For the woman who wants to dip her toes in a little bit of everything, Munich is the perfect combination of history, romance, and modern living. The capital of the state of Bavaria, Munich may be the epicenter of the stereotypical beer-swilling and lederhosen-costumed German, but upon arrival, you’ll be sure to discover so much more. Offering all the amenities of a major metropolis, Munich is also home to stunning castles, landscaped gardens, and impressive cultural attractions. And like most residents will agree, despite its metropolitan guise, Munich offers the enchantment of provincial charm and tradition, and residents take pride in making their Weltdorf, or World Village, a welcoming place for everyone.
Exile: For a tranquil retreat, nothing beats a day spent at Lake Königssee. With transparent, emerald-green water that mirrors the majesty of the Alps surrounding it, Lake Konigssee is a little piece of Bavarian paradise. If you feel renewed after a vigorous hike, try one of the many recreational opportunities of nearby Berchtesgaden National Park, Germany’s only Alpine park, or simply spend time exploring Konigssee itself. Take the ferry to the Lake’s famed St. Bartholomew church; a quaint chapel accessible only by boat and located on the tip of a postcard-perfect peninsula. After, marvel at Konigssee’s dramatic scenery of steep mountain cliffs, one that is sure to lift your spirits and restore your inner peace.
Express: Feeling re-energized after Konigssee? Sometimes a girl needs to burn off that extra energy with a little fun and entertainment. And Munich, home of the Hofbrauhaus and Oktoberfest, is the place to let off a little steam! Founded in 1589 by Wilhelm V., the Duke of Bavaria, who sought a cost-effective solution to brewing great beer for his royal court in Munich, the Hofbrauhaus is a historic beer hall you must visit! Check out the wall of beer stein fame, or be delighted by yodelers and cowbell players in the luxurious Festival Hall. Weather permitting; the outdoor Bier Garten is the perfect spot for a sightseeing break. If you happen to be in Munich in the fall, don’t miss the Bavarian tradition of Oktoberfest for the best in beer-tasting and Bavarian culture.
Exorcise: To refresh and rejuvenate, let your inner spirit run wild in Munich’s English Garden, as do the Bavarians. Right within the city limits, this impressive park contains walking trails, beer gardens, a lake, and entertainment—a perfect retreat for soothing the soul close to home. If you’re up for something really spirit-rousing; check out Munich’s landlocked surfing culture where the Isar River connects to the Garden’s 200 year old artificial waterway. The pressure created by the canal channels a stream of water like a giant wave machine, making “river surfing” a popular Munich activity and tourist destination. For those ready to silence their inner demons once and for all, head to the Schönfeld meadow area to sunbathe in the nude! Home to many of Germany’s Free Body Culture movement, many naturists let the sun warm their entire bodies here, so cast off your clothes and take pride in your body just the way it was made.
Explore: Start in the main square, Marienplatz, the heart of Munich’s pedestrian zone. Trend-seekers can head off to Schwabing, for the upscale and university neighbourhoods, while the more casual might want to have an ice cream in the relaxed districts of Neuhausen and Nymphenburg. While there, make sure to visit the Baroque palace at Schloss Nymphenburg, a long-time residence of Bavarian royalty such as the Ludwig line.
Exhale: End your journey in Munich’s nearby spa town, Bad Reichenhall, an Alpine wellness destination that grew out of its secret ingredient, salt! With historical saunas and spas, natural landscapes, pedestrian-friendly shopping, and gastronomic delicacies, you’ll have a hard time leaving this Alpine retreat when it comes time to head home. Check out the traditional Bavarian menu on the patio at Wieninger Schwabenbrau or satisfy your sweet tooth with cake and candy at the historical Reber Cafe. To fully partake in the Bad Reichenhall’s experience, sign up for a spa package at the one of this Bavarian State Spa’s renowned health and wellness centers.
By Krista Weger