In this post, I will be helping you to narrow down where to stay in Munich for first-time tourists to get the most out of your vacation. By the end of this article, you should find the best areas to stay in Munich for sightseeing, family, Oktoberfest, nightlife, and Christmas markets.
As the capital city of the Bavaria region in Germany, Munich is a city of incredible history and culture. Best known for its world-famous Oktoberfest celebrations, there is plenty to see and do in Munich year-round.
Whether you want to spend your time relaxing in the laid-back beer gardens, or taking in a unique atmosphere, there is a district of Munich to suit every traveler.
From taking in the history and culture, to living it up at world class street parties, there is a huge range of attractions that draw visitors to Munich. With such diversity it can seem difficult at first to determine where the best places to stay are.
See more about Germany: Where to Stay in Frankfurt
Before we begin with the detail of the best places to stay in Munich, I have a few quick tips and suggestions for you to consider during your search for the perfect location to stay.
The historic heart of the city, Altstadt Lehen, is the best place to stay in Munich for first-timers, or those on shorter visits. You will have tons of popular sights and attractions within easy walking distance.
The main Oktoberfest festivities are held in Ludwigsvorstadt. If you want to stay right at the heart of the party, this is the best place where to stay in Munich for oktoberfest. Alternatively, if you are not a fan of crowds, definitely avoid this area around the end of September to early October.
Munich is not only famous for its beer festival, Oktoberfest but also famous for its Christmas markets. If you’re looking for where to stay in Munich for Christmas markets in December, I would suggest staying in Marienplatz within the Altstadt (the Old Town).
If you are working with a smaller budget, you are going to have to be particularly careful in Munich. Known to be the most expensive city in Germany, you will have to be smart to make the most of your money here.
It is worth noting that Munich has an excellent public transport system. The underground train network, known as the U Bahn, in particular, is extensive. No matter where you wind up staying in Munich, the public transport system will allow you to explore the rest of the city with ease.🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN MUNICH
- Altstadt, where to stay in Munich for first time visitors
- Maxvorstadt, where to stay in Munich on a budget
- Ludwigsvorstadt, where to stay in Munich for Oktoberfest
- Isarvorstadt, where to stay in Munich for nightlife
- Haidhausen, where to stay in Munich for family
- Schwabing, a cool neighborhood to stay in Munich
- Nymphenburg, where to stay in Munich for beer gardens
- Sendling, where to stay in Munich for local vibe
Where To Stay in Munich: 8 Best Areas to Stay in Munich
To help you make the best decision on where is the best place to stay in Munich, I have selected the eight best areas in the city for visitors to consider. Each one has its own particular benefits that will suit different travelers’ needs.
I have provided a detailed breakdown of what each area offers so that you can make a confident and informed choice on where to spend your perfect vacation in Munich.
1. Altstadt, where to stay in Munich for first time visitors
Literally meaning ‘Old City’, Altstadt Lehel is Munich’s historic city center. Right in the heart of the city, Altstadt is full of popular tourist attractions. If sightseeing is your top priority, you will have plenty to keep you busy if you choose to stay in Altstadt Lehel.
Being so central, full of attractions, restaurants, shops, cafes, bars, and clubs makes this one of the best areas to stay for first-time tourists to Munich. You will be within walking distance of numerous historic sights and will also be perfectly placed to explore the rest of the city.
Likewise, if you are only visiting Munich for a short break, Altstadt Lehel is perfect for maximising your time in the city. With so many sights and attractions within easy walking distance of your hotel, you will not have to waste so much time on travelling to and from everything you want to see.
As the oldest sector of the city, Altstadt Lehel is home to the most historic buildings in Munich. If you really want to soak in the traditional Bavarian atmosphere of the city, with all of its history and culture, Altstadt is one of the best neighbourhoods to consider.
Some of the must-sees in the Old town are the city’s main square Marienplatz, the sprawling open-air food market of Viktualienmarkt, Hofgarten, and the world’s most famous tavern Hofbräuhaus.
At the heart of Altstadt Lehel you will find Marienplatz. Marienplatz is a popular meeting place for both locals and tourists. Surrounded by shops and cafes, the plaza is a great spot to relax and take in the historic atmosphere. It’s the best area to stay in Munich for Christmas markets in December.
The square is overlooked by several impressive buildings. The neo-Gothic style, 19th-century New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) is particularly majestic, with its wonderful Glockenspiel clock, stone balconies, and soaring spires. The 14th-century Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus) stands on the eastern side of Marienplatz and is home to the Toy Museum.
On the other side of the square stands St. Peter’s Church. As the oldest church in Munich, this is a must visit for anyone who loves historic or gothic architecture. Aside from its opulent façade and interior décor, St. Peter’s Church also houses some interesting relics.
The almost two-thousand-year-old skeleton of Saint Munditia is on display in a glass coffin. Draped in jewels, she makes a unique, if somewhat macabre, attraction in an already historically compelling church.
From Marienplatz you can also see the domed towers of Frauenkirche. Originally built in the 15th century, much of the church has been reconstructed following the destruction of the two world wars. However, the infamous Devil’s Footprint stamped into one of the floor tiles still remains.
If you want a break from all the towering stone buildings, head north to the Munich Residenz. Once home to German royalty, the stunning palace is now open to visitors, including its lovely, manicured gardens.
Alternatively, right behind the Munich Residenz is the expansive Englischer Garten. The huge public park offers miles of leafy trails, open fields, and winding rivers to explore. There is even a 19th-century Greek temple atop one of the hills for you to find.
Being both the most central part of the city and full of historic attractions, Altstadt Lehel is easily one of the most popular districts in the city for tourists to stay in. This of course means that hotels can demand premium rates for accommodation, so staying here will not come cheap.
Bearing in mind that Munich is known to be the most expensive city in Germany, you will struggle to find many budget hotels in this particular district. However, if you have a bit more money to spend, you can find some beautiful options here. The historic location makes for some stunning views.
Stay In Altstadt If you want to stay right at the centre of the city; you are visiting for Oktoberfest and want to stay in the middle of the action; you love history and being surrounded by historic buildings; you’re a first time visiting Munich; you have a generous budget for accommodation.
Best places to stay in Munich in Altstadt-Lehel:
- luxury: Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski München
- mid-range: Hotel Torbräu
- budget: Mercure Hotel München Altstadt
2. Maxvorstadt, where to stay in Munich on a budget
Just outside of Altstadt is the more laid-back neighbourhood of Maxvorstadt. As Munich’s university district, Maxvorstadt offers everything you might expect from an area with a high student population.
Numerous trendy coffee shops and vintage stores line the streets. If you enjoy browsing vintage bookstores and indie boutiques, you will have plenty to keep you happy in Maxvorstadt.
The high population of young people in the area also allows for a healthy supply of pubs and bars to head to in the evening. If you are after an area with a bustling nightlife scene, you have plenty to choose from in Maxvorstadt.
What’s more, you will be staying within easy walking distance of the major attractions of the city centre. If you want to stay close to the Old Town without having to put up with the constant crowds of tourists, Maxvorstadt offers a great alternative.
Similarly, it is also well worth considering for those who want to stay near the top attractions without breaking the bank. Being very student-centered, you will find the prices for everything from restaurants to accommodation are more reasonable than in Altstadt.
If you are keeping to a more conservative budget, Maxvorstadt offers decent affordability without compromising on convenience or quality.
In keeping with the academic theme of the university district, there are tons of museums and art galleries in Maxvorstadt. From the history of Munich and Ancient Egyptian relics to fascinating geology and crystals, there is a museum in Maxvorstadt to pique everyone’s curiosity.
It is not just students who make Maxvorstadt their home though, as a thriving community of artists have set up in this corner of Munich. In amongst the hip cafes and boutiques you will find many small galleries and studios.
There are also a number of larger art galleries in the area. Clustered around Karolinenplatz is a particularly convenient group of art museums right next to one another. Perfect if you don’t have time to waste travelling between locations.
The Pinakothek art museums are the main stars of the area. With each museum housing works ranging from classic paintings to modern sculptural installations, there is sure to be something to appeal to everyone’s tastes.
Like Altstadt, Maxvorstadt borders the Englischer Garten. If you feel the need to escape to nature for a breath of fresh air, the Englischer Garten offers tons of space to stretch your legs. Reaching all the way from the Old Town to the very edge of Munich City, it is the perfect reprieve from the urban jungle.
Between the reasonable prices, close proximity to the city centre, and easy access to open space, Maxvorstadt is an excellent location to consider if you are planning to travel with family. There is plenty to keep everyone entertained and kids will have plenty of space to work off their energy.
Stay In Maxvorstadt If you are looking for a budget-friendly area that is still close to central Munich; you want to stay close to the main attractions whilst avoiding the worst of the tourist crowds; you love browsing museums and art galleries; you are looking for the best place to stay in Munich for families;
Best places to stay in Munich in Maxvorstadt:
- luxury: Rocco Forte The Charles Hotel
- mid-range: NH Collection München Bavaria
- budget: King’s Hotel Center Superior
3. Ludwigsvorstadt, where to stay in Munich for Oktoberfest
Ludwigsvorstadt is the district immediately to the east of Altstadt. Close to the attractions of the city centre, as well as the museums of Maxvorstadt, Ludwigsvorstadt offers a convenient central location without the higher prices and bustling crowds of the touristy Old Town.
Ludwigsvorstadt is best known for being the centre of the world-famous Oktoberfest celebrations. Despite the name, Oktoberfest takes place primarily at the end of September. For around sixteen days, the area is transformed into a heaving party, which crams more than six million people into Munich every year.
The majority of the celebrations are centred around the Theresienwieste fairgrounds, so this is where the thickest crowds will congregate. The festivities are kicked off by a parade of the bars and restaurants that will be hosting stalls in the main fair.
Whilst it is true that the area gets incredibly busy during the height of the festival, do not worry too much if you hate being in a big crowd. Munich is full of pubs and bars and Ludwigsvorstadt is no exception. During Oktoberfest, most of the bars and restaurants in the city will be hosting their own celebrations.
I do recommend popping into the main party area for the experience, but the high energy isn’t for everyone. You will have plenty of beer gardens throughout Ludwigsvorstadt to retreat to, to continue your more laid-back celebrations.
St Paul’s is a church close by to Theresienwieste with a viewing platform at the top of its tall spires. During Oktoberfest, the viewing platform is the perfect opportunity to get a fantastic view of the bustling festival, without having to be down in the crush yourself.
Regardless of whether you choose to stick to the main party, or head to one of the local pubs, Oktoberfest is the perfect time to sample some excellent craft beer. Don some traditional Bavarian lederhosen to really get into the festive spirit.
Outside of Oktoberfest season, Ludwigsvorstadt is known for being one of the more affordable places to stay in Munich. It may seem surprising, considering the central location, but this is the best place to start looking for budget hotels.
The low cost of accommodation here is likely to do with the fact that there are not a lot of tourist attractions in the area itself. Outside of Oktoberfest, the Bavaria Statue is the top attraction in Ludwigsvorstadt.
The Bavaria Statue is located to the west side of Theresienwieste. Installed in the 19th century, the statue is a large bronze casting of a woman representing the spirit of Bavaria. Behind her stands a grand columned building housing busts of notable Bavarians from throughout history.
Just across Bavariapark from the Bavaria Statue is the Deutsches Museum Verkehrszentrum. Dedicated to transportation, the Verkehrszentrum is quite niche, but it is worth a visit if you are already in the area visiting the statue and Hall of Fame.
Of course, during the time of the festival this area transforms into one of the most desirable districts in the city and hotel prices shoot up. If you are visiting during Oktoberfest and want to keep costs down, you are going to want to look elsewhere.
Another benefit to staying in Ludwigsvorstadt is the proximity to Munich Central Station. The train station is located at the northern end of Ludwigsvorstadt. If you are travelling to Munich by train, Ludwigsvorstadt is a super convenient place to stay.
With plenty of budget hotels close to the train station, you will have both convenience and affordability. Also, less time wasted getting your luggage to and from your hotel. Win win.
Stay In Ludwigsvorstadt If you are visiting Munich for Oktoberfest and want to stay right at the heart of the party; you want to stay close to the city centre without paying the higher prices of Altstadt; you want to stay close to Munich Central Train Station.
Best places to stay in Ludwigsvorstadt:🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN CENTRAL STATION
4. Isarvorstadt, where to stay in Munich for nightlife
Isarvorstadt is the area immediately south of Ludwigsvorstadt. Technically they are two halves of one large district, but they each have their own distinct atmosphere and draw. Isarvorstadt is so named for being the end of the district closest to the Isar River.
Isarvorstadt is best known for its vibrant nightlife scene. This is where you will find some of the best bars and clubs in the city. If you are looking for nightclubs, the area around Sonnenstraße is your best bet.
It is also the home of Munich’s LGBT community. Gay Bars are scattered throughout Isarvorstadt, particularly clustered around Müllerstraße. If an LGBT friendly nightlife scene is important to you, then this is definitely a good neighbourhood to consider.
If you happen to be in the area, there is a cute little nod to Isarvorstadt’s LGBT community to look out for. The pedestrian crossing at the junction between Pestalozzistraße and Mullerstraße features two same sex couples in place of the green and red stickmen on the traffic lights.
Foodies will love the variety of cuisines on offer in Isarvorstadt. The streets are lined with wonderful restaurants serving up everything from South African to Vietnamese or Greek. Whatever you have a craving for, you are sure to find somewhere to sate it in Isarvorstadt.
Aside from bars and restaurants, there are also a few cultural attractions to be enjoyed in Isarvorstadt. Stretching along the Isar River, this is one of the closest neighbourhoods to Museum Island.
Museum Island is where you will find the Deutsches Museum. Focusing on space and technology, it offers a popular alternative to the arts and history favoured by most of Munich’s other museums.
Like Ludwigsvorstadt, Isarvorstadt is great for budget travellers. Just outside of Munich city centre, it is an excellent option for those who want to stay close to the main attractions whilst also keeping costs down.
Between the party atmosphere, affordable accommodation, and central location, Isarvorstadt is particularly popular with backpackers. You will be within walking distance of the main attractions and have plenty of bars and clubs to keep you entertained after dark.
Stay In Isarvorstadt If you are looking for the best place to stay in Munich for nightlife; you are looking for affordable accommodation close to the city centre; you are visiting Munich for Oktoberfest and want to stay close to the party but not right in the middle of the crowds; you are backpacking around Europe and want the opportunity to mingle with fellow nomads; LGBT friendly nightlife is important to you.
Best places to stay in Munich in Isarvorstadt:🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN ISARVORSTADT
5. Haidhausen, where to stay in Munich for family
Haidhausen is just across the Isar River from Isarvorstadt. Dating back close to the founding of Munich, this is another wonderfully historic area to explore. More residential than the similarly old Altstadt, the history peeks through in the charming streets rather than grand structures.
If you are looking for a laid-back neighbourhood with a local vibe, this is one of the best neighbourhoods to consider. Across the river from the city centre, Haidhausen is much less touristy than the districts surrounding the Old Town.
Haidhausen is the closest neighbourhood to Museum Island and the Deutsches Museum. The Deutsches Museum is one of the most popular museums in Munich. Focusing on technology and space, it offers a refreshing alternative to all of the arts and history found at Munich’s other museums.
When you think of things you associate with Munich, beaches probably are not one of the first ideas that spring to mind. However, there is a small beach of soft white sand in Haidhausen, Isarstrand.
Isarstrand is located towards the north of the district, on the banks of the Isar. Sheltered by the end of Museum Island, in summer this is a popular spot for locals to go swimming in the river. If you visit in the winter and still want a swim, a lovely indoor swimming pool is right next to the beach.
Quiet, relatively central, and home to several public parks, Haidhausen is one of the most family friendly neighbourhoods in Munich. You will be staying within comfortable walking distance of the city centre attractions whilst still having plenty of space for your kids to let off some steam.
There is also a fantastic range of cuisines available to try in the area. Whether you want to sample traditional Bavarian cuisine at one of the local restaurants, or just skip the drama and feed the family familiar pizza, even the fussiest of eaters will have something to satisfy them.
A little further removed from the city centre than some of the other districts on this list, prices for accommodation are typically much more reasonable. You will definitely be able to get more for your money than you would in Altstadt.
Likewise, being across the river from the main districts makes this one of the quieter places to stay during Oktoberfest. If you know you will be visiting around late September and do not want to get stuck in crowds of tourists, Haidhausen is a great neighbourhood to consider.
If you are concerned that getting to the main attractions in the city centre will be difficult, don’t worry. Altstadt is within reasonable walking distance, just over any of the picturesque stone bridges spanning the Isar. Even if you can’t or don’t want to walk the distance, getting around Munich is still no problem.
Remember, Munich has an excellent public transport network. Between the buses, trams, and the U Bahn, you will be able to explore the rest of Munich with ease.
Stay In Haidhausen If you are looking for a family friendly neighbourhood; A more residential district is perfect for you; you want a quieter area that is not too far from the attractions of the city centre; you are visiting during Oktoberfest and do not want to be surrounded by crowds of tourists;
Best places to stay in Munich in Haidhausen:
- luxury: Hotel München Palace
- mid-range: Novotel München City
- budget: Motel One München – Deutsches Museum
6. Schwabing, a cool neighborhood to stay in Munich
The cool and trendy neighborhood of Schwabing is a large suburb immediately north of Altstadt. It’s divided into two neighborhoods, Schwabing-Freimann and Schwabing-West. As one of the most affluent neighbourhoods in Munich, this is a hub of chic cafes, stylish boutiques, and excellent restaurants.
Close to the university and arts district of Maxvorstadt, the creative culture extends into fashionable Schwabing. Being a little more removed from the hustle and bustle of the city, you can enjoy the vibrant atmosphere with fewer rowdy tourists.
At the south end of Schwabing stands a triumphal arch, erected in the 1800s. Atop the arch stands a bronze sculpture of the spirit of Bavaria, flanked by four lions.
One of the most prominent features of Schwabing is the sprawling Englischer Garten. Spanning over nine-hundred acres and with seventy-eight kilometres of trails, you can spend days exploring the park. There are tons of interesting structures to discover and plenty of facilities to ensure a fun day out for the whole family.
The park has an interesting number of world cultures represented in its attractions. On an island behind the Haus der Kunst museum, you will find a Japanese teashop and garden. Perfect for a slice of zen, away from the hustle and bustle of the nearby city centre.
On a hill in the south end of the park sits a replica Greek Temple. Relax in the shade of the grand columns and enjoy lovely views across the gardens.
A little further north, set in its own plaza, is the Chinese Tower pagoda. A beer garden and café are nestled amongst the surrounding trees, from which you can enjoy views of the pagoda. In the evening, the Pagoda’s lights cast a warm glow over the beer garden, creating a cosy atmosphere.
There are various other cafes, restaurants, and beer gardens throughout the park. No matter how far in you explore, you will never be far from somewhere to rest and enjoy a local beer or delicacy.
There are even some art galleries and shops within the park, alongside the various monuments you will encounter along the trails.
Well to the north of the Englischer Garten there is an open-air amphitheatre. During summer, various performances are hosted in this unique venue.
If you are looking for something a bit more adventurous, the park has you covered there too. You probably wouldn’t think of Munich as the place to learn to surf. However, a constant wave at the end of one of the rivers is a popular spot for local surfers to practice their skills, no matter the season.
Being such an affluent, fashionable neighbourhood, accommodation here isn’t particularly cheap, despite being further from the city centre. Although there are a few more affordable options, there are also a lot of more luxury hotels and stylish boutique guesthouses.
Schwabing is not ideal for those working with a tight budget. However, if you do have a more generous allowance for accommodation, there are some lovely options here. You may even be able to find a room with views over the Englischer Garten.
Stay In Schwabing If you want to stay in one of the most fashionable areas of Munich; you want to stay reasonably close to the city centre but without the crowds and tourist traps; you enjoy spending time outdoors; you are visiting Munich with children; you are not bound by a tight budget.
Best places to stay in Schwabing:
- luxury: Andaz Munich Schwabinger Tor – a concept by Hyatt
- mid-range: Pullman Munich
- budget: Super 8 by Wyndham Munich City North
7. Nymphenburg, where to stay in Munich for beer gardens
Leafy Nymphenburg is a wealthy residential suburb in the west of Munich city. A little removed from the main city centre, Nymphenburg is one of the best places to stay if you want a quieter area, away from the bustling crowds of tourists.
Catering to the local residents, you will find plenty of laid-back, cosy cafes and restaurants throughout the area. There is an interesting mix of architectural styles to the houses in Nymphenburg, making just walking around the streets an adventure in itself.
The district is centred around the vast estate of Nymphenburg Palace, one of Munich’s top attractions. Guests can explore both the palace and various museums in the surrounding buildings. The sprawling grounds are home to Greek temples, smaller castles, fountains, and lakes.
To the north of Nymphenburg Palace is a large botanical garden. With various manicured gardens and themed greenhouses, there is plenty to discover along the winding trails.
Nymphenburg is also known for Hirschgarten, Munich’s largest beer garden. During Oktoberfest, this is a wonderful place to be if you want to take in the party atmosphere without venturing into the crush of the main fair.
The large deer park in which Hirschgarten is located is a lovely place for a walk, no matter what time of year you visit. There are snack bars and playgrounds dotted around the park, so it’s a very family friendly place to spend a relaxing afternoon.
Outside of the main tourist areas, there are fewer hotels to choose from in Nymphenburg. However, what is available is a good mix of affordable and mid-range accommodation. It’s not the cheapest area, but if you have a moderate budget it should suit you fine.
Stay In Nymphenburg If You want to relax in Munich’s largest beer garden; you want to stay in a quieter, suburban neighbourhood; Being right in the centre of the city is not a priority;
Best places to stay in Munich in Nymphenburg:🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN NYMPHENBURG
8. Sendling, where to stay in Munich for local vibe
If you are looking for a laid-back neighbourhood, with a local, residential vibe, then you can’t beat Sendling. Located to the south of the city centre, Sendling is a charming suburb with lots of leafy greenspace and small pubs and cafes.
A little away from the hustle and bustle of the main city centre and tourist attractions, Sendling is ideal for those who prioritise relaxing over sightseeing. Even so, Sendling isn’t so terribly far out of the main town that you can’t easily pop in to visit whatever attractions pique your interest.
Although quite an unassuming neighbourhood, some records place Sendling as having been settled as far back as the 12th century. As such, there are plenty of historic buildings to be spotted amongst the more modern houses.
Once one of the more industrial areas of Munich, the old factories and repurposed warehouses lend another layer to the varied architectural landscape of Sendling.
There are plenty of parks and open spaces throughout Sendling, including the lovely Flaucher park just across the Isar River. The park boasts picnic and barbeque areas, as well as a leafy beer garden. Just south of Flaucher park is where you will find the top attraction of Sendling, Hellabrunn Zoo.
Hellabrunn Zoo is large enough that it has space for the animals to have enclosures designed to imitate their natural environments. There are tons of animals to observe here, with species from across the world.
Being outside of the main city centre districts, Sendling is one of the more affordable places to stay in Munich. If you are on a budget and don’t mind not being right on top of the main attractions, this is a fantastic neighbourhood to consider.
Stay In Sendling If You have a smaller budget for accommodation; You want to stay in a more relaxed, residential neighborhood; You don’t mind staying a little outside of the main city center; Sightseeing is not your top priority; It is not your first time visiting Munich;
Best places to stay in Sendling:🔍FIND BEST HOTELS IN SENDLING
🎬 Check out my virtual tour about the best places to stay in Munich in this video:
So, now you know all there is to know about what you can see and do in Munich, as well as where all the best attractions are based. I am sure at least one of these eight neighbourhoods has caught your attention as a potential home away from home.
The next step of planning your perfect city break is finding the perfect hotel or apartment. I have plenty of recommendations for that too. Don’t forget, even if your dream hotel is not quite as close to your favourite attraction as you hoped, the U Bahn is there to let you have the best of both worlds.