At the foothills of the Alps and the heart of the German state of Bavaria, Munich is a vibrant city bursting with culture and creativity. Whatever you look for in a short break, Munich manages to tick so many boxes. Whether it’s fascinating museums, world-class architecture (both old and new), phenomenal food, or spectacular natural landscapes you seek.
One thing the city does exceptionally well for its modest size is retail. As Southern Germany’s premier shopping destination, Munich’s offering spans from some of the country’s biggest and most iconic department stores through to eclectic independent and burgeoning boutiques.
The city boasts several shopping districts in and around its centre, each with its own distinct character, so there really is something to suit all tastes and budgets.
If you’re only in Munich for a few days, you’ll have little time to waste. That’s why we’ve got you started with some shopping hotspots that are well worth an hour or two browsing.
Shopping Hotspots in Munich
Ready for some retail therapy? Here’s our ultimate list of where to head to.
The spectacular Marienplatz is the city’s central square. It’s been the place where people of Munich come together in celebration or protest for the best part of a millennium. Adorned with stunning period architecture, including the famous tower of the New City Hall, it’s by far one of the most postcard-perfect spots in town.
If you’ve come to shop in Marienplatz, you’ll be in good company historically. Markets have been held on the square since the Middle Ages, and even today the spot plays host to the city’s Christkindlmarkt in the three weeks up to Christmas Day. If you’re lucky enough to visit at this magical time, warm up with some mulled wine and frankfurter as you take in the architecture on all sides.
As for year-round shopping in Marienplatz, you’ll find what you’re looking for along the pedestrianised Kaufingerstrasse, which connects the square with neighbouring Karlsplatz.
Along the street, you’ll spot plenty of familiar names, including the likes of Urban Outfitters, H&M, Jack & Jones, and Zara. For high street brands, you can’t get back at home, there’s always C&A, Espirit, Tally Weijl, and the Galeria Kaufhof department store.
For something a little more unique, make tracks for Glockenbachviertel. This district lines the River Isar just south of the old town, and locals will tell you it’s one of the city’s most happening neighbourhoods. Quirky bars and restaurants certainly outnumber stores by far here. Still, your browsing will be pay dividends when you finally find that one of a kind item.
Highlights in the area include Toskana Weinhandlung & Weinbar. In this excellent wine shop, you can sample the bottles on site. The independent Ralf’s Fine Garments is a must for style-conscious men, while the same could be said of Ruby Store for women. This pretty little boutique appears unassuming from the street, but you’ll be met with a bonanza of bright prints and quality threads once you walk through the door.
If you’re looking to do some serious spending while in the Bavarian capital, Maximilianstrasse will be calling your name. With its period architecture and cultural institutions like the Bayerische Staatsoper’s opera house and the National Theatre, it’s no wonder some of the world’s leading fashion houses have chosen to call this street home.
Names you’ll recognise include DIOR, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, BVLGARI, Cartier, and Hublot to name just a few. But you’ll find plenty of boutiques with goods at a similar price point around here too. There’s Unützer Boutique for ladies fashion, while TOD’s offers colourful accessories for both men and women. Another great shout is Meindl Authentic Luxury, which stocks street-ready leather jackets, distressed jeans, and sneakers.
For an authentic German market experience, you won’t beat the atmosphere on offer at the Viktualienmarkt, or ‘Victuals Market’. Located in the Marienplatz for centuries, Munich’s primary fresh foods market moved to this current location in 1807, where it’s remained in some form ever since.
The labyrinth of stalls here is always throwing up surprises. Among local meats and locally picked vegetables, you’ll find the odd craft stall selling wares or be hit by the smell of freshly baked bread wafting from an oven. If you’re looking for a true taste of Munich, you’ll find it at Viktualienmarkt.
The district to the north of the old town is where you’ll find Munich’s universities. So it’s no surprise that you’ll also find some of the city’s second hand, quirkier, cheaper stores if you head up this way. Smaller labels don’t mean you’ll compromise on style though, with some seriously cool vintage shops and curiosity stores to be browsed in the grid of streets around Schellingstrasse.
The Munich Readery is a bookworm’s utopia, offering all manner of second-hand books to peruse while you kick back with a coffee. You’ll be glad to hear you won’t need to learn German – everything they sell is in the English language!
A little down the road you’ve got Fräulein Spitzbarth, an absolute paradise for second-hand women’s fashion. You’ll find some seriously high-end labels on the rails here, and at these kinds of prices, we’d recommend you free up some space in your suitcase before you fly out. For men, boutiques like BSTN Store offer urban tees and top brand trainers with friendly price tags.
Getting Around Munich
Efficiency is one of the words that come to mind when people think of Germany, and that’s a reasonable and accurate description of Munich’s public transport. The city benefits from excellent infrastructure that includes the U-Bahn (underground), S-Bahn (suburban rail), tram network and plentiful bus routes. Hopping between various modes, you’ll find getting from A to B within the Bavarian capital is refreshingly straightforward.
Of course, if you can reach your destination on foot, then it’s never a bad idea. Munich’s tight network of streets always offers something new to see or do. You never know what you might stumble across that doesn’t feature in the guidebooks or line the tourist routes.
Cycling in Munich is also an option, and there’s plenty of infrastructure in place, including segregated cycle lanes. Still, we’d only recommend this if you’re comfortable with cycling on urban roads, as it’s likely you will need to at some point.
Choosing a public transport ticket
There’s something else that makes travelling in and around Munich friendly and straightforward. When you buy a public transport day ticket in the city, you’ll be able to use it for every single other network in the city’s main zones. That means you can hop from tram to bus, to U-Bahn with next to no fuss.
When you visit Munich, you do have the option of buying single journey tickets. Still, if you’re going to be hopping from A to B a lot, it doesn’t make a lot of sense financially. A better option might be to opt for a day ticket, whereby you get a full day’s use of any of the transport networks for a single, fixed price.
But this still isn’t the best option open to many visitors to Munich. The Munich CityTourCard can be booked in advance for anything from one to six days. Prices range from €13.90 to €41.90.
Armed with the card you’ll be able to use all the city’s transport as and when you need for the duration that you specified. But that’s not all. The card also grants you discounts for entry at 80 of Munich’s top tourist attractions, which could save you a small fortune if you’re going to pack a lot into your trip.
Whether you’re visiting Munich to shop til’ you drop or for the plethora of museums and art galleries, the Bavarian capital has so much to offer.
Getting to Munich by train
It's easy to take the train to Munich from the main destinations across Europe. Travel direct from Prague to Munich in just 4h 56m on a high-speed Deutsche Bahn service, or why not whizz from Berlin to Munich on another direct DB train in about 4h 49m. Frankfurt to Munich is also another well-connected route, taking just 3h 12m.
Ready for your next train journey to Munich? Check out our guide to trains in Germany to learn all about the German trains, timetables and popular routes.