Browsing articles tagged with " Munich"

Marienplatz or the heart of the city

Berlin, April 2015

Every city has usually a very well defined downtown. An exception would be the metropolis which, due to their vast surface, and in the particular case of Berlin also because of its history, account with several downtowns. Munich, the Bavarian capital city of red roofs, belongs to those which heart beats without any rivalry: Marienplatz, Mary’s square, is definitely Munich’s heart.

No wonder, for this is the place where two important, historical axis of the city meet, an East-West and a South-North one, which centuries ago led to the Altstadt, Munich’s heart. The travellers, mainly merchants who wanted to sell their products in the local market, gained access through a number of gates, three of which are today stilll visible: Karlstor on the West, Sendlinger Tor on the South and Isartor on the East. Other gates, like Schwabinger Tor and Angertor, are only part of the history’s memory.

Within the perimeter delimited by these entries, three squares organize a wide area, mainly reserved for pedestrians: Karlsplatz, Odeonsplatz and Marienplatz. On this last one, the highlight is the so-called Neues Rathaus, the “New Town hall”, with its characteristic Glockenspiel which brings hundreds of people to the square, at certain times, to see their dancing figures (video: Next to it, the Altes Rathaus (“Old Town hall”), currently the Toy museum.

When facing the Town hall, on our left side,  the Kaufingerstraße, ahead renamed Neuhauser Straße, takes us to one of the gates, Karlstor, Charles’. On the other side of the arch, the square known by the Munich citizens as Stachus. Back to Marienplatz, but this time going to the right down Tal Straße, we reach anothe gate: Isartor (picture). Its name is that of the river that crosses the city, and the inside of the gate lodges the Valentin-Karlstadt-Museäm, devoted to this famous couple of Bavarian comedians.

Yet another gate, Sendlinger Tor, is located down Sendlinger Straße. It was barely damaged in the WWII, although the current gate has little to do with the original one, erected probably in the 14th century. A lot can be seen and visited in Munich, but no question Marienplatz and the streets radiating from it will take us to spectacular spots like the churches of Saint Micheal, Frauenkirche or the astonisching Asamkirche (picture), one of the most outstanding examples of late Baroque in southern Germany.

We invite you go for a stroll around our Munich photo album, through this link:

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The crazy king had a castle built

Berlin, 29 July 2013

To visit the breathtaking Neuschwanstein castle is a must. Its shape, outlined against the green, ocher or white landscape depending on the season, rises majestically south of Bavaria, close to the Austrian border. A mad king’s dream come true… at least in part.

Quite, Ludwig II of Bavaria lived only 40 years, a short life, narrowly linked to that of the composer Richard Wagner from the very moment when, at the age of 16, the then prince listened to the operas Tannhäuser and Lohengrin for the first time. Ludwig was enthrowned when he was 18, on the same day his father passed away, in 1864. His “particular” character would push him have a castle built, where he could feel protected from the people.

Two episodes of his live as a monarch deserve especial atention: the defeat of Bavaria in the 1866 Austro-Prussian War, after which the reserved character of the king was stressed, distanced from his obligations, and his failed wedding to Princess Sophia of Bavaria, the sister of empress Sissi: after several postponements, the king himself cancelled the ceremony for good.

Neuschwanstein started taking shape in 1869, dominating over the region and built in the image of the medieval castles, only in this case the building included “modernities” such as central heating, tap water and even telephone connexion in parts of the castle. Short after his death, which happened under odd circumstances in 1886, the castle opened doors to the public; from then on, it has been visited by over 60 million people.

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Would you like to see the castle via webcam? (that is, whenever the cam works properly!). Click here.

We recommend you fervently to watch the documentary below, which was produced by the German station ZDF. It explains the life of Ludwig II of Bavaria through the history of Neuschwanstein. English subtitles are available by clicking on <cc>.

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The Easter colours

Berlin, 25 March 2013

Easter is one of the most traditional festivities in Germany. Letting aside its religious meaning, of course its main meaning for many people, it has become a period of special interest for kids: not only in Germany but in all of the German-speaking areas (Austria and Switzerland mainly), and also in the Netherlands, the Easter Bunny paints and hides colourful eggs, that the children must find at home or in the gardens. The Bunny would be sort of an equivalent of Santa Claus, only this time with the mission of announcing the world the ressurection of Jesus Christ.

If you travel around Germany these days, you will see bunnies and coloured eggs are pretty much everywhere. Munich even used to have a Museum of the Easter Bunny (pic Wikipedia), although the centre was definitely closed back in 2005, after the death of its founder, Manfred Klauda.

Easter markets can be visited all over Germany these days. Two of the most famous in Berlin are on Alexanderplatz (East) and on Breitscheidplatz (West). Even a campfire is on the agenda, on Saturday 30th from 6PM, at the Britzer Gardens. It will definitely be more than welcome, considering the freezing temperatures of this unusual end of March!

Of course, many other German cities offer their stands in tens of markets. In Munich, the Markt der Sinne is a traditional one: this year, it will take place between March 30th and April 1st this year. Check the information about other markets in the 16 regions of the country, through this link:

Also gastronomy is important during the Easter time. Hier you can read many traditional recipes (in German).

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Markets in Germany

Berlin, 12 March 2013

Farmers markets have a long tradition in our world, for they were and still are the place to buy fruits, vegetables, meats and other products, directly from the producers. Also in Germany there are markets, of course, some of which deserve a visit. Let’s go discover some of them?

Photo gallery:

Marheineke is one of the few indoor markets remaining in Berlin, and there are three reasons why we advise you pay a visit to it: good, fresh products are sold inside, the building is nice and it is located in an area packed with restaurants, mainly on Bergmannstrasse (definitely, a reason to visit the place, isn’t it?). The market, that is celebrating its 121st anniversay this week, was almost completely destroyed during WWII, then rebuilt in the fifties and finally modernized back in 2007. The subway line U7 will take you there (Gneisenaustraße station). Would you like to take a glance? Come on in!

Also advisable is the Neukölln turkish market. Every Tuesday and Friday, tens of traders locate their stands on Maybachufer, between the Kottbusserbrücke bridge and the Schinkestrasse: fruits, vegetables, legume, also clothing and accessories, fill up this part of the bank of the Landwehrkanal starting at 11AM until mid-afternoon. Odours, colours and many products you probably will not recognize, for the market is on the border of the Neukölln and Kreuzberg districts, where many of the Turkish “Berliner” live.

If you would like to learnt about other markets in Berlin, check this article published by the Morgenpost: You can also get some information (in German) about markets in the city by clicking here.

Of course, markets are also in other parts of Germany. In Munich, for example, you should see Viktualienmarkt: outdoors, it is located near the central Marienplatz, on the same place where it has been for a bit more than 200 years. There are some 140 stands offering a wide range of products, many of them from Bavaria. Also in hamburg you can see markets, like Marktzeit: it is open every Saturday from 9.30AM till 2.30PM in an old factory (old in “spirit”, because a fire burnt it down back in 1977, having been rebuilt afterwards according to its original design). Finally, in Frankfurt (am Main) you can go to Kleinmarkthalle, which opens Monday through Saturday from 8AM until 6PM (4PM on Saturdays).

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“A” as in airports (of Germany)

Berlin, 26 February 2013

The so called “low cost” companies are no longer what they used to be, but flying is still a reasonable way to travel to Germany, even if arriving from a European country. Here you have some information about the airports to reach Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Cologne:

Germany’s capital city, Berlin, has postponed four times the opening of its new airport, “Berlin Brandenburg International” (BER)*. This facility will replace the current airports of Schönefeld (actually, the one under construction is an extension of this) and Tegel, due to shut on the same day of the opening of BER. In the meantime, and after the historical Tempelhof closed down back in 2008, Tegel and Schönefeld are the two gates to enter Berlin by plane. Most flights operate to/from Tegel, but low cost companies like EasyJet are based in Schönefeld.

Tegel airport is located in Berlin (AB zone of the public transportation tickets), whereas Schönefeld is outside the city boundaries, in the neighbouring land of Brandenburg (C zone). From Tegel, it takes some 20 minutes to reach Zoologischer Garten (bus lines X9 and 109), and about 30 min. to Alexanderplatz (line TXL). This central square can be reached from Schönefeld in only 20 minutes, on board a regional train (lines RE7 or RB14), but in over half an hour by travelling on the S-Bahn (urban network), considering change of trains at Ostkreuz or Warschauer Straße stations.

Both airports, all together, welcomed in 2012 some 25 million passengers (London Heathrow 70 million, 105 million all three New York airports).

Hamburg is the second city in Germany and it takes only 1.30 hours to reach from Berlin. Nonetheless, more practical to get there is through its airport: with the line S1 of the S-Bahn, you will arrive at the city’s central station (Hauptbahnhof) in just 25 minutes. Or you can take any of this bus lines: 26, 39, 274 and 292. Other advisable airports are the one in Lübeck, connected with downtown Hamburg through the bus line A20, and that in Bremen, which also has a connexion with Hamburg in some 90 minutes (check the website of bus2fly).

As for Munich, its airport is connected to the city’s Hauptbahnhof (main station) with lines S1 and S8 of the S-Bahn. The journey takes about 45 minutes with both lines, and from the Hauptbahnhof you can reach the rest of the city with the metro (U-Bahn) lines U1, U2, U4 and U5. Another option to get to Munich is through Memmingen airport: although it is located 110 kilometers away from Munich, Ryanair offers several bus connexions between the airport and the city center.

Finally, Cologne is very easily accessible through Cologne‘s airport (officially, “Köln/Bonn”), with the S-Bahn line S13 to/from the city’s Hauptbahnhof: you will only need 15 minutes! The station, by the way, is located next to the city’s famous, wonderful Cathedral (Dom, in German).

Now you know what you need to know, when you prepare your trip to Germany! But before you land here, do not hesitate contact us and our private tours and services in English, to discover Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Cologne, amongst other cities (our e-mail: Our tours are the best in town, and besides you do not want German to be a problem for you, do you? 😉

*We have dealt with the future Berlin airport in two articles: Berlin Brandenburg International and BER, an airport not taking off.

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