You’re going to Munich in December, and you wonder if you picked a good month? Yeah, you did! Although winters are not the best for traveling around Europe, Germany is an exception. How come?
The winter months in Germany are drier than the summer ones, so the chances of rainy days ruining your vacation are low. But there’s even a bigger reason than the weather – the Christmas markets!
Are you ready to have a magical December in Munich?
Munich’s weather in December
I’m pretty sure you found this post while looking for Munich’s weather in December, right? That’s normal, Europe’s winters are cold and bad weather can easily ruin your trip.
I’ll be frank with you, Munich’s winters are pretty cold and snowy, but it’s nothing extreme and, with proper attire, should not bother you that much. The average high in December in Munich is 4°C/39°F while the average low is -1°C/30°F. The monthly precipitation is 66mm, which equals a 37% chance of rain or 11 rainy days.
The weather is gloomy with only 2 sunshine hours a day. Don’t get scared, though. You’re not visiting Munich in December for the day activities anyway.
See more info about the weather
Advantages of spending December in Munich
Don’t let the cold weather discourage you. There are plenty of advantages to spending the last month of the year in this magical town.
- Lower prices
Summer is Munich’s top tourist season. Winter is not so much. Even though things get a bit busier during the holidays, it’s still one of the best months to find good accommodation deals and cheap flights. I strongly suggest skipping the actual holidays (that’s if you’re on a budget, though). Munich is already the most expensive city in Germany, and you don’t want to pay the holiday extra.
- No crowds
Another perk of visiting during the off-season is that you don’t have to fight hordes of tourists just to get a good photo. Dunno about you, but for me, it’s a huge win.
- Christmas markets
The biggest reason to visit Munich in December had to be the Christmas markets. Invented in medieval Germany, the markets manage to infect even the biggest Grinch with a jolly Christmas spirit.
- Winter sports
Don’t get me wrong, the city is no winter resort, and if winter sports are the sole reason for your journey, there are plenty of better options around. However, if you want a big city and winter sports combination, Munich is just quite close to the tallest peak in Germany – Zugspitze and the Garmisch-Partenkirchen ski resort.
See Also: How to spend December in Rome
Disadvantages of spending December in Munich
I won’t pretend that December is the perfect month for a Munich trip. There are some minuses too. Here are they:
- The weather
Yes, the winter weather is not perfect for city exploration. It’s cold, it’s snowy, and the days are short. You can’t get good sunrise photos because the sunrise is so late that the city is already full of people (a big problem for me, not that big for most people). You can’t explore on foot, so you have to spend extra on transportation. And the worst part – the 2 hours of sunshine. It makes me sleepy all the time.
- Bigger luggage
That’s a winter problem indeed. While during summer, you can easily fit a week of clothes into a carry-on bag, cold weather requires multiple layers, jeans, thermal underwear…basically a lot more clothes. A lot more bulky clothes nonetheless. What’s the problem with bigger baggage?
Well, for once, you have to pay for it and sometimes it gets lost.
- Holiday prices
If you visit Munich in the last week of December, you’re about to get premium prices for pretty much everything.
See Also: How to spend 2 days in Berlin
Getting around Munich during winter
Munich is an extremely walkable city with most of its attractions situated in the city center. However, Munich in the winter is not really that walkable. That unless you wanna freeze to death, of course. Jokes aside, walking or cycling is not really the best way to get around in December, so you have to use some public transport.
The good thing is that Munich has a pretty developed public transport network. There’s the U-Bahn (subway), S-Bahn (regional trains), trams, and buses, all of which use the same ticket.
Now, the ticket price is a bit confusing but bear with me. You’ll most likely travel only in the city zone (zone M), which means a 3.50 EUR ticket will be good for 2 hours of travel (you can switch transport). There’s also a short travel option for 1.80 EUR (1 hour) or a whole-day cards for 8.20 EUR (one person) and 15.60 EUR (for a group of 2-5 people). You can check all public transport prices on the official site.
Oh, one more thing, don’t forget to validate your ticket on the blue machines. If the ticket is not validated, it’s basically invalid and you’re gonna get fined.
In December, you have one more option – the Christmas Tram. Taking you on tour from the Sendliger Tor past the Isartor to the Maxmonument, the National Theatre, Lenbach, and Karls squares and back to the Sendlinger Tor, this tram also offers Glühwein for adults and fruit punch and cookies for the kids. Definitely my favorite tram in the world (sorry Lisbon)!
Are Munich’s Christmas markets worth it?
If you’re not a winter sports person, there’s nothing better in the cold season than Christmas markets. Hell, even if you’re a winter sports person, Christmas markets are tough to beat!
While tourists go to the German Christmas markets to buy presents. Germans go to meet friends and drink a glühwein (wine) or two. There’s something for everyone there and it’s guaranteed you’ll get infected with tons of Christmas spirit.
Here are Munich’s best Christmas markets:
Being a top German attraction, Marienplatz is located in the heart of the city, so it’s pretty normal to find the biggest Christmas market there. Of course, being the biggest and most well-decorated one, you can be sure you’ll find everything you need there (including a lot of Christmas spirit and, sadly, crowds).
This one is not just a Christmas market but a whole Christmas village! Tucked inside the Emperor’s Court of the Munich Residenz, the former Bavarian seat of government, the second-largest Christmas market in town offers a cozier vibe and, of course, plenty of Christmas treats.
I’m not sure if Viktualienmarkt qualifies as a Christmas market since it’s basically the most famous market in town all year round. In December, however, the market receives holiday makeup, making it a bit more cheerful than usual.
- Sendlinger Tor’s Market
Situated at one of the southern gates to what used to be the fortified walls of the city, we find one of the medieval markets in town. Documents revealed there used to be a Christmas market at this spot all the way back in 1886. In 1996, the tradition was renewed, and now we have one more cute little Christmas market to enjoy.
- The Chinese Tower Market
You may not be aware, but Munich’s park, The English Garden, is home to a giant Chinese Tower. This same tower acts like a beer garden during the summer and as a Christmas market during the winter. A pretty fun place all year round, I must say.
- Schwabing Christmas Market
If you’re a student and you find yourself in Munich in December, this Christmas market is situated north of the city center in the lively student section of the city. With plenty of bars and nightlife, this is the place for you.
See Also: How to spend December in Barcelona
Other things to do in December in Munich
The Christmas markets are not all there is to do in Munich in December. To get the complete list of what’s there in Munich, you can check my detailed itinerary guide. Here are a few other quick suggestions:
- See snowy Munich from above
This activity is only cool if there’s snow. Otherwise, it’s just a gloomy city from above. If there’s snow, however, Munich becomes a winter wonderland. You can enjoy such a view from the bell towers of Frauenkirche and St. Peter’s church (the better one).
- The Botanical Garden
Munich in December is cold. And there’s no better way to escape its cold than going to the Botanical garden. Home to orchids, cacti, palms, and even some carnivorous plants, this tropical garden will make you feel like you traveled somewhere way more south than Germany.
- Roam the museums
Munich is home to many marvelous museums. Of course, Alte Pinakothek is the absolute best, but you can also go check Pinakothek der Moderne, The Bavarian National Museum, The Museum of Egyptian Art, Deutschland Museum, Brandhorst Museum, the Lenbachhause, and many others.
- Go ice skating
One of the best things to do in Munich in December is ice skating. Located in the middle of the Stachus (Karlsplatz), “Münchner Eiszauber (Munich Ice Magic)” is one of the largest outdoor rings in the country and a great place to enjoy a lovely family evening.
- Go on a day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle
The magical Disney Castle is stunning all year round but gets some extra Frozen vibe during winter. Check out how to get there.
That’s all from me, I hope you have a magical December in Munich.
If you haven’t planned your trip there yet, find out how I plan my trips!
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