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Visiting Munich

You can easily encounter all the fun Bavarian stereotypes in this city (beer halls, lederhosen and more), but Munich overflows with first-rate cliché-busting diversions too, from high-tech cars to world-class art.

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A cultural bonanza

Pack hangover remedies - you're going to want to fill your days with exploration, and Munich's hit-list of sights is long and impressive.

Discover the history-packed Altstadt (Old Town) and make a shortlist from dozens of classy museums - the Alte Pinakothek brims with wall-to-wall artworks from the Old European Masters, but shrines to science, history and modern art compete for attention.

You can pay homage to local motoring titan BMW at the museum or on a plant tour. Then unwind at the Englischer Garten - it's the lungs of the city, bigger than New York's Central Park.

There are some wonderful beer gardens in the park, including the town's oldest, the Chinesischer Turm. It sits invitingly at the base of a Chinese tower and has been in business since 1791.

Beer-soaking provisions, and more

There's plenty of hearty specialties designed to accompany beer - let's talk about pork knuckles, sausages and pretzels, for example. During Oktoberfest, six million revelers get stuck into feasts of roast ox meat or suckling pig.

To sample typical fare, look for a local wirtshaus (tavern). Wirtshaus in der Au has been serving beer and dumplings since 1901.

But we don't want to give you wrong idea - there's more to Munich's dining scene that just carnivorous feasting and comfort-food classics. Creative chefs are reinterpreting traditional fare, and international flavors are found all over town.

The Viktualienmarkt is a city landmark, an open-air market of local color and flavor spread over 140 stalls. Pick up some picnic fare then enjoy it at the market's own shady beer garden.

Neighborhood haunts and yuletide fairs

If you're in the market for the latest-model BMW, you can do some fine shopping at BMW Welt. Other deluxe fare can exercise your credit card along Maximilianstrasse, the city's elite street.

Busy, popular Kaufingerstrasse is the city's main shopping drag, home to a more down-to-earth mix of department stores and major chain stores.

The Glockenbachviertel is a mouthful to pronounce but it's a pretty neighborhood worth seeking out if you're after hipster haunts, indie stores and cool cafes.

If you're planning a winter trip, consider timing your visit with the Christmas markets, held from late November. Germany does these like nowhere else, and Munich's original market sets up in the central Marienplatz. It's a fairy-tale delight after dark.