Backstage at Munich's theatres
Not many people know it, but Munich is considered to have one of the most prestigious theatre scenes in Germany. This makes it one of the city's insider tips for visitors. Residents and tourists have over 50 different venues to choose from, each one with an impressive line-up of performances. If you want to take a real look backstage, pay a call to the German Theatre Museum, located in the Hofgarten park. Here, you can learn about the history of the theatre as well as developments across Europe, and you can admire its collection of elaborate costumes, stage designs and props. The museum also holds the world's largest collection of theatre photography. It hosts an ever-changing programme of exhibitions, so every visit is like a brand new experience. The museum really is one of the city's highlights.
The theatre museum is some 25 minutes' walk from Munich's main station. Leaving the station building at the Arnulfstrasse exit, turn right to head east towards Luisenstrasse. Turn left at Luisenstrasse, then right at Elisenstrasse, the next corner. Walk along Elisenstrasse – it takes you past the Old Botanical Gardens. At the end of the park, follow the street as it opens out into Lenbachplatz, which brings you to Maximiliansplatz. You'll see the Wittelsbach Fountain on your left, and there is a monument to Schiller at the end of the elongated green space. The street curves to the left to bring you to Platz der Opfer des Nationalsozialismus. Go right when you reach Brienner Strasse. It brings you to Odeonsplatz, where you go left. Walk along Odeonsplatz until you reach Galleriestrasse. Turn right here, and the theatre museum is located on your right.
A haven for poets and thinkers in the heart of the city
Dichtergarten park is opposite the museum. This "poets' garden" is still something of a secret – not even long-time Münchners know about it. Which is surprising, as the park is next to the famous Hofgarten. Dense trees and uneven terrain give this green space the feel of an enchanted forest – and with it a romantic, dreamy quality. Relax in the atmosphere of this green getaway, an island in the middle of the busy city, and recharge your batteries before you head on to the next item on your list.
Food with a view, then high style plus exquisite tradition
When you've finished your visit to the park, it's time for a snack and a wonderful visual experience. One of Munich's hidden gems, Café@Belstaff is just 500 m away. Head towards Galeriestrasse to leave Dichtergarten, go right when you reach the street, then left at Odeonplatz. Stay to the left as you walk along Odeonplatz to reach Residenzstrasse. Don't be confused when you arrive at Belstaff and see a shop on the ground floor: you need to walk in and climb the stairs to the first floor. Café@Belstaff's industrial chic makes for a unique atmosphere, and it is a perfect place for a business lunch at a great price. Sweet and savoury dishes are on the menu – and coffee too, of course. It's a stylish spot where you'll want to linger, as the huge, glazed facade offers a priceless view of the old Residenz palace across the street.
Do you need to pick up a gift or two? Then you definitely need to pop into Dallmayr Delikatessenhaus, one of Munich's best-known sights. Walk straight down Residenzstrasse and keep going along Dienerstrasse until you come to a large, ochre-coloured building, the home of a shop that is a living Munich tradition. The quality and style of this family-run business are what makes it popular with its customers. The gourmet in you will be thrilled by the 6,000 or so products on offer – cheese, wine, honey, jam and so much more. Right in the middle of the shop is the famous Dallmayr fountain with its putti and live inhabitants – these "in-store" crustaceans are a draw for visitors big and small. The company's oldest outlet owes its fame largely to the ads for Dallmayr coffee that were shot here. Don't miss the chance to pick up some delicious treats for your friends and family back home.
Visit the king of nonsense and enjoy a classic tavern
If you like to have a good laugh, you can't afford to miss the Valentin Karlstadt museum, installed in one of the towers of the Isartor gate. Its exhibits pay homage to Karl Valentin and Liesl Karlstadt, Bavaria's best-known comedy double-act. The on-site cinema brings their local brand of antics back to life and reduces viewers to tears of laughter. Located just 600m from Dallmayr's shop, the legendary museum even makes fun of conventional spelling with its German name. Go south along Dienerstrasse and turn left at Altenhofstrasse. When you reach Burggasse, look to your right and you'll see a small arch between two buildings. It leads you down Ledererstrasse, then keep along Dürnbräugasse and turn left when you reach Tal. The Isartor gate is at the end of this street.
After the museum, walk back up Tal: the Tegernseer Tal beer hall is waiting with the perfect reward for your busy day. Here, in the heart of Munich, you can enjoy the feel of an outdoor beer garden all year round. Take your seat at one of the rustic wooden tables and tuck into classic Bavarian fare under a modern glass roof. No visitor should leave without downing a glass of tasty Tegernsee beer fresh from the keg.
Finish your visit to Munich with a 20-minute walk. Head up Tal towards Viktualienmarkt, and cross it to get to Marienplatz. Keep going straight on – this takes you along Kaufingerstrasse, then Neuhauser Strasse and finally to Karlsplatz. Cross the large streets ahead of you, keeping to the right so you come to Prielmayerstrasse. Turn left at Schützenstrasse, follow it around to the right and then keep going. The main station is at the end of this street. On the train back home, you can reminisce about your day and replay it in your mind. Karl Valentin even had a pithy description for this: "Today is tomorrow's good old days".