It’s time for Oktoberfest in Munich, one of the city’s busiest times of the year, but not necessarily for Munich itself. Hotels are full and traffic is even more frustrating than usual, but the masses are attending the festival and usually ignore the rest of the city. If you are headed to Munich for Oktoberfest, be sure to allow some time to explore the city itself.
Wondering what there is to see and do in Munich besides Oktoberfest? Here’s a look at some of the top things to see in the area.
Dachau Concentration Camp
Located just 10 miles away from Munich, Dachau Concentration Camp was one of the first camps established during the Nazi regime, becoming the model for subsequent camps in the Third Reich. A number of notable prisoners were held at Dachau and today the camp serves as a memorial to those who were victims of the Nazi regime.
While Oktoberfest may be the name of the game this time of year, be sure to save some room to visit the famous beer hall. Yes, it may be a bit touristy, but did you know it played a part in World War II with Hitler giving speeches there? It’s worth stopping by and enjoying some food and certainly more beer. And it’s open much later than the tents in the festival itself.
Day Trip to Neuschwanstein
Without a doubt, set aside some time to visit the famous Neuschwanstein castle in Bavaria. Neuschwanstein is believed to be the inspiration behind Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle design at Disneyland. It’s an impressive spot to hike around, take photos, and learn about King Ludwig II.
Munich was the site of the 1972 Olympic games and the stadium is still utilized today. The roof design might look familiar; it was inspired by the one of the notable landscape features in the region – the Bavarian Alps. The stadium features sweeping acrylic glass that mimic the picturesque peaks. Today, the stadium features a number of festivals and shows year round. For a real thrill, consider the “ roof climb” where you can ascend the architectural recreation of the Alps, but thankfully you don’t need to be an experienced mountaineer – just have suitable shoes.
Did you know Munich has a zoo? Surprisingly, you can see a wide range of animals – including tropical species you might not expect to find in the middle of Germany. The Hellabrunn Zoo doesn’t consider itself a regular zoo and classifies itself as a “nature preserve within the landscape conversation area of the Isar meadows inhabited by animals that live in especially large, structured enclosures.” The zoo was opened in 1911 and survived World War I, but was forced to close in 1922. It reopened a few years later and not surprisingly, had to start all over again in 1945 after World War II.
River Surfing at Englischer Garten (English Garden)
Yes, you read that right. You can go river surfing in Munich. There are several spots, but the most popular is probably the Eisbach at the edge of the English Garden, or Englischer Garten in German. This is an artificial stream that runs through Munich’s largest public park. Note: this is not recommended for novices, river surfing here is for more skilled or expert surfers.
Munich has a whole “theme park” built around movies. Bavaria Filmstadt is set within one of Europe’s largest film studios. It’s still a working studio and has been utilized in popular movies like The NeverEnding Story and the top-grossing German film, Das Boot. Kids can ride the dragon “Fuchur” (“Falcor” in English) from The NeverEnding Story, while adults can wander the set from Das Boot. The 90-minute tour includes a stop in the 4D motion simulation cinema as well.
Munich is home to a number of museums that are worth a visit, including the BMW Museum. Learn about the brand’s history, its specific models. Those looking for more of a hands-on experience will delight in the interactive aspects, including test drive simulation. Another museum of interest is Brandhorst, the latest addition to Munich’s art triangle that includes the Alte Pinakothek and the Pinakothek der Moderne. The older museums feature art dating back to the ancient Greeks while the Brandhorst focuses on more contemporary art.
Please drink responsibly and use a designated driver, as your RoamRight policy does not cover loss resulting from or caused by being under the influence of alcohol.
Take a few extra days to check out these places!