Culture hits you from every direction in Munich: over 80 museums will compete for your attention. At the neoclassical temple housing the Alte Pinakothek museum, the lovingly curated work of Old European Masters is a glorious sight to behold. Clue yourself up on Bavaria’s history at century-old museum The Munich Residence, a former royal palace.
An astonishingly green city, Munich boasts 750 miles of tree-lined bike paths, lavish gardens (of the baroque palace Nymphenburg) and parkland to rival New York’s Central Park in acreage (the sprawling English Garden).
Travel to the north of the city to spy Olympiapark, built for the 1972 Games. A surprisingly small-scale venue, the park’s swimming hall and ice-skating rink are open to the public.
Visiting in September and October? Oktoberfest has been held in Munich for 200 years and has evolved into a carnivalesque, six-million-person beer binge. Those kinds of crowds evaporate later in winter for those keen to experience the fairy-tale atmosphere of the city’s fantastically festive Christmas markets.
From Munich, the story-book hinterland of Bavaria awaits. The best way to explore this eye-wateringly beautiful landscape is by hire car via the Romantic Road, which stretches from Füssen, 130km south-west of Munich, up to Würzburg through 300km of rolling countryside and vineyards, passing the World Heritage walled towns of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Dinkelsbühl and Nördlingen.
Two hours' drive from Munich, Nuremberg is well worth a side trip. Though it may always be associated with the Nazi movement, and the subsequent international war crimes tribunal which held its leadership to account, medieval Nuremberg must be seen to be believed. Stroll among the old-town's fortifications and up to the hilltop castle before losing yourself in the lively market.
Visiting in ski season? The upmarket, five-ski-area resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen is just 80km to the south of Munich. However, there are also swathes of empty terrain ideal for backcountry, off-piste skiing. Oberstaufen, two hours' south-west of Munich (near the Swiss border), sits on the doorstep of Hochgrat mountain (1,834m). Fling yourself down a range of 4km deep-powder runs.