Oh, that pesky dollar, more and more worthless every day (currently around $1.56 to the euro). I know, I know, I feel your pain – I have earned the wrong currency at several points in my life. At any rate, for those Americans still hoping to enjoy a European vacation this year while exchanging their banana currency for cold, hard euros, I thought I’d offer up a couple money-saving tips for the cities I know well. First up, Munich.
Free city walking tour. The Red Shirt city tours meet at the gold statue in Marienplatz a couple times a day and are completely free (although tipping the guide is expected). The tour covers a lot of sights around the city center and lasts a couple hours.
Blade night! Every Monday in summer (weather permitting), there is a free rollerblading event through the streets of Munich. The whole thing is amazingly well-organized and attracts thousands of bladers. No roller blades? You can event rent those at the venue – get this – for free! And did I mention the whole event is free? Even if you make the requested 2 euro donation (for which you get a drink), you still come out well under $5 for an evening of fun. And exercise!
One-euro museums. Several of the best museums in Munich cost only a euro on Sundays. To avoid the crowds, go as early as possible.
Drink a beer. Good beer is cheap and plentiful in this city. A half-liter of refreshing helles or foamy weissbier costs less than 3 euros in most establishments (a lot less if you buy bottles at a store – plus you can walk around with an open beer in this city without breaking the law. Fun and novel in itself for most Americans!).
Climb to the top of the Peterskirche. For €2.50 you can climb to the top of the tower for a beautiful view. (Come on, you know you love going to the top of things.)
Eat a cheesy pretzel. A delicious taste of Bavaria for less than 2 euros. They can be found at bakeries all over the city.
Check out a church or two. It’s not Italy, but Munich still has a couple of beautiful churches full of art and dead saint bits (bonus: churches are usually quite cool inside on hot days, too). Try the Frauenkirche, Peterskirche, and Theatinerkirche to get you started (find them on any map of the city center).
Picnic in a beer garden. Don’t want to spend money on overpriced beer garden grub? Raid a local supermarket for picnic supplies on your way there. In Munich, you can bring your own food to beer gardens as long as you purchase your beverages on the premises.
Get lost in the Viktualienmarkt. I love the sights and sounds of the Viktualienmarkt, the large daily outdoor market in the center of town. Even if you don’t buy a thing, a stroll through the stalls can be extremely entertaining.
Get your fest on. Seriously, there is some sort of festival going on in Munich at pretty much all times (as Headbang8 recently pointed out), and admission doesn’t cost a thing. There’s the annual Starkbierfest; Tollwood is twice a year; the Auer Dult is three times a year. This summer is packed with 850th anniversary parties for the city. And there’s another fest of some sort in the fall… I don’t know much about it, but I hear it involves beer.
So there you have it! Ten things to do in Munich for less than $5. And I didn’t even mention the nude sunbathing…