Munich - Beyond Oktoberfest

Munich is much more than Oktoberfest, and if you want to explore beyond the beer tents, here are some tips to do just that!

When any German travels outside of Germany, they are often subject to a number of cultural stereotypes. One is that they love beer, wear slightly odd clothing to enjoy said beer, and spend their autumn months celebrating all that is beer at the annual Oktoberfest. Which is, oddly enough, held in September.


It’s also held in Munich, and is what the city is easily most famous for. But Munich is much more than Oktoberfest!


Go to Oktoberfest.


I know I just said that Munich is more than Oktoberfest. But if you’re in town during Oktoberfest, then you need to experience this cultural phenomenon first hand. It’s much more than a tourist trap – it’s an institution that goes back to 1810, and these days attracts around six million visitors a year, both locals and lovers of beer from around the world.


I’d also suggest that if Oktoberfest doesn’t sound like your thing, then avoiding the city during the time is probably in your best interests. Accommodation prices sky rocket due to demand, as six million people descend upon a city that has a normal population of 2 million. Fun to watch, less fun for your wallet!


Climb a Church or Other Interesting Building


I’m a big fan of getting high up above a new city if possible, partly to help me orientate myself, and partly because I love a birds eye view of my surroundings.

Munich has a number of options in this department, although my favourite is St Peter’s Church, or Peterskirsche. This is the oldest, and first, church in Munich, dating from the 11th century, and offers a superb view of the town halls and city centre from atop its 90 metre high spire.


Visit the Town Halls


Munich has two town halls. Weirdly, the old town hall looks more modern than the new town hall, but that’s a trick of the eye, because quite a lot of years divide these buildings.


The New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus) is on Marienplatz, and is a stunning gothic construction dating from the mid 19th century.


The Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus), is just a block or so away, and looks a bit like a fairytale castle. This Old Town Hall was put together in the 14th century, but as the city expanded it was outgrown, and the administration moved to the New Town Hall.


Both are available to visit, and you can also go up the tower of the New Town Hall if you want more towers to add to your list.


Visit a Beerhouse


If you’re not in Munich for Oktoberfest, then you should definitely take some time to visit a beerhouse – a traditional Bavarian watering hole where you can drink beer in those giant litre “Steins”, sit on long wooden tables, sample the local cuisine, and make more friends than you will  know what to do with.


The most famous of these is probably the Hofbrauhaus, partly because it was here that Hitler and his staff used to meet when in Munich. Worth a visit anyway, although there are lots of very fine alternatives of course!


There is a lot more to do in Munich of course. There are countless impressive churches (don’t miss the Frauenkirche!), the English Garden, the markets, the museums and the incredible looking Olympic Stadium.


Beyond the walls of the city there is even more to do, from the sombre experience that is Dachau concentration camp, through to the gorgeous countryside and mountains of the Bavarian Alps. Plenty to do outside those beer tents for sure!


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