maximilianstrasse and the adjoining Theatinerstrasse.

Those who enjoy finding unique items should visit one of the city's numerous markets. The Viktualienmarkt, in particular, is a colourful maze of stalls, with everything from fresh flowers to mouthwatering street food. Elisabethmarkt is another great option for those looking for fresh produce.


Nightlife in Munich

Munich’s nightlife scene is as eclectic and diverse as everything else in the city. As a major centre for the arts in Germany, expats in Munich can expect to be treated to top quality live music and theatre performances. On any given night, residents can choose from having informal drinks in a traditional beer hall, dancing the night away at a contemporary club or spending an evening immersed in the works of great German classical composers.

Münchener Freiheit in Schwabing is the most famous nightlife district in Munich. It's packed with bustling bars, quaint cafes, sophisticated jazz venues and hip dance clubs. More nightlife options can be found in Gärtnerplatz and Glockenbachviertel. Expats who are interested in alternative music should head to Haidenhausen, while those with more cultured tastes should pay a visit to the Goethe Institut.


Eating out in Munich

Munich has a wide variety of first-class restaurants. Expats may be hard-pressed to ignore the intoxicating pull of the beer gardens, but they should also sample the extensive delights of the restaurants in Munich.

The city has multiple Michelin-starred dining options, and many of its eateries are opulent and sophisticated. Connoisseurs can indulge in first-class cuisine at these international culinary hot spots, or explore the Schwabing district’s bohemian flair.

Sampling some of Munich's specialities – like its wurst sausages, meat dishes, Knödel dumplings and pretzels – is a must. And there’s little better than washing down these hearty Bavarian flavours with a lager in the comfortable sun of summer at one of the city's many beer gardens.


Sport and fitness in Munich

Despite Germany’s status as the second biggest consumer of beer in the world, expats will find it quite sobering that most of Munich’s population retains a healthy physique, and a passion for sports and fitness.

While many people prefer to run or cycle to keep trim, many enjoy the social atmosphere of a club or gym – and Munich has no shortage of these. At the same time, come rain or shine, outdoor sports are by far the most appealing activities for expats. With warm summers and freezing winters, the climate plays host to scores of contrasting sports that keep one entertained and active all year round. And with the Alps only a one-and-a-half hour drive away, skiing and snowboarding are, understandably, at the top of the list.

See and Do in Munich

It's easy to be intoxicated by the heady beer hall scene, but new arrivals soon realise that there’s plenty more to see and do in Munich. The charming Bavarian capital combines old world allure and modern flair, and its numerous attractions are enticing.

Expats planning to do a lot of sightseeing should consider buying a Munich CityTourCard. They're valid for up to three days and entitle the bearer to free public transport and discounts at many tourist attractions.


Recommended attractions in Munich

Hofbräuhaus

The Hofbräuhaus has been a Bavarian institution since 1605 and the atmosphere is defined by the local brand of friendliness and joy known as gemutlichkeit. Getting enthusiastic about the beer that's been brewed here for four centuries is easy, and the food is good too.

Marienplatz

This historic Munich square harbours some of the city's most appealing architecture. The Neo-Gothic Town Hall features a Glockenspiel that chimes three times a day, while its clockwork figures act out parts of the city’s history. Visitors can also explore the toy museum in the Old Town Hall and the Frauenkirche, Munich's cathedral, which dates back to the 15th century.

Olympiapark

Olympiapark was built for the 1972 Summer Olympics and the stadium remains a modern engineering marvel. Expats can take advantage of the spectacular view from its revolving restaurant or take a tent roof tour with an abseiling option. The park is also a popular concert venue.

Nymphenburg Palace

Nymphenburg Palace was initially the summer home of the Munich aristocracy. Just five miles (8km) from the city centre, expats can spend the day at its sweeping grounds, and take in its villas' uniquely crafted fittings and frescoes.

Alte Pinakothek

Alte Pinakothek is Munich’s premier art museum and features work by some of Europe’s greatest painters from the 14th to 18th centuries. The gallery itself is a stunning Neoclassical building with two floors and dozens of rooms, and expats are sure to be enthralled for hours.

BMW Museum

This museum is a must for all petrol heads. Located close to Olympiapark, the museum documents the history of the famous German automobile manufacturer. The museum has been drawing crowds since it opened in 1973.

Deutsches Museum

The world's largest museum dedicated to science and technology is located in Munich. With around 1.5 million visitors per year and over 28,000 items on display from a range of science and technological fields, visitors may need to visit more than once to fully appreciate this attraction. 

Viktualienmarkt 

A daily food market held in the centre of Munich, the Viktualienmarkt has grown from a small farmer's market into a huge gastronomic experience where visitors can sample local delicacies as well as food from all over the globe. 

Englischer Garten

Munich's Englischer Garten, or 'English Garden', is a large public park that stretches from the city centre to the northeastern edge of Munich. It's well worth a visit for an afternoon stroll to escape the fast pace of city life. 

What's On in Munich

There's always something going on in Munich. In addition to the myriad activities they can do on a daily basis, expats can expect plenty of annual festivals and events. Here are some recommendations for not-to-be-missed annual events.


Annual events in Munich

Fasching (February)

Fasching marks the period before Lent and is celebrated with parades, masked balls, street parties and elaborate costumes. The carnival season peaks on Shrove Tuesday when what seems like the whole city turns up at Viktualienmarkt in fancy dress costumes to eat, drink and dance the night away.

Munich Ballet Week (May)

This week-long festival showcases the talents of the globally recognised Bavarian State Ballet. They're joined by international guest ensembles, while modern and classic dance exhibitions are scheduled to wow spectators.

Munich Opera Festival (June)

The Opera Festival is the most important event of the city’s music calendar and it's been held every summer since 1876 in one of the world’s most beautiful opera houses, the Munich National Theatre. Enthusiasts from around the world gather to listen to the Bavarian State Opera with a programme of about 70 different performances. Two free open-air performances are also held in the square outside the opera house.

Oktoberfest (September/October)

Oktoberfest in Munich is a two-week celebration that transforms the city into a joyous beer hall. Bavarian breweries set up massive makeshift beer gardens on the Theresienwiese meadow (the size of 20 football fields) and prepare themselves to engage in the revelry that tourists and locals have come to expect.

Munich Marathon (October)

Brave expats can join thousands of runners from across the globe to take part in the annual Munich Marathon. The 26.2-mile (42.2km) course sees participants huff their way through the Old Town, loop through the English Garden before high-tailing it to the Olympic Stadium for a spectacular finish. Those who aren't keen on running a marathon can still join the fun by cheering the runners on in the streets.

Christmas Markets (late November/December)

For many of its residents, December in Munich means just one thing: Christmas markets. These are a German institution and expats shouldn't miss the chance to drink warm and spicy Glühwein while searching the stalls for the perfect gift for their loved ones back home.

Getting Around in Munich

Expats shouldn't have any problems getting around in Munich. The city features a sophisticated public transport network and prides itself on a well-planned web of roads and highways (Autobahns) that make travelling smooth and easy.

That said, there constantly seems to be road maintenance, and travelling by car can sometimes be a test of patience, especially during peak congestion.

This is one of the main reasons residents use alternatives such as buses, trams and trains depending on where they live and how close they are to work and school.


Public transport in Munich

Munich has an integrated public transport system that's made up of buses, trams, and U-Bahn and S-Bahn trains – so expats living in the city are spoilt for choice. While all public transport services in Munich are relatively efficient, they can be distinguished by their speed and accessibility. 

The local transport authority Münchner Verkehrs- und Tarifverbund (MVV) operates an integrated ticketing system that covers all modes of transport. There are various ticketing options that include single tickets, group tickets and daily, weekly and monthly passes. Ticket prices depend on how far commuters need to travel, and they can be bought at any U-Bahn or S-Bahn station and various other outlets. 

Trains

The U-Bahn is Munich's network of underground trains and the S-Bahn is the wider network of suburban trains. Most people use these services to commute to and from work on a daily basis. The main advantage of the U-Bahn and S-Bahn is that they're by far the fastest mode of transport. They're also very extensive and accessible from most places in the city. 

Expats in Munich should find local trains to be comfortable, efficient and easy to use. They're usually on time and operate at regular intervals, with the schedule and frequency of trains differing according to the particular line.

Buses

Munich's bus network is also quite vast and it can be used to get to outlying suburbs that the S-Bahn and U-Bahn don't reach. Bus services are less regular than trains but most of the busier routes operate 24 hours a day. The frequency of buses varies according to the route and time of day. 

Travelling by bus in Munich will give new arrivals the chance to see more of the city, but they are subject to delays caused by traffic. 

Trams

Trams are another option for travelling around Munich. The city's tramway network consists of 13 daytime routes and four that run through the night.

Tram services operate every 10 to 35 minutes, depending on the route. While the tram network does cover a fairly large area, most people only use them to travel short distances.


Taxis in Munich

Taxis in Munich can easily be spotted by their beige colour and the yellow and black taxi sign on the roof. They can be found throughout the city centre at designated taxi ranks, hailed in the street or booked in advance – which is usually a good idea when travelling to or from the suburbs. 

They're a viable option for travelling short distances in the city centre, but fares can add up over longer distances, so they're most cost-effective when travelling with a group. 

Ride-hailing services such as Uber and Free Now are also a super convenient way to get around. Expats can simply download the app, link their credit card and start riding.


Cycling in Munich

Cycling is one of the best ways to get around in Munich. With more than 125 miles (200km) of bike trails, a good network of cycle lanes and bicycle rental outlets scattered throughout the city, it's safe to say that Munich is cyclist friendly. 

Active expats will especially enjoy taking to the bike paths that run alongside the Isar River and through the city's leafy parks. 

The downside to cycling in Munich is that, even though the authorities have strict rules in place for motorists and cyclists, accidents can happen. That said, cyclists caught ignoring traffic lights, cycling under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or without a light in the dark risk hefty fines and even detention.

While wearing a helmet isn't compulsory, expats are advised to wear one at all times. 


Driving in Munich

Public transport is a popular and attractive option, but getting around by car has obvious benefits, including independence and ease of access.

Two distinguishing features of Munich's road network make buying a car a justifiable decision:

  • The Mittlerer Ring is a high-capacity road that encircles the city centre, making it easy to get around in every direction

  • The Autobahn is a network of multiple-lane highways that links Munich to other cities

These networks are effective, but the city is constantly maintaining its roads, so traffic jams are a common occurrence, especially during rush hour, which is usually between 7am and 9am, and 4pm and 6pm.

Parking, especially in the city centre, can be difficult to find. And unless their employers assign them a parking space at work, expats should bear in mind that parking fees can be quite expensive. 

Driving in Munich can be a pleasurable experience, as local motorists are generally patient and courteous. But this is largely because the city is governed by strict traffic laws and the Polizei patrol the city – sometimes in unmarked cars – to make sure everyone sticks to the rules.