There is a real buzz in the air in majestic Munich as the city ramps up ready for football’s Euros in 2024.
But before the fans descend, Bavaria’s capital is enjoying with aplomb, the Christmas celebrations its famed for.
Mulled wine, cinnamon glazed roasted almonds, big fat Bratwursts and gallons of glorious German beer are eagerly gobbled up by the many visitors who descend on this beautiful city each December.
My teenage daughter Flossie and I had headed to the city for the annual Krampus celebrations, to mark St Nicholas Day, a time when the scary creatures resembling a cross between cavemen and Vikings and with furry costumes, demonic mask, spiraling horns, whips and torches chase naughty children through the streets before Christmas.
But an unexpected large downfall of snow put pay to our plans to travel into deep Bavaria where the tradition is taken very seriously, with the normally well-run Germany thrown into transport chaos as the underfunded infrastructure groaned under the white stuff.
The silver lining was Munich is so beautiful and full of life, especially at this time of the year, that our four-day trip was still packed with fun.
We opted to hitch a ride on the fabulous Big Bus Tour which has an express and grand route, spread over two lines, depending on your finances and time, and takes you to all the main sights.
It’s great to see from the top of the double decker a view of all the spectacular architecture and history this fine city has.
One of the stops is the National Theatre, home to the Bayerische Stattsoper, Bayerisches Staatsballett and the Bavarian State Opera.
Opened in 1818, this neoclassical theatre is simply stunning and has one of the largest stages in the world, having been rebuilt three times due to fire and war damage.
It can cater for 2,101 guests and with virtually sold-out daily performances, it is a real treat to immerse yourself in culture.
Workshops are held for children and the theatre prides itself with its modern outlook and this was in force at the performance we saw of Butterfly which saw two very different, but impressive ballet displays.
The theatre is close to the most expensive street in the city, Maximilianstrasse, filled with high-end designer clothes and jewellery shops, with beautiful enticing display windows.
Munich’s old town is the place to be and at Christmas, the main Marienplatz Square is filled with beautiful wooden huts selling festive foods, toys and decorations. It’s also the biggest Nativity scene market in Germany. The backdrop of the ancient town hall, complete with a moving clock makes it all the more magic.
As well as the main market, there are smaller ones dotted around the city, ranging from the traditional to an ultra-modern LGBT where everything, even the mustard powder is pink!
The city is so easy to navigate around with public transport via the Munich Card and it means you can choose a hotel away from the main strip.
Our base at the Scandic Munich Macherei was ideal as it was so close to transport links. With all the comforts of a Scandinavian world, comfy beds, fancy bathrooms and big buffet style breakfasts, it proved to be a great place to recharge.
There’s much to see, including the English Garden, created in 1789 and which stretches across the city and has an impressive 25 metre tall Chinese Tower, as well as a Japanese tea garden and the Eisbach Wave for surfers to use.
The Nymphenburg Palace is a sight not to miss. Serving as the summer residence for the Bavarian rulers, it’s a beautiful building with extensive grounds.
Car enthusiasts can tour the mighty BMW Museum, housed in a state-of-the-art modern building and crammed full of exhibitions charting the rise of the company, as well as some spectacular models from years gone by, up to today’s. A nearby showroom gives you a chance to drool over your dream motor.
Football fans who descend on the city for the opening game of the tournament on 14th June 2024, can fill their sporting boots with a tour of Bayern Munich stadium, home to England captain Harry Kane.
Munich also played host to The Olympic Games in 1972 and the Olympic Park is now used for cultural, religious and musical events and one of the quirky things you can do is climb the roof and get stunning views.
Beer is also important for football fans and locals alike and the city’s Oktoberfest allows only the six breweries of Munich to serve up.
With the Bavarian Alps just a two-hour drive away, Munich is a great spot to eat, drink, explore and cheer on your team in 2024.
Low-cost airlines from across the UK make Munich an accessible trip and for airport parking, lounges, and transfers www.holidayextras.com can help. For tourist information, please visit: www.munich.travel and www.germany.travel.
Rebecca Hay is an experienced travel writer and member of The British Guild of Travel Writers. Follow her adventures with her family on Twitter and Instagram @emojiadventurer and on Facebook via EmojiAdventurers2.