Munich Or Frankfurt: Which City is Better to Visit?

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When you think of Germany two cities tend to spring to mind, Munich and Frankfurt. Munich is considered the beer capital as its got a wealth of beer gardens, clubs, pubs, and restaurants, whereas Frankfurt is seen as the financial capital of Germany. Both cities provide travelers with a range of different wonders to explore. But which one should you visit? Munich or Frankfurt?

While Frankfurt is considered to be one of the warmest places in Germany, Munich is considered one of the safest cities in Europe. If you’re looking for traditional Bavaria then Munich is certainly the place to go, however, it is one of the top tourist cities in Germany. Frankfurt on the other hand is situated on the River Main and offers some more off-the-beaten-track attractions that will give a glimpse into the daily life of the locals. 

We know that choosing between the two cities can be difficult, so we’ve put together a guide to compare the two cities so you don’t have to do all the hard work yourself. Our guide compares accommodation, nightlife, things to do, food, and budget so that you get a well-rounded view of both cities to help you make up your mind. 

Munich or Frankfurt: Accommodation

Frankfurt skyline at night
Photo by Martin Konrath via Unsplash

Frankfurt is filled with a mix of old and new and encompasses some rather eclectic architecture. From imposing skyscrapers to historic stately homes you’ll find it all around you. There’s a wide range of accommodation options available from hotels and hostels to quirky Airbnb’s and modest self-catering apartments. 

Whether you’re looking for a romantic week away, a fun city retreat, or a base for a business trip, there are some truly spectacular places to choose from that will meet every budget. The best part of staying in Frankfurt isn’t just the wide range of choices, it’s the fact that a double room with nice facilities and in a prime location will only cost you around $80 per night. This is considerably cheaper than somewhere in Munich.

Munich city center
Photo by Ian Kelsall via Unsplash

Known as the Bavarian Capital, Munich has some pretty incredible architecture, just as frankfurt does. However, Munich is also filled with breathtaking churches, vast palaces, Art Nouveau buildings, and Jugendstil buildings. These are some of the most desirable places to stay in Munich. For many people, Munich is known for its innovation and technology. You’d be surprised that even in the oldest of hotels you’ll find all the mod. cons. 

Whether you’re looking for a city escape, a family excursion holiday, or a tranquil romantic retreat, Munich will provide you with everything. From self-catering apartments to true Bavarian holiday resorts, a night in Munich will cost you around $150. This is based on a double occupancy room in a modest hotel. For families and self-catering you’ll be looking at spending around $210 or more. 

Winner: Frankfurt. Accommodation costs are far cheaper than in Munich and you get a lot more for your money in terms of facilities.

Munich or Frankfurt: Food

Handkäs mit Musik
Photo by Manfred&Barbara Aulbach via Wikimedia Commons

From Frankfurters and Apfelwein to Grüne Soße (green sauce) and Mispelchen, Frankfurt has a lot of Hessian specialties worth trying. If you’ve been to Germany before you may have heard of some of these dishes but chances are there are a fair few you’ve never heard of. One of the most popular dishes in Frankfurt is called Frankfurter Rippchen, which is simply slow-cooked pork, mashed potatoes, and sauerkraut. 

Eating out for every meal can slowly add up when it comes to cost, no matter where you go. While limiting the number of times you go out or by eating from fast-food chains and food stalls will help keep costs down you’ll still want to budget around $35 dollars per day for food, more if you plan to eat in fancier restaurants every day and less if you’ll be cooking for yourself most of the time.  

Here are three delicacies in Frankfurt you need to try:

  • Handkäs mit Musik – A cheese-lovers heaven. It’s a low-fat sour milk cheese that’s been marinated in oil and vinegar, salt, pepper, onions, and most importantly, caraway.
  • Frankfurter Kranz – A deliciously simple three-layered sponge cake shaped like a ring The bottom two layers are sandwiched with buttercream and strawberry or cherry jam stacked on top of each other. The whole outside of the cake is also covered in buttercream and cover in caramelized brittle nuts. 
  • Grüne Soße (Green sauce) – This is merely a blend of seven chopped herbs in either mayonnaise, yogurt, sour cream, or quark cheese.
German cuisine meat dish of pork leg and pork knuckle.Eisbein or schweinshaxe
Photo by By Nikolaydonetsk via Envato Elements

Munich is Germany’s third-largest city and most famously known for being the host of the world’s largest beer festival – Oktoberfest. However, Munich is also famous for its Gaststuden classics of Weißwürste (the boiled, white veal sausage), Haxen (Braised pork knuckle), Leberkäse (a loaf-formed sausage), and Obazda (the intense cheese-mix-spread best eaten with Brezeln). 

Food in Munich is generally cheaper than in Frankfurt. You’d need to budget around $25 per day for food and potentially more if you decide to go out for every meal. The average price per meal is around $5 dollars in Munich as possessed to around $7 per meal in Frankfurt. Each city, however, has its own specialties. Depending on the holiday you are looking for will depend on where you want to go. Frankfurt is definitely more of a foodie city whereas Munich is more of a beer garden and drinks city.

Here are three local delicacies you need to try when in Munich:

  • Schweinshaxe – succulent pork knuckle wrapped in a salty and crisp skin. It’s a must eat when visiting Oktoberfest. 
  • Spätzle – German egg noodles usually made from flour, eggs, water, and salt. In some areas the water is substituted with beer to create the dough. 
  • Obatzda – A German beer cheese dip. Usually made from camembert cheese, butter and beer. Its the perfect for dipping your pretzel into.

Winner: It’s hard to choose a winner here as they both offer something truly different. So if you’re looking for a beer holiday or Oktoberfest then Munich is the place for you. If you’re looking for a more food-oriented holiday then go to Frankfurt. 

Munich or Frankfurt: Pricing/Budget

Frankfurt skyline for across the main river
Photo by Stefan Elvis-stiuca via Unsplash

When trying to decide between Munich or Frankfurt having a price comparison is often helpful especially if you’re on a tight budget. It helps you work out exactly what you’d need to budget each day for sightseeing activities, accommodation, transport, and food so that you can decide whether you are able to afford it. 

There are plenty of things to consider when budgeting for your trip to Frankfurt. Are you going with someone else? Are you going alone? Or are you going as a family of four? These are the first questions you should be asking yourself. The average cost for a 7-day trip to Frankfurt as a solo traveler is around $1,153, for a couple, it’s around $2,071, and for a family of four, it’s around $3,882. Take a look at the chart below for a breakdown of the average cost per day you would need to budget for.

Solo TravelerCouples VacationFamily Vacation
Accommodation$63$63$111
Food$23$46$60
Sightseeing$23$46$60
Aerial view of Munich over Theatine Church of St. Cajetan (Theatinerkirche St. Kajetan) and Odeonplatz, Munich, Bavaria, Germany in day time
Photo by f9photos via Envato Elements

Munich is stunning but it’s also a hugely popular tourist destination so it’s no surprise that a trip here ends up costing you more than a trip to Frankfurt. But how much more? Quite a bit in fact. The average total cost for a seven-day trip for a solo traveler in Munich is around $1,507 which is roughly $350 dollars more than Frankfurt. The average cost for a couple is around $2,707 and for a family of four is around $5,074 which is a staggering $1,192 dollars more than Frankfurt. 

The table below shows you the breakdown of the average costs per day when traveling to Munich. Depending on the activities you do and the places you visit you can do Munich on a budget. 

Solo TravelerCouples VacationFamily Vacation
Accommodation$100$100$173
Food$33$66$130
Sightseeing$33$66$130

Winner: Overall Frankfurt is a much cheaper vacation destination which is why it’s the winner for this round. 

Munich or Frankfurt: Nightlife

Germany, Bavaria, Munich, View of Oktoberfest fair on Theresienwiese in the evening
Photo by By westend61 via Envato Elements

Frankfurt isn’t just the financial center of Germany that you might believe it to be. It’s also got a rather diverse nightlife scene that encompasses everything from fancy wines and jazz dens to techno clubs and outdoor bars. As the birthplace of techno music, Frankfurt has some of the best clubs that showcase this. Robert Johnson is one of the most well-known clubs in the world and many of the top DJs play here. For some live music, heavily focused on Jazz, then Jazzkeller or Jazzlokal Mampf are the places to be. 

Munich is known for its beer however, there is more to Munich than that. You just have to dig a little deeper and move away from some touristy hot spots. Most of the nightlife in Munich can be found in the South and West of the city. From cozy cocktail bars to shipping container bars. There’s a variety of choices here too. If you’re looking for a contemporary club then Geko Club will have you dancing through the night. Backstage Club is another must as it’s a multi-complex venue comprising of three clubs, a theatre, and a pleasant beer garden. 

The nightlife in Munich and Frankfurt is great and each offers some truly unique and fun clubs. 

Winner: Both. The nightlife in each city is fantastic with a wide range of clubs you’ll never get bored. 

Munich or Frankfurt: Things To Do

Monopteros temple in the English garden, Munich Bavaria, Germany
Photo by auriso via Envato Elements

Inside the financial capital of Germany, Frankfurt has a wealth of places to visit and sights to see. From tall skyscrapers and iron footbridges to churches, cathedrals, and museums. When visiting Frankfurt the Museumsufer is a must, this entire neighborhood of museums will keep you entertained and fascinated for days. The Main Tower is a 200-meter skyscraper that offers unrivaled views over the Altstadt and the River Main. The medieval dwelling of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is also well worth the visit. 

Not forgetting the markets, green spaces, and river cruises you can go on as well. Frankfurt is filled with history and the buildings and museums reflect this. Whether you’re looking for something unusual to do in Frankfurt or want to follow in the steps of other tourists, you’ll be blown away with the offering here. 

Munich on the other hand has plenty of must-see attractions. From Marienplatz concert hall to Theatinerkirche church, from surfing at Eisbachwelle to drinking beer at Hofbräuhaus, there are plenty of activities for the whole family. While Frankfurt offers museums galore, Munich offers beer gardens and memorial parks. There are also plenty of museums to visit in Munich if you want to get a real feel for the history of this magnificent city. Munich is also known for being a green city and with all the parks on offer, you can certainly see why. 

Winner: Again, both cities win here. There’s so much to offer in both that it’s difficult to decide between the two. If you want parks and green spaces opt for Munich, if you want to spend your time visiting museums then go for Frankfurt.

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Justine King is from the UK and has been a full-time traveller and freelance writer since 2020 after a 6-year career in Hospitality. Clients benefit from her love and knowledge of the sector as she creates informative and inspiring articles to help guide readers totheir next travel destination.