Germany is a country with so much to offer, from its thriving manufacturing sector to vibrant nightlife and thousands of beer breweries, your options of things to do are never-ending. When you’re done visiting some of Germany’s indulgent bars and lounges and are ready to take in the cultural side of the country then Munich is the best place to start. Munich is serious about its museums, and rightly so, with eighty-plus museums the Bavarian city has on offer, visitors will find it an almost impossible task to visit them all.
Munich museums have everything from old-world artifacts to modern artworks and the latest innovations in science and technology. Those lucky enough to be around Munich in October for the annual Oktoberfest celebrations should also look out for the Long Night of Museums in which many of Munich’s museums stay open long after midnight.
The 11 best museums in Munich
- Munich Residenz
- Deutsches Museum
- Jüdisches Museum
- BMW Welt and Museum
- Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst
- Museum Brandhorst
- Bier- und Oktoberfestmuseum
- The Bavarian National Museum
- The Glyptothek
Visit the spectacular castle which dates back to 1385 and is located conveniently within the city center of Munich. Here you can marvel at the grand interiors and lavish courtyards which served as the residence of former royals of Bavaria until the early 20th century. There’s a lot to explore within the Munich Residenz castle complex—from neoclassical architecture to the Residence Treasury and Cuvilliés Theater, not to mention the 130 grand rooms.
Best for: Peering into collections of sheer opulence.
This is one of the best-loved museums frequented by local families looking to inspire young minds to discover science and tech. With 28 permanent hands-on exhibitions to explore and over 28,000 artifacts on display, it’s wise to plan out your day before you visit. Experimentation and interaction are encouraged with many little experimentation rooms set up across the museum. The Deutsches Museum is the largest science and technology museum in the world and is definitely worth the visit when in Munich.
Best for: Unleashing your inner geek.
The Jewish community in Munich was almost totally wiped out during World War II. After the war, those who could return did so and rebuilt a new life. Today, Munich has a thriving Jewish community. You will find the beautifully built synagogue and Jewish museum located in Sankt-Jakobs-Platz. The focus of the Jewish Museum is on Munich’s Jewish history and culture through to the present day. Finish off your tour with a bite to eat at the cafe located within the complex.
Best for: Cultural throwback worth remembering.
BMW Welt and Museum
Germany is synonymous with some of the world’s most luxurious car brands, with BMW at the forefront. If you’d like to get an insight into what made BMW into the icon that it is today then a visit to the BMW Museum will guide you through the history of the car as far back as the 1920s. For a futuristic look into what’s to come, BMW Welt will deliver your imagination prototypes of what the future holds.
Best for: The ultimate showroom for car enthusiasts.
Pinakotheken is a trio of museums located in the Kunstareal district of Munich. Alte Pinakothek houses masterpieces from the Middle Ages up to the end of the Rococo period. Here you will marvel at the likes of Leonardo da Vinci and Albrecht Dürer. Neue Pinakothek is dedicated to contemporary art
(think Monet) while Pinakothek der Moderne covers design, architecture, art, and works on paper all under one roof. Works by Salvador Dali and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner are featured at this Pinakotheken museum.
Best for: An art lover’s dream come true.
Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst
No museum tour is ever complete without the addition of a museum dedicated to Egyptian history. Everything from mummies, statues, sculptures, hieroglyphics, and papyrus have been hauled over from Egypt. The Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst is a unique underground museum meant to conjure up feelings of entering Egyptian tombs and royal chambers. The museum spans 5,000 years of fascinating Egyptian history, a must-see for those who may find traveling to Egypt out of their reach.
Best for: A deep dive into an ancient civilization.
Consider this to be Munich’s main destination for contemporary art. The building itself is designed with 36,000 vibrantly colored ceramic rods, a true reflection of what you will find housed within. Modern masterpieces from the likes of Andy Warhol and American painter and sculptor Cy Twombly make up part of the 1,200-plus pieces of art. Museum Brandhorst has attracted international attention for years and is constantly expanding its diverse collections.
Best for: A dose of contemporary pop art.
Bier- und Oktoberfestmuseum
When in Munich…drink beer! If you’re unable to make it to the actual Oktoberfest, here’s your chance to redeem yourself. Take back as many souvenirs as you can from this museum dedicated to beer and the Oktoberfest. Complete with its own Bavarian pub where you can enjoy a tipple and traditional snacks after you’ve completed your tour. The Bier- und Oktoberfestmuseum is located in one of Munich’s oldest historic townhouses and serves as a monument to living beer culture.
Best for: A beer bonanza with a taste of culture.
The Bavarian National Museum
Bayerisches National Museum is one of the largest museums in Germany. It was founded in 1855 by the Bavarian King Maximilian II. Here you can view collections of art, tapestries, sculptures, and bronze work from as far back as the Middle Ages. The Bavarian National Museum has a number of tour options available all year round with the inclusion of lectures and educational programs to encourage both history and art enthusiasts alike.
Best for: A glimpse into historic priceless treasures.
This is Munich’s oldest public museum and the only museum in the world entirely dedicated to ancient sculpture. Greek and Roman statues are presented in all their glory for visitors to take in these iconic pieces of art from a formidable period in history. The building of the Glyptothek was commissioned by Bavarian King Ludwig I in 1816 to house his personal collection of sculptures. Highlights include sculptures and statues of Homer, Greek Goddess Irene, and a Sphinx from the Aeginetan temple.
Best for: Sculptured masterpieces of Greek and Roman origin.
The Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus is known for its collection of over a thousand works of art from the expressionist group Blue Rider. Housing some of the most avant-garde works in any Munich museum, Lenbachhaus is continually updating its artwork. You’ll find a mix of modern and contemporary pieces where local artists share the stage with their international counterparts. Tours and workshops are available to get you easily acquainted with the vision of the artists.
Best for: Admiring local and international expressionist artwork.
Frequently asked questions about the best museums in Munich
Munich has over 80 museums to visit with everything from modern art to historical sculptures and ancient relics. The Bavarian National Museum and Munich Residenz are historical museums in Munich while Lenbachhaus and Brandhorst offer modern artwork.
The Deutsches Museum in Munich is considered to be the most popular museum in Germany. The museum houses an extensive collection of exhibitions in science and technology with opportunities to experiment on your own.
You will find famous works of art in museums like the Pinakotheken trio of museums as well as the Brandhorst Museum.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is the number one traveler’s choice museum in the world. Other famous museums include the Louvre in Paris and the Vatican Museums in Rome.