Though Bavaria’s capital might be best known for Oktoberfest, visiting in late September means expensive flights, fully booked hotels and many, many stag parties! Avoid the crowds and see Munich at its best by taking a laid-back summer trip, or get in the festive mood and visit the Christmas markets.
Reliably sunny but not baking hot, Munich is a great place for a summer city escape. Müncheners love to be outdoors and make the most of the city’s many rooftop bars, parks, and lakes.
Head over to Hirschgarten to see Munich’s largest beer garden throw off the winter time in true Bavarian style. Brass bands are likely to take the stage, and up to 8,000 drinkers can while away the afternoon over a maß or two.
You could also take a more active approach to drinking with a ride on the beer bike. With a sober rider at the helm providing a tour of the city, up to twelve people can peddle away under a shaded canopy with a bartender in the middle.
One of the city’s favourite unofficial summer activities is tubing down the Isar. There are both organised tubing tours, and the more unofficial jump-in-and-hope approach — you’ll see many soaking wet tubers using the trams that run alongside the Isar to get back to the start point.
Munich is also a wonderfully green city with plenty of outdoor space for sunbathing. To make the most of a sunny day, head to one of the many nearby lakes to swim, cool off and laze in the sun. Many parks and lakes also have designated BBQ areas.
There’s also plenty for culture vultures to enjoy at this time of year. The Auer Dult takes place at the end of July where you’ll find everything from fairground rides to traditional food and clothing. There’s also the 26-day Tollwood festival with live music, theatre and great food.
Three weeks before Christmas, Munich turns into the ultimate winter wonderland. Christmas markets pop up all over the city; the most well-known is in Marienplatz, but you’ll also find everything from medieval-themed to gay-friendly markets (complete with performing drag queens). Wander round the many stalls while warming up with the copious different types of glühwein: make sure you try feuerzangenbowle — it’s made even more potent with rum.
At the end of November, it’s time for the Winter Tollwood festival. A gathering of artists, musicians and even a wild-west-style show, with a focus on sustainability. It’s starting to get really cold by this time, so Tollwood has an incredible range of hot cocktails — warm mojito anyone?
If you time your visit right, the many lakes surrounding Munich will be frozen over, just in time for some ice skating. Don’t be surprised to see ice hockey players and figure skaters practicing their skills on the ice. A small pop-up rink also appears at Stachus, though the high skate deposit makes this an expensive activity.
Munich is also the perfect spot for a day trip to the Alps. Step back in time to the 1936 Winter Olympics and visit Mount Eckbauer! Hop on the slightly rickety two-person gondolas and admire the views of the enormous Olympic ski jump run that’s still in use today. You can either toboggan your way back down, or head to the Berggasthof for a well-deserved beer and some traditional Bavarian food. Perched on the edge of the mountain, you’ll have an unbeatable view of the Alps.