museum contemporary art munich

Munich is a charming city in a hugely diverse country with a haunting history. This gem of Germany is rich with art, culture and impressive architecture dating back centuries. Housed within the gorgeous architecture are some of the world’s biggest and best museums. Weather in Munich is not always predictable, and if you happen to find yourself stranded in the rain sans wellies, do yourself a favor and duck into the nearest museum. Not only will you keep warm and dry, you’ll also learn a lot about the country you’re visiting. And isn’t that the whole point of traveling?

With Munich being such an old, prominent landmark of the European landscape, there are undoubtedly hundreds of museums you could spend hours in, which can get overwhelming.

Check out this list of the eight best museums in Munich to point you in the right direction.

Museums in the Kunstreal

If you’re on the hunt for museums in Munich, you’ll undoubtedly head to the Kunstreal, which is a museum quarter known in German as the “arts district.” The Kunstreal consists of eight full-sized museums and several galleries. (We’ve listed five here.) If you’re up for it, make a day of it and visit a few of the museums and galleries.

The Glyptothek
Here, you’ll find sculptures from the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman periods spanning from 650BC to 550AD. The collection includes a massive statue of Apollo and famous sculptures of the artist Homer.

munich glytpothek museum

The Glyptothek, Munich’s oldest public museum | Image via Pixabay under license CC0

The Lenbachhaus

If you’re in Munich, it seems only fair to visit a museum dedicated to some of the city’s greatest works. Collections include paintings from the city’s masters in the Blue Rider style, contemporary and new objectivity. You might recognize pieces by Kandinsky.

Lenbachhaus Museum munich

Lenbachhaus and Königsplatz with Propylaea, 2013 | Photo: Rainer Viertlböck | Image courtesy of the Lenbachhaus Museum

 

(The following three are Pinakotheken Galleries, also in the Kunstreal.)

Alte Pinakothek (Old Art Gallery)

More than 800 paintings from the “old masters” are exhibited here. Included are several thousand important 13th – 18th century paintings including German, early Netherlandish, Dutch, Flemish, Italian, French and Spanish, along with famous paintings from Titian, Raphael, Durer, de la Cruz, Boucher and many more.

Alte Pinakothek

Gerard David, The Adoration of the Kings (Copy after Hugo van der Goes) c. 1495/1505, oak wood, 123,7 x 166,1 cm
© Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Alte Pinakothek

Neue Pinakothek (New Art Gallery)

This is one of the most important museums in the world, housing European collections from the 18th – 19th centuries. It features romanticism, realism, impressionism, symbolism and art noveau from artists like Cezanne, van Gogh, Rodin, Gaugin and Monet.
Fun fact: A van Gogh self portrait was confiscated here by Nazis as “degenerate art” and later resold.

Neue Pinakothek Munich

View into the room 15 with paintings by Hans von Marées, Photo: Haydar Koyupinar
© Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Neue Pinakothek München

Pinakothek der Moderne (Modern Art Gallery)

Here, you’ll find a collection of 20th century art and design featuring modernism, contemporary art and videos, photos and new media from artists around the world. It also includes industrial and graphic design, applied art and works on paper from the likes of Picasso, Magritte, Dali, Miro and Francis Bacon.

Pinakothek der Moderne

View into the dome of the Rotunda at the Pinakothek der Moderne
Photo: Haydar Koyupinar, 2007

Museums Elsewhere in Munich

Deutsches Museum
With 28,000 objects from science and technology, this museum is the largest museum of its kind in the world, attracting over one million visitors per year. Check out everything from music to chemistry to aeronautics. Plan to spend a whole day here, as the museum is HUGE and enthralling.

Deutsches Museum munich

Photo: Deutsches Museum

Bavarian National Museum

One of the most prominent museums in Europe, from an architectural standpoint, and one of the first of its kind, this museum was constructed in the late 1800s and houses both an art historical collection and a folklore collection. The collections span over more than 40 rooms and house pieces from the neo-classical, Renaissance and Romanesque periods.

Bavarian National Museum

© Tomnex | Dreamstime.com – Bavarian National Museum Photo

Dachau Concentration Camp Museum

A heavy experience but worth it for the history and once in a lifetime experience. Dachau was the first concentration camp opened by the Nazis and therefore contains a lot of insight into the Holocaust. By the time of liberation, Dachau had over 100 sub-camps throughout southern Germany and Austria and had contributed to over 32,000 deaths, with thousands still undocumented.

Dachau Concentration Camp

Dachau Concentration Camp | Image via Pixabay under license CC0

Munich is a beautiful city that should absolutely make your list of “must visit” locations while traveling through Europe. Not only an important city in German history, it is also rich with arts and culture. The weather is best in summer, but the city also looks gorgeous blanketed in a fresh coat of snow.

There’s plenty to see, including huge cathedrals and local markets filled with fresh veggies and currywurst. There’s also, of course, Oktoberfest, the Opera House and Marienplatz. No matter if you’re there for a week or a weekend, you won’t run out of things to do.