Shrouded in volatile history yet leading the pack as a sophisticated and cosmopolitan city, it’s easy to see why so many people love Munich. From its annual Oktoberfest which draws six million visitors every year, to the whimsical twin spires of the Frauenkirche church and spaceship-like bowl of the Allianz Arena, Munich is unmistakable in so many ways.
One thing that certainly can’t be glossed over in this proud city is its historical and strategic importance. As the capital of the state of Bavaria, Munich was once an administrative centre, and the seat rulers reigned from for centuries. And nowhere in the city is this rich heritage on display more than at the Munich Residenz.
This centrally-located palace has grown and transformed through the ages. Today it stands as a representation of Bavaria’s evolving wealth and culture since the 14th century.
This is one you can’t afford to miss while you’re in Munich, so let’s get down to details.
How to get to Munich Residenz
The good news in that the Munich Residenz should be straightforward for you to find. It’s just towards the northern end of the Altstadt (Old Town), a stone’s throw from the central Marienplatz.
Suppose you’re staying in and around central Munich. In that case, we’d strongly recommend you walk to the Residenz if it’s a realistic option. The city’s historic core is always throwing up all kinds of surprises, and you never know what you might discover along the way.
However, you’ll be glad to know the area is well served by public transport. The Bavarian capital offers all kinds of ways to get around, including a suburban rail system (S-Bahn), underground metro (U-Bahn) and tramway.
Which station is nearest to the Munich Residenz?
Often the easiest way to get from A to B in Munich is by using the U-Bahn, and that’s certainly the case if you’re making tracks for the Residenz Munich. One of the city’s most massive interchanges – the Odeonsplatz Station – is directly beside the complex. The U3 (orange) and U6 (blue) lines that run north to south across the city call past here, as do the U4 (turquoise) and U5 (brown) lines which connect from east to west.
Trams are another great way to criss-cross Munich, and the Munich Residenz is well served here too. The Nationaltheater tram stop is at the southern end of the residence and is called through by number 19, N19 and 31 route services.
Meanwhile, those staying in accommodation that’s further out of the city may find it best to use the S-Bahn. This citywide rail network stops in several large stations throughout the central area, with the nearest to Munich Residenz being Isartor. Jumping aboard any of the S1, S2, S3, S4, S6, S7 and S8 services and alighting here, you only need to stroll 12 minutes northwest through the old town before you reach the Residenz.
Which public transport ticket is best?
If you’re only passing through Munich or like getting around on your two feet, you’ll be best buying tickets only when you need them. Depending on your plans, this could be a single, return or day ticket, all of which are available at every transport stop.
If you plan on seeing Munich by foot, for the most part, you’ll probably be best just buying tickets as and when you need them. At each transport stop, you’ll find machines with all the usual options like single, return, and day access to pick from. One great thing to know is that the same ticket can be used across different networks. In practice, that means you could use a combination of buses, trams and trains to get to your chosen destination.
But if you’re in town for a long weekend or mini-break and plan on packing a lot in, the Munich CityTourCard may serve you better. Available from one day up to six days, it saves you time and money by granting you unlimited travel for the duration of your trip. With prices starting from €13.90 with some significant discounts available for groups, not to mention discounts at many of the city’s attractions, it could be an excellent option.
Exploring the Munich Residenz
The Residenz is a vast network of buildings that once made up the administrative heart of the state of Bavaria. Added to by rulers through the ages, more than 90 of its beautifully decorated rooms are open to the public. As you stroll around the vast complex, you can expect to spot architecture through the ages, with spectacular painted ceilings, intricate tapestries, and priceless artefacts on display throughout.
As a site of such high status and strategic importance, only the finest materials and craftmanship would do. Eventually becoming the most extensive urban palace in all of Germany with over 130 rooms and 10 courtyards, it can be hard to know where to start with the Munich Residenz.
Though tour itineraries can vary depending on when you visit, here are some features of the site you can be sure to look forward to:
This part of the estate is home to a collection of jewels amassed over more than 1,000 years. Today, it’s one of the most impressive and valuable collections of such items on the planet. Among its ranks are priceless Chinese porcelain and jewel-encrusted swords, as well as antique goblets and tableware. One thing you simply can’t afford to miss is the Crown of Princess Blanche. Dating from 1370, it’s believed to be the oldest surviving royal crown from England.
An 18th-century addition to the complex, this spectacular theatre completed in 1755. With its gorgeous Rococo styled interior that’s adorned in vivid red and exquisite gold, it’s by far one of the finest halls in all of Germany. Sadly, the theatre was severely damaged during the Second World War. However, painstaking efforts have restored it to its full former glory.
The Antiquarium is the Residenz’s magnificent barrel-vaulted banquet hall. Boasting marvellous Renaissance style frescos, it would once have been used to show of the Wittelsbach dynasty’s vast collection of antiques – thus the name.
Munich Residenz History & Facts
The Munich Residenz was the official residence and government seat of the Bavarian royal family for some 410 years, between 1509 and 1918. But the origins of this mammoth complex of art and architecture go even further back than that.
The very first buildings on the site were completed in 1385 by Duke Stephen III of the Wittelsbach dynasty. In comparison to the superb structures that make up the palace today, the early Residenz was a simple and austere medieval fortress. Plans to redesign the estate were already in progress before the end of Stephen’s reign. His successor Albrecht V contributed the spectacular Antiquarium later on.
One of the most significant contributions to the Munich Residenz came from ruler Maximilian I. The complex’s Court Chapel, Ornate Chapel, Ladies-at-Court Rooms and Court Garden can all be attributed to his ambitious vision for the palace.
In 1920, Ruler Ludwig III decided it was time to share the spectacular Residenz with the people of Bavaria, with the site becoming a public museum in 1920. Sadly, much of the building was severely damaged during the Second World War, with many original features having perished. Still, restoration efforts ensured the palace was returned to its previous form, and we can experience it today as it would have been then.
Restaurants, Bars, and Shops at the Munich Residenz
Munich Residenz suitably sits within the city’s most sophisticated quarter. It’ll come as no surprise that you’ve a superb selection of stylish bars, fancy eateries, and brilliant boutique stores in your periphery. In fact, there’s so much going on that it can prove challenging to choose what to do. To help you make up your mind, here are a handful of our favourite picks.
The best restaurants near the Munich Residenz
While Bavarian grub like sausages and schnitzel are Munich’s speciality, this thriving cosmopolitan city has all the international flavours you could dream of. With inspired dishes from Stuttgart to Seoul, we strongly recommend you give these restaurants a whirl:
- The spice bazaar – Mediterranean/oriental fusion may sound jarring, but this stylish little evening spot proves it’s a successful combination
- Nage & Sauge – a chilled out backstreet bar that mixes things up with delicious lunch dish favourites from across the continent
- Kokumi – a clean and simple Japanese restaurant that serves up some of the best sushi in town
- Ayinger am Platzl – authentic Bavarian fare with a suitably modern twist, with a classic vs contemporary setting to match
- Nero Pizza & Grill – some of the best pizzas in all of central Munich, with a tranquil environment that’s perfect for unwinding with a glass of wine
- Ratskeller München – an incredibly rustic cellar restaurant with hearty local food and all the beer you can manage
The best bars near the Munich Residenz
Being right in the thick of the action, you won’t need to stroll far from the Residenz Museum Munich to get your evening off to the perfect start. There are all kinds of bar options in the area, from no-frills locals digs to swanky cocktails spots. Just a few of our favourites include:
- Bar Mural – a sophisticated wine spot with a superb selection of vintages and knowledgeable staff who can guide you towards the perfect bottle
- Home Munich – an incredibly chilled out nightspot with a dark and edgy interior to contrast with its colourful menu of cocktails
- Lucky Who – an ultra-cool evening lounge with dim lights and luxurious fixtures, matched by some of the best concoctions on this side of the city
- Cohibar City – a Latin-inspired locals’ spot where the party really gets going later into the evening
- ROCKBOX BAR – a live music bar with a comic book style interior and an amicable atmosphere
The best shops near the Munich Residenz
If you don’t plan on coming back from Munich empty-handed, you’re in the right place for some retail therapy when you call past the Munich Residenz.
On the south side of the complex is the internationally renowned Maximilianstrasse. It’s here you’ll find all the giants of the fashion world, including names like OMEGA, Fendi, Hermes, and Christian Louboutin – to name just a few.
If that sounds a bit above budget, there are plenty of areas you should check out. Back towards Marienplatz, you’ll find all the high street names you already love (including a few German brands you’re going to love). Meanwhile, the Glockenbachviertel district is only a little further and boasts loads of independent clothing stores.
Opening Times and Prices
You’ll be delighted to hear that the Munich Residenz is open every day of the year excluding public holidays. That means it’s highly likely you’ll be able to visit if you’re in town for a few days.
Opening times differ slightly between the seasons, and the Munich Residenz hours for 2020 are:
1st April – 15th October:
09:00 – 18:00
16th October – 31st March:
10:00 – 17:00
With the Residenz being as big as it is, it’s divided into several attractions that are ticketed separately. Thankfully, there is a combination ticket which allows you to access all areas. Still, the individual tickets are handy if you’re only interested in seeing part of the site. What’s more, all children under 18 and students with a student card can enter for free (but they’ll still need to reserve a ticket!).
Munich Residenz tickets this year are set at:
Combination (all three together):
Experience Bavaria’s historical and spiritual heart with a visit to the magnificent Munich Residenz.
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.