Should You Visit Berlin or Munich? – From a German Local

Author Carina Klein
Carina
· 12 min read · 0 comments

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TL;DR

Berlin or Munich – Which should you visit?

We currently live in Berlin Germany and love it here. We have also lived in Munich Germany for a while and have visited countless times.

Among our fellow Germans, there’s quite some rivalry going on between Berlin vs Munich (think East Coast vs West Coast in the USA or North vs South in the UK) – you have to choose one.

We think that both Berlin and Munich have a lot of pros and cons. That’s why we have written a comprehensive Berlin or Munich guide to help you make the decision.

We answer questions like

  • Is it better to go to Munich or Berlin?
  • Is Berlin or Munich cheaper?
  • Is Berlin or Munich safer?
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Bucketlist2life fun fact: As Germany is a relatively young country, Berlin and Munich have only been in the same country since 1871. Before that Berlin belonged to Prussia and Munich to Bavaria.

Berlin or Munich – Which Should You Visit?

FAQs About Munich vs Berlin

Is Berlin Worth Visiting?

Is Munich Worth Visiting?

Yes! Yes!

What is Berlin Known For

What is Munich Known For

  • Capital of Germany
  • Club Scene
  • Loads of history
  • Being dirty
  • Oktoberfest
  • Bavarian food and culture
  • Being posh

Berlin Size

Munich Size

Size: 892 km² (344 sq mi)
Population: 3,850,809
Berlin is more than double the size of Munich and has more than double the inhabitants.
Size: 311 km² (120 sq mi)
Population: 1,512,491
Munich is less than half the size of Berlin and has less than half the inhabitants.

How to Get Around in Berlin

How to Get Around in Munich

Berlin is not a very walkable city. There are many smaller centres and areas of interest like
  • Mitte
  • Friedrichshain
  • Kreuzberg
  • Prenzlauer Berg
You cannot avoid using a form of transport.
Public transport in Berlin is convenient and connects all areas regularly and at all times of day and night.
The major difference between Berlin and Munich is that Munich has a very walkable city centre.
You only have to take public transport when you want to get to attractions outside the centre like Nymphenburg Palace.

Safety in Berlin

Safety in Munich

Berlin is generally a safe city. Both Berlin and Munich are safe, Munich is the safest metropolis in Germany.
Munich has half the amount of crimes than Berlin.

Weather Berlin

Weather Munich

The weather in Berlin and Munich is super similar.
Beware that winters in Berlin are notoriously grey and gloomy.
Munich is in the south of Germany. Generally, the weather is a bit nicer here.
The summers are a tad warmer and in winter you have a higher chance of snow.

Winner: Munich

Picture of Berlin
Picture of Munich

Munich or Berlin – Which is more Expensive?

Berlin Travel Costs

Munich Travel Costs

Berlin is cheaper than Munich.
Expect to pay around 20% less for accommodation, food, and transport.
Berlin is cheaper than Munich.
Expect to pay around 20% more for accommodation, food, and transport.

Where to Stay in Berlin

Where to Stay in Munich

Berlin is a very spread-out city. Depending on your preferred base, we suggest Accommodation in Munich is expensive.
Wombat's City Hostel has a great value for money.

Winner: Berlin

Sightseeing Berlin or Munich

Highlights of Berlin

Highlights of Munich

The Bundestag, German Chancellery, and Bellevue Castle – the seats of power in Germany.
Walk down Unter den Linden from Alexanderplatz to Brandenburg Gate and take in all the historic sights.
Visit western Berlin with Ku’damm, Gedächtniskirche, and Charlottenburg Castle.
Check out street art and hip food and drinks in Kreuzberg Friedrichshain.
The beautiful historic city centre with Frauenkirche, Alter Peter, Marienplatz, and New City Hall.
The Residenz and Nymphenburg Castles.
Olympiapark which was built for the Olympic Games 1972.
Königsplatz with its amazing museums and architecture.

Things to Do in Berlin

Things to Do in Munich

Learn about the German separation at places like Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer.
Learn about the former GDR at places like the DDR Museum or Gedenkstätte Berlin-Hohenschönhausen.
Learn about Nazi crimes at Topography of Terror.
Look for street art, the RAW in Friedrichshain is amazing.
Have a beer at Hofbräuhaus.
Feast at Viktualienmarkt.
Stroll through Englischer Garten and check out the surfers at Eisbachwelle.
Shop till you drop at Kaufingerstraße und Neuhauser Straße (don’t miss the Stachus).
Check out the opera or theatre. The Cuvilliestheater is one of the prettiest we’ve ever been to.

Berlin Museums

Munich Museums

There are 223 museums in Berlin. The ones on Museum Island are world class but we also love the Museum of Natural History, the Technology
Museum, and the Jewish Museum.
If you’re looking for something unique, try the Berliner Unterwelten Museum!
There are 66 museums in Munich.
Our favourite museums in Munich are the Pinakotheken art museums.
The Deutsches Museum is the largest technology museum in the world.

Best Views of Berlin

Best Views of Munich

The TV Tower is the clear winner.
Other touristic options include the Funkturm in West Berlin and Panorama Punkt at Potsdamer Platz.
For free options, check out our blog post:
You can get the best view from the tower of the New City Hall as it’s super central.
We also loved the view from the Olympic Tower, the highest viewpoint in Munich.
For a free view head to the Monopteros.

Day Trips from Berlin

Day Trips from Munich

You can do many amazing day trips from Berlin. The easiest is Potsdam, the capital of Brandenburg.
Other interesting destinations include the Spreewald, the Mecklenburgische Seenplatte, and Sachsenhausen.
The Baltic Sea and the Harz Mountains are a bit further away.
The single best day trip from Munich is Neuschwanstein Castle.
To the south, the Alps with the Zugspitze (highest mountain in Germany) and destinations like Salzburg in Austria are not far away.
To the north, you can visit other German cities like Augsburg or Nürnberg

Swimming in Berlin

Swimming in Munich

Berlin has countless lakes. There are 50 lakes within the city limits alone and many more just outside in Brandenburg. Some lakes like Wannsee and Müggelsee have proper bathing facilities and others are less official. The Isar River is your best option to cool down in summer.

Parks in Berlin

Parks in Munich

Berlin has many parks which come to life in summer. highlights are
  • Mauerpark (karaoke and flee market)
  • Tempelhofer Feld (old airport)
The claim to fame of Munich’s parks is that the Englischer Garten is bigger than Central Park in New York City.

Winner: Berlin

Picture of Berlin
Picture of Munich

Berlin Versus Munich – Food and Drinks

Food in Berlin

Food in Munich

We love Berlin food. There are over 8,000 restaurants and cuisines from 75 countries.
Traditional Berlin dishes include Currywurst, Bouletten, and Leber Berliner Art.
And of course, Döner Kebab!!
Vegetarians can try potatoes with quark and Berliner doughnuts.
You can get a lot of traditional Bavarian food in Munich.
Things like sausages, Schnitzel, Leberkäse, and Schweinshaxe are very meat-heavy.
There are vegetarian options like Bretzel, Käsespätzle, or Obazda.
And of course sweet dishes like Kaiserschmarren.

Drinks in Berlin

Drinks in Munich

There’s a huge craft beer scene in Berlin. We’d also recommend you to try Berliner Weisse and Berliner Luft.
Fassbrause is a great non-alcoholic alternative to beer.
Beer. Mostly Weißbier and Helles.

Nightlife Berlin

Nightlife Munich

The nightlife in Berlin is world-famous and the techno clubs are unparalleled.
Places like the Berghain or KitKatClub are a staple.
Yes, there is nightlife in Munich. It’s more expensive than in Berlin and there are many posh options like the P1.

Winner: Berlin

Picture of Berlin
Picture of Munich

Berlin vs Munich – Festivals

Oktoberfest in Berlin

Oktoberfest in Munich

There is a small Oktoberfest in Berlin The Munich Oktoberfest is the original. It’s the biggest “Volksfest” in the world and a must-visit if you’re in the area around this time of year.

Berlin Christmas Markets

Munich Christmas Markets

You can find lovely traditional Christmas markets all around the city. Some of our favourites are
  • Charlottenburg
  • Spandau
  • Gendarmenmarkt
As Munich is more centralised than Berlin, so are the Christmas markets. The Münchner Christkindlmarkt is the main event.
Winter Tollwood is a nice alternative.

Summer in Berlin

Summer in Munich

In summer, Berlin truly comes to live. there are countless events like
  • Carnival of Cultures
  • CSD
  • Rave The Planet
There are festivals like the Summer Tollwood but Berlin wins this category.

Winner: Munich

The Conclusion: Should You Visit Munich or Berlin

Berlin Conclusion

Munich Conclusion

Visit Berlin for
  • the capital of Germany
  • a cheap city break
  • a more rough and dirty feel
  • the club scene
  • its rich, sometimes dark history
  • street art
  • amazing summer vibes
  • 223 museums
  • cuisines from 75 countries
Visit Munich for
  • a walkable city
  • Bavarian food and culture
  • a more posh and clean experience
  • Oktoberfest
  • beautiful castles in and around Munich
  • amazing opera and theatre offers
  • beer

How Many Days in Berlin

How Many Days in Munich

As Berlin is huge, you will not be able to see much in just one day. You’ll need at least 2 days, better 3.
Here’s our Berlin Itinerary:
Munich is much smaller so 1-2 days is enough for a taste.
Picture of Berlin
Picture of Munich

Our Personal Opinion: Berlin or Munich – Which Is Better

You guessed it: We live in Berlin and we love Berlin. There is just always something going on and you could do something new every day if you wanted to.

The one major downside of Berlin is that it’s too big and you always have to drive for a while to get to places.

We also realise that Munich has its draw. In our opinion, it is much cleaner and visually beautiful. We are also big fans of a walkable high street and city centre and sometimes miss that in Berlin. They also have a very rich and affordable cultural offer.

Picture of Berlin

Berlin and Munich: A Note at the End

Both Munich and Berlin are not typically “German”. While Berlin is the capital of Germany, it is super multicultural and not very traditional.

In Munich, you can get the cliche Bavarian experience. While it’s easy to think Sauerkraut and Lederhosen are quintessential German staples, Germans outside of Bavaria will strongly disagree.

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