Heyyyyyyy there, friends! Hope you’re well after this not-so-little hiatus I’ve taken. While I haven’t been present around these parts much, I have been keeping up with all your blogs I’ve been slowing working my way toward getting on top of this blog again, so I’m hoping to hit you with a few fun posts in the coming weeks. First off? A couple recaps of my trip to Europe this fall! First stop on our tour? Munich, Germany for Oktoberfest!
Because we were only in town for a few days, we opted to do one day at the tents, and spend the other days we were there (about a day and a half) touring the town (more on that later!). My number one tip for the tents: Get. There. Early! Everything is set up basically on a fair ground, so you can wander from tent to tent, check out the food stands and ride the fair rides (yes, fair rides!) that spot the grounds.
That being said, from experience, your best bet is to choose a tent (we went to Hofbrauhaus tent), go early in the morning (we’re talking 7 a.m. here) and stick there for the day. If you get there first thing to wait in line, you can stampede in with the rest of ’em and snag a table for the day. Making a reservation definitely has it’s benefits—namely, you don’t have to throw elbows to get a spot. But with reservations, you only get your table until 3pm if you’re in a morning spot, and then you get kicked out—at which point, it’ll be pretty impossible to find a table at another tent for at least a few hours. Overall, we had a blast—it’s definitely an experience I’d recommend everyone try and do once. You can see more of the whole day in the trip video I’m putting up later this week!
Another favorite activity from our stay in Munich was the bike tour. I’m a firm believer that a bike (or walking) tour of a city is the best way to see everything, so I always try to do them when I travel. In Munich, we booked through a company called Mike’s Bike Tours, which ended up being a great decision. Not only was our tour guide hilarious, but he was super well-informed about nearly everything in Munich and would drop cool tidbits of info throughout our tour.
We made several pit stops along the 3-ish hour trip, including all the historic monuments in Munich, the English Garden (where we rode past some nudists ahem, braving the cold) and a cool spot called Eisbach (an off-shoot of the Isar river), where locals come to surf the man-made waves. It was super cool to see, although I kept worrying they would crack their heads open on the concrete blocks lining the sides. Yikes.
One of my favorite stops was definitely the beer garden inside the English Garden (fun fact: it’s one of Europe’s largest park and almost twice the size New York City’s Central Park) called Chinesischer Turm. The outdoor space boasted tons of picnic tables, a buffet-style restaurant (because, bratwurst) and a band. The day we had taken our tour was gorgeously sunny and warm, so it was such a treat to eat lunch outside. Even if you don’t take a tour, I definitely recommend making your way to the garden if you’re in Munich—it’s perfect for an afternoon of drinking, eating and revelry!
One more thing that really left an impression on me—our trip to Dachau, a concentration camp/memorial on the outskirts of Munich. I feel like being both informed and respectful of the vast (and complicated) history that comes along with Germany is important, so I was really glad to have gotten a chance to make it to Dachau (this was actually my second trip. My first happened when I was studying abroad in college, but I definitely had a greater grasp of the momentousness of the visit this time around). As a visitor, you have the option to take a guided tour or use an audio device, which is what we opted for. The grounds are really respectfully maintained and rightfully honor the victims of the Holocaust. I would definitely recommend a trip there if you’re able.
A few more things to fit in if you find yourself in the Munich, Germany area:
-A visit to Viktualienmarkt, the largest (and best) farmer’s market in Munich. It has tons of fresh produce, as well as authentic Bavarian treats to bring back home.
-A trip to Neuschwanstein Castle. Located outside the city limits, you can access the castle/grounds by train, or opt for a guided tour. In case you’re unfamiliar, this is the iconic castle that acted as inspiration for Disney’s Cinderella’s Castle. Because I’ve been to the castle before, I decided not to go back this trip but it is SO stunning, especially during the fall.
-Spend the day (or a few hours) in Marienplatz, the city center of Munich. It’s here that you’ll find the famous Rathaus-Glockenspiel (it goes off at 11 a.m.), as well as tons of open-air restaurants, shops and street vendors. It has a great energy and charming architecture.
If you have any additional suggestions for Munich, leave them in the comments below for people!