Where to Stay in Munich: Advice from local expat and blogger Susanna Kelly about the best neighborhoods to stay in Munich, Germany! (Plus 21 hotel and apartment ideas)
We created this guide in collaboration with Susanna Kelly, a blogger currently living and working in Munich. Susanna served as our local expert, introducing us to the best areas to stay in Munich by neighborhood. We (Geoff and Katie) have added in hotel recommendations and other travel ideas to help with your Munich trip planning. If you’re also planning on visiting other cities, don’t miss our Where to Stay in Vienna, Where to Stay in Prague, and Where to Stay in Berlin guides, too!
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Where to Stay in Munich: A Quick Guide to Finding The Best Area to Stay in Munich
Our Munich expert Susanna has written detailed suggestions about the best areas to stay in Munich later on in this Munich neighborhood guide, but we also wanted to create a quick summary of our top ideas for where to stay in Munich. Each of the neighborhood names is clickable, and will take you to more detailed info about that section below. But for now, here’s a summary of Munich’s best neighborhoods.
Munich is divided into 25 boroughs. This guide will cover the most popular boroughs of Altstadt-Lehel, Maxvorstadt, Schwabing, Isavorstadt, and Ludwigsvorstadt. It will also highlight an alternative area, Haidhausen.
- Altstadt-Lehel: The heart of the city, Alstadt-Lehel will captivate you with its charming streets and historical buildings. Most tourist sites are in this area, which makes it crowded and more expensive than other neighborhoods in terms of accomodation. Alstadt-Lehel is the best area to stay in Munich if you’re a first-time visitor, you want to be right in the center of the city, or you have a limited amount of time to explore!
- Maxvorstadt: “The brain of Munich,” Maxvorstadt is the best area to stay in Munich if you’re planning to visit the city’s many museums and art galleries, as they are mostly located here around Königsplatz. Furthermore, its closeness to the university makes it a great area for budget and diverse eating, and its streets are always bustling with young people.
- Schwabing: The bohemian neighborhood of Munich, this upscale neighborhood is home to many cafès, restaurants, and boutique shops, and once was home to Tomas Mann and Vladimir Lenin, among others. This neighborhood mixes a traditional Bavarian feel, but with an urban twist. If you’re looking for an upmarket but very convenient area, Schwabing might be the best neighborhood to stay in Munich!
- Isavorstadt: Isavorstadt is Munich’s most gay-friendly neighborhood, and it’s also a very hipster neighborhood. Locals here enjoy craft beer bars and relaxing on the banks of the Isar river. If you want to be close to the city center, while also avoiding the tourist crowds, Isavorstadt is a fantastic choice among Munich’s neighborhoods.
- Ludwigsvorstadt: If you’re wondering where to stay in Munich for Oktoberfest, this is your neighborhood. Ludwigsvorstadt is the home of Oktoberfest, and is surely the most convenient area to stay in Munich for Oktoberfest.
- Haidhausen: If you’re looking for an alternative, non-touristy neighborhood, then Haidhausen is a good option. A mix of residential and nightlife, there are plenty of bars and clubs to party the night away, but also nice cafès on the banks of the Isar. If you’re visiting Munich for the second time, and want to experience life as a local, Haidhausen might be the best neighborhood to stay in Munich.
Munich's Best Areas to Stay
IIf Munich could say one thing to you and every other traveler, it would tell you that it’s so much more than Oktoberfest. As amazing as the Fest is, Munich has something to offer throughout the year, mixing a rich and unique history with an adventurous outdoor culture. I love this combination so much that I choose to make Munich my home.
When people ask me why I moved to Munich, I tell them it has everything I could hope for. Munich has the right balance of culture and adventure. I spend my weekdays wandering the streets, admiring architecture, shopping in the Altstadt, (old city) or finding a café in one of the city’s many hip neighborhoods.
On the weekends, I soak up summer sun by the Isar, or ride my bike through the Englischer Garten. No matter what mood I am in, Munich has something for me. This guide will help you, too, enjoy all that Munich has to offer.
Where to Stay in Munich: Altstadt-Lehel is the Heart of Historic Munich
Great area for: ✓ Sightseeing ✓ Old Town Charm ✓ Convenient & Central
If you came to Munich to experience the rich history of a prominent, old European city, this area is for you. Nearly all the main sights of Munich are wrapped into the charming package that is the Altstadt-Lehel. Still surrounded by remnants of the old gates that once encompassed Munich, this neighborhood is the perfect mix of modern culture and old history.
Start your day by grabbing a Schmalznudel pastry at one of Munich’s oldest pastry shops: Café Frischhut. From there, cross to Viktualienmarkt, Munich’s open air fresh market. Stock up on Bavarian meats, cheeses and wines before working off your breakfast at St. Peter’s church. Climb the steeple for the best panorama view of the old-city of Munich.
You can easily spend the rest of your day in the Altstadt, as there is so much to see and do in this small area. Shop along Kaufingerstraße or Maximilianstraße. Visit Odeonsplatz, where World War II history comes to life. Gaggle in awe at the new and old town halls. See the beautiful domes of the Frauenkirche. Get your fix of nature out at the Hofgarten and Englischer Garten. Take a lunch or dinner break at the famous Hofbräuhaus beer hall, and finish your day with a modern cocktail at the Jaded Monkey.
As this is the most touristy area in the city, it’s the best area to stay in Munich if you’re here for a tourist experience!
Mandarin Oriental Munich – A lux 5-star that’s beautiful inside and out, highlights of this property include the rooftop bar and heated pool, great location, and excellent service. Rooms are elegant, and fitted with entertainment systems and a minibar, while the bathrooms are marble and stocked with high-quality amenities. marble bathrooms you can find high quality toiletries. Two bars, a restaurant, and friendly staff round-out the offering. Only 5 minutes away from Marienplatz.
Cozy Design Boutique
Louis Hotel – A 5-star boutique hotel with a cozy, modern feel, this property uses natural materials and a neutral palette to create a relaxing, ‘home away from home’ vibe. With an on-site restaurant (Japanese), a rooftop terrace, and in-room technology like iPod docks, past guests have loved the high-quality bathrooms and modern, spacious rooms. The one downside guests mention, is there are no coffee and tea facilities in the room. Located a 3-minute walk to the metro and 3-minutes walk from Marienplatz.
Stylish and Contemporary
Platzl Hotel – A 4-star-superior hotel with floor-to-ceiling windows, wooden furniture, modern conveniences and classic Bavarian touches, such as the 16th century restaurant. All rooms have a free bottle of water, as well as robes and slippers in the giant bathrooms. The hotel also offers guests a free hammam experience. However, the best thing about this boutique hotel is its location: a 2-minute walk to Marienplatz and the Hofbräuhaus Brewery.
Affordable & Convenient
Mercure Hotel Munchen Altstadt – A fairly standard 3-star set-up in an excellent location, less than 5 minutes’ walk from Marienplatz. All the rooms have air-conditioning, flat-screens, a tea and coffee maker, and complimentary Wi-Fi, and the minibar includes complimentary drinking water (although tap water in Munich is just fine!). While the rooms themselves lack a bit of flair, past guests describe it as quiet, clean and friendly…with breakfast included!
Affordable & Family-Run
Hotel am Viktualienmarkt – A homey 3-star with newly decorated, modern rooms renovated in 2010 to include modern bathrooms and a flat-screen TV. Past guests loved how friendly and helpful the staff are, as well as the clean and comfortable rooms, location, and included breakfast. The hotel is within 5 minutes on foot to both Viktualienmarkt and Marienplatz, and seems to be well-priced in relation to value.
Hotel Torbraeu – A friendly 4-star with a traditional look. The rooms are on the small side, but offer everything you might need including free Wi-Fi and satellite TV. The on-site restaurant offers Bavarian dishes made with local ingredients. Though the hotel is conveniently located only 6 minutes away from Marienplatz, it’s a quiet and calm area where a good night’s sleep is a given! Past guests mention the comfortable beds and excellent (included) breakfasts as highlights.
Are You Visiting Other Cities on Your Trip? Be sure to check out our other Where to Stay Guides & Travel Guides, including Where to Stay in Vienna, Where to Stay in Prague, Where to Stay in Budapest, and Where to Stay in Berlin. Also be sure to check out our Germany page, for a list of other places we’ve been and written about!
Where to Stay in Munich: Maxvorstadt is the Cultural Center
Great area for: ✓ Shopping ✓ Cultural Travel ✓ Central and ‘Downtown’ ✓ Good Food Options
Often referred to as “The Brain of Munich,” Maxvorstadt hosts multiple universities, museums and art galleries. A mix of hip university students and distinguished academics make this a lively, bustling part of the city. If you want to spend your day museum-hopping, exploring architecture or the uni culture, this might be the best area to stay in Munich for you!
Work your way to the epicenter of what is referred to as the museum quarter, Königsplatz. Here you’ll find a square designed in a neoclassical style. In the surrounding area you’ll find more museums than you can explore in one day, including European art, Egyptian history and Classical art. If you get museum-ed out, head over to Siegestor, which is a grand three-arch gate, with a statue of Bavaria at the top.
Enjoy a great mix of traditional Bavarian food alongside modern cuisine and budget eats for university students. If you want to do some luxury shopping, stop by Amalienpassage to explore the ritzy boutiques. Finish your day exploring Schellingstraße and the surrounding area for lively bars, book store cafes and cute shops.
Rocco Forte The Charles Hotel – Past guests rave about this hotel, and one look at the pictures it’s easy to picture myself basking in the luxury! Modern interiors with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Old Botanical Garden, soundproof rooms with upscale amenities, and lovely bathrooms and decor. The hotel also features a spa, indoor pool, and restaurant with terrace. Walking distance to Old Town and the train station.
Hip Design Hotel
Ruby Lilly Hotel Munich – A recently-opened design hotel offering a chic and modern look, rooms at the Ruby Lilly are minimalist and comfortable, with an architectural zen vibe. Decor is mostly muted and monochrome, with pops of color in the elegant on-site bar. Each room is air-conditioned, has a flat-screen TV, a hairdryer and designer toiletries. The hotel provides bikes to guests and even free guitar rental! Highly walkable, and also close to a metro.
A Stylish Vinaigrette
Eden Hotel Wolff – Conveniently located in between Old Town and Maxvorstadt at the train station, this hotel has a design hotel vibe, with decor that mixes rustic and European elegance. Eclectic? Absolutely. But somehow it seems to work. Rooms are individually decorated, are air-conditioned and include a minibar, a safe, and a flat-screen TV. Guests can relax in the on-site bar, take a sauna or steam, or have a drink on the rooftop terrace.
Bavarian Beer and Food Evening Tour in Munich — Home of the famous Oktoberfest, Munich is known for beer – and an evening beer & food tour is the perfect way to explore local haunts and beer halls. Lasting 3.5 hours, the tour lets you experience Munich’s vibrant nightlife with a local guide, learn about the history of beer brewing and, of course, enjoy Bavarian food and frothy beers with new friends.
Romantic Road, Rothenburg and Harburg Day Tour from Munich — This is a full day tour lasting over 10 hours that will bring you through the castles, villages, and the countryside of the iconic Romantic Road. Harburg Castle and the medieval town of Rothenburg will make you feel like you stepped foot in a world of kings and princesses, and there will be time to shop at Rothenburg’s famous Christmas shop.
Hitler and the Third Reich Munich Walking Tour — If you want to know more about Munich’s past and the birth of the Nazi ideology, this 2.5 hour walking tour is a great option. Reviewers say that the local guide is super knowledgeable and will bring you back in time while walking around the city. You’ll visit historical buildings, beer halls and streets where Hitler delivered speeches and where the Nazi party was created.
Where to Stay in Munich: Schwabing is Munich’s Bohemian District
Great area for: ✓ Boutique Shops & Independent Designers ✓ Charming & Local
It’s hard to tell where Maxvorstadt ends and Schwabing begins, as the hip young vibe spills across the neighborhood’s borders. It is often called Munich’s bohemian district, but if you come here looking for a traditional boho feel, you might be disappointed. Instead embrace the unique combination of a traditional Bavarian life with an urban twist. This area is known to be the center of high class socialites, and many famous figures, such as Tomas Mann and Vladimir Lenin, have called this neighborhood home.
Just past Siegestor, wander up and down Leopoldstraße for great architecture, cafes and local shops. If markets are your thing, head over to West-Schwabing for the Elisabethmarkt.
Sophisticated & Modern 4-Star
Pullman Munich – Offering sleek and modern interiors, with a dash of flair, the Pullman offers a bit more character than your typical chain hotel. The spacious rooms include cable TV, a seating area with a work desk and free Wi-Fi. The hotel features an outdoor terrace, a peaceful beer garden and modern spa & sauna facilities. Situated near the English Garden, this quiet hotel is away from touristy bustle – something past guests seem to appreciate.
Das Nikolai Hotel – A 4-star boutique with a cozy “feels like home” atmosphere. Rooms and suites include cable TV, free Wi-Fi, a desk and a private bathroom. Guests can enjoy relaxing or reading in the lounge or a cocktail at the bar after a long day out. Situated in a trendy yet non-touristy neighborhood, it’s only a 5-minute walk to the English Garden.
Affordable Value Pick
Hotel Biederstein am Englischen Garten – A 3-star with colorful furnishings and details, this hotel is focused on offering a great bang for buck for those who want to save their Euros for the bakery or the beer garden! The rooms have a balcony, free Wi-Fi, cable TV and a work desk but, unfortunately, no air-conditioning. The hotel boasts some spectacular views, though, since the English Garden is just behind the hotel! You can find an underground stop a short walk away.
Where to Stay in Munich: Isavorstadt is the LGBTQI and Hipster District
Great area for: ✓ Local ✓ Hip Cafés, Bars and Eateries ✓ Waterfront Walks ✓ Up-and-Coming Areas
This is the place I call home and it’s one of my favorites in Munich. The neighborhood of Glockenbach is the city’s most LBGTQ-friendly district and has a lively vibe.
Grab coffee at Man vs Machine, before working your way to Gartnerplatz, the epicenter of Glockenbach. You’ll find tons of local hipster boutiques, craft beer shops and other local specialties, shooting off from Gartnerplatz. The Deutsches Museum, which explores science and engineering, is also located near by. If you rent a bike, take a ride down by the Isar River. Grab some beers and enjoy the sunset, like a local.
I recommend to most of my visitors that they stay in this area, as it’s close to the city center and less touristy.
Contemporary Eco Boutique
Derag Livinghotel Am Viktualienmarkt – This stylish 4-star stands out for using renewable energy and offering vegetarian,vegan and gluten-free food in the on-site veggie restaurant. The rooms were renovated in 2011 and include a 32-inch flat-screen TV, hot drinks facilities and extra-long beds. As n always-welcome (in our world) bonus, guests get 2 beers and 2 bottles of water as a welcome. The hotel features a gym and free Wi-Fi, and is only 4 minutes away from Marienplatz, and directly across the street from the Viktualienmarket.
Hotel Admiral – A cozy and central hotel, this family-run small hotel is bright and warmly decorated with traditional florals and furnishings. Each room is equipped with a satellite TV, a safe, a minibar and a private bathroom with a hairdryer and slippers. The hotel offers free Wi-Fi, a lovely back garden and a cozy bar. Situated in-between the Deutsches Museum and the Old Town, the Hofbrauhaus Brewery is just a 5-minute walk!
Gay Friendly 3-Star
Hotel Deutsche Eiche – A 3-star gay-friendly hotel with unique designer touches. Spacious rooms are air-conditioned for summer and have heated wooden floors in winter. Rooms feature a desk, flat-screen TV, and a bathroom with funky touches. The hotel offers a male-only sauna and a wonderful rooftop terrace. Previous guests mention the wonderful service and the very friendly staff. The hotel is only 500 m from Marienplatz Square and Town Hall.
Where to Stay in Munich: Ludwigsvorstadt is Great for Attending Oktoberfest
Great area for: ✓ Convenient for Oktoberfest
Ludwigsvorstadt is where you’ll find the grounds for Oktoberfest. This is easy walking distance to The Fest. If you’re coming for this event, book early, as places here book out by February.
A Hotel for Book Lovers!
Eurostars Book Hotel – If you’re a bibliophile looking to indulge your love of literature, this might be the best place to stay in Munich! With references to books and genres through — including in your room — this 4-star gets points for doing something different. Each room includes flat-screen TV, tea/coffee facilities, a minibar and a bathroom with hairdryer. The hotel features a fitness center, free Wi-Fi, a restaurant and a lobby bar with floor-to-ceiling windows. Great location for the shop-til-you-drop set, and just 5 minutes from the train station.
Funky & Fun 3-star
Hotel Bayer’s – A bright and funky 3-star with pops of colour throughout, this hotel offers free Wi-Fi, satellite TVs, minibars, tea/coffee-making facilities and a free bottle of water. Breakfast is available in a partner hotel across the street (for an additional fee). Past guests mention the polite and friendly staff and great value for money. Walking distance to Old Town, and right near the train station.
Hotel Metropol – A 3-star boutique decorated in a mint and chocolate palette and situated in a quiet neighborhood. The bright, rooms feature a flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi, safes and hairdryers. Previous guests mention the comfortable beds and an excellent breakfast. The bar is open 24-hours and has stylish sofas and a broad selection of drinks. The boutique is only 100 m from the Hauptbahnhof.
Where to Stay in Munich: Haidhausen is the French Quarter of Munich
Great area for: ✓ Luxury Travel ✓ Cultural Travel
This neighborhood is known as the French quarter of Munich, with French street names and a layout similar to French cities. Located just east of the Isar, this neighborhood is a charming place to relax and enjoy culture. Sights to see here are Maximilianeum and Wienerplatz. You can easily spend the day shopping at local high end boutiques or dining at nice cafes.
This is a great place if you’ve been to Munich before and have done the touristy thing already.
Quiet Design Hotel
Design Hotel Stadt Rosenheim – A 4-star family-run hotel renovated in 2010 to give it a ‘design’ vibe, the result is a small contemporary hotel in a historic building. Rooms are elegant, spacious and feature a flat-screen TV, a free bottle of water and free Wi-Fi. The hotel provides iPod, iPhone, and iPad docking stations, and past guests seem to be fond of the free soft drinks that are available at the reception. The family-run hotel is situated right opposite the Ostbahnhof Train Station – a 5-minute train ride from Marienplatz.
Funky and Affordable
Motel One Munchen – Deutsches Museum – Motel One has been stepping it up lately, creating a fun and functional brand of hotels that channel the best design hotels, at affordable prices. Offering a stylish interior with cool details and gold-silver touches, rooms are cozy and reasonably priced for what you get. The hotel has a24-hour bar with nice ambience, underground parking and free Wi-Fi. München Rosenheimer Platz City Station is only 5 minutes away, and trains will get you to Marienplatz in just 3 minutes.
Funky and Affordable
angelo by Vienna House Munich Leuchtenbergring – Another on in the trendy and affordable category, this hotel is well-located, with a fresh and modern ambience. Rooms feature modern artwork, a flat-screen, air-conditioning, and a bathroom with heated flooring. The one-site restaurant serves Bavarian dishes, and there’s a Jazz Bar to relax with a glass of wine at the end of the night. The Leuchtenbergring S-Bahn Station is only 250 m away, and there is pharmacy and a supermarket within a 5-minute’s walk.
Where to Stay in Munich: Travel Tips & FAQs
Hopefully, we’re answered most of your questions about the best area to stay in Munich, and what to do and eat in each of Munich’s best neighborhoods! To hopefully add a bit more useful info, we’ve also included a few travel tips and answered some questions we know you’ll probably be wondering about. As we get questions from more of our readers, we’ll do our best to update this section over time.
So Where Should You Stay in Munich?
If you’re still wondering what is the best neighborhood to stay in Munich, we’ve tried our best to summarize it below!
- Altstadt-Lehel: Altstadt-Lehel is the best area to stay in Munich for first time visitors, those on a short Munich city break, and those who want to see the city’s highlights in a short time frame.
- Maxvorstadt: Maxvorstadt is the best area to stay in Munich if you’re interested in cultural travel, and want to hit up the city’s many museums and galleries. The biggest and best of Munich’s museum are located here, around Königsplatz. It’salso a great area to find cheap eats, being close to the university.
- Schwabing: Schwabing is the best area to stay in Munich if you want a lively, local vibe filled with upmarket boutiques, cafés, and bars and restaurants. This ‘bohemian’ neighborhood is known for it’s intellectual past, and was once home to Lenin and Tomas Mann!
- Isavorstadt: Isavorstadt is the best area to stay in Munich if you’re looking for a gay-friendly and/or hipster neighborhood filled with craft beer bars and riverside life.
- Ludwigsvorstadt: Ludwigsvorstadt is the best area to stay in Munich for Oktoberfest, as it’s where the festival occurs. Be sure to book very early!
- Haidhausen: Haidhausen is the best neighborhood to stay in Munich if you want an alternative, non-touristy neighborhood that mixes residential spaces with a nice mix of bars and cafés.
What Areas in Munich Should I Avoid?
While Munich as a whole is a safe and welcoming area, there are some hotels around the central train station that are run down or surrounded by strip clubs and gambling halls. Do your research before staying here. Note, we have done research into the hotels we’ve listed in this area, and found them to be safe, clean and lovely (at the time of writing), based on combing TripAdvisor reviews! We’ve also checked them out on Google Street View, and found not a strip club in sight :). That said, we of course can’t make any guarantees and it’s worth doing your own double check before booking!
Getting Around Munich: Tips & Info
The most common way to arrive in Munich is by train or plane. If you arrive by train, you’ll be entering via Munich Central Station. All S-bahn (suburban over-ground trains) lines run through here, as well as most U-bahn (underground metro) lines. This allows you to access just about any location in the city.
If you arrive by plane, you can take public transport or arrange a private transfer. In terms of public transport, there are two S-bahn lines that depart the airport. You can take either, and both eventually connect to the city center. Purchase a group day ticket for all zones (23.90 €) and you will have coverage to your final destination. If you’re arriving via a long-haul and would prefer to simply be taken to your hotel, or are arriving late at night or early in the morning and are concerned about safety, Viator sells private transfers starting at about $30 USD from a highly-rated service.
In terms of getting around the city, Munich is very convenient. Take your pick of a reliable and sprawling U-bahn, S-bahn, tram and bus network, organized bike trails or your own two feet. You can walk almost anywhere in the city in under 30 min, but stay by an U-Bahn line to minimize walking. The transportation network is categorized into a four rings. Most of the main sights, are in the inner ring. An inner ring group day ticket is 12.60 € and can be purchased from any station.
You can rent bikes from the Munich central station for 5 days for 60 €. Use these get get around town, or enjoy a scenic ride.
Pro Tip: Always carry extra cash on you. It’s very common for places in Bavaria to not accept credit or debit, even some ticketing machines.
A Note About Our Hotel Recommendations In This Munich Neighbourhood Guide
Our goal with this Where to Stay in Munich Guide (and our Where to Stay in Amsterdam, Where to Stay in Berlin, Where to Stay in Prague, Where to Stay in Vienna, Where to Stay in Budapest Guides…I think you get the idea!) is to help out with trip planning. Speaking from personal experience, the area in which you stay in a city really can make or break a trip. We still kind of really don’t like Belgrade after spending two weeks in the city…in a not awesome neighborhood.
Because we don’t know Munich that well ourselves, we hired a local to serve as our city expert. And while Susanna knows Munich really well, she of course doesn’t live in a hotel. So, what we’ve done is have Susanna outline the best neighborhoods in Munich, and then we’ve gone through and done some in-depth research to find what we think are the best hotels in each, with a range of budget options. We select the hotels that we think we would personally love to stay in, or would be happy suggesting to a friend or family member. We haven’t personally been to these hotels, but we’ve asked ourselves questions like: Have past guests left fantastic reviews? Does it look like somewhere I’d love to stay? Does it seem to be in a great location for enjoying Munich? If it ticks those boxes, we’ve added it to the list.
Hopefully this info will help you have a better holiday, but at the end of the day, we figure you’ll also do your own research to find what’s best for you.