Category Archives: Sights

Places and things to see

Glimpses of Munich #2: Blood Castle

Blutenburg, directly translated to blood castle, sounds like an awesome name for a medieval castle, doesn’t it? (unfortunately it is now called Schloss Blutenburg, so its name is now “palace blood castle,” which isn’t quite as fun)

This medieval castle was built between 1438 and 1501 for Duke Albrecht III and his son Duke Sigismund. As with most castles in the area, it was neglected at some point, in this case during the 30 years war, and later restored.  Restoration took place in the late 17th century and unfortunately they did not bother to restore its full defenses and therefore some of its castle character.  Still, it retains the castle structure and definitely looks beautiful in its little park.  I would go so far as to say it is the only “real” castle left in the city limits of Munich.  (both the Alter Hof and the Residenz at one point were castles, but they’ve been modified so many times that you can’t see it any longer)

What I love about this castle is its appearance and its slightly hidden location.  Most tourists will never see it, which makes it a little more fun for those that do.

Getting there as a tourist is a BIT more difficult than pretty much anything in your guide books, but these days you just download your MVV app and away you go…

Map

Unfortunately for places like this I don’t have great pictures that I’ve taken myself.  Below is an open source picture, but you can find many more on google.

Glimpses of Munich #1

I love Munich.  I lived there for ten years…my wife is from Munich, my son is from Munich…and well, I spent many hundreds of hours walking its streets in some sort of a weird “Lost in Translation” sort of thing.  Anyway, friends of ours are going to visit Munich this year and one of my first thoughts was that they are odd tourists who might want to see and do things that the average tourist probably would never stumble into.

SO, that being said, I’m going to start posting somewhat random places that I think are interesting in Munich.  Some might be interesting to you, some might not…we’ll see.

Oh, what about the picture at the top?  That has nothing to do with this post as it’s 2 hours South-West of Munich and you know all about it anyway…but it got your attention.

Anyway, below is my first one.  This is a statue that most tourists don’t see because of its location…except maybe during the Oktoberfest.  Holy Roman Emperor Ludwig IV “The Bavarian” used to get quite a lot of attention on some of my tours, but unfortunately all I could show tourists, as far as statues of the man himself, was a dismal one outside of his former castle, The Alter Hof (map).

It’s probably not worth your while to find it if you’re in town for a few days, but…you know, if you’re wandering around town like me…

Map

Denkmal Kaiser-Ludwig

This guy only gets a look from random Oktoberfest visitors…you can find him at Kaiser-Ludwig-Platz 8

Top 10 Christmas Markets near Munich

In about a week, Germany is going to be completely covered in middle aged tourists seeking the best of the Christmas markets.  I have been to a couple dozen throughout the region many, many times…and here are my top choices for Christmas markets within three hours of Munich:

 

  1. Augsburg  – This is my favorite Christmas market not because of the city itself being the most historically interesting city in Southern Germany, but because it is a beautiful Christmas market, has its own unique “Christmas show” at the Rathaus (daily I believe?), is one of the larger markets, and does not have the crushing crowds of Munich, Salzburg, and Nuremberg.
  2. Nuremberg – The largest and most famous of the bunch, it can be ridiculously busy in the evening.  Then again, to truly see it…you HAVE to be there in the evening…during the day just will not do.  So…good luck.
  3. Landshut – Landshut is a beautiful town closer to Munich’s airport than Munich itself.  The Christmas market there is on the main pedestrian only street which is lined with historic houses and a charming atmosphere that the big cities just cannot attain.
  4. Munich’s main market (at Marienplatz) – It’s busy, it’s not centralized, but it does have everything that all the others have…and the New Town Hall works really wonderfully for Christmas photo backgrounds…
  5. Würzburg – With it’s large market square, this medium sized city has  what makes for a much nicer market than most larger towns in the region.  (the problem with Würzburg is it’s location, see #7)
  6. Innsbruck – Innsbruck has several Christmas markets thoughout its historic old town.  Certainly not the largest nor most beautiful Christmas market; it is quite charming.
  7. Rothenburg – Cutey-small Christmas market in a beautifully well preserved walled city.  What more do you want?  (the problem is that it’s 3+ hours from Munich each way…so I’d recommend an overnight stay, possibly in nearby Würzburg)
  8. Munich’s Tollwood Festival (at the Oktoberfest grounds) – It’s more of a high-end hippie fest than a Christmas market, but it still has its charms…and much of it is in door, which is quite welcome if you’re touring Christmas markets!
  9. Regensburg – A smaller Christmas market in this ancient river town, in my opinion vastly over-rated.  Skip-able…
  10. Salzburg -  If you could delete 75% of the people, this would be a wonderful Christmas market…but be warned:  I refuse to do tours to Salzburg during the Christmas market for a reason.  The crushing crowds, even at noon, are too much for all but the most hardcore of angry people.

Augsburg

Augsburg’s Christmas Market

IMG_8888

Munich’s main Christmas market (taken just a 1 min walk south of Marienplatz)