How to Enjoy Bavaria During Your Oktoberfest Weekend

What started as a mere wedding reception for a German prince some 200 years ago turned into Oktoberfest, an annual fall festival known to be the biggest party in the world. If you don’t believe us, check the numbers: the festival serves almost five million guests (and over seven million liters of beer) every year.  There’s no doubt you’ll spend your weekend in Munich in lederhosen and drinking your weight with your new German friends, but 10/10 recommend setting aside some time to check out the beauty of Bavaria during your weekend in Germany:

Take A Bike Tour: Munich, like many other gorgeous cities in Europe, can be easily enjoyed via bike ride. It’s one of the best ways to see all the sites. Led by fun, English speaking guides, you’ll get to pedal by the Marienplatz, Hofbräufaus, the Nymphenburg Palace and, of course, one of Bavaria’s world-famous beer gardens.

Enjoy The Beer Gardens: Yes, the legendary festival is a good time itself, but don’t miss out on the opportunity to hang out on a bench in the park with a Maß of beer.  There are over 40 different types of beer brewed in Bavaria alone; I recommend getting a traditional wheat beer, a weißwurst and one of those comically large pretzels.  Check out the Seehaus beer garden in the English Gardens, situated next to a pond where you can rent paddle boats.  You can even buy a beer at the paddle boat rental window – no laws against drinkin’ and paddlin’!

Eat a Schweinshaxe: Thinking about that beer garden got you hungry? Here’s another culinary staple you gotta try…This Bavarian favorite is also known as a “pork knuckle,” just in case that German pronunciation is too difficult.  Hunks of meat and fat with a crispy roasted outside.  Good?  Good.

Take a Trip Through History

  • The Third Reich Tour: After the rise of the Nazi party, Munich was deemed “The Capital of the Movement.” It was here where Hitler was exposed to the Nazi ideology, leading him to join the party and eventually lead the Beerhall Putsch, 10 years prior to rising to lead the party. Though much of the city was destroyed in the subsequent bombings of WWII and then rebuilt, the Third Reich Tour will show you traces of what remains as well as modern memorials, such as the Square of the Victims of National Socialism. 
  • Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial: The memorial is free to visit and is a sombering reflection on the atrocities of WWII, but a must-see nonetheless. Follow the path of new arrivals to the camp with special presentations throughout as you learn the entire history of what started as an institution to hold political prisoners, and after the war, housed SS soldiers awaiting trial, and even was home to refugees post war through the 1960s.

Sing along with thousands of others to Polka versions of your favorite songs: Bet you never thought you’d hear accordion and French horn covers of Michael Jackson and Katy Perry, huh?

Visit Neuschwanstein Castle: Last but certainly not least is the crown jewel of Bavaria itself: Neuschwanstein (Noi-shvan-stine) Castle! This magnificent fairy-tale castle in the German Alps was commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria from his own personal fortune, which you’ll realize is really quite remarkable after you take one look at this brilliant ivory palace.  This is one spot you cannot afford to miss, so I highly recommend putting time aside just for this!

This post was originally written by Will Franke. Additions added by The Blue Crew in July 2019.