I may earn income from affiliate links or partnerships in this post. I spend time to curate tours or products that align with my values. Thanks for supporting my work, at no additional cost to you.

Last updated on November 23rd, 2023 at 05:08 pm

Are you curious about how you can visit Munich sustainably? Munich is a wonderfully green city full of urban and wild parks, outdoor recreation, rich culture, local small businesses, extensive public transportation and bike trails, sustainable initiatives, and more! Despite all this, at first glance, it can be hard to know where to start with little information available to tourists. This sustainable city guide to Munich will help you navigate the city with a mindful approach so you can experience all the city has while reducing your footprint.

I lived in Munich for nearly seven years, and during that time, I explored the city in depth, finding the best ways to embrace sustainable principles. My insider knowledge about my former home means that this guide covers everything you need to know to explore Munich with a sustainable focus. Munich is the perfect city for anyone starting a sustainable travel journey, as mindful travel concepts are integrated seamlessly into the city. Munich embraces a circular economy, plastic-free initiatives, bio (organic) products, amazing public transportation, eco-friendly hotels, and a tourism model that prioritizes sustainable development. Munich is also great for more experienced sustainable travelers, with many hidden gems and opportunities for meaningful cultural exchange.

Sustainable Traveler's Guide to Munich. Eco Tips and Itinerary for the sustainable travel in Munich.

No matter where you are on your sustainable travel journey, this responsible traveler’s guide to Munich covers everything you need to know, from how to use public transportation, cultural aspects, eco-hotels, where to find small businesses and other practical ways to reduce your impact.

Looking for more mindful content for your trip to Munich? Don’t miss my expert guides!

QUICK LOOK

  • Munich takes a modern approach to sustainability. As a visitor or resident, engaging in a sensible, eco-focused lifestyle is easy!
  • But, some of these practices can be hard to spot if you are new to the city. This guide helps you understand Munich’s sustainable practices so you can be a responsible visitor.
  • Beyond that, you’ll learn how to use public transportation, attend cultural events, support local businesses, and find other ways to reduce your impact.
  • Discover the best eco-hotels that I’ve personally stayed in and recommend.
  • Get ideas for an eco- friendly multi-day itinerary.

Munich Sustainability Info

Munich and Germany are global leaders in practical and functional sustainability. Historically, Bavaria is known for its darker relationship with nature, having deforested and killed much of the region’s wildlife before the 20th century, but its modern approach aims to balance its previous destruction with integrated natural approaches that benefit both humans and nature, allowing them to co-exist. As you explore Munich, you will see many of these natural approaches in action, and it is not uncommon to see an old graveyard turned into a wildlife habitat and park for the living.

Munich Rathaus Marienplatz

Socio-Economic Sustainability Model

Munich uses an economic model that incentivizes long-term sustainable development over short-term gains. That means as Munich grows as a city, they prioritize development that is mindful of the environmental and social impacts. For example, as they expand public transportation, they aim to reduce their emissions simultaneously.

Their tourism model considers local businesses, residents, and sustainability for a well-rounded approach that creates meaningful tourist experiences, benefits the community and minimizes impacts.

Cutting Emissions & Green Energy

Munich aims to cut its CO2 emissions in half by 2030 based on 1990 numbers. While it remains to be seen if they will achieve this target, Germany has already cut emissions by 40% since 1990. Munich has made progress in modernizing its public transportation, construction, energy use, and more! Munich’s municipal utility company utilizes green energy with a goal of powering 100% of its Munich operations with wind and solar.

Green Energy & Transportation

As you explore Munich, see if you spot their new line of hybrid solar buses. These buses were developed in Munich and have roofs covered in solar panels, reducing fuel consumption. Many of Munich’s buses are now electric and green!

Older vehicles that do not meet certain environmental standards are banned from Munich’s city center. Great public transportation allows those with older vehicles to park outside the city and commute in for work and errands.

The Green City initiative prioritizes pedestrians and bicycles over cars. There are plenty of pedestrian and bike-only zones, free of cars. These pedestrian zones include urban green spaces spread throughout the city – from large urban parks to small rooftop gardens.

waterfall at the English Garden in Munich

Circular Economy & Low Waste

Munich embraces a circular economy. That means every beer bottle or juice bottle you drink from is created to be returned to the producer, who then reuses the bottle. This is great for Munich’s economy and environment. It reduces waste levels, reduces recycling emissions, and employs many people. Before throwing anything away, consider whether it should be returned to the kiosk or supermarket you bought it from.

Additionally, Munich is a very low-waste city with very minimal single-use plastic. Ensure you are prepared with your reusable tote, utensils, and a coin purse to engage in their pfand system (more on that later).

Getting Around Munich – Green Transportation

One of the best parts of Munich is our excellent transportation, walking trails, and bike paths. Living near central Munich, I can walk to most places within 20 minutes. For those longer journeys, our public transportation is a relaxing and eco-friendly experience. Download Google Maps ahead of time to access walking paths, bike trails, and transportation timetables.

Walking: My preference is to walk, and I highly recommend it for those with stable mobility and good walking shoes. Most areas have clean and wide sidewalks, so you can enjoy looking at all the little shops and small businesses as you travel from sight to sight. Most major sights and Munich’s alternative neighborhoods are all accessible from the city center by foot. 

bikes resting along a red ivy wall in Munich

Bicycling: During your entire stay in Munich, I recommend renting a bicycle from Radius Tours at the main Hauptbahnhof or Mikes Bikes. Both will have great tips on fun ways to explore the city by peddling, but you can also use Google Maps bike routes. One of my favorite routes is to ride along the Isar and connect with the Englischer Garten. Munich has terrific bike trails that are safe, and you can ride with traffic to get anywhere. Get your online bike map. Here in Munich, we ride rain, shine, and snow. If you enjoy longer bike treks, bike to Starnbergersee for a day trip to the lake. 

Empty Ubahn station Marienplatz Munich

Public Transportation: Munich’s public transportation is fast, clean, safe, well-connected, and energy-efficient. You can take advantage of buses, trams, trains, and subways. Our city transportation company recycles, adheres to carbon reduction goals, operates modern energy-efficient vehicles, cuts noise pollution, uses high-quality filters, reuses its braking energy, and utilizes heat pump energy to keep its environmental impact low. 

Grab a multi-day City Tour Card for Munich and enjoy the sights with discounts on numerous places.  

Visit Munich Shoulder and Off-Season

Frauenkirche covered in snow

Compared to other major European cities, Munich handles its tourism relatively sustainably with a well-developed plan bringing together local business owners, residents, and tour operators to ensure healthy levels of tourism. However, there are times when the city experiences mass tourism, such as Oktoberfest and Christmas markets. I highly recommend experiencing cultural events, but I recommend visiting Munich during the off-season for a slower trip soaking in the city’s flavors. Munich is busiest at Oktoberfest (Mid-September – Early Oct), but summer is the busy season across Europe, and there are typically long lines for experiences outside of Munich, like at Neuschwanstein, museums, and other tourist attractions. You’ll contribute to a healthy and sustainable year-long tourism economy by visiting shoulder or off-season. 

spring cherry blossoms and a historic church in Munich

Spring: Spring in Munich is lovely. Blooming cherry trees line historic streets. The weather is pleasant, and you can enjoy a leisurely exploration of the city without the crowds. If you visit toward the end of May, you’ll likely catch beer gardens as they open, so you can still enjoy the outdoor beer experience. You might even plan your trip to experience cultural events such as Frühlingsfest and Mayday celebrations.

Thai pagoda on a lake in westpark Munich

Autumn: Munich in the autumn is beautiful. While Oktoberfest happens in autumn, if you visit just before or after the fest, you’ll find relatively low tourism numbers and fantastic weather. You can see the autumn colors as they explode through the Alps and enjoy hiking, biking, beer gardens, outdoor dining, and city exploration.  Autumn is my favorite time for taking a nature-based or cultural day trip from Munich to Andechs Monastery. The scenery is incredible, and the crowds are minimal. 

snow falling at Munich's historic old city square

Winter: Many people don’t like visiting Munich in winter outside of the Christmas market season, but I love Munich in the winter! If you spend a few snowy days exploring Munich just after the new year, you’ll have an excuse to visit museums, the theater, visit the Alps for a ski trip, and, as a bonus, see a place like Neuschwanstein in the winter without the crowds is magical!

Visiting the Christmas markets is magical, but you can enjoy a quiet, snow-covered Munich in January or February. 

 

Ways to Reduce Your Waste in Munich

Munich is leaps and bounds ahead of some cities regarding its minimal and zero waste initiatives. In the seven years I lived in Munich, I noticed dramatic changes in the amount of plastic I encountered. It is now almost surprising to see single-use plastic anywhere in the city. Still, it’s important to remember to ask for no straw and bring your tote bag to avoid unnecessary plastic. Here are some cool plastic-free initiatives you can look forward to when visiting the city. 

plants growing out of a car Tollwood Winter Festival

The Pfand System

You’ll likely encounter the pfand system at many places across Munich. Instead of using cheap single-use plastic cups, breweries serve drinks in high-quality reusable glass beer steins. To ensure you return these glasses, avoiding the landfill, you will pay an extra couple of Euros for the glass. The cashier will give you a pfand chip or token, and once you’ve finished your drink, you return the glass and the token for the Euro deposit you paid. While it is most common at beer gardens, you will likely pay a pfand at Christmas markets for gluhwein, plates at festivals, and even plastic or glass bottles from the supermarket. Sadly, most tourists don’t know about this and throw away their beverage bottles, but I encourage you to take advantage of the system to reduce your waste.

When you are at a designated beer garden, the pfand is easy to return. You walk up to the booth, accept returns, and hand them your dirty mug and the token. You will get your money back.

The supermarket system is a bit more complicated, but I encourage using it. If you buy a glass or plastic soda, water, or juice bottle from a supermarket – do not throw that bottle away! Return it to the supermarket. Many have automatic bottle machines at their entrance. Insert your bottles and get your receipt for cash back.

If you are unsure what to do – you can leave these bottles outside by trashcans. Someone will pick them up and return them to get your money back.

Crates of German beer ready for recycling

Munich operates a circular economy for its beer bottles and crates.

Plastic-free Shopping

Most supermarkets do not bag your groceries in single-use plastic or paper bags. Instead, you bag your groceries in your travel tote or after buying a reusable tote from the supermarket. Most stores have phased out plastic bags for fruit and vegetables. Instead, you can just put them in the bag with everything else like I do and wash them in your BnB or hotel.  If you want to experience the novelty of a zero-waste store in Munich, then stop by Servus Resi. It might be challenging to shop there as a tourist, but they have zero waste toiletries if you forget to pack yours. Plus, seeing how zero-waste stores in Europe operate might be fun.

Ohne package free store sustainable munich

Drinking Water

All water in Munich is clean, safe, and ready for drinking. The city is slowly starting to put water bottle stations around the city, such as the one on Sendlinger Strasse, but they are hard to find. I recommend you fill up your reusable bottle from the sink before heading out for the day.  Despite the tap water being such high quality, Germans love their bottled mineral water. If you go to a restaurant and ask for water, you will get a glass bottle of sparkling or still water. I often specifically ask for tafelwasser (tap water) and almost always receive a hard no and get a bottle instead. Why do Germans do this? We will never know.

You can take comfort in the fact that these glass bottles are part of a city-wide pfand system where the beverage company picks up the bottles, refills them, and returns them to restaurants – so they aren’t single-use. However, if this bothers you, ensure you have your lightweight travel bottle in your purse, which I do :)

Most cafes no longer offer to-go coffee cups, encouraging you to bring your own. I suggest packing a bottle that can double as a coffee mug or water bottle.

Munich Viktualienmarkt water fountain

Fun Fact: While there aren’t many refill stations around the city, all the water fountains at Viktualienmarkt are potable. As I pass through this area, I typically fill my bottle with fresh, clean drinking water.

Munich’s Urban Green Spaces and Parks

Munich is home to one of the largest urban parks in the world, the Englischer Garten – and that is just one of the dozens of parks sprinkled throughout the city. The parks in Munich offer countless ecological benefits, including keeping the city cool on hot days, reducing air and water pollution, providing a home for small animals, recreation for residents, and prime real estate to escape the city’s bustle and connect with urban nature.  

river surfer in munich

Englischer Garten

The most famous garden in Munich, this sprawling park runs from the city’s heart towards the airport. Some of the highlights include the Eisbach, a small channel of water running through the garden. It’s common to hop in and float down like a lazy river or watch the Munich River surfers ride the waves. Otherwise, stroll along the endless tree-filled paths, find a place to read a book, or stop for a beer at the Chinese Tower or Seehaus to see that pfand system in action. There are also some bike trails so you can saddle up for an adventure. 

Isar River Banks of Munich

Isar Flaucher

The Isar is a river in Munich, and the city recently underwent a restoration project to rewild the river. The project removed the narrow channels from the river and opened up the river with wide gravel banks. Extensive nature surrounds the river. It’s a great natural space to exercise on the running and biking trails. Most locals also enjoy hanging out on the banks with a local beer in hand, watching the sunset. 

This was the largest urban floodplain renaturalization anywhere in the world. The Isar of ancient times was a wild and mighty river. As Munich developed through the Middle Ages, the river was channeled for energy and to bring water into the city. However, by the 1800s, the river was narrow and so dirty, unable to perform its natural functions that it often flooded, taking out bridges, and was the source of disease outbreaks like cholera. After several large floods, the city returned the river to more alpine characteristics. In the 1990s, this process began, and the river is now clean, a habitat for biodiversity, and a great place for recreation.

two geese in a river

West Park

This local hidden gem is an excellent escape from the English garden’s busier parts. Enjoy walking the circular walking trails and stop at the Japanese garden. Stop at Ganz Wasser, one of my favorite quirky beer gardens in Munich, for a refreshing drink and vegan food. 

Luitpold Park

Munich doesn’t have many vantage points, but Luitpold Park offers spectacular views of Munich’s skyline surrounded by nature. Just take a brisk walk up the hill and enjoy the sunrise or sunset over the city.  

Schloss Nymphenburg castle gardens and lake

Schloss Park Nymphenberg

The castle park is more manicured than the others. It isn’t a park for picnics or relaxing. Instead, you can stroll the former royal gardens with beautiful trees, lakes, fountains, and birds. If you have extra time, you can visit the palace museum and spend time photographing the swans. 

Altersudfriedhof

This is my best-kept secret in Munich. This historic graveyard in the heart of the Isarvorstadt neighborhood is perfect for a stroll. It is a prime example of how Munich seamlessly integrates nature and functionality. It is normal to use graveyards as a park, and in this little pocket of nature, you’ll find plenty of urban wildlife and many locals enjoying the fresh air.

Urban Wildlife: Munich is a typical European city seemingly void of wildlife, but you can spot plenty of birds and small critters if you keep your eyes peeled. Dozens of wild birds call Munich home, and if you head to any of the parks, you’ll likely spot plenty, making the area great for urban birders. Watch for squirrels, martens, hedgehogs, ducks, beavers and swans. For a leisurely day trip from Munich to enjoy nature, visit the Murnauer Moos Nature Reserve.

Learn About Munich’s Culture and History

Oide Wiesn cultural event

When most people think of Munich’s cultural highlights, they naturally think of Oktoberfest or the Christmas markets. Still, there are plenty of local cultural events in and around Munich that you can visit throughout the year to learn about Bavarian traditions and culture. One of the more meaningful parts of traveling is cultural exchanges, and learning about the history and culture of your destination should be part of any sustainable itinerary.

Cultural Events in Munich

Volksfests

Volksfest are best thought of as small, intimate community events around Munich, where you will find traditional food, beer, market stands, and rides. Some of my favorite that happen across Munich are: 

  • Auer Dulten dates back to the 14th century and happens thrice a year, bringing together over 300 markets and food stalls.
  • City Founding Festival: Munich was founded in June 1158. For two days every June, the city celebrates with medieval markets, beer gardens, traditional dancing, folklore, and history lessons. 
  • Magdalenafest has been happening in Munich since the 1700s and is an excellent option for families traveling to Munich in July with rides, food stalls, and vendor booths.

carnival swing ride at Oktoberfest

Beer Festivals

Beer is part of Munich’s cultural identity and is home to the world’s oldest still-operating brewery and some of the brewing industry’s biggest names.

  • Starkbierfest is a historic event that dates back to the 1700s when monks brewed strong, dark beer to tide them over during Lent. Join locals in traditional Tracht for beer, folk songs, food, and Starkbier.
  • Fruhlingsfest is a spring festival with beer tents, rides, and cultural events. It feels like a mini Oktoberfest for young locals. 
  • Oktoberfest is the biggest beer festival in the world. Oktoberfest still nods to tradition but is often visited by rowdy tourists, which can take away from charm – depending on who you ask. Make sure to visit the Oide Wisen for a historical and more authentic experience, including music and folk dancing. The Agricultural Fair happens every 4th year and is another great cultural experience.  

beer kegs decorated for oktoverfest

Almabtriebs

At the end of every harvest year, agricultural towns host an Almabtreib, an alpine cultural event throughout Bavaria, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy. Farming towns dress their cows with fancy headdresses, bringing them down from the mountains to winter in lower fields. Farmers wearing traditional lederhosen parade their cows down the streets, ending at a small festival with traditional music, local craft beer, farm-fresh cheese, meats, and dance. 

German cow with bell

Christmas Markets

Munich’s Christmas Markets date back to the 14th century and are a long-standing cultural tradition in Munich. Ensure you learn about the Advent Season in Munich, a very important time for families and traditions beyond the markets. Enjoy traditional gluhwein, market foods, and hand-crafted vendors under the glittering Christmas lights of Munich city.  I have a comprehensive guide to enjoying Munich’s Christmas Markets with a sustainable and cultural focus. 

Fasching

Karneval, including Rose Monday and Fat Tuesday, signaling the start of Lent, are important to German culture. Munich hosts events during Karneval week with traditional dancing, a parade, costume events, and the main stage with quirky Emcees.  Most of the events happen at Marienplatz or the Viktualienmarkt. Costumes are encouraged similarly to how N. Americans might celebrate Halloween!

Mayday

Maypole raisings happen across Munich on May Day. The main event happens at the Viktualienmarkt for the ceremonial raising of Munich’s central ole, which rumor has is the same tree used for the Marienplatz Christmas tree. However, I love to visit the Augustiner Kellner for their Maypole raising. Here, you’ll find plenty of traditional music, dancing, beer, and the Maypole festivities!

Museums and History

When visiting a new destination, it is always important to learn about history – the good and the bad. Munich has a pretty traumatic past as the home of the Nazi regime. I encourage you to visit the Jewish Center of Munich at St. Jakobs Platz to learn about and support Munich’s Jewish history and community. Take a day trip to Dachau Memorial Camp (former concentration camp). You can also take a 3rd Reich Tour to learn about the city’s Nazi’s Past. 

There are good things about Munich’s history, like its history of science and engineering. The Deutsches Museum is the largest science and tech museum globally, and the BMW Museum looks at Munich’s ingenious car industry through the years. Most museums are discounted on Sundays, and you can enter ancient history, modern art, beer, and geology museums.  Check out my Geek Guide to Munich for more ideas if you want to visit museums as you travel.  

Deutsches Museum planetary dome and city skyline

Shop Local. Farmer’s Markets. Thrift.

Supporting local businesses is one of the best ways to prevent tourism leakage. By supporting local businesses and products and shopping sustainably your destination will be able to utilize the revenue to offset the negative impacts of tourism by mitigating additional emissions, building better infrastructure, and local small businesses will thrive.

Munich best hipster coffee shop cafe bla

Shop Local

Or ‘Kauf Lokal’  as we say in Munich. Look for the Kauf Lokal sign for local handmade artisanal products so you can directly support Munich’s local small business economy. You can visit Kauf Lokal for the full list of local stores participating. An easy way to use this guide is by entering your hotel’s or accommodation’s zip code to see what is around you or search by category. Supporting local businesses in Munich has never been easier with the handy guide created by a local entrepreneur. If you’re BIG into supporting local businesses, then visit during the Kauf Lokal expo in May, where you’ll find all Munich’s local brands, big and small, under one roof. 

Support Diverse Local Businesses

Elle’Cee is a Black-owned clothing boutique in Munich. The woman who owns it is incredibly friendly and speaks fluent English. Stop in, spice up your wardrobe, and support a local small business. While you’re there, swing by Annam Grill, one of my favorite places for fresh Vietnamese food in Munich. We eat here at least once a week. 

Makula is a Black-owned West African restaurant serving some of Munich’s best food. The owner is hilarious and often shares some of his secret spicy booze with you after you’re full of flavorful vegan food. I also love Black-owned Cafe Omo for fantastic Ethiopian food – their flatbread and vegan sample platter for 2 is literal perfection. 

Bellevue di Monaco is a cafe, restaurant, and community center where migrants work and gain employment skills. They have a ‘pay what you can’ system, and the more you pay for your food, the more money goes back into a program to help migrants gain employment and afford basic housing. 

If you shop around Glockenbachviertel at places like Eiscafé Eismeer or Kraftwerk, you’ll be supporting businesses owned by members of or supporting the LGBTQIA community.

Farmer and Flea Markets

One of the best ways to visit Munich sustainably is by supporting local farmers and producers at markets around Munich. Look for labels that say products were grown or produced in Munich, Bavaria, or Germany. 

Sustainable Tip: Always bring your reusable shopping bag to markets for local products. This ensures you are visiting Munich as responsibly as possible. 

Viktualienmarkt is the biggest market is the Viktualienmarkt. It is a great place to get the full immersive market experience with bustling flower stands, fresh mushrooms, local wine, meats, cheeses, olives, fruits, veggies, spices, honey… you name it, and you can find it. This is a great place to stock up on food for a picnic in the Englischer Garten or get a little souvenir to take home. While you’re visiting, make sure to check out Munich’s May Pole at the center.

Elisabethmarkt platz Munich local Markets

Market at Elisabethplatz is my favorite as a relaxing alternative to the Viktualienmarkt. You’ll find stands of fresh food, flowers, local products, and wares. One of my favorite coffee places, Standl 20, is also at Elisabethplatz. This is a great place to kill an hour or stock up on food to get you through the day.

Wiener Markt, or Vienna Square, is a charming small market on the French Quarter’s outskirts. Located at the old road intersection connecting Munich and Vienna, it was destroyed during WWII and rebuilt in 2002, giving it historical significance. This is a great launching point to explore Haidhausen, a charming neighborhood with many boutiques and cafes. 

Cheese Market in Munich

Wochenmarkts are weekly local markets that change locations daily. My favorite is Wochenmarkt Au, south of the Isar. The markets are humble, but you’ll find staples like cheese, bread, and other grocery items from local vendors. Search ‘Wochenmarkt’ in Google Maps, and you’ll find several locations. Check the dates as they are only open one day a week at various locations.

Thrifting

Thrifting is a great way to get clothing if you need to restock some staples while traveling or forgot to pack a windbreaker without contributing to the fast fashion problem.

Sustainable Tip: The fashion industry contributes more to greenhouse gases than the airline industry. Choosing an organic fabric, buying used clothing, supporting local brands, and providing fair trade products are crucial.

Pick n Weight is a store where you pay for your clothing by the Kilo. These stores have a vintage and eclectic selection of clothing, all categorized by color. Another great option is Oxfam, a practical everyday wear store if you’re on a tight budget or don’t like consuming new clothing while you travel. If you’re looking for a previously used Dirndl called Wasch-Dirndl, check out Schwabinger Holareidulijö Trachtenladen or Lily´s Treff. I highly recommend this option if you visit for Oktoberfest and don’t want to buy a new Dirndl you’ll likely never wear again.

Flohmarkts

Munich Flomarkt Frulingsfest

Flohmarkts, or garage sales, are popular in Munich, especially in the summer. They range from massive outdoor markets on the Oktoberfest grounds to night markets in lofts and small neighborhood markets. My favorites are large annual summer events like the Night Bazaar and the Frühlingsfrest Flohmarkt. You can find all the dates and locations of the Flohmarkts on this website.

Boutique Stores

If you’re looking for locally owned boutiques, I suggest exploring Gärtnerplatz and Reichenbachstraße. I also recommend the roads Amalienstraße, Schellingstraße, and Türkenstraße in the university district. Here are a few highlights worth checking out.

MILK is a great place to shop in Munich since they do all the hard work for you by selecting clothing from small businesses, fair and sustainable labels, and clothing made from organic materials. Maloja Store: A local Munich streetwear and athletic store typically uses only organic materials and sustainable methods for making their clothing. The interior of the store has a vintage upcycle feel. Bella Natura features hip European fashion trends from sustainable materials at fair trade prices. Shop fair fashion from a local Munich-owned boutique. Grune Erde is a socially conscious, sustainable, organic, and eco-friendly store full of homewares, clothing, furniture, and more. If you want a sustainable souvenir from Munich, swing by after visiting the Viktualienmarkt.

Vegetarian and Vegan Food

Munich isn’t all schnitzel and pork knuckle. A vibrant and emerging vegetarian and vegan scene is taking over the city. Germany was recently ranked the 6th best country for vegetarians, and more than 12% of Germans identify as vegan or vegetarian. Being such a vegetarian-friendly city, Munich is great for vegetarians or anyone trying to eat less meat. Don’t worry you can still enjoy traditional foods that are made vegan or adapted for a plant-forward diet. Challenging yourself to eat less meat or trying some of Munich’s vegan options has never been easier.

Munich Vegan and Vegetarian Food-21

Check out my full vegetarian and vegan guide to Munich for dozens of restaurants, local vegan foods to try, and even how to order food without meat or dairy in German.

Eco and Sustainable Accommodation

Where you choose to stay can make all the difference. If you opt for local hotels that feature local and sustainable products like food and soap, you’ll reduce the tourism leakage in the region and get a great night’s sleep. These are a few of my favorite eco-hotels in Munich. I have personally stayed in all of these hotels and would recommend them for anyone visiting Munich interested in a sustainable itinerary.

The Lost Weekend Coffee Shop Munich Germany

Living Hotel – Living Hotels is a local German, family-owned, sustainable, and ethical company. They started right here in Munich! At their restaurants, you’ll find locally grown and in-season food offerings. And it doesn’t stop there. The German brand Living Hotels uses 100% green energy, offsets the carbon cost of travelers, donates to environmental projects, no longer uses plastic cups, the paper is recycled, and commits to reducing dirty palm oil products. Some locations have bee farms on the roof and provide electric car charging stations and local zero-waste products. There are four locations in Munich: Viktualienmarkt, Deutsches Museum, Olympiapark, and Princess Elizabeth. I recommend the one at Viktualienmarkt for its great central location and customer service!

The Flushing Meadows is a no-fuss hipster boutique hotel in my former neighborhood. If you are an independent traveler who doesn’t need anyone at a hotel to fuss over you, this is the spot for you. The hotel is committed to sustainability with waste and energy reduction, local products, and more. With a spectacular rooftop bar, you can grab a drink to watch the sunset with a historic church as a backdrop. Right out the front door, you can easily access the Isar, and Glockenback, a hip and sustainable neighborhood.

Schwan Locke. If you need a comfortable place for a longer stay, I love Schwan Locke. The hotel was designed with the modern digital nomad in mind. I loved staying here and taking advantage of their co-working space, cafe, and rooms with kitchens. The location is great, next to Ubahn and Oktoberfest.

Schwan Locke Hotel in Munich

25Hours Hotel: The Royal Bavarian is located in the old post office, but revamped with royal Bavarian charm.  25Hours is a German-owned hotel chain with strong sustainability commitments that features local products. You’ll feel like you’re inside a living history lesson as Bavarian culture and history are incorporated throughout the hotel. Their restaurant and cafe feature vegan food from an Israeli family-owned restaurant.

25Hours Hotel Munich

Soulmade is a vegan-friendly hotel made entirely out of wood. They have a strong statement against racism and homophobia and support children’s education and health in Germany. With a pocket park in the center, this is the perfect location for an extended, slow stay in Munich. It is located just outside the city but is probably one of the most sustainable hotels I’ve ever seen!

Morbi vitae purus dictum, ultrices tellus in, gravida lectus.

Sample Sustainable Itinerary

To experience the best of Munich and the surrounding area, I recommend spending at least two days in the city while budgeting 1 to 2 days for day trips. But – you know me, I’m always an advocate for slower travel, and you could easily spend 5-7 days to get a taste of the city. 

Munich love Siegestor

Day 1 – Explore the best of Munich

While I often advocate getting away from the top 10 sights of cities, many have significant cultural and historical significance and can be worth visiting. For day one, I recommend visiting all the major highlights of Munich. If you do this during the week, things will be less crowded. I’ll hand this over to my good friend Christina at Happy To Wander, as she has one of the best and most immersive 24-hour guides to Munich that I think covers the highlights, traditional food, and even some local hidden gems. 

Munich City Guide

Day 2 – Get off the beaten path

Explore Munich’s local neighborhoods and alternative haunts. Check out my hipster and alternative guide to Munich that will help you support small businesses, explore the alternative neighborhoods, and get a taste of local life in Munich. End the alternative day with beers by the Isar, where all the locals hang out to watch the sunset. 

Day 3 – Day Trip to Nature

You can learn much about your destination by exploring local connections with nature. Munichites love spending time outdoors, from Nordic walking, skiing, hiking, surfing, paddleboarding, swimming, etc. I recommend heading out to one of Munich’s larger lakes – you can even bike there for a full day of outdoor goodness, the murnauer moos, go hiking in the Alps, or even go for a long walk down the Isar if you want to stay in the city.

Day 4 – Cultural Day Trip

Learn more about Bavarian culture or history by visiting Dachau Memorial Camp, Andechs Monastery Brewery, or any other day trips I highlight.

Check out my full list of nature-based and culture-based day trips from Munich.

Share and save this in-depth sustainable travel guide to exploreSustainable Travel Guide for Munich, Germany. Eco Tips and Itinerary for the responsible traveler Munich with a mindful approach. Munich is one of the best cities for sustainable travel and this eco-focused itinerary and sustainable tips will help ensure you see the best of Munich and some hidden gems, all while reducing your impact.

What was something you learned that you are excited to implement on your next trip to Munich? Let me know in the comments. Let’s get curious about reducing your impact and saving travel in Munich, Germany.

Sustainable Urban Travel Guide
Sustainable Travel Guide to Munich

Curiosity Saves’ Sustainable Travel Resources & Tips

Accommodation: I primarily use Booking.com to find sustainable accommodation. Not only do you get a Genius Discount for being a loyal customer, but their new feature allows you to filter based on sustainability. When available, I will always choose a sustainable 3+ property, which means the hotel has significantly reduced its environmental impact and has a vested interest in the community. You can read about each hotel’s efforts at the bottom of the page. 

 

Packing Essentials: Before buying, first consider if you need new items. If you do, invest in quality and long-lasting technical clothing from your local Co-Op like REI. REI is also great for getting your reusable water bottle and cutlery set

Patagonia, has clothing created with regenerative practices. Patagonia will always repair or swap items and recycle them at the end of their line. 

Farm to Feet for socks made with regenerative practices that keep you stink and sweat-free and great for travel! Pistil Designs for cold-weather essentials.

Osprey travel bags have lasted me 10+ years, making them a great sustainable investment. Whether a day bag I take hiking or my favorite carry-on.

 

eSIM: Swapping out SIM cards in every country you travel to is wasteful and confusing, so I recommend Airalo eSIM. Airalo is a game changer for travel, as I can purchase a local or regional SIM with a pre-determined amount of data and download an eSIM directly on my phone.

 

Buses and Trains: To find and book the best train and bus transportation in Europe, Canada, and the United States, I use Omio. Omio is a fantastic resource for quickly comparing train and bus routes with English search results and easy-to-use QR codes.

Of course, you might need to book a flight when trains and buses aren’t an option, and you’ve first considered reducing or altering your trip to avoid flying as much as possible. I use Google Flights for their easy-to-understand carbon comparison tool. 

 

Car Rental: Discover Cars lets you shop for the best rate in English and keeps all your details in one place. Ganesh and I drove a Polestar EV at home and typically aim to book electric zero-emission or hybrid cars when we travel. Discover Cars has a filter that makes it easy to find hybrid and fully electric cars. They also offer resources on how to find charging stations best – but for that, I recommend the Plugshare app. 

 

Tours and Excursions: GetYourGuide has an extensive collection of tours, excursions, and admission tickets for activities worldwide. When booking, you can look for the eco-certified badge, stay away from tours that promise wildlife encounters or direct contact, look for local tour guides, and quickly search the tour operator to ensure you support ethical operators.

While GetYourGuide is excellent for most locations, Viator by Trip Advisor has better activities for some of my favorite destinations, like my home state of Alaska.

Sustainable City Guide to Munich for the Responsible TravelerSustainable City Guide to Munich for the Responsible TravelerSustainable City Guide to Munich for the Responsible TravelerSustainable City Guide to Munich for the Responsible TravelerSustainable City Guide to Munich for the Responsible TravelerSustainable City Guide to Munich for the Responsible Traveler