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Athens on the Isar.

Munich, the capital of Bavaria, doesn’t miss many parties. You’ll see that if you arrive in late September for Octoberfest, the city’s famed 16-day party that each year draws 7 million people. Munich, with 1.3 million residents, is only slightly smaller than Berlin or Hamburg. It’s known throughout Europe, however, for its celebrations, which have helped make it one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. Parades, masked balls and revelry go on year-round. The city has its own version of colorful costumes and fancy floats, ala Mardi Gras, during the pre-Lenten Fasching. But if all that beer makes you think oompah-city, don’t underestimate this sophisticated town. Residents have long been known for their love of the arts. Masterpieces created during the Baroque and Rococo periods are often viewed by critics as equal to the best French and Italian works.

Munich is located on the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps and in the 19th century, its development continued along Neo-Classical lines, earning it the name “Athens on the Isar.” Visitors who want to see the correctness of that designation need only stroll along Ludwigstrasse or Konigsplazt or visit the Glyptohek to view Roman and Greek sculptures.

The city has elegance and taste with lively clubs, good restaurants, wonderful theaters, fine concert halls and some of the best museums you’ll find anywhere in Europe. And why not? When Germans themselves are polled, they often choose this city as the best place to live.

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