Berlin may be the administrative capital of Germany, but if you were to look for the nation's footballing epicentre, many would tell you that it's Munich.
The city hosted a FIFA World Cup final in 1974 and staged a UEFA Champions League final in 2012. If that wasn’t enough, though, it’s also home of FC Bayern München, one of the world’s biggest club, boasting 25 Bundesliga titles, 17 DFB Cup wins and five Champions League triumphs. But there’s a lot more to the city than just football, as bundesliga.com explains...
Greenery in abundance
There are several thousand venues to enjoy the city’s most exported delicacy - its beer - but few less attractive than one of the numerous beer gardens dotted around the city. At the heart of the Englischer Garten, one of the largest city parks in the world, businessmen, tourists and locals alike mingle in a relaxing atmosphere, and not just on matchdays. The Allianz Arena is located just to the north of the sprawling greenery, which provides the ideal pre-match location to bask in the sun ahead of the on-field action.
Steeped in history
A must-see is the centrally-located Marienplatz, where FC Bayern parade any silverware they win from the balcony of the Rathaus, or Town Hall, which overlooks the square. It's famous Glockenspiel clock chimes a tune for the dancing figures to recount the history of the city daily at 11:00 and 12:00, and additionally at 17:00 between March and October.
Something for everyone
Munich has a variety of different attractions to suit everybody’s tastes: head north past Odeonsplatz to the trendy student district of Schwabing. Move east, via the toy museum or the famous Hofbräuhaus to the immense Deutsches Museum. South takes you to the Viktualienmarkt, the city’s historic marketplace which has remained faithful to its original purpose for over two centuries, and sprawling out to the west, in the shadows of the imposing Frauenkirche (pictured) and its landmark twin towers, is the incessantly busy Kaufingerstaße and Neuhauserstraße, if shopping takes your fancy.
Further afield, Schloss Nymphenburg to the west is one of Europe’s grandest palaces and estates, boasting Italian and French Baroque influences. The palace is home to four individual museums and a botanical garden. To the north of the city lies the town of Dachau with its former concentration camp now functioning as an open-air memorial to commemorate victims of the Holocaust.
The former home of football in the city - and the venue for the Olympic Games in 1972 as well as the 1974 FIFA World Cup final - the Olympiapark lies a little closer to the city centre and still carries the same majestic attraction it did over 40 years ago. Lying in one corner of the Olympiapark are the BMW headquarters. The history of Bavaria’s and one of Germany’s leading car manufacturers is illustrated at a state-of-the-art museum alongside the active production lines.
Current Bayern boss Pep Guardiola is a known art lover and, like him, you won't be disappointed with Munich's Alte Pinakothek and Neue Pinakothek. Featuring works from Degas and Picasso through to Gauguin and Monet, two uniquely-different city centre locations play host to one of the largest art collections in the whole of Germany, with over 30,000 paintings in the overall collection.
Compiled by Ben Gladwell