Munich, the capital of Bavaria, is a vibrant cosmopolitan city with a rich history and traditions. Although there are plenty of things to do and see in Munich all year round, Munich in December is particularly interesting with unique things to do and see. If you want to experience real European Christmas Markets with traditional Christmas food, visit the snowy fairytale castles of Munich, or just spend a relaxing wellness day at the largest thermal bath complex in Europe, then you should definitely visit Munich in December.
Weather in Munich in December
The average day temperature in Munich in December is 4° (39°F) degrees and at night -2° (28°F) degrees. The ideal time to see some snow in Munich is in December, but it usually only starts to snow in the second half of December. So it is important to have enough warm clothes and good shoes. You can expect a few days of rain or wet snow which melts very fast at the beginning of December before it starts to snow properly.
Advantages of Visiting Munich in December
Although it is cold and dark in winter in Munich, there are many advantages of visiting this vibrant city in December.
Fewer crowds: The majority of tourists visit Munich in Summer and during the Oktoberfest beer festival, hence you can enjoy Munich with lesser crowds mostly with locals.
Lower prices: Winter in Munich is considered to be a low season, that’s why accommodation prices usually tend to be lower than in Summer or in Autumn.
Some things are available only in December in Munich: You can visit Munich Christmas markets and the Tollwood winter festival only between the end of November and January.
Drink traditional Christmas Glühwein: This famous winter drink is the symbol of Munich Christmas markets. Don’t miss an opportunity to drink some Glühwein (spiced hot wine) with your friends outside on Munich streets and on numerous Christmas markets.
Best Things to Do in Munich in December
There are many things to do and to see in Munich all year round. You can find more details and the full list of Munich attractions in my 2 day Munich itinerary. In this article, I would like to talk specifically about things you can do only in winter in Munich. Below you will find my favorite winter activities in Munich.
Visit Munich Christmas Markes
The Christmas market season in Munich usually starts at the end of November and lasts until the 31st of December. During this time every district of Munich will have its own little Christmas Market ( Christkindlmarkt in German). But there are a few markets that are particularly interesting and here is why:
Munich Medieval Christmas Market
This Christmas market is very unique and one of its kind in Munich. It is decorated in middle age style with dozens of wooden huts with sellers wearing historic clothing from that time. You can also find here real medieval delicacies prepared in the traditional way on an open fire. You should try some Wildschwein sandwich and Feuerzangenbowle (traditional fire-tong punch).
Christmas Village in the Kaiserhof of the Residenz (city palace)
This Christmas market is hidden in the backyard of the city palace (Residenz) protected from the cold winter wind. This is one of the most cozy little Christmas markets in Munich offering great Christmas food and entertainment for kids. If you are visiting Munich with young children, then you shouldn’t miss the Christmas market in the backyard of the city palace. It is located directly at the city center and it is very easy to reach.
Go to Tollwood Winter Festival
The Tollwood Winter Festival is often referred to as Munich’s “alternative Christmas market”. But in reality, it is much more than that. Here you can buy some handmade Christmas decorations or winter clothes, mobile theater, unique street art, and decorations, as well as plenty of entertainment for kids and adults. If you are looking for a location for a New Year’s Eve celebration, then Tollwood New Year’s Eve events can be something that you are looking for.
Hop on the Munich Christmas Tram
During the Munich Christmas season, Munich public transport operator MVG offers special Christmas Tram (Christkindl Tram) rides. This 30-minute roundtrip starts at Sendlinger Tor via Isator – Maxmonument – Nationaltheater – Theatinerstrasse – Lenbachplatz – Karlsplatz/Stachus back to Sendlinger Tor. Some sweets and drinks are available during the ride. The Christkindl Tram usually operated between November 30 and December 23 Monday-Friday from 15.00 h to 19.30 h, and on the weekends from 11.15 h to 19.30 h. Please be aware the timetable might change. For more information please check the official website.
Relax in Sauna and Spa in Therme Erding
Therme Erding, located on the outskirts of Munich is the largest thermal bath and wellness complex in the world. It has on average 5000 visitors daily and covers an area of a whopping 430.000 m². This large complex includes a huge Sauna and Wellness area, pools and slides including 3D slides and a pool with artificial waves, and an outdoor pool area. What can be better than warming up in a hot sauna on a cold winter day and relaxing in a pool surrounded by exotic trees?
Go Ice Skating on Nyphenburg Palace Canal
While there are many indoor ice skating facilities in Munich, skating outside can be more fun especially ice skating on a royal palace canal in a fairytale setting. Nymphenbrug Palace Canal is not very deep (only around 50 centimeters) and when it gets cold and icy in Munich, the canal easily freezes. When this happens locals go there to play their favorite winter sports such as curling and of course ice skating. After strolling along the canal you can visit the Nymphenburg Palace or have a cup of tea in the royal cafe nearby.
What to Wear in Munich in December
The weather in Munich in December varies a lot and temperature during the day can fluctuate a lot. It might be warmer during the day and get very cold in the evening. It can be also wet and windy in Munich during this time of the year. The best is to have a water and windproof coat or jacket which is warm and lightweight. Most locals wear different layers that they can take out or put on whenever the temperature changes. Start with a thermal or long-sleeved base layer, add a sweater or fleece, and then wear your coat or jacket on top.
Don’t forget a scarf, hat, and gloves to keep you warm and waterproof boots which are good for icy roads. Munich has a lot of hills and stairs and they get icy in winter, so having proper shoes is essential to stay safe.
Conclusion: Is it Worth Visiting Munich in December?
Munich is a great destination to visit all year round. It has a lot of historic buildings, world-class museums, fairytale castles, and beautiful nature. Munich in December is particularly charming and cozy, offering unique things you can do only in winter here. Such as going to traditional Christmas markets, riding a special Christmas tram, relaxing in the largest thermal bath complex in the world, or ice skating on royal canals.