Julia Ohler’s Travel Black Book

Must-dos in Munich

The German city is a beautiful contrast of old and new, says Brotzeit's regional marketing director

Who: German Julia Ohler, 32,regional marketing director of German restaurant Brotzeit in Singapore. She has a boyfriend.

Favourite destination: Munich, Germany

Why: I lived in Munich for six years and it's where I feel most at home.

Munich has a beautiful contrast of the old and the new. It is a city with modern buildings, but also a lot of old ones that have been beautifully restored. The people are very friendly, with a charming small- town, family-like sense of hospitality.

Munich also has beautiful natural surroundings, with the Alps and many forests nearby. Even in the middle of Munich, you have gardens and parks where you forget you are in a city. It's the best of all worlds.

Marienplatz, or Mary’s Square, is a central square in the city centre of Munich. The city is a favourite destination of Ms Julia Ohler (above). PHOTO: JULIA OHLER

Favourite hotel

Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski Munich (Maximilianstrasse 17, 80539; tel: +49-89-2125-0; www.kempinski.com/en/munich/hotel-vier-jahreszeiten). Located in Maximilianstrasse, which is the Orchard Road of Munich, you can often spot celebrities such as fashion designer Victoria Beckham here. Rooms start at about €400 (S$607) a night.

Favourite restaurant

Haxnbauer im Scholastikahaus (Sparkassenstrasse 6, 80331; tel: +49-89-2166-540; www.kuffler.de/en/haxnbauer.php). It has long queues and crowds around its windows where they can see 200 to 300 pork knuckles being roasted. The eatery is in a traditional Munich-style house in the centre of the city. This is the place to get your fix of pork knuckle. It costs €17.80 for half a pork knuckle served with coleslaw and bacon, or €3.70 for 100g for a whole one. Another item to try is Apfelkuchle, battered and deep-fried apple slices, for €8.50.

Best breakfast

Cafe Glockenspiel (Marienplatz 28, 80331; tel: +49-89-2642-56; www.cafe-glockenspiel.de) is in the Marienplatz, Munich's central square. From the cafe, you get a full view of the Glockenspiel, a chiming clock tower with automated figures acting out two stories from the 16th century every day at 11am, and at noon and 5pm in the summer.

The cafe has great breakfast dishes. I always order the mixed platter of croissant, fruit, different kinds of cheeses and cold cuts, marmalade, honey and free flow of four kinds of German bread.

Many Germans also enjoy a brotzeit, such as a cold cut platter, here. Brotzeit, a snack taken at any time of day as long as it is accompanied by bread, is an important part of German life.

Must try

In addition to a brotzeit and pork knuckle, visitors should try steckerl- fisch - a fish marinated in spices and garlic, skewered with a wooden stick and grilled over hot coals. It is typically found in beer gardens for €5 to €7.

Weisswurst, a white sausage eaten only until 11am in the morning, has a unique taste. You do not eat the sausage casing and people from Munich, who are called Munchner, have many ways of eating it, including biting the top and sucking out the meat. It is always enjoyed with a wheat beer.

Also, try Kaiserschmarrn, a shredded pancake served with powdered sugar and apple sauce.

Favourite cultural sites

The Pinakotheken (www.pinakothek.de) is an art museum which is bigger than a football field and spread across different buildings. It has an impressive and inspiring collection of works by Albrecht Durer, Monet, Picasso and Cy Twombly.

You must visit a beer garden. You can find one in every part of the city. You can bring your own food to public beer gardens, as long as there is no restaurant there, and they are beautiful places to have a picnic.

The English Garden, a large public park, has a huge beer garden. It is a very social place and people are very friendly, so you can go alone and make friends easily.

Favourite shopping spot

The Schwabing district is a bohemian neighbourhood that is very trendy at the moment. You can find upcoming fashion designers and artisan jewellery. Best view The 291m-tall Olympiaturm, the Olympic Tower in the Olympic Park (www.olympiapark.de), was built for the 1972 Summer Olympics and is the city's tallest building. The restaurant at the top is popular for wedding proposals.

Day trips

Visit Franziskaner Brewery (Marsstrasse 46, 80335; tel: +49- 89-5200-0; www.franziskaner-weissbier.de), which is very popular in Germany. A tour of the brewery guided by the brewmaster ends with a tasting of its beers.

German beers are very respected throughout the world and are often crafted according to a 500-year-old German Purity Law. The German Brewers Union has submitted the law for Unesco certification and the results will be known later this year.

You can also visit the beach, on the shores of Chiemsee or Starnberger See lakes. About an hour's drive from the city, it is where people from Munich like to go for the weekend for beautiful views of the water and the Alps.

Event to bookmark

Oktoberfest starts in the middle of September and ends in the first week of October. Buy the traditional costume in advance - dirndl for women, lederhosen for men - so you can fit in. You can get a set for €60 to €70 during this period.

Make your reservations well in advance online because the beer tents and restaurants will be busy. You can queue outside the tents, but it will be difficult to get a space. There are usually two seatings, at noon and 5pm. Try to leave before 10pm. Leaving after that will be a nightmare.

Tips for travellers

Wear comfortable walking shoes. You have to walk in Munich if you want to explore the city. It is a great place to walk and get lost in.

Take along an extra jacket as Munich is warm when you are in the sun, but cool in the shade.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 19, 2016, with the headline 'Must-dos in Munich'. Print Edition | Subscribe