More than just Oktoberfest: 24 hours in Munich

More than just Oktoberfest, Munich is a destination in its own right. [Photo: Getty]

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Munich may conjure up images of lederhosen-donned tourists downing steins in a Oktoberfest beer tent.

While that may be valid, a recent trip to the “city of the monks” revealed the Bavarian capital is much more than just an autumnal stag destination.

A trip at this time of year is particularly magical, with the town boasting countless Christmas markets for a warming mug of glühwein.

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How to get there

Millions land in Munich every year, but just 60% stay in the city.

While most use it as a stop-off to other parts of the world, it is increasingly becoming a destination in its own right.

Lufthansa is behind more than half of these flights, taking off from London, Birmingham, Manchester and - come February next year - Newcastle.

Whether treating yourself to business class or going budget in economy, customers are treated to a traditional Bavarian meal onboard, complete with local cheeses and meat.

Once at Munich airport, a half-an-hour train takes you to the centre of the city.

The Church of Our Lady, with its uneven towers, is a symbol of the city. [Photo: Getty]

Where to stay

Once considered the “rough end of town”, Rosenheimer Street is now a hip attraction.

While you’ll unlikely be spending much time in the room, the Hilton guarantees a clean, comfortable stay, plus a cooked breakfast to get you going for a day of sight seeing.

The only negative to the room is no bath to warm up on after December’s -4°C (24.8°F) temperatures.

Those feeling virtuous can work out in the hotel’s gym, but swimmers may be disappointed to learn it doesn’t have a pool.

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Luckily, the impressive public baths Muller’sches Volksbad are just a stone’s throw away. Built for the poor in 1901, the art deco architecture is worth a visit in itself.

Although surrounded by Instragram-able drinking spots, the hotel’s own bar is a destination in its own right.

Inspired by the street’s name, the Juliet Rose bar offers a host of cocktails in a “millennial pink” setting, but maybe avoid the sickly gingerbread tipple...

When it comes to bedtime, the hotel’s slightly off centre location - a 20 minute walk or two stops on the tube - will let you slumber in peace.

What to do

Munich is awash with Christmas markets this time of year, with them every bit as festive as you’d imagine.

The most well known is Christkindlmarkt in the Marienplatz. If you can stand the jostling of tourists in the compact square, stalls sell beeswax candles, sugary treats and authentic decorations.

Another favourite is the Munich Residenz. Similar to the above, what makes this stand out is the regal setting in the Emperor’s Court, once home to Bavaria’s now abolished royal family.

Children may be particularly taken by the reenactment of beloved fairy tales, with Hansel & Gretal and Little Red Riding Hood both being played out.

For a different take on the festive celebrations, pick up a mead at the Middle Ages market on Wittelsbacherplatz, where you’ll find stall holders in traditional period dress.

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While the above may get you in the festive spirit, it’s the city of Munich itself that is most appealing.

Many will recognise the 15th century Church of Our Lady, often considered the symbol of the town.

It’s domes of varying heights are somewhat of a mystery, with rumours whirling city officials ran out of money for bricks during its construction.

The neo-gothic town hall Neues Rathaus in the centre of the city is like stepping into Hogwarts and still serves as the mayor’s office today.

Several times a day, figurines appear on the tower’s balcony for an 11 minute “dance about”. Tourists gather with their cameras at the ready, but it’s not worth waiting for.

The square outside the town hall is home to a festive Christmas market.

What to eat

Winter in Bavaria calls for warming comfort food.

Popular with locals and tourists alike, the Augustiner Stammhaus restaurant and beer hall serves pretzels, sausages, schnitzel and roast pork - all with potato dumplings and lashings of gravy.

If you have the space - and I didn’t - the apple strudel seems particularly appealing.

For a bite during the day, the farmer’s market Viktualienmarkt is open all year round. Expect to find Germany’s version of parma ham, pâté and - of course - sausages.

The cheese stall also offers local delicacies, as well as a Wasabi-infused option for the brave...

At the centre of the market is long picnic-style tables, where visitors can drink beer and bring food from any of the stalls.

Speaking of beer, Munich takes it particularly seriously. The Hofbrauhaus brewery is worth a visit.

Founded in 1589 exclusively for the then royal family, it is now a popular destination with locals. Hardcore beer fans can even keep their own stein in the brewery’s safe, but it comes with a 12-year waiting list...

Yahoo UK was a guest of Lufthansa and Munich Airport.