(Photo credits - Klaus-Peter Baaske)
One of the main challenges for families on holiday with small children is keeping them entertained, and while I wanted to show the family round the city during our recent two-day stay, I was conscious that we would need to find something more than snow and impressive buildings to keep them entertained.
Enter the winter transformation of one of my favourite parts of Munich, Karlsplatz Stachus. The summer fountains had given way to a social winter hub of ice skating, Gluhwein and Weissbier with the impressive Munchner EisZauber am Stachus ice-skating, which I learned runs until January 18 this year.
I may have wanted to keep the girls walking to Marienplatz, but there was no chance of that, and so I set off to investigate. I knew Munich was going to be expensive compared to living in Dalmatia - just how much was this particular experience going to cost?
The answer was surprisingly reasonable. Skating takes place from 10:30 to 22:00 daily, and there are three skating sessions. We opted for the first, which runs until just before 13:00, after which the rink is cleared of any snow for the next skaters. At 3.50 euro a child, that was pretty good value for more than two hours of skating. Many local kids would have their own skates of course, but for passing tourists and those without, skates can be hired for 6 euro a pair plus either a deposit of 40 euro or leaving an ID.
A very nice feature for the little ones was the free availability of some helpful (and very stable) polar bears, complete with rails to hold on and push to encourage a little confidence on the ice. There were even some equipped with little baby seats, so that parents could take babies out on the ice.
Now that the little ones were taken care of, it was time to look after the needs of the adults. A grand wooden construction overlooking the skating rink offered a variety of refreshments downstairs, as well as a couple of bars one floor up, which proved to be excellent vantage points from which to encrourage the kids to keep going after they fell countless times.
And at 3.50 euro for a 0.3 l Weissbier and 4.50 euro for a very healthy serving of piping hot Gluhwein (plus refundable 6 euro deposit), the whole experience was a lot easier on the pocket that I had been expecting.
And of course, once the kids had tried it, there was only one place we were going to spend the morning the following day...
For more information about ice skating at Stachus, including information on organised events, visit the official website.