berlin vs munich
Last Updated: October 3, 2021

Berlin Vs. Munich – Top German Cities

Berlin and Munich are two of the most popular, and perhaps best cities in Germany to visit. And they both deserve a visit if you can manage it. If not, then choosing between Berlin vs Munich for your trip to Germany isn’t going to be an easy task.

Both of these great cities have a lot to offer but they are very different. Berlin represents the artsy and creative side of Germany, it’s alive with music and events plus it is full of young fun people. It’s also drenched with the history of WWII and after, making it quite an important place to visit.

Munich is a far more traditional city that is full of great German architecture, traditional foods, and has a more local feel to it than the huge city of Berlin. It showcases a piece of German history before the events of WWII and afterwards.

So which one is right for you? Let’s take a closer look at Berlin vs Munich.

Things To See And Do

One of the most important things to be sure of when picking a city to visit is that it has some great things to see and do that you’ll enjoy. After all, you’re not traveling to a city for downtime, it’s all about being out and exploring whilst learning something about the place you’re in.

When it comes to deciding between Berlin or Munich, you can be busy almost 24 hours a day if you want to be, especially in Berlin.

Berlin

One thing the german capital has which Munich doesn’t is a huge historical connection to World War II and if you haven’t been to Berlin before, visiting some of the memorials and historical sites is a must. I must say, that it’s not the happiest of things to do in Berlin but it’s an excellent reminder of what happened and the energy at some of the sites is quite incredible.

Some other great tourist attractions that should be at the top of your list are the Holocaust Memorial, the Berlin Wall, The Topography of Terror, and the Brandenburg Gate. I wouldn’t suggest doing all of these in a single day, it’s much nicer to break these spots up with something lighter.

Luckily, Berlin is not wanting of fun things to do. When it was split into East Berlin And West Berlin by the Berlin Wall, each side of the city created its own entertainment such as theatres, museums, art galleries, restaurants, and more. When the Berlin Wall came down and both sides of this German city were reunited, it created a city with two of everything.

In Berlin, you’ll find some wonderful art galleries, loads of museums (especially on Museum Island), the Friedrichstadt-Palast and Berliner Dom are great too. From some amazing architecture head to the Charlottenburg Palace.

If you’re traveling with kids or want a museum that isn’t all about history you should head to the Berlin Museum Of Technology, the Classic Car Museum, and the Spy Museum.

You’ll also find some wonderful gardens and parks to visit in Berlin. The Tiergarten is stunning and if you’re in Berlin during summer head to Mauer Park on the weekend where you can watch live singing whilst sitting in a kind of amphitheater.

Munich

If you love architecture then a trip to Munich has great tourist attractions. The city is filled with old churches, museums, and more plus just outside you have incredible German palaces such as the Neuschwanstein Castle (The castle in Dinsey’s Sleeping Beauty) which have inspired many fairytales over time, they are that beautiful.

For an architectural tour around Munich, you can’t beat seeing the Neues Rathaus, Munich’s town hall. Built in the late 1800s the Gothic-style building is magnificent and huge plus it features a wonderful clock tower too.

There is also the Munich Residenz, a 14th-century castle with some stunning features to explore including a Baroque Ancestral Gallery and an Italian Renaissance Grotto Courtyard.

You’ll also find some amazing historical churches to visit in Munich and one which you should not miss is the Asam Church. The interior is stunningly painted in a late baroque style and will have your jaw-dropping to the floor.

Munich is home to a lot more museums than Berlin and each one is set in an architecturally stunning building and the same goes for its numerous art galleries. You’ll also find the BMW museum in Munich, as BMW’s headquarters are there, which showcases some amazing cars.

It’s not all museums, architecture, and galleries though. You’ll find a 3km pedestrianized area full of shops, restaurants, and more which is always above with locals and tourists to explore. There is also a ton of traditional things to do too and plenty of beer gardens to visit.

To top it all off, Munich is also home to Oktoberfest which runs from late September to early October. The city comes alive with this amazing beer festival and with 7 million visitors. Book yourself a spot in a beer hall well in advance.

You also shouldn’t miss the English Garden which is a 370-hectare park with amazing lawns, forests, and water features too. If you’re looking for a picnic spot, there is nowhere better in Munich.

And don’t forget Munich is a great spot to do a day trip to the iconic Neuschwanstein Castle just a few hours south of the city. It is one of the most well-known castles in the world and well worth a visit.

Nightlife

In my eyes, a night out in a new city is the best way to get a feel for it. You can mix it up with the locals, have a dance, and get a true sense of the energy of the place.

In regards to nightlife and deciding between Berlin or Munich, we have two very different worlds. Munich has a fun nightlife with clubs that haven’t changed for years and the music hasn’t change much either. Berlin on the other hand is one of the best places to party in the world with super cool clubs and a vibrant up-to-date hip music scene.

Berlin

The part capital of Europe, Berlin is home to tonnes of nightclubs that cover pretty much every genre you could ask for. You can start partying on Friday lunchtime in Berlin and not stop until Monday morning at 8 am if you want to, there is always something open on the weekends.

One of the most famous nightclubs in the world, Berghain, is in Berlin. It’s not easy to get in as the bouncers simply pick and choose who to let in or not based on their looks. If you want to go to Berghain, be prepared to be sent away and have to try again another night.

If you do get turned away from Berghain, don’t worry, you’ll find hundreds of other nightclubs in Berlin to choose from. Some amazing venues include SchwuZ, Anomalie Art Club, and Kitkat. They all offer a fun night out with great people.

Munich

The nightlife in Munich is nothing close to that of Berlin’s but if you want to go out to the wee hours and have a boogie, you do have a lot of options. You should expect nothing special except for good people, fun music that might be out of date, and good old nightclubs that have been there for years.

Some of the best clubs to go to include P1, HarryKlein, Blitz, and Bahnwärter Thiel. You should also consider heading to the Glockenbackviertel district where you’ll find loads of nice bars with good vibes along with some great restaurants to have dinner in beforehand.

The Food

The great thing about traveling to new places is getting to try all of the different local cuisines and Germany has some delicious dishes, especially if you’re a meat-eater.

Also, the fact that these German cities are both world calls destinations means you don’t just have to stick to local food either and will be able to choose from lots of other cuisines as well.

Berlin

Berlin is home to every type of restaurant. You’ll find, sushi, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinses, French, Spanish, Greek, Moroccan restaurants, and more, so no matter your tastes, Berlin has it on offer.

When it comes to traditional food, Berlin isn’t quite as good as Munich. One of the favorite dishes in Berlin is Currywurst which is a German sausage cooked in a spicy tomato sauce served with chips. You’ll find it everywhere in both cafes and from street vendors and it’s a spicy delight to have at any time of the day.

Another popular dish is Bratwurst which is also found in Munich. The Berlin version isn’t quite as good but it’s still good. Imagine a hot dog but instead of a smallish frankfurter, you have a huge flavorful German sausage inside the bun instead.

One odd favorite food the locals in Berlin love is a donner kebab and the city is famed for having some of the best in the world so be sure to try some when you’re there.

While Berlin isn’t quite as good as Munich for traditional bavarian food, it’s a bit better when it comes to the diversity of cuisines on offer at all the restaurants, especially anything Asian which Berliners love!

Munich

You have probably grasped that Munich is far more of a traditional German city than Berlin and this comes into play in the traditional German food available too. What Munich lacks in the number of restaurants and different cuisines when compared to Berlin, it makes us for in their traditional bavarian food.

Bratwurst actually originated in Munich and it’s something you have to try there as it’ll be the best bratwurst you have ever had. If you want to be really traditional, order this delicious German sausage with a side of mashed potatoes and sauerkraut.

Another Bavarian sausage you should try in Munich is Weisswurst. It’s a white sausage made from veal and pork belly and full of flavor thanks to the parsley, lemon, onions, ginger, and cardamom that goes in there with it. Weisswurst is a traditional breakfast that is served with a fresh pretzel and is great to have after a long night in the bavarian beer halls.

You must also have a Schnitzel while you’re in Munich. A Schnitzel is a flattened piece of pork or veal that is covered in bread crumbs and then baked until it’s crispy. The crispy texture is to die for and the meat on the inside is tender and moist, cooked to perfection. You’ll find a Schnitzel usually comes with chips or a potato and cucumber salad.

Pretzels, pretzels, pretzels. If you like pretzels then you have to try one in Munich. Munich claims to have invented pretzels and they make an amazing one. The outside is crispy with chunks of salt while the inside is soft and doughy. You might find them under a different name such as breze or brezel, so be sure to look out for them.

Public Transport

It’s all well and good being in a cool city, but if you can’t get to the places you want to go to easily on the public transportation system, then your daily life there becomes a little bit more stressful than it needs to be. You’ll end up getting taxis to avoid the stress and come out of your trip spending a lot more than you planned.

When it comes to Berlin vs Munich, you don’t need to worry about either of the public transportation systems as they are pretty good. The one main difference is their size which makes moving around a little harder.

Berlin

In Berlin, you’ll find a plethora of different public transport options to choose from including subways, buses, trams, taxis, and trains. Between all these options, there isn’t anywhere in Berlin you can’t get to on public transport. Especially around the city center.

The thing with Berlin is that it’s a huge city, as I mentioned before. The quickest way to get from A to B in Berlin is by using their extensive train system plus it’s very affordable and easy to use.

If you’re planning a day in Berling without too much distance to travel, you can hire a bike for a day. The city is well laid out for cycling with spacious bike paths and lanes. It’s a relaxed and fun city to bike around.

Taxis are readily available almost everywhere in Berlin and they are quite affordable too which is super handy when it starts raining and you want to stay dry instead of walking for 3o minutes.

Munich

Munich is a much smaller German city than Berlin which makes it a lot easier to get around for visitors. The huge 3km pedestrianized zone means that you can explore a lot of the city on foot if you’re staying somewhere around Munich Central Station. And if you like walking, you might even be able to visit the city without getting on a single bit of public transport.

That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a load of public transportation options to choose from. You have the S-Bahn train system that will take you to most of the city and very quickly. The U-Bahn subway with a network of 100 stations in the city plus buses, and trams that interlink everything.

There are also some great car, bike, and scooter-sharing programs in Munich which you can sign up for, making day trips or cycling around the city a lot easier.

How much will you spend in each city?

Whenever you have to choose between two cities, such as Berlin vs Munich, the budget has to be a consideration. Usually, your money will go a lot further in one of the cities compared to the other and that is the case with these two cities too.

Neither Berlin nor Munich are cheap places to visit on the global spectrum, I mean you’re not going to India or Thailand, this is still Germany. But, Munich is more expensive than Berlin overall.

Berlin

If you want value for your money and want to do a lot with your budget, Berlin is the better option. It’s quite amazing that a world-class city and a nation’s capital can be so affordable.

Generally speaking, Berlin is around 15% more affordable than Munich when it comes to living costs but when you look at touristy things to do, like going out to the theatres, having dinner, or going out for a nice meal, Berlin is more like 20% more affordable.

One of the highest costs that come with any visit is your accommodation. In Berlin, you can expect to pay around 100 euros a night for a hotel and around 50 euro a night for a room in a hostel whereas in Munich you’ll pay around 140 euro a night for a hotel and 70 euro a night in a hostel.

By choosing Berlin you can save up to 40 euros a day on your accommodation, plus more when going into town, or can use it to have even more fun on your holiday.

Munich

Munich is the most expensive city in Germany and everything in Munich either costs more or is the same as it does in Berlin. Things like public transport and coffee are around the same price but when it comes to hotels, restaurants, and bars, you’ll be paying between 10% and 40% more. Especially in the city center.

The biggest percentage price difference between Berlin and Munich is theater tickets. On average in Berlin, you will spend around 85 euro on two tickets whereas in Munich you’ll spend close to 150 euro on two tickets, almost double.

If you don’t have to stick to a tight budget, then Munich can be your oyster but if you have to tighten the course strings, Berlin is the obvious choice.

The Weather And When To Go

I always end up picking where I’m going based on the weather, as I love the sun and life is just better when it’s warm in my opinion. You might think that since Berling and Munich are in the same country that they would share the same weather, but this isn’t the case.

Berlin sits 600 km or so north of Munich which leads to some quite different weather patterns. Munich is also close to the Alps which affects its climate too.

Berlin

Berlin is quite a wet city all year round and you should expect some wet days whilst you’re there so be sure to pack a rain jacket in your bag and carry it around with you. It experiences around 7-10 days a month of rain and it’s the summer months of July and August tends to be the rainiest time in Berlin.

Summers in Berlin hit around 22-24 Celcius on average while winters can get down to -2 Celsius on average. You can visit Berlin all year round and still enjoy it but if you wanted to go in the best weather window then choose either May, September or October as these are months when it’s warm but have the smallest rainfall.

Munich

Being much further south, Munich has a longer summer than Berlin and it stays light longer in the evening too. Also, unlike Berlin, Munich gets most of its rainfall during the fall of September and October, meaning the hottest summer months of July and August when it can hit over 25 Celcius are excellent times to visit.

You should also consider going to Munich in the winter over Christmas. It is bitterly cold getting down to -3 Celcius some days but the city is alive with festive stalls and Christmas spirit.

Berlin vs Munich – The Verdict

As you have probably noticed that despite being in the same country, Berlin and Munich are very different cities.

Berlin is edgy, youthful, alive, and artsy while being draped in a tough history. You’ll find you feel a huge range of emotions in Berlin and be around a much younger crowd than in Munich.

The nightlife is spectacular and if that is something you’re longing to experience then Munich does not compare. Berlin is also quite a bit more affordable than Munich and your money is going to go a long way and you can do it on the cheap.

If you’re looking for a real city escape to a hip place full of vibes, Berlin is a good choice.

Munich on the other hand is a little different. The architecture is delightful, the streets clean and peaceful and it’s draped in Bavaria from the foods to the beers, it’s everywhere. If you have wanted to experience true German culture for a while, then Munich is the place to do it. It might a bit more expensive but it’s easier to get around and the day trips to the surrounding castles are a bonus.

About the Author Roger Timbrook

Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!

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