Munich – world famous beer, accommodations and where to spot surfers

Munich is known for Oktoberfest, the world’s largest yearly beer festival. It is a 16 to 18 day folk festival, running from mid or late September to the first weekend in October with more than 6 million people from around the world attending the event each year. In 2013 – 7.7 million liters of beer was served and I can only imagine how that number has risen as the popularity of the event grows each year.

grab a beer and enjoy live music

One of the most famous beer halls during Oktoberfest and year-round is Hofbräuhaus. Here you will see men drinking from a beer stein while dressed in traditional Bavarian clothing and enjoying the sounds of a live band performing traditional Bavarian music. The beer hall is filled with large communal tables so order a beer and mingle a bit.

Hofbräuhaus was founded in 1589 by the Duke of Bavaria and is one of Munich’s oldest beer halls. Wondering where Hofbräuhaus got its name? The Hof (court) comes from the brewery’s history as a royal brewery in the Kingdom of Bavaria. With this hall being so rich in history, it makes sense that it is also owned by the Bavarian state government.

the cities main square!

Munich is known for its beer but there is so much more to this city. Be sure to head to Marienplatz, it’s a central square in the city center where you’ll find a variety of restaurants and retail shops. Since it’s centrally located this is also where you’ll meet most guides when booking a tour. I suggest the Free City Tour with InMunich Tours which takes you to a variety of must-see buildings and monuments, I love that they include the full itinerary on their website which takes the guesswork out of it. I also booked their full day tour to Dachau Concentration Camp which I share here. If InMunich Tours no longer offers a Free City Tour then check out the Free Walking Tour by Sandemans which is a reliable tour company offering tours in major cities throughout Europe. 

New Town Hall
Alter Hof (former imperial residence of Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor)
Old Town Hall

where to grab a snack

food market with tons of options

Be sure to stop at Viktualienmarkt a daily food market and square in the center of Munich where you’ll find stalls selling fresh produce, wine, cheese and a variety of other products. This market is where I experienced what I’ve now deemed the best pretzel of my life. At most locations, a standard pretzel is available for around €0,50, and the larger Zopfbreze will run you about €1,50. 

German pretzels (brezel) differ from the ones commonly found in the states. They are less chewy and instead have a firmer crunchy texture. They are so delicious that they are eaten without condiments unlike in the states where we often drench them in mustard or cheese sauce. After visiting the market take a stroll around because in Europe you don’t have to walk long before hearing the beautiful sounds of musicians playing in the streets or witnessing the work of local artists. 

Sand art in front of Viktualienmarkt

where to stay

for inexpensive accommodations 

If you’re a backpacker looking for an inexpensive, clean, and centrally located hostel, I recommend Wombat’s Munich. Wombat’s is a hostel chain with locations throughout Europe. Based on their awesome reviews and the fact that they had a location in almost every city I visited, I booked with them whenever possible and couldn’t have been happier with that decision. 

This particular location offers a lovely area they call their winter garden. It is lined with a cushioned bench, numerous electrical outlets and free wifi which makes this the perfect spot to work on your laptop. Enclosed under a glass roof with real trees strung with lights, you can’t help but feel like you’re in a life-size terrarium.

On-site is the Wombat’s bar. They offer trivia nights and giant Jenga which is a great way to meet people, as I did my first night while trying to build the largest Jenga tower ever. After a round or two of Jenga, I joined a group of Canadian and Australian backpackers hitting the streets in search of Springfest Munich which turned out to be pretty cool. It’s definitely something to check out if your travel dates are in May and coincide with the festival. I included the link above to give you a glimpse into Springfest and while that particular company is selling “packages”, there is no admission to enter Springfest which includes beer tents, a fun fair, and plenty of food stalls. 

what to visit

surfers in the middle of the city?

When visiting Munich you must check out English Garden (Englischer Garten). It was created in 1789 by Briton Benjamin Thompson who worked for the Bavarian Army and gave the park its name due to its resemblance of an English country park. It offers a 48.5-mile network of paths for cyclists and fields where amateur soccer players meet for recreational games. There are many waterfalls and swimming areas but the coolest is here at Eisbach a small channel of the Isar river where you will find locals surfing. 

It’s one thing to watch surfers at the beaches of Santa Monica, Venice, and Malibu or even Hawaii and Costa Rica but it’s a whole other experience here at Englischer Garten. It’s really cool watching people surf on a river … a river!! Each surfer lines up along the edge and one by one they take turns landing a wave. As each surfer finishes their set or get’s thrown off their board by a wave, the next surfer prepares to take center stage.  

Don’t be alarmed if you see people basking in the sun bums up, you’ve probably reached Schönfeldwies “beautiful meadow fields” which is one of six official “Urban Naked Zones”. Europeans aren’t bashful about nudity and it is quite common to see people sunbathing nude in parks throughout Germany.

In front of the New Town Hall in Marienplatz
Who knew the second to last thing on my list would get checked off night one of my trip and in various countries through out Europe. Wow! Europe is nothing like Los Angeles haha.. At the end of 27 days, I checked everything off the list and sooo much more!
En route to the next destination

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