The Ultimate Traveler’s Guide to Munich on a Budget

The Ultimate Traveler’s Guide to Munich on a Budget

Beyond iconic beer halls and world-renowned Oktoberfest, Munich’s soul lies in its historic charm, lush gardens, and rich past. Dive into our article to savor Munich’s gems, from hearty feasts to cultural treasures, all while keeping your wallet happy.

Welcome to your budget-friendly Munich travel guide!

Travel Costs: Detailed Breakdown

Munich, the heart of Bavaria, caters to all budgets, from the beer-swigging backpacker to the high-roller art enthusiast. Here’s a quick breakdown of the average daily costs:

Suggested Budget per person

  • Low: €45-€60
  • Middle: €60-€100
  • High: €100+

Detailed Costs: Backpacking Munich


  • Low: Hostels or budget guesthouses: €20-€40 per night
  • Middle: Mid-range hotels or B&Bs: €60-€100 per night
  • High: Luxury hotels or upscale apartments: €150+ per night

Read: Best hostels in Munich.

Public Transportation:

  • Metro ticket cost: €2.80 (single ticket)
  • Daily pass: €13
  • 3-Day tourist pass: €27

Entrance Fees:

  • Low (mostly Free Activities): Marienplatz square, English, Frauenkirche cathedral.
  • Middle: Nymphenburg Palace: €14, Deutsches Museum (science and technology): €19
  • High: Allianz Arena: €25, Schloss Neuschwanstein (the “Cinderella Castle”): €26


  • Low: Sausage platter with pretzels at a local market stall: €5-€7
  • Middle: Mid-range restaurants serving hearty Bavarian fare: €15-€20
  • High: High-end restaurants with international cuisine: €30+

Popular Food Staple, Weißwurst (white sausages):

  • Low: €3-€4 (pair)
  • Middle: €5-€7 (with sides)
  • High: €8+ (gourmet varieties)


  • Low: Takeaway coffee at a local bakery: €1-€2
  • Middle: Cafe latte in a cozy cafe: €3-€4
  • High: Specialty coffee with fancy latte art: €5+

Beer & Wine:

  • Low: Local beer at a traditional pub (“Kneipe”): €3-€4
  • Middle: Craft beer or glass of wine at a mid-range restaurant: €5-€7
  • High: Special vintage wine or rare craft beer: €8+

Read: Best party hostels in Munich.

Exploring Munich: Backpacking Germany

We’re about to explore fairytale castles and get lost in the heart of Bavaria.

Must Do: Visiting Munich

  1. Marienplatz: Witness the daily glockenspiel performance at this central square that is also home to the New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) with its famous clock tower. – it’s like a mini-opera starring clockwork knights.
  2. Nymphenburg Palace: Ditch the fairy godmother, this sprawling rococo palace boasts stunning gardens and whispers of royal secrets.
  3. Englischer Garten (English Garden): Escape the city bustle in this urban oasis. Sunbathe, have a picnic, or even catch some surfers riding the Eisbachwelle, an artificial wave that transforms the park into a surfer’s paradise.
  4. Deutsches Museum: Unleash your inner mad scientist at this interactive museum, where science and technology come alive with mind-blowing exhibits.
  5. BMW Welt: Buckle up for a futuristic adventure at the BMW Welt. Explore iconic car displays, peek into the future of transportation, and maybe even design your dream BMW.
  6. Allianz Arena: Step onto the hallowed grounds of the legendary FC Bayern Munich football stadium. Take a tour, feel the energy of the crowd, and imagine yourself scoring the winning goal.
  7. Viktualienmarkt: Feast your eyes on this market overflowing with fresh produce, local delicacies, and enough charm to make you feel like you’ve stepped into a storybook.
  8. Frauenkirche: Pay your respects at this iconic domed cathedral, a symbol of Munich’s resilience that still bears the scars of World War II.
  9. Hofbräuhaus: No trip to Munich is complete without experiencing a famous beer hall. Hofbräuhaus, established in 1589, is an iconic spot with a great atmosphere, long communal tables, and of course, a massive selection of Bavarian beers. Just be prepared for the crowds – this place is a tourist hotspot for a reason.
  10. Day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle: Channel your inner Disney princess with a visit to this breathtaking castle, perched dramatically on a clifftop. It’s the real-life inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle, and the views are truly magical.
  11. Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site: A somber yet crucial reminder of the dark days of WWII. This former concentration camp serves as a memorial to the victims and a powerful testament to the importance of fighting against oppression.

Free things to do in Munich

  1. Free Walking Tours: Ditch the guidebook and join a free walking tour. Explore the city on foot with a knowledgeable local who can share hidden gems and insider tips.
  2. Englischer Garten: As mentioned before, this massive park offers endless opportunities for free fun, from picnicking under the Bavarian sun to exploring the beauty of the Chinese Garden.
  3. Surfing the Eisbachwelle: Watching brave souls conquer the artificial wave in the Englischer Garten is an experience in itself. Grab a coffee, find a good spot, and be amazed by their surfing skills.
  4. Munich Residenz: Explore the courtyards of this grand palace for free. Some of the museums within require tickets.
  5. Church Hopping: Munich boasts stunning churches like the Frauenkirche and St. Peter’s Church. They offer a peaceful escape from the city, and you might even stumble upon a beautiful ceremony or hear the haunting sounds of the organ.
  6. Viktualienmarkt: While free samples might be a gamble, window-shopping at the Viktualienmarkt is an experience in itself. 


  1. Deutsches Museum: Prepare to be amazed by the vast collection of science and technology exhibits at the Deutsches Museum. 
  2. Alte Pinakothek: Immerse yourself in Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces at the Alte Pinakothek. 
  3. Neue Pinakothek: Take a journey through 19th and 20th-century art movements at the Neue Pinakothek. Get lost in the colors and styles of Van Gogh, Kandinsky, and Picasso.
  4. Pinakothek der Moderne: Step into the future of art and design at the Pinakothek der Moderne. Explore unique exhibitions and marvel at the stunning architectural setting.
  5. Lenbachhaus: Delve into the world of Expressionist art at the Lenbachhaus. Discover the works of Franz Marc, Gabriele Münter, and other influential artists who shaped this bold movement.
  6. BMW Museum: Gearheads, rejoice! This museum is dedicated entirely to the history of BMW. Explore exhibits showcasing the brand’s cars, motorcycles, and engines, and even take a virtual factory tour.

Where to Stay on a Budget

We’ve got your back (or should we say your biergarten-weary legs?). Here’s a breakdown of where to find your perfect budget-friendly nest in the heart of Bavaria:

Central Munich (Altstadt & Marienplatz): This area is the epicenter of Munich’s magic, jam-packed with iconic sights like the Glockenspiel and the Marienplatz square. Think markets, world-class museums, and steins overflowing with beer – it’s the ultimate Munich experience. But be warned, convenience comes at a cost, and accommodation prices here reflect that.

So, where can you find your budget-friendly Bavarian digs?

1. Glockenbachviertel: This trendy district is teeming with independent shops, quirky cafes, and a youthful buzz. It’s slightly more affordable than the heart of the city, but still close enough to the action for day-tripping ease. Think of it as Munich’s answer to Brooklyn, minus the sky-high rents.

2. Schwabing: Bathed in artistic history, this district was once home to famous names like Franz Marc and Thomas Mann. Explore hidden bookstores, unearth vintage treasures, and sip craft beers in trendy bars, all without feeling the pinch in your wallet as much as you might in the central area.

3. Neuhausen: Escape the tourist hordes and head to local life in Neuhausen. This laid-back neighborhood offers a glimpse into the everyday Munich, with a mix of charming streets, family-run restaurants, and green havens like the Olympiapark. It’s the perfect spot for those seeking an authentic experience without feeling like they’re overpaying for the privilege. Think of it as the secret gem waiting to be discovered.

4. Giesing: Experience the energy of Munich in Giesing. This multicultural district boasts a strong Turkish community, reflected in its delicious restaurants serving up flavors from around the world. Dive into hidden bars, catch a show at an independent theater, or unearth unique treasures at the flea market – all while staying in a budget-friendly haven. Giesing offers a unique Munich experience that won’t break the bank.

Eating and Drinking

Munich might be famous for its steins and sausages, but that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to enjoy its culinary scene. Here are some tips to keep your wallet happy while your taste buds do the polka:

Water: Tap water in Munich is safe to drink, so fill up your reusable bottle and save those euros for more important things (like extra pretzels).

Affordable Eats: Munich City Guide

  • Mittagstisch: This German lunchtime special, typically offered between 11:30 am and 1:30 pm, features smaller portions of traditional dishes at a discounted price. Look for restaurants with a “Mittagstisch” sign outside.
  • Imbiss: These are casual food stands or cafes offering quick and affordable eats like sausages, sandwiches, and kebabs. Perfect for a satisfying bite on the go.
  • Street Food Markets: Explore the street food scene at Viktualienmarkt, Weisses Bräuhaus, or Schrannenhalle. Sample local delicacies, grab a fresh juice, or indulge in a sweet treat, all without breaking the bank.
  • Bakeries: German bakeries, or “Bäckereien,” are a haven for budget-friendly bites. From fresh bread and pastries to savory snacks like “Semmelknödel” (bread dumplings), you’ll find a delicious and affordable option for any time of day.

Pro Tip: Steer clear of restaurants in tourist areas, as prices tend to be higher there. 

Market Munchies:

  • Viktualienmarkt: This market boasts an array of fresh produce, local delicacies, and ready-to-eat options like sausages and cheeses. Perfect for a picnic lunch or grabbing ingredients for a home-cooked meal.
  • Weisses Bräuhaus: This historic market hall offers a variety of food stalls and cafes, perfect for grabbing a quick bite or browsing for unique souvenirs.
  • Schrannenhalle: This modern market hall features a diverse selection of international food vendors, allowing you to embark on a culinary journey around the world without leaving Munich.

Grocery Gems:

  • Lidl: This popular discount supermarket chain offers a wide range of affordable groceries, from fresh produce to household essentials.
  • Aldi: Another budget-friendly option, Aldi offers high-quality products at competitive prices.
  • Netto: This discount supermarket chain is known for its no-frills approach and unbeatable prices, making it perfect for grabbing everyday essentials.

Bonus Tip: Many supermarkets in Germany offer discounted prices on food nearing its expiry date. Look for the “reduziert” (reduced) label to score some amazing deals!

How to Get Around

From zipping around on public transportation to exploring on foot, here’s your detailed guide to getting around the Bavarian capital without burning a hole in your wallet:

Understanding Munich’s Public Transportation

Public Transportation Powerhouse:

  • MVV (Münchner Verkehrs- und Tarifverbund): This is your gateway to conquering Munich’s public transportation network. Purchase single tickets for specific journeys or invest in passes for ultimate convenience:
  • Single Tickets (Einzelfahrscheine): Valid for a single journey within a specific zone (e.g., zone M for central Munich). These are ideal for occasional travelers or short trips.
  • MVV Tageskarte (Day Ticket): This 24-hour pass grants unlimited travel within a chosen zone (e.g., zone M), perfect for jam-packed sightseeing days.
  • Munich City Tour Card: This 24, 48, or 72-hour pass offers unlimited travel within the entire MVV network (including some regional trains) and discounts on various attractions and tours. Ideal for exploring the city extensively and maximizing savings.

Cycling Like a Local:

  • City Bike Rental: Rent a bright-orange “MVG Rad” from various locations around the city for a reasonable rate, perfect for casual exploration.
  • Private Bike Rentals: Opt for private bike rental companies for a wider selection of bikes, including e-bikes and mountain bikes, if you’re feeling adventurous.

Note: If you intend to take a bike on S-Bahn or U-Bahn trains, you’ll need a special bicycle day pass.

Cheapest Way to Get To and From the Airport in Munich

Reaching Munich from Franz Josef Strauss Airport (MUC):

  • S-Bahn (commuter train): The most budget-friendly and efficient option. The S-Bahn takes you directly from the airport (Terminal Erdgeschoss) to Munich Hauptbahnhof (central station) in around 40 minutes. Tickets can be purchased at the airport train station or through the MVV App.
  • Bus: Several bus lines connect the airport to various destinations within Munich. While slightly less convenient than the S-Bahn, buses offer a budget-conscious alternative, especially for specific destinations not directly served by the train.
  • Taxi: Taxis are readily available at the airport for a faster, yet pricier, journey to your destination. However, be aware that taxi fares can be significantly higher compared to public transportation options.

Bonus Tip: Consider purchasing the Munich Airport City Center Ticket. This ticket combines a single airport transfer ticket (either S-Bahn or bus) with a day ticket for the entire MVV network, offering a convenient and cost-effective way to reach the city center and explore further.

Remember: When using public transportation in Munich, always validate your ticket before boarding by stamping it at the designated yellow machines on platforms or inside buses/trams. 

Best Time to Visit Munich

Munich’s charm unfolds throughout the year, but the ideal time for your visit depends on your preferences and priorities. Here’s a breakdown of the city’s seasons, along with their pros and cons:

  • High Season (June-August):

Pros: Pleasant weather, festivals (like Tollwood and the Auer Dult), long daylight hours.
Cons: Crowded attractions, higher accommodation prices, potential for hot and humid spells.

  • Shoulder Season (March-May & September-October):

Pros: Comfortable temperatures, fewer crowds, lower accommodation prices, beautiful fall foliage in October.
Cons: Occasional rain showers, some attractions might have shorter opening hours.

  • Low Season (November-February):

Pros: Lowest accommodation prices, fewer crowds, unique winter experiences (like Christmas markets).
Cons: Colder weather, shorter daylight hours, some outdoor attractions might be closed.

Things to Consider:

  • Holidays: Accommodation prices typically rise during holidays like Christmas (December 24th-26th), New Year’s Day (January 1st), Easter (variable dates), and Spring Festival (variable dates).
  • Weather: While Munich generally experiences mild winters, temperatures can drop below freezing, and occasional snowfall is possible.

National Holidays & Peak Festivals

  • Fasching (Carnival): February (exact dates vary) – lively celebrations with parades and costumes, potential for increased hotel rates.
  • Frühlingsfest (Spring Festival): April/May (variable dates) – a smaller version of Oktoberfest with beer tents and amusement rides, can lead to increased demand for accommodation.
  • Tollwood Summer Festival: June-July – a cultural festival with music, theater, and a flea market, attracting crowds and potentially impacting hotel prices.
  • Oktoberfest: Mid-September to early October – the world-famous beer festival, resulting in significant crowds, booked-out accommodation, and inflated prices. Be sure to book well in advance if you plan to visit during this time.
  • Christkindlmärkte (Christmas Markets): Late November-December – festive markets offering traditional food, drinks, and crafts, drawing crowds and potentially impacting hotel prices.

Essentials, Money & Safety Tips

Here’s your essential guide to packing smart and staying safe while exploring the Bavarian capital:

Safety Tips

  • Beware of Pickpocketing: As with any major city, be mindful of your belongings in crowded areas like Marienplatz and public transportation. Keep valuables secure in a money belt or a cross-body bag worn in front of you.
  • Stay Alert on Bike Paths: Munich boasts an extensive network of bike paths, but remember to be vigilant as a pedestrian. Use designated crossings and always be aware of your surroundings, especially near busy intersections.

Common Scams

  • The “Lucky Coin” Scam: You might encounter individuals offering you a seemingly valuable coin for a small fee. These coins are usually worthless, so politely decline and move on.
  • The “Fake Beer Garden Bill”: Be cautious when paying at beer gardens, especially in crowded settings. Double-check your bill before paying to ensure you’re not being overcharged.

Budget-Friendly Passes

  • Munich City Tour Card: This pass combines unlimited travel on public transportation within the city limits with discounts on various attractions and tours, making it ideal for exploring extensively and saving money, especially if you plan on visiting several paid attractions.
  • MVV Tageskarte (Day Ticket): This 24-hour pass grants unlimited travel within a chosen zone (e.g., zone M for central Munich), perfect for jam-packed sightseeing days when you plan to rely heavily on public transportation.

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