Bavaria's cities are diverse, fascinating and full of surprises. We introduce you to the four biggest - and a few more unknown pearls in addition.

1

Munich: Metropolis and village at the same time

Bavaria's capital holds many records: with the English Garden it has one of the largest parks in the world, with the Deutsches Museum the largest technology museum and with FC Bayern one of the most successful soccer clubs. In the heart of the old town of Munich, right next to Marienplatz with its Gothic town hall and famous Glockenspiel, is the Viktualienmarkt. Here, Theo Lindinger and Dominik Klier run their potato stall "Caspar Plautz", where the tubers are not only available in bags, but also as creative street food dishes. At the end of the day, the two are drawn to the beer garden - not just any of the estimated thousand beer gardens in Munich, but the highest in the city: the Olympia Alm. It is located at an altitude of 564 meters on the Olympiaberg. "From here you have a great view of the Olympiasee and can comfortably drink a wheat beer and eat Würschtl," rave Theo and Dominik. Originally, the Alm was a kiosk for workers constructing the buildings for the 1972 Olympic Games. Today, it's a quiet and sunny spot that has exactly what Munich is all about: coziness, lots of greenery - and the feeling of being in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

More about Theo, Dominik and tips for Munich here here.

2

Nuremberg: Garden culture in the middle of the castle town

Franconia's capital has always had a strong attraction - which can still be seen today: In the Middle Ages, the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire resided at the castle. The great painter Albrecht Dürer lived here in a half-timbered house, rich patricians and merchants built themselves magnificent houses and gardens along the city wall, which is still completely preserved today. Here borders southwest of the Gostenhof district a former working-class neighborhood that is now a trendy meeting place. Stefan Stretz has played a big part in this: He opened the "Schanzenbräu" there - a brewery with a modern taproom. Brewing innovative beers like red beer and personally hosting social gatherings is Stefan's passion. He loves his hometown and knows his way around. Here he reveals his favorite places in Nuremberg: To relax, Stefan likes to climb up to Kaiserburg Castle and enjoy the view over the city. "It's a huge thing in every respect," he says. He also thinks the baroque-style Hesperide Gardens with their fountains and statues in the St. Johannis district to the west of the old town are great. "The small gardens are away from the hustle and bustle and are beautiful - real pleasure gardens," the brewer tells us. He also likes to be out and about in the Gostenhof district. Here, small designer and vintage stores, handicraft businesses, coffee roasters and galleries are lined up next to each other.

More about Stefan Stretz, the Schanzenbräu and tips for Nuremberg can be found here. here.

3

Regensburg: Drifting in old alleys

Jewel on the Danube: The lively hustle and bustle on the banks, in bars, stores, medieval alleys and modern galleries makes the charm of the Unesco World Heritage City of Regensburg from. About 15 kilometers away, in Eilsbrunn, Muk Röhrl runs the oldest inn in the world - in its eleventh generation. When the nature lover isn't cooking at his inn, he's often out and about on his bike. "My regular bike route leads from Eilsbrunn along the Schwarze Laber to Sinzing on the Danube. From here, it's on the Danube Cycle Path all the way to Regensburg," Muk explains. Past Germany's second-largest cathedral and the seven-story residential towers of wealthy patricians, Muk prefers to cycle to the Steinweg-Pfaff district. Here lies the Dreifaltigkeitsberg, also called Osterberg. "The Way of the Cross with the beautifully designed Marterln leads to the top. From there you have a great view of all of Regensburg and the glittering Danube," says Muk. "On the way back, I always make a stop in the old town, let myself drift through the little alleys and observe the lively life. And every time, I discover something new."

More about Muk Röhrl, the Danube Cycle Path and his Regensburg tips here here.

4

Augsburg: In the footsteps of the rich merchant families

A 2000 year old city in three terms: Fuggerei, Puppenkiste, Golden Hall. Or: streams, canals, Unesco World Heritage. Or: student city, Roman city wall, viewpoint Perlachturm. Heinz Schulan knows them all. Born in Augsburg, he is an actor and theater director and also the cultural ambassador of the Fuggerstadt. Dressed as Jakob Fugger, the best known and richest representative of the famous merchant family, he has been wearing his typical gold cap and historical garb for years and leads guests on entertaining tours through Augsburg. Of course, this also includes the Fuggerei, the oldest social settlement with the ocher-colored terraced houses, which Jakob Fugger donated in 1521 for Catholic citizens who had fallen on hard times through no fault of their own. 

Back in the cathedral district, Heinz Schulan heads for his favorite place: the Fugger and Welser Adventure Museum. "I love being in the museum in the former garden house of the Welsers because it so vividly depicts the fabulous history of Augsburg's two great merchant families. Sea charts come alive with the sound of the sea, showing the fascinating routes that led as far as South America in the Middle Ages." Speaking of water, Augsburg's water management system and its monuments - canals and waterworks, hydroelectric power plants and monumental fountains - have been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2019. Yet another reason to take part in a guided tour of the Fuggerstadt. 

Read more about Augsburg, the Fuggers and Heinz Schulan here.

5

Small town, big city, old town, cosmopolitan city - Bavaria has them all

The four largest cities in the Free State are impressive. But there are also many smaller historic towns waiting between Aschaffenburg and Berchtesgaden, Noerdlingen and Passau waiting to be discovered. Often they lie between mountains, lakes and forests - like Lindau in Allgäu. On rivers - like Kelheim in eastern Bavaria. Surrounded by castles and palaces - like the Franconian Coburg, or on a peninsula - like the Upper Bavarian Wasserburg on the Inn. The cultural routes Romantic Road or German Alpine Road connect many of the smaller and larger cities in Bavaria - ideal for a road trip, perfect for explorers, adventurers and connoisseurs.

Cover photo: Muk Röhrl on the Stone Bridge in Regensburg © www.bayern.by - Bernhard Huber

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