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 six million guests (and over seven million liters of beer) every year.
There’s no doubt you’ll spend your weekend in Munich in lederhosen or a dirndl, 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.
There are tons of things to do at Oktoberfest besides drinking, so be sure to enjoy the city and culture while you’re celebrating.
Check out all our Munich tours to see the incredible variety available here, or read on for our highlights and top tips!
Things to Do in Bavaria Around Oktoberfest
Take a Bike Tour
Munich — like many other gorgeous cities in Europe — can be easily enjoyed via bike ride. So we highly recommend taking a bike tour while you’re here for Oktoberfest!
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.
Join the Band!
While in Munich for Oktoberfest, you must 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?
Enjoy the Beer Gardens
Yes, the legendary beer 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.
Bavaria boasts over 40 different types of beer brewed locally. We 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: Schweinshaxe.
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? Great.
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 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.
You’ll also see modern memorials, such as the Square of the Victims of National Socialism.
Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial
The Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial is free to visit and is a sobering reflection of the atrocities of WWII, but a must-see nonetheless.
Follow the path of new arrivals to the camp, with special presentations throughout.
You will learn the entire history of what started as an institution to hold political prisoners and, after the war, housed SS soldiers awaiting trial.
It was even home to refugees post-war through the 1960s.
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.
You’ll quickly realize the size of that fortune when you take one look at this brilliant ivory palace.
This is one spot you cannot afford to miss in Bavaria, so we highly recommend putting time aside just for this!
Are you ready to explore Munich and more of Bavaria during your festival weekend? Check out all our Oktoberfest options and book early to make sure you don’t miss out!
This post was originally written by Will Franke. Additions added by The Blue Crew in July 2019 and again in July 2022.