Family Vacations to Munich, Germany
|Munich's Marienplatz, a medley of family-centric attractions (PhotoDisc)|
Gardens, bike paths, pedestrian squares, and world-class museums are just some of the reasons why Germans rate Munich as one of the nation's most livable cities. Another of Munich's charms: location. As the capital of Bavaria, Munich is just an easy drive away from Bavaria's lakes, mountains, and forests.
Discover Munich's royal riches by exploring the castles of the Wittelsbachs, Bavaria's ruling family for more than 700 years. Walk through the grand halls of the Residenzmuzeum (Residence Museum) and at Schatzkammer (the Resident Treasury) ogle the dynasty's bejeweled crucifixes and ornaments. Converted to a museum, the palace galleries showcase works by Rubens, Rembrandt, and others.
The impressive Schloss Nymphenburg castle is located in a park three miles from the city center. In the 17th century, the Wittelsbachs escaped summer in the city by staying at Nymphenburg. Of the hundreds of rooms, 16 are open to the public. You can see King Ludwig's Gallery of Beauties, portraits he had painted of lovely women he met. The park also contains the Rococo style Amalienburg Palace and the Marstallmuseum (Royal Stables Museum), a kid favorite for its elaborate coaches and sleighs.
In three facilities the Deutsches Museum (German Museum) engages kids with hands-on exhibits explaining science and technology. Many, but not all, of the explanations are in English. In the main branch of the Deutsches Museum you can learn how coal is transformed into energy, see the inside of a U1 submarine, discover the science of measurement, and watch a planetarium show. Trains and autos, including Mercedes Benz's first car, line the floor of the Deutsches Museums's Verkehrszentrum (Museum of Transporation) and planes and gliders are the focus of the Flugwerft Schlissheim (Flight Museum).
Munich has some grand outdoor spaces also. In fact, the city's Englischer Garten (English Garden) is the largest park in Europe, a good place for picnicking, cycling, and people watching. Marienplatz, the city's pedestrian square, has cafes, shops, and, adorning the New Town Hall, a glockenspiel, a clock whose figures come out to joust at certain hours. At the Olympic Park, the complex from the 1972 Olympic Games, enjoy sweeping views from the top of the Olympic Park Tower. You can cool off by swimming in the Olympic pool.
From Munich there are several interesting day trips and overnights. Visit the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, a moving and tragic part of the region's history.
Tip: Join the rollerbladers who skate through the city in summer on Mondays when certain streets close to vehicles.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication