photo of Neues Rathaus or New Town Hall which is a prime example of amazing architecture in Munich

The evolution of architecture is a prominent indicator of changing times in any location. This evolution reflects humanity’s shifting needs, from the fundamental requirements of shelter, safety, and security to the embrace of comfort, beauty, and technology. When it comes to architecture in Munich, the city showcases a diverse array of architectural marvels, ranging from charming vintage designs to modern, upscale structures. 

Gothic buildings, characterised by their long pointed arches, spectacular stained-glass windows, spires, and ribbed vaults, are among the most prevalent and popular examples in the city. Both locals and tourists alike admire these architectural masterpieces. Additionally, modern buildings contribute to the unique character of the Bavarian capital. This article delves into the Gothic and modern-style architecture in Munich, highlighting must-see structures for anyone visiting the city.

Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall)

No list of gothic buildings would be complete without mention of the wonderful New Town Hall (featured image). Located on the Marienplatz, the Neues Rathaus is a Gothic-style building that stands out for its impressive architecture and historical significance. Home to the famous Glockenspiel, this towering building is a blend of Gothic revival and Neo-Gothic styles, offering a unique perspective on Munich’s architectural heritage.

The building captures the attention of anyone passing by, thanks to the gargoyles and statues covering it. The Glockenspiel offers a fun and unique re-telling of two key moments in Munich’s history. A joust shows the tournament that took place in honour of the wedding of Duke Wilhelm V and Renate of Lorraine. The figures performing the Schaffler dance tell the story of the barrel makers who were first on the streets, dancing after a plague epidemic. Besides enjoying the view from the street, you can take an elevator to the top of the tower and enjoy breathtaking views of the city.

Frauenkirche, Munich (Church of Our Dear Lady)

photo of the Frauenkirche in Munich

The Frauenkirche Munich Cathedral is known as the biggest church in the city, built on the remains of a Romanesque church. The Gothic-style cathedral mostly has a simple design, with the exception of the towers that are almost 100 metres in height, covered with green domes and visible throughout the city.  

As one of Munich’s most iconic landmarks, the Frauenkirche dominates the city skyline with its distinctive twin towers. Built in the 15th century, this Gothic masterpiece impresses everyone who sees it with its imposing size and intricate vaulted ceilings. Although World War II bombing destroyed much of the interior of the church, what survived was restored. The Gothic nave, original stained glass windows as well as the mysterious “Devil’s Footprint” in the building with a fascinating history are among the major attractions of the church.


The Isartor is a Gothic-style marvel of architecture in Munich located east of the Viktualienmarkt. It is one of three gates remaining from the city’s mediaeval walls, comprising a central gate tower with two side towers, constructed during the mediaeval era as an eastern entrance to the city and a defensive structure. At the time of its construction, it also symbolised Munich’s strength, resilience, and determination. 

Some key features of the Isartor are the 40-metre tall central tower and the two smaller towers on either side of it. A triangular pediment set above the gate’s passage is a defining feature of its Gothic architectural style, as well as the archways that fortify the structure. The steep, pointed roof rises overhead, creating a striking view of the gate against the city’s skyline, while the fresco adds artistic elegance. 

Heilig-Geist-Kirche (Church of the Holy Spirit)

photo of Heilig-Geist-Kirche in Munich Germany

Located in the city centre at Viktualienmarkt, the Heilig-Geist-Kirche is another example of fabulous architecture in Munich. One of the oldest churches in the Bavarian capital, it dates back to the early 13th century. Although originally a Gothic hall church, most of the structure has been remodelled into different architectural styles. Only the choir buttresses and the north wall of the nave remain of the original Gothic structure. 

Some of the more notable features of the church are the four bells added in 2012 and named Heiliggeist, Maria and Josef, and the Brezneriter bell. There are also several pieces of art from different centuries within the church, giving a brief, creative glimpse of history; as well as wall frescoes depicting gifts of the Holy Spirit. 

Blutenburg Palace

photo of the Blutenburg Palace in Munich Germany

The Blutenburg Palace is a charming, picturesque little castle located between two arms of the River Würm, west of Munich. The Gothic-style castle dates back to the 15th century when it was used as a hunting lodge by the Bavarian Duke Albrecht III. He added a gateway with defensive walls and a gate tower to the building. His son, Sigismund, later expanded the castle and added a chapel with mediaeval fittings that perfectly highlight late Gothic architecture.

The castle currently houses the International Youth Library — a collection of rooms that book lovers are bound to enjoy. It’s a great place to visit for family outings, jogging, and hiking. There’s even a restaurant inside where you can try out their red wine with the delicious meals offered there. This small castle with a long history and a quiet elegance might not be as popular as most of the castles in Munich, but it is certainly worth a visit.

BMW Welt

aerial photo of BMW Welt in Munich Germany

Moving on to more contemporary architecture in Munich, BMW Welt is a symbol of modern engineering and design. The futuristic structure combines glass, steel, and concrete to create a sleek and visually striking building. Home to BMW’s automotive museum, this architectural marvel showcases Munich’s commitment to innovation and cutting-edge design.

Designed by Coop Himmelb(l)au, this building showcases the latest models of BMW vehicles in an awe-inspiring setting. The interior spaces, including exhibition halls, event spaces, and delivery areas, are meticulously designed to create an immersive brand experience for anyone who ventures into it.

Allianz Arena

photo of the illuminated Allianz Arena in Munich Germany
As one of the most recognisable stadiums in the world, the Allianz Arena is a modern architectural gem. Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, this state-of-the-art stadium is home to the legendary FC Bayern Munich as well as TSV 1860 Munich. What makes the Allianz Arena truly unique is its exterior, which is composed of inflated ETFE plastic panels that can be illuminated in different colours, creating a stunning display visible from afar. The stadium’s unique design allows it to change colours, reflecting the respective home team playing inside and creating an unforgettable visual experience for spectators. The colour red lights up for Bayern Munich, blue for TSV, and white for Germany’s national team. The stadium’s capacity, modern amenities, and unique design make it a symbol of Munich’s passion for sports and innovation, and worthy of mention in any list of architecture in Munich.

Pinakothek der Moderne

photo of a man admiring the Pinakothek der Moderne interior in Munich Germany

A stark departure from the traditional Gothic and Baroque architecture of Munich, the Pinakothek der Moderne is a contemporary art museum housed in a glass and concrete building. Its minimalist design and open spaces provide a fitting backdrop for the modern artworks housed within, offering a glimpse into the city’s artistic evolution.

Designed by Stephan Braunfels, this architectural masterpiece houses four museums under one roof, namely the Art, Works on Paper, Architecture, and Design Museums. The building holds a diverse collection of artworks spanning different artistic movements and periods. Pinakothek der Moderne is not just a museum but a cultural hub that inspires and educates art enthusiasts from around the world.

Fünf Höfe

photo of hanging plants in a section of Fünf Höfe in Munich Germany
A shopping complex that combines historic buildings with modern architecture in Munich, Fünf Höfe combines old and new in the heart of the Bavarian capital. Its glass roof and steel structures create a harmonious contrast with the surrounding historic buildings, showcasing the city’s ability to embrace both tradition and innovation simultaneously. Fünf Höfe, meaning “Five Courtyards,” was designed by Herzog & de Meuron. The urban development has five interconnected courtyards with retail spaces, offices, residences, and recreational areas. The architects retained and restored existing historical structures while introducing contemporary elements such as glass facades, steel beams, and green roofs to give the place a more modern feel. Fünf Höfe is a prime example of adaptive reuse and sustainable urban planning, revitalising the city centre while preserving its architectural heritage.

Highlight Towers

Rising high above the Munich skyline, the Highlight Towers are a pair of sleek skyscrapers that represent the city’s growing urban landscape. The towers stand out amidst the more traditional architecture in Munich, symbolising the city’s modern aspirations.

Designed by Murphy/Jahn Architects, these twin towers command attention with their sleek, reflective glass facades and distinctive crown-like summits. The towers, reaching heights of 126 and 113 metres, offer prime office spaces with panoramic views of the city and the Alps. Their strategic location in the Schwabing-Freimann district make Highlight Towers a prominent feature in Munich’s modern skyline.

Architecture in Munich: Final Word

Munich’s architectural landscape is a fascinating mix of Gothic cathedrals, historical landmarks, and modern marvels. Through the changing designs of architecture in Munich, the city gives a glimpse into its past and highlights of its present and future. 

The blend of old and new serves as a symbol for Munich’s ability to embrace modern changes while honouring its past. So, while you’re in Munich, make sure to take in the architectural wonders sprinkled around the city.  

Now read: 10 of the Strangest Attractions in Munich

Related Posts