When I arrived back into Germany for the first time in 9 years, my first stop was Munich. The Bavarian capital is a very easy transport hub and was also part of my crazy journey to the village of Grodig.
With a few days in Munich, I based myself at the 4You Hostel and Hotel – a superb place to stay. I organised a beer tour by night with Size Matters Beer Tours and I was also excited about getting naked again at the nudist park in Englisch Garden. As well as all that, I went on a brilliant bicycle tour with Mike’s Bike Tours. My guide was Timmy, a brilliant guy with huge passion for Munich.
This is a special tour, lasting about 4 hours, taking you through some of the top sights in the city and also giving you a wealth of information. This was my first time to visit Bavaria on my long travel journey, so I was pretty excited to be here. The tour’s tagline is “4 miles in 4 of the fastest and most fun hours of your life!” And factwise, over a quarter million people have loved this tour since 1995, crazy, so I had to get on board and see what the fuss was all about.
Booking the Tour
You can book the tour on the official Mike’s Bike Tours website, or by phone or e-mail and also through your hostel. As of May 2016, the tour costs 31 Euros, book it on this link: https://mikesbiketours.zaui.net/modules/webBooking/index.php
Starting the Tour
The tour starts at 11.15 am near the Rathaus. Here are the exact directions: “No matter what time your bike tour of Munich is scheduled to start, they will meet you under the TOWER of the OLD town hall, at the eastern END of the Marienplatz. Further clues for those that may need them:
- This is NOT the NEW town hall which dominates the square.
- If you cannot see a McDonald’s up the street you’d not be in the right place.
- They meet at the entrance to the Toy Musuem, NOWHERE ELSE under the building.
- If you show up a bit late, they’re likely to be about 10 meters from the tower towards the McDonald’s, at the statue of Juliet.
- If you arrive about 15 minutes (or more) late and do not see the guys at the statue, come straight to our shop and we will get you on the tour.
If despite the above information, photo and map (below) you still have a problem finding our meeting point at Marienplatz, please call the shop at +49 (0) 89 255 43 988 or 987.
The tour lasts four hours and takes us through most of the main sights in the city. I won’t spoil the tour by mentioning every single detail with you. The best thing about our guide Timmy, is his humour and storytelling – he tells us lots of information in the 4hours! But here were some of my personal highlights from the bicycle tour.
1.Introduction at Marienplatz
At the start, Timmy introduces us to the square, Marienplatz and talks about the history of Munich and Bavaria. Then we go for a short walk to get the bikes – the bikes are based at the office.
2.Hofbrauhaus in Platzl
We visit the small poky streets at Platzl and Timmy tells us a bit about the beer culture as we stand outside the famous Hofbrauhaus. However, Timmy’s favourite beer is Augustiner, for three reasons – 1.They don’t advertise. 2.They don’t export. 3. 51% of their profits go to charity. In a separate article, I’ll write about my beer tour by night with Size Matters Beer Tours.
There are a lot of memorable points to note at Odeon Platz, the huge church, Theatine Kirche is worth a visit – we headed inside. Then notably, at the back end of the Feldhernhalle (Field Marshall’s Hall) there is a street with some gold paved stones on it.
The gold paving stones represent those who refused to do the Nazi salute on this very street. Under Nazi rule, everyone walking past was meant to do the salute. Those who didn’t may have been sent to Dachau, or worse.
We then enter a large courtyard and garden area, called the Hofgarten. It is here that Timmy gives us a much further insight into Nazi history with some detail.
5.Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Set
A lot of the film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was filmed in Munich, including the famous gates of the Willy Wonka factory. The part where Charlie finds he has the golden ticket is between the Hofgarten and the government buildings.
We arrive at English Garden and there are a few things to note here. Firstly, it’s a huge garden that was designed to look like an English country garden. Secondly, certain areas are nudist zones, meaning it’s perfectly fine to get your kit off and bathe in the sun.
Thirdly, people surf here, in a custom built surfing zone near a bridge. Lastly, it’s a great place for a beer! You can read about the day I stripped naked in Munich here. They also have a cool Chinese pagoda in the middle.
7.Lunch and Beer in the Garden
After cycling through some of the English Garden, we stop for lunch. The beer garden here, in the middle of the English Garden is the second biggest in the world. Here I have some excellent Sauerkraut, sausages and beer.
After stopping at a few more sights, we visit the parliament buildings for Bavaria here. Although Bavaria, is a part of Germany, the locals mostly class themselves as Bavarian.
At the parliament you can see the Bavarian, German and European Union flags, all flying. As I joked “a country within in a country, within a country.” After that, we cycle back and leave our bikes back at the base. There were so many other highlights on the tour, those were just a few of my favourite moments, here are some extra photos I took.
Here are the details for booking the Bike Tour with Mike’s Bike Tours Munich:
So what are you waiting for, go ahead and get your tour booked, you’ll love it: https://www.mikesbiketours.com/munich/Bike-Tours/munich-sightseeing-tours-mbt-meeting-point.html
Here are some videos I made on the Bike Tour:
7 thoughts on “Backpacking in Bavaria: Doing A Bicycle Tour of Munich with Mike’s Bike Tours”
I didn’t know that “Charlie & the Chocolate Factory” was filmed in Munich! Mind you, I don’t think I ever watched the entire film in full as a child as I have a hard time watching musicals. Guess I will have to re-watch it again!
Hi Ray, yes it was the original film that was filmed there, I just checked the title is actually “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. I know they did a remake and I think that was filmed elsewhere. I have plenty of things to do if I go back to Munich now – Charlie tour, Dachau and Neuschwanstein Castle. There seems to be a film tour here – http://www.isango.com/munich/bavarian-film-studios-tour_6499 Safe travels. Jonny
Thanks for that link! I have been wanting to go back to Germany again to explore more of it, as I had such a great time in Munich on my high school trip back in 1998. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is the name of the book that both “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (1971) and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (2005) are based off of.
The Willy Wonka version is the musical with Gene Wilder that I was referring to in my previous comment. Bloody Hell, that musical is semi-annoying! Haven’t seen the Tim Burton/J,o,h,n,n,y Depp remake, though. Tim Burton movies are really good! Sorry for the unnecessary side notes. 🙂
Ray recently posted…Lucas Oil Stadium – My Visit to One of the Top 10 NFL Stadiums!
Hi Ray, that’s all good information. Like you, I meant the original one too, from 1971, that’s the one I have seen and the one that Munich was used in filming. I must admit, I’m not sure where the later film was made. Hope you get back there soon for a beer and some sightseeing. Safe travels. Jonny
Mike and I arrived home from our 23 days in Germany, Austria, Luxemburg and France; Munich was a highlight of our journey. We enjoyed our Mike’s Bike Tour and meeting you and Sara. Wishing you the best on your continuing travel adventures.
Hi Barbara, thanks for the comment and great to meet you in Germany. Munich was great fun and I loved the bicycle tour – brilliant to be on the tour with you. I wish you a happy and safe time back home. Best wishes. Jonny