For the third stop on our inter-rail trip, it was back to Germany and to the city I’d heard so many friends rave about: Munich.
As the home of the world-renowned Oktoberfest (aka That Massive German Drinking Festival™), the Bavarian capital is packed with cultural hot-spots and great value beer halls.
Most of the main tourist attractions are in the main city square, Marienplatz, which is one of those rare places that offers beauty in every direction. I could have spent a whole morning just in Marienplatz eating Currywurst and spinning around to take in the 360° beauty if there hadn’t been so much else to see before our afternoon train to Slovenia!
We stayed in Meininger Hostel, a popular backpacker hostel just a 5 minute walk from Hackerbrücke S-Bahn station or 15 minutes from the main train station. The hostel even had its own bar! The other backpackers at Meininger were so lovely and welcoming, despite the fact that we stumbled into the dorm at midnight with all our gear.
One thing I will say about Munich and, actually, Germany in general, is that the friendliness of the locals does seem to bring out the best in you too, even when there’s only 2 bathrooms to share between 12 people. Exactly.
Things to see/do:
- New Town Hall and view over Munich
A running theme on our trip, even at this early stage, was that everything we wanted to do was shut. St Peter’s Tower, apparently the best place to get a view of Munich from above, was no exception. So we decided to just spend a bit more time in the New Town Hall, a Gothic Revival-style 19th Century building that had turned slightly black due to the soot caused by extensive bombing of the city square in WWII air raids.
You can also watch the famous Glockenspiel performance here – at 11am, 12pm and 5pm, near-life size figures re-enact the 1568 wedding of Duke William V and Renata of Lorraine.
After ambling around the Town Hall for half an hour we discovered that there was a Viewing Tower here too for just €1.
It’s definitely worth going up either this tower or St Peter’s to see the orange and black roofs and mix-and-match brick façades of the buildings.
2) Neuschwanstein Castle
As a massive Disney fangirl, it seemed only natural to plan a detour from our original inter-rail trail to head to Neuschwanstein Castle in south-west Bavaria, the place that inspired the design of Cinderella’s castle.
We used our inter-rail passes to take the two-hour train from Munich to Füssen, from which we caught the number 78 bus up to Hohenschwangau.
Unfortunately you can’t buy tickets for the castles in advance, they have to be purchased at the ticket office at the base of the castles, but as soon as we had our €11 ticket to visit Neuschwanstein, we hopped on the bus that would drive us up the steep mountain to the castle grounds.
King Ludwig II of Bavaria ordered this formerly-ruined castle to be fully redesigned in the Romantic style of the old German knights against the gorgeous backdrop of the mountains.
Faded glass windows blurred the stunning cliffs surrounding the castle so that they seemed to ripple as we went about our audio tour, which only added to the dreamy atmosphere of the day.
The Frauenkirche, or ‘Women’s Church’, is a cavernous white-walled church with such beautiful chandeliers that the lights danced behind my eyelids for a long time after we left. That’s pretty much all there is to be said about this serene church, but that’s precisely what makes it worth seeing.
Being the complete tools we are, Ciara and I missed our train back to Munich so were forced to hang around for another hour or so in the quaint town of Füssen at the foot of the mountains. As it turned out, this wasn’t quite a chore. Between laughing at our own idiocy and devouring ice creams, we realised that this little town deserved to be recognised in its own right – even just as a perfect little place to just sit back and relax. And maybe add to our (already immense) ice-cream intake.
What we ate/drank:
Similar outfit to what I wore:
What I listened to:
- Young Fathers – Typhoon
- Stuck – Day Wave
- Cursed – Lord Huron
- Arm’s Length – Kacy Hill
- The King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. 1 – Neutral Milk Hotel
- Mountain At My Gates – Foals
- Grendel’s Mother – The Mountain Goats
- Runaway – Ziggy Alberts
- The Woods – Hollow Coves
- Limit To Your Love – James Blake