With its eclectic combination of old and new, Munich is easily one of Europe’s most exciting cities to visit. There’s stunning period architecture and winding cobbled streets that have more than a few stories to tell. At the same time, high tech arenas and modern art museums give this city an uber-cool edge. The Bavarian capital ticks so many boxes if you’re looking for a city break.
If you plan on sampling both sides to this German city, then there are few better places to start your journey through old Munich than at the Frauenkirche. This colossal church has stood proud and tall above the city for more than 500 years. Owing to local building height limit laws, it remains the most prominent feature on Munich’s skyline even today.
That certainly helps make the Frauenkirche easy to find. But here are some pointers if you can’t spot its two domed towers.
How to get to the Frauenkirche
Sitting well with the stereotype of German cities, public transport provision in Munich is excellent. You have multiple options for traversing the Bavarian capital, including the S-Bahn suburban rail system, U-Bahn underground metro, a tramway, and lots of buses.
With its location in Munich’s old town, we’d always recommend you find the Frauenkirche on foot if you can. The tight network of streets in this part of Munich always throws up some surprises. Whether it’s a noisy basement bar or backstreet market, this is somewhere you won’t mind getting a little lost.
Still, if you’re pushed for time or are travelling into the city from outside, you’ll be pleased to know that public transport will take you very close to the doors of the Frauenkirche.
Which station is nearest to Frauenkirche?
Both the U-Bahn and tram network will take you within 200 metres of the church steps. If it’s convenient to travel by U-Bahn, you’ll need to head for the Marienplatz stop, which is served by the U3 (orange) and U6 (blue) lines. Once you surface, you’ll only need to stroll a short distance up Kaufingerstrasse until you see the church on your right.
As for the tramway, the Marienplatz (Theatinerstrasse) stop is just a couple of streets north of the Frauenkirche and is called at by 19, N19, and 31 service tram. Meanwhile, if you’re coming into the city via the S-Bahn, Karlsplatz is the nearest station, and it’s only an eight-minute walk to reach the church from here.
Which public transport ticket is best?
Suppose you only plan on making the odd transport journey while in Munich. In that case, it may prove most economical to buy single, return or day tickets as and when you need. These can be purchased on the platform at all stops and stations, and the good news is that the same ticket can be used across the different networks. That means you can get from A to B while hopping from U-Bahn to tram to S-Bahn in the process.
But for anyone spending a few days in the city and planning to pack a lot in, the Munich CityTourCard may well be the better option. One of these grants you unlimited access to the Bavarian capital’s transport network for anything from 24 hours up to six days at your choosing. Prices start at €13.90 and cap out at €41.90 per person, while there are even better deals available for groups. Add in the fact that you’ll get discounts at 80 leading attractions around Munich, and a CityTourCard could save you some serious money on your trip.
Exploring the Frauenkirche
With an incredible history spanning more than five centuries, you won’t be surprised to hear the walls and vaulted ceilings of the Frauenkirche have seen plenty in their time. They’ve also witnessed lots of changes. Adaptions and additions have taken place over the years as each generation sought to impress their own ideas and marks upon Munich’s most famous landmark.
There are many features to spot around the church, each with an incredible history of their own. These include:
The main interior
The central aisle of the Frauenkirche is a sight to behold from the very moment you step through the door. Featuring 22 towering octagonal pillars, each washed in the crispest of white, the colossal nave rises into elegant vaulted ceilings with beautiful golden arches.
While this simple yet heavenly inspired interior seems timeless, it is in fact, relatively new. The original Frauenkirche was remodelled in the Renaissance style in 1601, then again in the Gothic look from 1858. The church took its current appearance after repairs to the damage caused in the Second World War.
More than merely a cathedral in its own right, the colossal Frauenkirche boasts more than 20 individual chapels within its walls, dedicated to all kinds of apostles, saints, guilds, and trades. Some highlights are:
- North Tower Chapel – dating back to 1475 and one of the oldest parts of the complex, it features a beautiful relief of the Virgin and the Patron
- Chapel of the Seven Sorrows – a recent addition in 1959, it features a beautiful stained glass window known as ‘The Seven Sorrows of Mary’
- St Sebastian’s Chapel – home to a spectacular 1483 painting of the Baptism of Christ by Friedrich Pacher, as well as beautiful stained glass pieces
- St Benno’s Chapel – featuring beautiful relics including the silver bust of St Benno from 1601
- Chapel of the Magi – an ornate altarpiece of the Magi, completed by Ulrich Loth in 1628, along with Gothic stained glass pieces
Like many European churches of historical importance, the Frauenkirche Munich is the resting place of many noble people through the ages. As you move around the church, keep an eye out for the tombs of historical figures like:
- Emperor Ludwig the Bavarian – marked by a free-standing black marble column
- Jorg Halspach – the architect of the Frauenkirche who rests in the South Tower Chapel
- Ligasalz family – a tombstone to this aristocratic Bavarian family, located in the Chapel of the Immaculata
- Archbishop Michael Cardinal Faulhaber, Joseph Cardinal Wendel & Julius Cardinal Dopfner – all of whom were laid to rest in the crypt between the early 50s and mid-70s
Frauenkirche History & Facts
The origin for the spectacular Frauenkirche we see spans today as far back as 1271 and the completion of the Marienkirche Parish Church. This humble structure, by comparison, was nothing like the world-renowned version that would come to follow it.
A long construction
Construction of a new, much grander cathedral would begin in 1468 on the orders of Duke Sigismund. The work of architect Jorg Halsbach, his design would have to be realised in brick as there were no quarries in the surrounding area. The Frauenkirche’s identical twinned towers would begin their reign over the city in 1488. However, budget and design issues meant they weren’t capped with their famous onion domes until 1525.
400 years strong
Upon its completion, the enormous Frauenkirche was said to hold 20,000 standing worshippers, akin to a modern-day arena. That’s impressive when you consider that the entire population of Munich at the time was no more than 13,000. What’s more, legend claims that the Frauenkirche’s architect dropped dead the very moment that the structure’s final stone was laid.
For the next 400 or so years, through uprisings, riots, and sieges, the Frauenkirche would tower seemingly immortal over the people of Munich. But that was all to change in the middle of the 20th century.
War and rebirth
The Frauenkirche sadly took extensive damage during the bombing raids of the Second World War. Over time, the cathedral’s roof collapsed, before one of its two towers took a massive hit.
Without a roof, the Frauenkirche’s beautiful interior was left to waste away, and little remained by 1945. Thankfully, restoration work began shortly after the end of the war. And though it took almost half a century to rectify, the church as we see it today is as beautiful and awe-inspiring as ever.
A fiendish legend
One prominent feature through the ages, and one of few to survive the war period, is the Teufelstritt – or ‘Devil’s Footstep’.
This footprint shaped floor marking is said to be the work of the Devil himself, with some claiming the Frauenkirche’s architect did a deal with the Devil to finance its construction. Others say it’s an expression of the Devil’s satisfaction at the church appearing to have no windows when viewed from the porch area.
Restaurants, Bars and Stores at the Frauenkirche
Towering above the city’s old town, the Frauenkirche finds itself in Munich’s most charming and distinctive district. With its winding complex of allees and alleyways, the selection of eateries, watering holes, and shops here are suitably quirky to match. With so many options, you won’t have to travel far from the church before you find just what you’re looking for.
The best restaurants near Frauenkirche
The old town is bustling with locals and tourists at any time of day, so it comes as no surprise that restaurants are in abundance. Some top spots to look out for near the Frauenkirche Munich include:
- KAIMUG – colourful and fresh Thai food cooked up fast, perfect for grabbing a quick lunch
- Augustiner Klosterwirt – hearty German food including schnitzel and pretzels, served up in a rustic and quintessentially Bavarian interior
- Kismet – mouthwatering and aromatic middle eastern fare in a simple but stylish setting, with meze platters to die for
- Soumi - Soups and Bánh Mì – a small spot offering Vietnamese pho bowls and sandwiches that burst with spice and flavour
- Ferdings – photo-worthy plates and a superb selection of spirits, all set in a noir-inspired interior
- Prinz Myshkin – a bright and exciting vegetarian spot with a focus on creative dishes, inspired by cuisines from across the globe
- Der Kleine Flo – some of the best burgers in the city, including miniature sliders so you can sample several different options from the menu
The best bars near Frauenkirche
Bavarians are pretty serious about their beer, so you won’t need to travel far to find a cosy taverna or raucous Bierhalle to toast away the day in. Within a few minutes’ walk of the Frauenkirche you’ll find options like:
- Jaded Monkey – a friendly and laid back spot with an accommodating cocktail menu
- Unter Deck – a dimly lit basement bar that’s a hit with locals and regularly hosts live bands
- Hofbräuhaus München – Munich’s most famous beer hall, with an electric atmosphere at any time of day
- Pacific Times – a high-end cocktail spot with a simple and stylish décor
- Bar Buena Vista – a welcoming Cuban themed night spot offering live shows and mesmerising mojitos
- Trisoux – a super chic cocktail bar with a spectacular ceiling made from thousands of suspended wooden blocks
The best shops near the Frauenkirche
If all these historical sights have brought on the urge to splurge, you couldn’t be better placed for indulging in some retail therapy. You’ll have several different options depending on your tastes and budget.
A couple of blocks east of here you’ll find Maximilianstrasse, the city’s swankiest thoroughfare and home of huge names like Fendi, Chanel, Gucci, Hermes, and Cartier.
Suppose those sound a little on the pricy side. In that case, you can instead turn left out of the Frauenkirche Munich and find yourself immediately on Kaufingerstrasse. This is where all the popular high street brands are clustered, including a few names you won’t find back home, including C&A, Hallhuber, and Esprit.
If something more individual is your scene, a ten-minute walk south will see you arrive in the Gartnerplatzviertel district. Here you’ll find cool and quirky boutiques like Ruby Store and SKMST for that one-of-a-kind item.
Opening Times and Prices
As a functioning church, you don’t need to pay a penny to enter the Frauenkirche. However, you may be invited to give a donation to help with the upkeep of this spectacular building.
Services do take place in the Frauenkirche daily, so you may wish to work your visit around these (or join them if you like!). There’s not always a schedule to go off, so it might be a good idea to check the website before you call past. The opening times for the Frauenkirche for 2020 are:
Monday to Saturday:
08:00 – 17:00
Sundays & Public Holidays:
09:30 – 17:00
As the oldest and tallest feature on Munich’s historic skyline, no trip to the Bavarian capital is complete without a walk along the nave of the spectacular Frauenkirche.
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.