It doesn't always have to be Neuschwanstein Castle. But a little bit of castle is inevitable, and at least you can reach Nymphenburg by tram. The magnificent palace is just as much part of the Bavarian identity as beer and pretzels. The castle owes its existence to a happy occasion: The birth of Elector Ferdinand Maria's and his wife Adelaide of Savoy's heir to the throne in 1664. At the time, Munich was truly a village, and Nymphenburg was so far out on the countryside that it served as a summer residence. In the course of the years it was changed according to the prevailing style. Today, walls and ceilings are for the most part covered with extravagant baroque paintings. For its inhabitants the Nymphenburg Palace was much more than a castle to show off with. It was a place of life, love and birth - i.e. that of the famous Fairy Tale King Ludwig II in a bedroom that is open to visitors. Another attraction is the beauty gallery of King Ludwig I., which immortalized the most beautiful Munich women of his time. Today, maybe the most striking thing is the enchanting palace garden with its lakes, canals and water fountains.
The greatest treasures of art history are on display. We just need to open our eyes, pause for a moment and marvel. Let's start our tour with the Alte Pinakothek: You can admire more than 700 masterpieces of European artists from the 14th to the 18th centuries are on display, including famous ones such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Dürer, Rubens, and Rembrandt. Head on to the Neue Pinakothek, a unique collection of European art from neo-classicism up to art nouveau, the romantic Caspar David Friedrich, impressionists like Manet and Monet or the pioneer of expressionism, Vincent Van Gogh. Finally the Pinakothek der Moderne, which, in reality, is four in one: Visual arts, graphic arts, architecture and design of the 20th and 21st centuries under one roof, one of the biggest and most surprising museums of its kind worldwide. Art is not simply hung on the walls. It turns into a happening, something that is searching for a dialogue with the observer. In the Neue Sammlung of the design museum you can sail from time island to time island, docking at the avant-gardes of the 20s and 30s, dropping by the Pop Art design of the 60s and experience post modernism and purism.
For a long time it was the uncontested hip neighbourhood of Munich. Then came (supposedly) the yuppies and drove the artists out. Nevertheless, it continues to be the best place to party. On warm summer nights every one who feels like some fun meets on the steps in front of the Gärtnerplatz theatre or in the green spaces, drinks beer and enjoys the City. If you want you can start your party night with an opera or a musical in the Staatstheater - or simply join one of the many in-bars to warm up for a full night of clubbing. For example the hip Café King, which is located in a former filling station, or the cosy Holy Home. 30 years ago, the Glockenbach was one of the poorest working-class neighbourhoods in Munich, and many apartments stood empty. Then came the artists, lesbians, gays, students and immigrants. In the Mylord rather opposites types such as Freddy Mercury, the Bavarian heavyweight politician Franz Josef Strauß and the filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder had loud parties (even if not necessarily together). The yuppies and real estate speculators have long discovered the district, and many of the crazy birds of former times have been driven out. Some may regret that. Yet it's no reason to ring in the end of alternative culture in Munich.