This is where I will compile information that everyone can use when traveling to our home in Munich. These are questions that we’ve either asked ourselves or have been asked. Feel free to submit other questions!
Do they really eat pretzels and drink beer there?
Yes. And both are really, really tasty.
Do I need to know German?
While you do not need to know German to visit, a few phrases will go a long way to showing good intentions and will make you feel happier in your ability to communicate with locals. (look for the useful phrases page on this blog). Less people speak English here in our neighborhood than you might think. While almost all educated people between 15 – 40 have had English in school, it doesn’t mean everyone is fluent. Often times, people might understand some English, but are shy or hesitant to speak it. Oh! And it’s worth noting that the Bavarian dialect often sounds nothing like the High German that you might have been exposed to. It can be baffling.
And speaking of German, Larry and I have regular German lessons in the home on Mondays and Thursdays from 8am – 10am. We will take them up in the loft so we won’t disturb our company.
Talk to me about money.
The Euro is the currency in Germany and cash is king here. There are plenty of ATMs, but many places that will not accept credit cards. Some places only accept EC Cards, which are German bank issued debit cards, essentially. Even Ikea stopped accepting Visas recently. Be sure to let your bank/credit card company know you are traveling to Germany. Make sure you know your pin so you can get cash from the ATMs. You will get the best exchange rate through an ATM, as opposed to a currency exchange kiosk.
Is Munich safe?
What’s the weather like?
Wunderground.com informs us daily. We have only been here a few months — and we’ve been told those months have mostly been unusual (we’ve had a very cold, very wet spring). To me, in many ways, the weather feels like New England. It can swing hot to cold, dry to wet. Windy, cold, snowy winters. In general, I think it’s safe to say it is slightly less intense than Boston. It’s like New England with the volume knob turned down. The summers are not as hot; the winters not as cold or snowy. But that being said, we just had three days in a row of 85 degrees, with no a/c (see house info below). You would do well to pack a rain coat. We have umbrellas.
Can I plug in my electrical devices?
Not without an adapter and/or transformer. Larry will fill us all in here on your Apple devices and other appliances.
How can I get around Munich and surrounding areas?
Munich has excellent public transit options. MVV offers Bus, tram, U-bahn (underground subway), and S-bahn (surface commuter rail) all are reliable, timely, affordable, safe, and easy to use. We are located between the major Bahn stops of Munchner Freiheit (U3 and U6) and Hohenzollernplatz (U2 and U8) and close to Kürfenstenplatz (for the tram lines 12, 27, 28). Remember doors do not automatically open; often you need to push the button with a hand symbol. Travel is on the honor system (none of the foolish swiping in/swiping out as in other countries). You purchase your ticket at the kiosks (there is an English option). You validate your ticket, and then that’s it. There are random spot checks for fare compliance. Schwartz farhen or black market riding will result in a spot fine of 60 euros.
Munich is a bike friendly city. It is mostly flat and has many bike lanes carved out throughout the city. There are bike rental places around the city; the closest one is at Munchner Freitheit.
Munich is a walkable city. Flat, scenic, interesting. It is big, though. So I recommend combining walking with public transit or bikes.
The least recommended. There is a fair amount of city traffic and parking can be a bit of a blood sport in this neighborhood. But we do have a car that can hold 5 people if necessary.
Can you give me directions to your home from the airport?
Yes, I can.
*The easiest and quickest (but most expensive) is to take a taxi.
*The second easiest and reasonably priced (but longest) is to take public transit.
*The most complicated (and moderately long and moderately expensive, depending on parking) is to have one of us drive in to get you.
What if I want to go further than Munich?
The Munich Airport is about 35 minutes away by driving, and a little over an hour by public transit door to door. A taxi costs around 65 euros one way. The Haupbahnhof (main train station) is about a 20 minute tram ride away. From there, you can access almost anywhere in Europe. If you are considering train travel, I would recommend looking at this website for some really stellar advice for train travel in Europe. I’m afraid we are still too new to be able to advise with confidence on which trains, etc. Check back in a year.
Tell me about your home. Do you really have room for company?
We live in the Schwabing neighborhood of Munich, in a building built in 1910 originally as a 4 story home. In 2015 our landlord removed the roof and added two apartments. So we live in new construction in an old building. We are on the 5th floor (or if you’re American, the 6th floor) but take heart! There is an elevator newly installed that mostly works.
Yes, we absolutely have room for company. And depending on how friendly and creative we all are, we can really pack ’em in. Our apartment is 190 square meters, four bedroom, four bathrooms. There is one guest bedroom that has a queen bed and room for 2 camping cots, which we have (or kids could bunk in with Elliot and Merrie). In the summer, there’s no reason why kids (or adults) couldn’t camp on the balcony.
How many hot days do you have?
We really have no idea yet. Three so far. Check back after we’ve been here for a full summer. But do keep in mind, that even though this is new construction, there is no air conditioning as Americans are used to. We have air ventilation, but we still need fans on the really hot days.
How much would it cost me to visit you?
It would cost you the price of an airline ticket, and then any spending money for entrance fees, dining out, public transit tickets, etc. You do not need to pay for lodging, and you should be able to get by without renting a car. It really makes for an economical vacation.
What should I pack?
I think that Rick Steve’s packing list is pretty comprehensible, but there are obvious things you will not need because you are staying with us and because we live in a city where you can buy most toiletry items. Definitely pack comfortable shoes, rain jacket, bathing suit in the summer, ear plugs and eye shades in case the street noise/open windows bother you.
When is a good time to visit Munich?
Anytime! It’s beautiful year-round with much to offer in the way of culture, outdoor activities, and seasonal entertainment. I hear that late September, when Oktoberfest happens, is an expensive time to try and travel here. Again, we will be better informed next year. If you are thinking of visiting, contact me to hash out dates. I am the Keeper of the Calendar and would be thrilled to pencil you in. 🙂