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Munich History

The name München ('home of the monks') stems from an early monastery founded in the 8th century. The local monasteries started the beer brewing traditions for which Munich is still renowned, and beer in its many forms is still consumed and adored by the inhabitants of the present-day city (now totalling over a million).

Never more so than during the infamous Oktoberfest, a celebration that sees the beverage consumed on an industrial level at what remains Europe’s largest festival.

By the early 16th century, Munich’s thriving population consisted of far more than just monks and those affiliated with religious orders. The city on the River Isar had established itself as an important trade centre for centuries, and the influential Wittelsbach family, who had become the city’s de facto rulers, now had ambitions to create a centre of culture and learning to rival Paris.

Theses cultural improvements included universities, libraries and museums, and would continue to be improved on for the next 400 years.

At the end of WWI, Munich became a conservative stronghold and a breeding ground for many extreme political philosophies. It was in this environment that Adolf Hitler first expounded his own early extremist views around the city’s beer halls.

Like nearly all of Germany’s major cities, Munich was bombed heavily during WWII. But unlike other German cities, the townspeople of Munich chose to rebuild and restore their precious city rather than level it and start again, and today it’s hard to imagine the city saw any damage at all.

Munich’s post-WWII rebuild laid a template for economic success, with BMW amongst others establishing their headquarters here. Today, Munich remains an energetic and economically prosperous city, with the added benefit of glorious architecture and an enviable position nestled beneath the Bavarian Mountains, all of which continue to make it a favourite spot with tourists.

Did you know?
• Many of the major roads in Munich’s old town were pedestrianised in 1972 for the Olympic Games and haven’t been converted back.
• During his days as an electrician, Albert Einstein worked at Oktoberfest in 1896. He helped set up a beer tent.
• While the Town Hall glockenspiel re-enacts two stories from the 16th century, the mechanical show wasn’t actually installed until 1908.

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Featured Hotels


Fleming's Hotel Munich-City

Part of the Fleming’s chain of accommodation and restaurants, Hotel Munich-City is centrally located, just a short walk from the Hauptbahnhof. Its contemporary flair is pared down with straight-lined furniture, while its 112 rooms come with glass cube bathrooms. The restaurant downstairs gives the diner décor a French brassiere twist, and its spa and fitness area boasts a Finnish sauna and aroma steam bath.

Mercure Hotel München Altstadt

This formulaic chain hotel in Munich, located between the Marienplatz and Stachus squares, is an affordable option right in the heart of the Old Town. The 80 standard rooms provide simple accommodation but are comfortable, clean and secure. The Mercure Alstadt offers Wi-Fi access, covered parking (a rarity in central Munich) and basic catering, within a short walking distance of all the historic attractions of the city centre.

Creatif Hotel Elephant

Like someone knocked an array of paint pots over, this cream-walled hotel goes crazy with the bright colours elsewhere, but it works wonderfully. Rooms are basic, but all have ensuites and TVs, and each is dotted with retro furniture. You can’t miss the place from the outside as it’s sprayed with countless colours. Breakfast is included.

Motel One Munich-City-West

Located in the western part of Munich, but with good connections to the Old Town, Motel One Munich-City-West brands itself as a ‘boutique mote’, offering functional contemporary and stylish surroundings at budget prices. Rooms are compact but modern in design, and services such as Wi-Fi internet access are available, while drinks and snacks are on offer 24 hours.

Eurostars Book Hotel

Bookworms will find much to write home about at Eurostars Book Hotel, which dedicates each of its floors to a different literary genre. So whether you’re wandering the corridors with Don Quixote or bunking up with Anna Karenina, its 201 rooms have plenty space for tucking into a good read. Modern and stylish, the hotel doesn’t have the grandiose beauty of a Jane Austen manor, plumping instead for saunas, a lobby-bar, a business centre, meeting rooms for events, free Wi-Fi and small gym.

Hotel Olympic

This unusual hotel is popular with actors and media types - partly because of its trendy, central location near Gärtnerplatz and partly because of the combination of English colonial style and traditional Bavarian architecture. Its 32 rooms are tastefully furnished and follow a unique design scheme throughout. Definitely a hotspot to be seen at in Munich, yet still kept a secret from all but the in-crowd.