Traveling to Munich on a Budget

Written By Jeff Hindenach
Last updated February 14, 2018

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Money Saving Tips
February 13, 2018

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

While most people think of traveling to Munich for Oktoberfest, the city has just as much charm and celebration during the rest of year, making it a great destination to experience the Bavarian culture. The best part about traveling to Munich when it’s not Oktoberfest? You can find the best bargains on travel. Here are the best ways to save on a trip to Munich.

Munich is not the main destination of Germany; that honor goes to Berlin. That means that you are bound to find more deals to Berlin than Munich. The trick is to look for other European-focused airlines that use Munich as a hub. One example of that is Icelandair. This airline offers a slew of deals in order to get more people to travel to Iceland, but the benefit of that is that they also fly to Munich from Iceland, so you can take advantage of the cheap airfare. Another bonus: Icelandair will let you extend your “layover” in Iceland by up to five days for no extra cost, which means you get two trips for the price of one.

The main way to find a great deal to Munich is to avoid it any time around Oktoberfest. While the festival can be fun and exciting with all the tourists visiting the town, it can also make it crowded and hard to navigate. The same beer houses and food is available year round in the city, so you don’t need to go during Oktoberfest to take advantage of the Bavarian fun.

Hotels that are centered around the main square in Munich can cost anywhere between $200-$800 per night, which is a lot to spend on lodging. Most people like to be in the center of everything, but what they don’t understand is that Munich has a great public transportation system that can get you from anywhere in the city to the main square. Just make sure you find lodging that is close to one of the public transportation lines.

Another inexpensive option for lodging in Munich is home-sharing sites like AirBnB. Munich is a very cosmopolitan city, so there are a lot of young residents who are always looking to rent out their apartments and homes to travelers.

The beauty of Munich is that it is the heart of old school Bavaria, meaning it’s easy to find the best of Bavarian cuisine without having to book a table at the fanciest restaurant in time. If you are looking for a sit-down mean, try one of the many beer houses in the city. You could try out the tourist destination, Hofbrauhaus, which offers an authentic Oktoberfest feel and traditional German food, including massive German-style pretzels. If you want a more local, low-key experience, walk down one of the many side streets to find smaller beer houses that offer everything from German sausage to schnitzel.

If you are looking for an even less-expensive option, many of the food booths in the open-air Oktoberfest area of Munich are open year-round, and serve traditional Bavarian food that you can just pick up and then sit outside and enjoy the historic sites of Munich.

One of the greatest attractions in Munich is the English Gardens, the large park near the city center. It offers beautiful grounds, beautiful walking paths and a soothing creek that runs through the entire park. The middle of the park boasts one of the greatest outdoor beer gardens where you can buy a pretzel that is as big as your head, along with a huge stein of beer.

At the edge of the park closest to the city center, there are athletic fields, sprawling greens and one of Munich’s famous attractions, surfers who ride the waves at the mouth of the creek that runs through the park. The best part is that most everything in the park is free, so you can make a day of it without spending any money.

The Bavarian culture has some of the most beautiful history, and taking advantage of seeing that history can be a fun thing to do that doesn’t cost much money. There are a lot of outside architecture and old buildings that are free to the public, so taking a walking tour of the main part of the city is a great activity you can do for nothing. The main square, Marienplatz, has a massive glockenspiel (clock) that is one of the originals and it incredible to experience in action. There are also several impressive churches, like St. Peter’s Church, that are open the public and beautiful to behold. There are two palaces — including Munich Residenz, which has beautiful gardens — within the city limits that you can take a walking tour of for very little, and most of the museums in the city are reasonably priced.

There are plenty of great places to travel just outside Munich to enjoy authentic Bavarian culture. While you can rent a car, that can get expensive. Luckily, the train system in Germany is not only affordable, but is very convenient and travels to all the important places. The trick is to research the train system ahead of time so you can schedule and budget for any day trips you plan on taking.

The most important day trip that we suggest you take is to Neuschwanstein Castle, the castle that Disney used as a model for most of their animated castles. The train system will take you to Schwangau, where you can take a bus to the tour ticket center for the castle. From there, you can either hike up to the castle or take a horse-drawn carriage to the top.

About the Author

Jeff Hindenach

Jeff Hindenach is the co-founder of Simple. Thrifty. Living. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. He has a long history of financial journalism, with a background writing for newspapers such as the San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Examiner, as well as writing on personal finance for The Huffington Post, New York Times, Business Insider, CNBC, Newsday and The Street. He believes in giving readers the tools they need to get out of debt.

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