Two years ago we posted a little guide to accessible Munich: it contained a number of wonderful things to do, that were wiped out by the Covid-19 pandemic…so what now? Is Munich still a place worth visiting, now that the pandemic situation is finally slowing down and life is starting to look more “normal”?
The answer is yes, even if there probably will not be any Oktoberfest in 2021, or at least not the full experience with the 6.3 million participants that attended in 2019… but nevertheless there may a smaller event, or a number of “mini-Oktoberfests” spread out around the city. But no Oktoberfest is not a good reason to skip a visit, because while maintaining some important safety and hygiene measures, life in Munich is still incredibly enjoyable.
One thing is very very important: in Germany when a mask is required, this means a FFP2 type mask, make sure to stock up on them, as otherwise you will not be let in anywhere that is required to wear one. At the moment, June 2021, wearing a mask in the street is not mandatory, but it is inside shops, public transport, trains and in restaurants until you are seated, however regulations change regularly.
Head to the nearest beer garden
Beer gardens are one of the many fun experiences that Munich offers and especially now, after all the lockdowns, it is lovely to be out enjoying nature, food and people… to access the indoors seating spaces most restaurants and beer gardens require either a negative Covid test or a proof of vaccination (in most cases also the first shot is enough) but nothing is required if you sit outside, which in the warm Bavarian summer is a real pleasure (you just have to register your presence either with a QR code system or a simple paper form to fill in with your contacts). You do need to wear a mask until you are seated or if you need to go to the bathroom. You’ll find some good addresses in this article, so read on!
UEFA Euro 2020 (finally… in 2021)
Want to watch the football matches? There are no large gatherings allowed yet, but a wide number of, again, beer gardens – and pubs and restaurants – are showing the games, some of which are rather special and famous for the atmoshere.
If you want to eat, drink, be merry and watch the game and are in the city centre, head for the Hofbraühaus, which is wheelchair accessible and has accessible toilets (you have a review with photos in German here). It is also possible to watch the matches in the open-air cinema at the Olympiapark, you need to book tickets here.
Next matches at the Olympiapark:
- Wed June 23, 2021, 9:00 p.m., Public Viewing: Germany – Hungary
- Sun 11 July 2021, 9 p.m., public viewing: UEFA EURO final
The famous Allianz Arena will re-open for 4 matches but with limited seating (14.000 out of 75.024) and sorry… the tickets were sold out ages ago!
Art in Munich
Museums and art galleries are open again too, so if you love photography, you will enjoy the Erwin Olaf exhibition at the Kunsthalle, which is totally wheelchair accessible (with accessible toilets). Only thing is that you need to book a timeslot (but you have over 2 hours to visit the exhibition, so no hurry) and wear a mask. Another interesting venue for temporary exhibitions is the Haus Der Kunst, also here booking is needed and wearing a mask mandatory. You can find all the info on accessibility in the museum, included the video guides in German Sign Language and those with audiodescription at this link.
Moving about in public transport is rather easy and so is using trains: for trains it is recommended to book assistance service online (at this link all the info), but you can also generally ask on the platform in case of last minute plans. Masks are mandatory and at the moment both urban transport and trains are never really crowded.
If you want to stay outside, this summer is the perfect chance to spend some time in one of the many parks. In the centre, head to the English Garden, the largest park in town, where you can stroll about in green and flowery lanes, take a look at the Chinese tower, in the middle of a – yes – beer garden with music and great atmosphere, then watch people do surf on the standing wave of the Eisbachwelle. The Eisbach is a side river of Munich’s Isar, which also makes for a lovely walk (but no surfing, although people do swim there, in some cases accompanied by their dogs, which is a rather weird sight but apparently the dogs don’t mind).
If you want to see more unusual sports adapted to the town setting, you can also go and watch the windsurfers in the Theresienwiese (the plain where normally the Oktoberfest takes place). There is no water, so they windsurf on skateboards. If you like ping pong, you have tables to play it in many green corners around the city.
Some more green is provided by the local ancient cemetery of Alter Südfriedhof (Old South Cemetery), where you can stroll alongside with the locals, but clearly no beer gardens here.
The Olympiapark offers also a very nice setting for a stroll, although the viewpoint from where you get an idea of the entire Olympic park, built for the games of 1972, is very steep (the path is asphalt so if you have a Triride or Freedom Grit chair or a powerchair you can totally make it). The park has also a beer garden (Olympia Alm) and the accessible toilets are in the main area where the stadium is (plan of the park available here).
Another lovely park to stroll in, with an accessible toilet at the beginning of the park, is the Nymphenburg Schloss gardens, very pleasant with the occasional bit of gravel, but all flat and if you have time you can visit the Hellabrunn Zoo as well.
Eating out in Munich is a real delight, and in summer almost all restaurants, due to Covid regulations, have seating space outside, but here are some places that are very good and also have wheelchair accessible indoor seating and useful links from the accessible Munich website. Please note that the access description dates from before Covid, so it is possible that entrances and exits have in the meantime been rearranged, but you can just use the accessible ones, ignoring this. Most beer gardens have at least a part with gravel, but it is usually not impossible to navigate or it should be easy to find a table on the outer parts of the garden to minimise the issue.
The previously mentioned Hofbraühaus in the very centre of Munich: it is not a tourist trap, although of course being in the centre you will find lots of other tourists there, but the food and the beer are all worth it and the atmosphere is really nice. All info on accessibility of the location and toilets here.
In the English Garden you thave the Chinese Tower beer garden and another, also wheelchair accessible, for which you have a full description of the accessibility here, the Seehaus. Another nice spot with great local food is the famous Augustiner Keller, you have a description of the access here. Another famous brewery name is Paulaner, and in their restaurants and beer gardens it is always a pleasure to try out local dishes and their beers; the Paulaner am Nockherberg has also a good accessible toilet, well described here.
If you are looking for something a bit exotic, our three faves off the beaten track are Nam Giao, Vietnamese kichen, excellent (indoor seating is not very accessible, there is a step and a narrow angle to go in, only the terrace outside is accessible), then two italians, also only accessible in the terrace: Quattro Tavoli and Solo Pizza
If you want a quick yummy snack (sweet or salty), either on the go or sitting down, you will find a number of Kistenpfennig bakeries with seating inside and outside, check them out here. All their shops have sliding doors with step free entrance, some also have an accessible toilet, and their products are aways fresh and very good quality for price ratio.
Ice cream lovers: head to Italian gourmet chain Eataly for a delicious ice cream cone or cup, where Venchi’s chocolate is absolutely to die for. Step free entrance and accessible bathroom downstairs, connected by elevator. The restaurants inside Eataly re-open on 15th July (more info here).
The toilets situation in Munich is very well organised, with a wide number of very well kept disabled toilets in the streets, which can be accessed with the European key. Widely used in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia you can order one online for 23 Euros at this link. There are plenty of accessible toilets in the parks also, and with the key you also get a mapping of where they are located.
There are also a number of changing places in town, a list from a couple of years ago can be found at this link.
We would like to thank the Munich Disabled People’s Club for the detailed description of the accessibility of the restaurants and wheelchair accessible toilets, you can find their website at this link (in German).
The photos in this article are by Geir Ebeltoft.