Posted by inka on May 1, 2012 in Day trips
, Travel tips
It’s not all Wiesn and Oktoberfest when it comes to food and drink in Munich. What better place than a market, and not just any old farmers market, to sample the best and freshest products al fresco and take your week’s supply home in your basket.
One of the nicest and most colorful is the famous Viktualienmarkt, not far from the Town Hall and the Marienplatz.
Rathaus and Marienplatz
Until 1807 it was actually the Mareinplatz which was the biggest farmer’s market in Munich. It grew however too small and by royal decree of 1807, the market stalls were relocated to the area which is today known as the Viktualienmarkt. The name comes from the Latin word for food.
Severely damaged during WWII, there were plans to demolish the entire site and erect office buildings instead. Imagine that!! Luckily, reason prevailed and that’s why we can today visit and enjoy the absolute best and most colorful market which has come a long way from fresh fruit and vegetables. More than 140 stalls make for a gourmet haven. Fish, meat, sausage, bread, flowers, exotic and not so exotic fruit and vegetables are on offer six days a week.
You can enjoy samples of the delicacies at the stalls or do as the locals do, sit down on the wooden benches in one of the many restaurants and have Weisswurst and a beer before noon. That’s very important, because the real Weisswurst fans do not deem the sausage fit for consumption after 12 o’clock.
What I like best, apart from the food and the lively company are the fountains and statues which dot the area. Among them a memorial to the local comic Karl Valentin and this adorable statue of a typical bayerische Marktfrau who has always a bunch of fresh flowers in her arms.
Blue and white are the colors of the flag of Bavaria. This is no accident or whim. They represent the blue of the deep lakes and the white of the snow covered peeks of the Alps. They also represent, more romantically, the blue Bavarian summer sky dotted with puffs of cotton wool white clouds. If you want to experience this famous sky (and a lot more besides) there is no better place than to visit Munich in the summer.
Here you have it all!
The city may be a bit crowded, particularly at week ends because a lot of visitors have the same idea, but it doesn’t really matter because you will always find a spot where you can enjoy yourself in peace and, on the other hand, what better ‘sport’ than people watching?
So, let’s have a look at what to do in Munich in the summer. Outdoors is called for and Munich has no shortage of green spaces and parks. But I love to start in the city herself by a visit to the Viktualienmarkt. Dominated by the statue of a Marktfrau and the nearby statue in honor of the famous Bavarian ‘original’, poet, actor and writer Karl Valentin, the Viktualienmarkt is a symphony In color and smells. It’s not only a place where you go for food shopping, it’s a performance. Sometimes street artists play statue, you socialize too whilst moving from stall to stall sampling the freshest products.
Statue of a Marktfrau. She always carries fresh flowers.
Don’t forget to have a Weisswurst with sweet mustard before 12 o’clock because that’s how it’s done. After that, the sausage isn’t deemed fresh enough for consumption any more. You’ll find outdoor restaurants with long wooden tables and benches near the Viktualienmarkt.
Enjoying Weisswurst and a Radler
A glamourgranny is of course interested in fashion. The traditional Bavarian clothing is Lederhosen and Dirndl. I suggest you stay away from the Lederhosen if you are a man but the many boutiques offer a variety of modified dirndl which serve as perfect summer dresses and don’t look ridiculous if you are not a local.
I love the summer dirndls
More outdoors awaits with a walk along the roaring river Isar or in the Englische Garten or the Residenz. Although the good weather may not entice you to a museum visit, have a short look at the majestic Residenz and admire the sparklers in the treasury. My two other favorite museums in Munich are the Toy museum at the Rathausplatz, a paradise for children from 6 to 60 and the quirky Potato museum near the Nordbahnhof which not only documents the history of the potato but also the use of the humble vegetable in art. Amazing.
Englischer Garten in Munich
Bavarian crown jewels displayed in the Residenz
A dollhouse in Munich's toy museum
Munich loves bicycles. If you don’t want to walk, you can hire one and whizz around the city. There are even guided bicycle tours available.
Bicycles are much loved in Munich
It’s easy to get around Munich by public transport. U-Bahn and S-Bahn take you everywhere, the lines are color coordinated, so you can’t get lost and a day pass or week pass make it quite affordable.
And then, of course, there are the daytrips from Munich which are so enjoyable in the summer. Visit the famous lakes: Chiemsee (with King Ludwig’s last castle on the island Herrenchiemsee), Königssee, Starnberger See (where the king drowned in mysterious circumstances) or Tegernsee. Even Salzburg is only a two hour train ride away.
Taste the freshly ground and brewed coffee at the beautiful and very traditional Dallmayr during the day and party the night away at one of Munich’s many discos or nightclubs. There is somethingto do for everybody and every taste and it is all so much nicer under the blue and white Bavarian summer sky.
Cafe Dallmayr, a Munich institution