Munich lies on the elevated plains of Upper Bavaria, about 50km (31.07mi) north of the northern edge of the Alps, at an altitude of about 520m (1,706.04 ft) ASL. The local rivers are the Isar and the Würm.

The city is an inspiring mix of historic buildings and impressive architecture. Munich reconstructed the ruins of their historic buildings but also created new landmarks of architecture.

At the centre of the city is the Marienplatz—a large open square with the Old and the New Town Hall. Three gates of the demolished medieval fortification have survived to this day.

Close to Marienplatz is the oldest church of the inner city; Peterskirche. It was built during the Romanesque period, and was the focus of the early monastic settlement in Munich before the city's official foundation in 1158. Nearby, the Gothic hall-church Heiliggeistkirche (The Church of the Holy Spirit) was converted to baroque style from 1724 onwards and looks down upon the Viktualienmarkt, the most popular market of Munich. The Frauenkirche is the most famous building in the city centre and serves as the cathedral for the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising.

Two large baroque palaces in Nymphenburg and Oberschleissheim are reminders of Bavaria's royal past. Schloss Nymphenburg (Nymphenburg Palace), some 6km north west of the city centre, is surrounded by an impressive park and is considered to be one of Europe's most beautiful royal residences. The second large baroque residence is Schloss Schleissheim (Schleissheim Palace), located in the suburb of Oberschleissheim, a palace complex encompassing three separate residences: Altes Schloss Schleissheim (the old palace), Neues Schloss Schleissheim (the new palace) and Schloss Lustheim (Lustheim Palace). Most parts of the palace complex serve as museums and art galleries.

Munich is a green city with numerous parks. The Englischer Garten, close to the city centre and covering an area of 3.7km² (larger than Central Park in New York), is one of the world's largest urban public parks, and contains a nudist area, jogging tracks and bridle-paths.