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Here's how to make this winter in Munich really special

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Here's how to make this winter in Munich really special
Curling at Nymphenburg Palace. Photo: DPA
17:13 CET+01:00
The temperatures may be shiveringly close to freezing, but the Bavarian capital is a city that knows how to make the most of the snow, ice and darkness.

Active and sporty

Ever tried curling? Munich in wintertime is an excellent place to try out this snowy sport related to shuffleboard, right at the scenic Nymphenburg Palace. At Eisstockbahnen Nymphenburg, you can join in on the fun at the canal - all ages and levels welcome. If you'd like a freshly tapped beer to go along with your curling, try out the sport at the Augustinerkeller in downtown Munich.

Romantic with a partner or fun with the whole family, ice skating is another fun wintertime athletic activity on a cold day. Westbad near Pasing offers an affordable rink; Prinzregentenstadion features a combination ticket for both ice skating and use of the sauna (in case skating wasn't enough to warm you up!) and Olympic hopefuls can try out their skills at the Eissportszentrum Olympiapark.

It probably wouldn't be a proper winter without some sledding, right? Munich's many parks have you covered - Riemer Park is a particular favourite among locals, and the Aubinger Lohe area boasts an array of various-sized hills for sledding fun. In need of a sled? Pop over to Sport Schuster, Obletter or a local toy shop and debate the merits of various makes and models, settle for your favourite, have a fun day on the hills and treat yourself to a hot drink afterwards (see suggestions below). Or if there's enough snow for it, maybe it's time for a snowball fight...

If you'd prefer to stay indoors but still keep active, why not go bowling at one of Munich's bowling alleys, or try bouldering at an indoor climbing wall?

A bit of culture during the cold weather

Why not go to some museums in the winter with a bit of a seasonal theme? The Alpines Museum in Munich features exhibits and installations related to all things Alpine - an area which is often covered in powdery snow.

Check out the "Winterwald" (winter forest) at the Hunting and Fishing Museum directly downtown. Organize your own art scavenger hunt in one of Munich's many art museums, such as the Neue Pinakothek or the Brandhorst, to find paintings, sketches and sculptures featuring wintery elements (drinking coffee in a cafe absolutely counts).

Many of the city's museums cost just €1 on Sundays, so if you're feeling housebound by some bad weather, it's the perfect opportunity to soak up some culture.

The Neue Pinakothek. Photo: DPA

The Munich state opera and ballet put on some fun performances during the wintertime. If you're willing to take a standing-room spot, or are a student, you can get a significant discount and ticket price includes a public transit fare. Munich has many excellent theatres and cabarets, although the majority are German-language only.

If you're a jazz fan, the excellent club Unterfahrt, located in an unbuilt subway station underground, features intimate performances with a wide range of international performers. Popular clubs, such as Milla, feature lots of fun bands and single acts during the winter weeks. Warm up with a Glühwein (mulled wine) and enjoy the good vibes during the darker days.

Romance in the air

Winter can be a very romantic season - New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day, and just the pure wonder of a snowy day - and Munich is an excellent city in which to fully immerse yourself in that spirit. Cross-country skiing in and around the suburbs of Munich is an invigorating winter activity to do with your partner - scenic Ostpark or Schloss Nymphenburg are two locations that offer cross-country paths. Bring it to a sparkling close with a glass of Sekt.

A stroll around the scenically stunning Starnberger See or a leisurely walk through the English Garden, a day in the adult-only area of Therme Erding to enjoy the pools, sauna or some lounging with a cocktail of choice.

Starnberger See in snow. Photo: DPA

Family entertainment

Munich's very own Circus Krone offers a number of circus performances under the big top throughout the winter season, featuring clowns, elephants and daring acrobats. Kids getting antsy and jumping off the walls with energy to burn? Head over to Airhop, Munich's indoor trampoline park, or the Winterspielplatz if you have smaller children. Many children's theaters in Munich offer some great family-friendly programmes during the winter months, ranging from puppet shows at the Münchner Marionettentheater to live theater pieces at Münchner Theater für Kinder.

During wintertime, the Munich Botanical Gardens feature a room filled with tropical butterflies. If you stand still enough, a butterfly might come and land on your shoulder - a very memorable and special experience.

Many of the indoor pools in Munich are open throughout the winter, featuring heated children's areas. In winter, Westbad features a family sauna day each week with the temperature set especially so that families can bring babies and younger children to enjoy the experience.

Throughout the Fasching festival season in February, the whole family can enjoy specialty Krapfen (doughnuts) found at every Munich bakery.

Hot beverages for a chilly day

You won't lack for choice for delicious warming drinks on a crisp, cold Munich winter day. If you want something with a bit of an alcoholic zing, try a Glühwein (mulled wine), a hot toddy (imported from the UK), or a hot chocolate with a "Schuss" (shot) of rum. A popular central European winter drink is a Heisse Zitrone - a hot lemon juice usually served with honey - or you can try a yummy alternative, Heisse Holunder, which is a hot elderberry juice usually cooked along with some spices.

Munich is an excellent city for coffee lovers, and cool temperatures are the perfect opportunity to indulge in a steaming hot coffee drink at one of Munich's many cafes and coffee spots. Cafe Luitpold provides an elegant atmosphere, while places like Man Versus Machine provide a minimalist environment with a powerful caffeinated kick.

Try a specialty Heisse Schokolade (hot chocolate) at Beluga Chocolaterie. Vegans may enjoy a turmeric latte made from either almond or coconut milk, found in places like Deli Kitchen.

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