Today we wrap up our guest writer series on Oktoberfest. We hope you’ve found the information helpful, and it inspires you to make a trip to the annual Bavarian beer fest. If you missed the earlier posts, make sure you check out Part 1 and Part 2, so you’re armed with all the tips you need to make the most of Oktoberfest. Today in Part 3 we take a look beyond the beer, to the sights to take in around the Munich and nearby cities. Prost!
The Beer Drinking American’s
Comprehensive Guide To Oktoberfest: Part 3
While you may travel to Munich for Oktoberfest, so there much fun to be had outside the tents. There are lots of great spots to visit in Munich and the surrounding areas.
So you took on the largest beer festival in the world, and let’s face it, you probably lost. You may not be quite ready to rally and give it another go just yet. So what do you do? Luckily Munich is a fantastic city to explore, with lots of nearby sites and activities.
The first thing you should do while exploring Munich is drink more beer! Head over to the Englischer Garten, Munich’s biggest park. It’s larger than Hyde Park in London or Central Park in New York City. Take a stroll thru the park, check out Munich’s only surf spot on your way to the Chinesicher Turm. Next to the Turm, you’ll find a five-story Chinese Tower that is an Epic Beer Garden with seating for over 7,000. The Garden offers community seating, so settle down with a Liter and make some new friends while you listen to the brass band playing in the tower. They serve a variety of German food. Just know that most of the Garden is self-service, so you have to fetch your own beers.
If possible, catch a soccer match. Munich is home to one of the best soccer (football) clubs in the world, FC Bayern Munich. Allianz Arena is a modern stadium on the north side of town and seats 75,000.
If you are a history buff, tour the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site. It’s only 10 miles from downtown it is easily accessible by train. If you have never been to one of these camps it’s well worth it. It’s a haunting, humbling experience you will not forget. It’s also a great way to find yourself in need of a drink.
On the north side of town you can spend a day touring the old Olympic Park from the 1972 Summer Olympics. Interesting Architecture abounds. Grab a beer and a view at the top of the Olympic Tower from a height of 190 meters. Right next to the Subway stop is the BMW Headquarters and Museum. If you into cars you shouldn’t miss it.
Munich has a World Class Transit System. In all my trips to the city I have never once considered taking a cab. You will need a ticket to get to and from the airport, but once you get into town just buy a City Tour Card valid for 1, 3 or 4 days. This gives you unlimited travel in the inner district (white zone) and includes almost all the popular tourist spots in town. The one notable exception is Dachau, which is one stop outside of the inner district.
If you’ve already flown to Munich, hopefully you will give yourself time to explore beyond the city as well. Here’s some suggestions for nearby areas you can easily visit while in the region.
Suggested Day/Overnight Trips
Sitting on the cusp of the Alps, right on the Border with Germany and a short train ride from Munich is the beautiful town of Salzburg, home of Mozart and the setting for “The Sound of Music.” You can easily spend two days touring all the sites. Make sure you grab yourself a liter at the traditional Augustiner Bräu brewery and beer pub, which has served beer brewed on site since 1621.
From here you can grab a half-day tour to the Eagles Nest in the former Nazi Alpine Resort town of Obersalzberg/Berchtesgaden. Offering incredible views, the Eagles Nest is one the last remaining remnants of the Third Reich, as featured in the HBO show “Band Of Brothers.”
Just a 70-minute train ride from Munich is Garmisch-Partenkirchen, home of the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain. Garmisch served as host of the winter portion of the 1936 Olympic games (sometimes referred to as “The Nazi Games”) and there are remnants of the Games to this day, including the ski jump and the stands that hosted the opening ceremony. The town itself sits at an elevation of 2300 feet, with mountains on all sides rising up to 9,700 feet at the summit of the Zugspitze. Most of the town features traditional Bavarian “Painted Houses.” There are several gondolas that you can ride to the top of various peaks around Garmisch. Stop for a beer at the Wank-haus which provides amazing views of the Zugspitze and endless opportunities for jokes. A hike thru the narrow Partnach Gorge (walking distance from town) features many waterfalls and vertical rock walls throughout.
The Castles of King Ludwig II
The Mad King Ludwig was crazy for castles. Lucky for us his madness held off long enough for him to mostly complete two castles, in addition to his boyhood home of Hohenschwangau Castle, before he was declared insane, deposed and found floating in a lake. His crown jewel is Neuschwanstein Castle, which served as the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. Although the interior was never fully completed the views of the exterior are something else. Make sure to hike up to the bridge over the gorge for the best views.
Linderhof Castle, modeled after The Palace of Versailles, is the smallest of Ludwig’s Castles but features an ornate interior. Outside you’ll find a large Garden/Park including an artificial grotto. All three of Ludwig’s castles are relatively close, with Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein within view of each other. You can easily see them as part of a day tour from Munich, Fussen or Garmisch.
We hope you enjoyed these Oktoberfest tips
This wraps up our series, The Beer Drinking American’s Comprehensive Guide To Oktoberfest. If you make the trip to Munich and have additional tips and suggestions, please let us know. We’d love to see your Oktoberfest vacation pictures!
About the writer
Rob, a full-time resident of Denver, is attending his 4th Oktoberfest this fall. He lives by the Oktoberfest credo of “Fleisch, Bier und Brüste.”