Guten Tag Germany: Our trip to Munich with a Baby

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Last month, we made our first trip to Germany and had a great time.  We spent the majority of the trip in Munich with a couple of days in Frankfurt before jetting back home again.

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new town hall in city center

Obviously this trip was a lot different than any of our prior adventures.  No leisurely thumbing through magazines on the flight over, no late night dining at a recommended hole in the wall, no sleeping in.  We knew all that going in but it definitely gave me pause as to whether traveling with a baby would be worth the hassle.

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So what did I think?  Well, Munich is a perfect city for visiting with a baby.  Its easily walkable so we spent almost all our time strolling all over the city. With the exception of one walking tour to orient ourselves, we made no plans.  (For those of you without babies, I think Munich would also be a great place to visit with friends/couples since its such a social place with lots of sitting around drinking and eating.)

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asam kirche / apricots

Unlike some of the other major European cities like Paris or Rome, there aren't a lot of absolute must do tourist activities so we didn't feel like we missing a thing despite having a little one with us.  So what did we do?  Lots and lots of walking! We enjoyed the park, the beer gardens, the food markets, the shops, the glockenspiel and generally soaked in the vibe of the city.

While a European trip is never relaxing like sitting on a beach or napping on my couch, there is something incredibly relaxing about not having a punch list and just letting the day take us where it will.  So it really is a totally different way to travel that I think I'm going to enjoy.

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u-bahn: munich's subway / schweinshaxe: pork knuckle

Munich has a very good subway system (U Bahn) although we didn't have to use it often because virtually everything can be reached via a long walk. It costs about 10 euros for a day pass so its a good value if you are going to use a lot but not so economical if you are just using it for a short ride.

We ate at random places that seemed child friendly and mostly had great meals. I should have probably done a little more research here beforehand but lucky for us, my lack of planning didn't hurt us much.  It is true that most of the menus are very meat and potato heavy but there were plenty of food markets that had great fruit and veggies to balance it out.

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glockenspiel / goldene bar 

The glockenspiel in the middle of town is beautiful to look at even we did miss the show most of the time.  It's not rated the second most disappointing tourist attraction in Europe for nothing!

One of the best parts about roaming the city is how you stumble upon the most amazing things in the most surprising places.  Like the Goldene Bar tucked away behind the Haus Der Kunst.  We went in the unassuming looking museum purely to see if they had a changing table in their bathroom (they did!) and found this gorgeous dining room / bar tucked away in the back.  I wish I could take it home with me.

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enjoying a break in the englischer garten

Munich also has a large beautiful park known as the Englischer Garten that operates as most city parks do with one exception: there is a large beer garden within that was a great stop for a tasty lunch for us and a stroller nap for baby.

The one thing I was a little disappointed to learn was that Munich doesn't really do flea markets (which just happen to be my most favorite stop in pretty much every European city I visit).  I'm told used items don't have the same cache there as they do elsewhere.  Oh well, can't have everything.

After our time in Munich, we made our way to the central train station and took a 3 hour ride to Frankfurt. We would have preferred to visit Berlin but the cheapest flights worked out to fly out from Frankfurt so thats where we went. As expected, there was less to do and see in Frankfurt but it seemed like a perfectly lovely place to live.  Once again, we did a lot of walking and stumbled into some fun by complete accident including a applewein festival.

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Frankfurt Central Station

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classic sausage sandwich / screiber in kleinmarkthalle


For those curious about the details relevant to staying with a baby: we used apartment hotels in both cities (Hotel Maximillan in Munich, Adina Hotel in Frankfurt) which made our trip much easier because of the extra room and access to a washer/dryer. Both cities had very easy access to supermarkets and convienence shops so we were easily able to buy baby food, diapers, wipes and anything else we needed (except on Sunday where EVERYTHING is closed). All of that helped us keep our luggage down to a minimum - we brought one suitcase for all three of us. Between the suitcase, the stroller, the diaper bag and the baby, that was more than enough stuff to carry so I would definitely repeat that strategy for future trips. Thanks to a wonderful commenter on an earlier thread, I was tipped off to the fact that most department stores have changing tables so we tucked into lots of department stores on our trip.  If anything, there were more nicely appointed and more plentiful in Germany than they are here so that part was a breeze. I was very concerned with how baby would do on the plane and how her sleeping schedule would adjust but with very few hiccups, it all went smoothly.  She charmed everyone on the plane with her smile (the no crying helped a lot too) and adjusted to the time difference almost immediately.  Once we returned, it took her a few days to get back on schedule but nothing too difficult.

So there you have it.  A great first trip for us as a threesome.  Can't wait to explore more of the world with our little jet setter.  To read more about where we have been, check out my travel page.


18 comments:

  1. Great to hear you had a good time. I'm going to Munich in October and doing the half marathon- I've never been to Germany so I'm looking forward to it!

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  2. Glad to hear you enjoyed Munich. I lived there for awhile and absolutely love the city. Makes me homesick!

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  3. My husband and I are dying to get to Germany. Sounds like a great trip. Don't you love those unexpected finds when you're traveling - an intimate garden, a charming cafe? Our little guy is 3 1/2, but I just wrote a post a few days ago about a trip we took to Portugal. Check it out if you're interested: http://blog.bucklette.com/traveling-with-baby-just-go/

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  4. Sounds wonderful. What a gorgeous shot of your little one.

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  5. That's so great that your first experience with the baby in Europe went well! I love Germany!!!

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  6. Looks like it was fantastic trip! You guys should win awards for your trip efficiency. I way overpacked for myself when I went to France this summer and I'm sure it would have been beyond ridiculous with a baby.

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  7. My husband's family is from Germany and I was born in Frankfurt. I'm so glad that you went there (and hopeful that the flights from there might still be cheap by the time we get to go!).

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  8. I just love your travel photography and your two-up collages. What a fun trip this must have been. We have traveled to Europe and back with B ever since he was 5 months old and it can be done, but as you mention, it is so different from going by yourself. I have only driving through Munich a couple of times when I lived in Germany for a couple of years many years ago. Sounds like it is a much more happening place now :)

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  9. That's fantastic! I love an unscheduled vacation. Sometimes no agenda can be liberating!

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  10. I'm glad you had such a good experience! Munich is such a lovely city and it's so fun that your daughter has her first passport stamp!

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  11. I spent one day in Munich in high school and have been itching to go back ever since. I'm looking for a city to bring our baby daughter to around March/April - she will be 8-9 months and this was so helpful! Our favorite parts of any vacation are usually the long walks we take, glad to see that with a baby that probably won't change.
    Any thoughts on what would be easier with a wee one- Munich or Amsterdam?

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    1. I haven't been to Amsterdam in well over a decade so I'm probably not your best source of information on the comparison but I would think Munich would be a little easier because:
      a) hotel rates are cheaper so a room with a kitchenette is more in reach from what ive seen - but if you are staying with friends or have an unlimited budget this may be of no consequence to you.
      b) munich is more south so the weather might be better in germany than it would be in Amsterdam in early spring.
      c) im not 100% sure about this but from memory, amsterdam streets are mostly cobblestone along and have some required steps to get around the city so it might be harder to navigate with a stroller.
      d) there were a lot of large, casual eating places in Munich. I feel like all of the restaurants in Amsterdam were smaller and would be harder to stroll into.
      e) I dont recall many department stores in Amsterdam so changing rooms might be harder to find.

      That said, I think Amsterdam has a edge over Munich from a parents point of view. Its an extremely walkable city with a great culture. There is more in terms of tourist attractions plus the canals and architecture in the city is more to look at.

      Long story short: Im guessing Amsterdam would be a great trip and you would never know that Munich was slightly more baby friendly. So either way - you'll have a great time.

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  12. I grew up in Germany, so your post made me so "home sick." I can't wait to go back one day and experience it as an adult. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

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  13. My husband and I were planning to travel to Italy, Greece & Spain then we found out Baby Max was on his way. This made me feel much less nervous about doing a "big trip" with a baby.

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    1. I'm sure you will have a great trip but if I may make a suggestion, I would try to limit the scope of your trip to fewer stops (unless you are going for a very long time). The traveling is the worst part IMO.

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  14. Like Mindy above, my partner, her sister and I are planning a trip to Italy and Paris next June. We're excited but I'm super nervous about being in a foreign country mainly because of the language barriers. What resources do you recommend for anyone traveling abroad that cannot learn fluent French and Italian in 1 year? :) I heard the Rick Steve (?) books are great ...

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    1. Honestly you don't even have to worry about the language barrier. France and Italy are very easy for tourists even if no one spoke English but you will find many, many people there do. Its great to learn a few words if you can but I only speak English and never had any issues anywhere I've gone. You most definitely do not have to speak the language to enjoy your trip.

      Not sure where in Italy you are going but I thought the Rick Steves guide for Venice was excellent. Ive had his books for a couple of other locations and wasn't as impressed but its hit or miss. Any of the tourist guides will give you the basics.

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  15. No flea markets?! That's just nutso. :-)

    Glad the three of you had a nice holiday!

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