Munich - city of lifestyle

In the mood – Munich's palaces, gardens and connoisseurs

Grand boulevards, palaces, royal gardens – Munich's rulers have certainly left their royal mark on the city. Today, locals and visitors alike come to embrace the legacy of the Wittelsbach dynasty.

Sunday afternoon at the Hofgarten palace garden, warm sunshine and enchanting music: swing dancers kick their legs and swirl around the floor at Diana's Temple in stylish plus fours and vintage floral dresses. Jeans and trainers are also allowed. Around the temple, on top of which stands the Bavaria statue – Tellus Bavarica – people out for a leisurely Sunday stroll start swaying to the beat as well. As they walk on, they hum 'Hit the road again'. Just around the next hedge, a gentle 'click, clack' can be heard. It's the local boules players enjoying a friendly match on the gravel paths along the Hofgarten arcades, often accompanied by a pastis or a beer.

A little later, you'll see elegantly dressed people strolling towards the Residenz Palace for an open-air concert in the Brunnenhof courtyard. Extreme caution is advised when tackling the uneven cobbled walkways in high heels!

Even when the weather gets colder, there are classical concerts in magnificent prestige buildings of the Wittelsbach dynasty such as the Cuvilliés Theatre, a true rococo gem where Mozart's Idomeneo was first performed.

None of the locals ever forget to give the worn noses of the lions standing guard outside the palace another quick polish as they walk by: it's meant to bring you luck.

Nymphenburg Palace, the former summer residence of the Wittelsbach family and birthplace of Ludwig II, the fairytale king of Bavaria, is another marvellous setting for musical entertainment.

And there's more: when it gets really cold in Munich and the rivers and lakes finally freeze over, it's time for one of the city's great winter traditions to begin. There's no more spectacular backdrop against which to play the Alpine sport of eisstockschützen, similar to curling, than on the Nymphenburg Palace canal with views of the magnificent baroque building. This is also a great place for ice skating, although it's advisable to keep out of the way of the curlers, who take their sport very seriously. You can enjoy a glass of the favourite Munich tipple, prosecco, or have a mulled wine or hot chocolate to warm up. This is also popular with people walking through the extensive parkland with sledges and laughing children in tow. A visit to the park's smaller historical buildings such as Amalienburg hunting lodge, a graceful gem from the rococo period, is well worthwhile at any time of year. Once you've visited Nymphenburg Palace & Park in Munich, the enchanting kingdom of the Wittelsbach dynasty will be under your skin forever.

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