Munich is a city of magnificent structures, both modern and antique, and the city’s many immigrants have brought a culture of reading to a city already full of bookstores and literary history. My favorite part of Munich was the fact that it seemed so influenced by the rest of the world; Bavaria and Germany in general have a long and storied past, but the area is also writing a multicultural present and future for itself.
Literary greats have written many influential works here, and no wonder – the natural beauty of the parks, the outdoor cafes and biergartens, and the bustling streets all lend themselves to inspiration. It’s well worth a visit, especially if you read either English or German.
Literaturhaus: This venue is a place where readers and journalists, writers and learners all come together. It’s a public site for seminars and discussions, readings and meetings. These meetings are often connected to Munich’s bustling publishing industry, second only to Hamburg’s in Germany. If you go when there aren’t any public discussion happening, there are also literary exhibitions on display.
Schwabing District: Want to walk the streets that Ranier Maria Rilke and Thomas Mann walked, try the bohemian cafes and look through the art galleries of their writing lives? You can in the Schwabing district of Munich. Alongside the enormous Englischer Garten, the central park of Munich, Schwabing provides visitors with wide esplanades and narrow alleys, cute coffee spots and (yes!) plenty of bookshops.
Hugendubel: If you are trying to identify a bookstore that is likely to be near you in the city, Hugendubel is one of the major chains. You’ll find at least a few English language books but if you want to read in German, this store will be most likely to shine, with a variety of new tomes available.
The Munich Readery: For you who are looking for an English-language book but don’t want to spend new-book Euros on it, The Munich Readery is the largest second-hand English bookstore in Germany. The friendly atmosphere welcomes ex-pats and English learners and provides access to books that aren’t the top-10 new releases.
Wortwahl Bücher: To stray off the beaten path, step into Wortwahl Bücher, where the owners take pride in making book recommendations and carry some special treasures, like their art and photography books. The atmosphere is sure to win you over as well.
Word’s Worth: For a comfortable, homey feel and access to English language books, you can go to the University neighborhood and visit Word’s Worth. They’ve been in Munich for over 30 years and currently stock over 10,000 volumes in fiction and non-fiction.
Buch in der Au: Located near the Isar river, Buch in der Au is in a picturesque neighborhood. While primarily a German language bookstore, they are known for charm and outstanding service – something you cannot get just by shopping for books online!
Regardless of what you are looking for, the history of Munich’s writers and readers comes through when you step into the literary sites and the bookstores around the city. If you know other wonderful Munich reading-related spots, feel free to comment with your favorites!