Munich

Best City Secret

Surfing in the City

To see Munich’s easygoing vibe in action, head to the southern part of the Englischer Garten, where urban surfers challenge each other on a tumultuous stretch of the Eisbach stream. www.eisbachwelle.de.

Museum Must-See
Pinakothek der Moderne
The works of great artists of the late-19th and early-20th century—including Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky and Giacometti—form the nucleus of Munich’s architecturally stunning museum of modern art. Barer Strasse 40. (49-89) 2380-5360; www.pinakothek.de/en/home.
Best Newcomer
Spicery
This new restaurant created by the Yum Culinary Group opened in May 2012, and serves the best and most authentic Thai food in Munich. Weissenburgerplatz 3. (49-89)679-7268; www.spicery.asia.
Best View
From "Alter Peter" (St. Peter’s Church)
Climb to the top of the clock tower—it’s only 14 floors—of the oldest church in Munich and you’ll be rewarded with a magnificent view of the city and the distant Alps. Rindermarkt 1. (49-89) 237-760.
Best Cultural Secret
Sammlung Brandhorst (Brandhorst Collection)
Munich’s newest museum showcases mid- to late-20th-century paintings, sculptures and works on paper. Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Sigmar Polke are among the featured artists. Theresienstrasse 35a. (49-89) 23805-2286; www.museum-brandhorst.de.
Best Family Activity
Oktoberfest
Make friends from all over the globe at this world-famous event held in September and October, featuring freshly brewed beer, delicious food, traditional music and rides for the kids. Theresienwiese. www.oktoberfest.de/en.
Best One-Stop Shop
Oberpollinger
Now more than a century old, this elegant Old World department store sells top international luxury brands as well as less expensive fashions for men, women and children. Neuhauser Strasse 18. (49-89) 290-235-120; www.oberpollinger.de.
Best Activity/Excursion
Roof Climbing at the Olympic Stadium
Join a small group of climbers on a two-hour tour of exhilarating fun as you scale the roof of the Olympic Stadium—secured with top-notch equipment, of course. Spiridon-Louis-Ring 21, Olympiapark. (49-89) 30-670.

Hotels

Leading Spa Bayerischer Hof

Munich, Germany

Originally conceived by King Ludwig I, the Bayerischer Hof is one of Munich's most legendary hotels. History and contemporary flair mingle with easy elegance. Its iconic Blue Spa, offering barbecues in summer and an unique ice bar in winter with views of Munich, and was created by Andrée Putman. The newest restaurants, Atelier and Garden, are by interior designer Axel Vervoordt, who also devised the Cinema Lounge; complete with its own Night Club with live Jazz, five restaurants, six bars and the theatre, it is a self-contained haven that draws celebrities and heads-of-state. Guest rooms are in a variety of styles, designed by famous architects. Top-floor suites have breathtaking views, private spa access, terraces or open fireplaces. Voted in numerous rankings as one of the best grand hotels in Europe.

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Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski München

Munich, Germany

Opened in 1858, the palatial Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski München has played host to a number of celebrities and royals (King Maximilian II originally used it as a guesthouse). The lobby, presided over by a gorgeous, meticulously restored stained-glass dome, sets a grand tone that continues in the antique-filled public spaces and uniquely decorated guest rooms. Business and leisure travelers alike appreciate the central location, right on the Maximilianstrasse, the heart of the city's shopping and culinary scenes. The hotel's own VUE Maximilian restaurant is a popular spot for special-occasion meals, thanks to its elegant setting and innovative regional-inspired cuisine. In walking distance to the Bavarian Opera House, it's one of the most coveted tables during the annual Opera Festival.

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Hotel Königshof

Munich, Germany

Munich's Karlsplatz is the city's largest square and always buzzing with locals and visitors. During the summer, kids run into the large central fountain; during the winter, an ice-skating rink delights. The fact that the square is such a central meeting spot is just one of the reasons that the Hotel Königshof is envied for its location on it (the square's proximity to the train station and main shopping thoroughfare are two more). The property is a favorite for special events, particularly at night when the private salons offer stunning views of the illuminated Frauenkirche cathedral. The restaurant itself attracts residents and guests alike for Michelin-starred cuisine based on local ingredients.

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Rocco Forte The Charles Hotel

Munich, Germany

Munich’s The Charles Hotel is an enclave for art lovers thanks to an abundance of original works displayed throughout: paintings by Franz von Lenbach, photography by Hubertus von Hohenlohe and Faber Castell sculptures. The location is equally culture-centric; it’s an easy walk to the Neue Pinakothek, the acclaimed museum focused on 18th- and 19th-century art. Part of The Rocco Forte Collection, The Charles Hotel (named after Sir Rocco Forte’s father), boasts some of the largest hotel rooms in town, with cheerful modern interiors and spacious limestone-clad bathrooms. Most have views of the Botanical Gardens and Munich’s pretty historical houses. The bustling setting is also the main draw of Davvero restaurant, whose leafy terrace is a lovely enclave during the spring and summer.

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