5 things to do during Oktoberfest 2014

Oktoberfest is a 16 day festival held every year in Munich and they say it’s the world’s largest funfair. As over six million people attended last year, they’re probably right. There are certainly many fun attractions and plenty of Bavaria’s finest food available, but Oktoberfest is synonymous with beer – strong beer at that and all drank from one litre glasses.

Oktoberfest

It all begins this year on Saturday September 20th when the festival is officially opened by the Mayor of Munich with the traditional tapping of the first keg. Once the barrel has been tapped, the beer tents will be open and visitors can partake in tasting Munich’s finest beers.

Apart from the beer, the main highlight of ‘die Wiesn’ as the locals call it, in reference to its location, is the Oktoberfest Costume and Riflemen’s Parade which always takes place on the first Sunday of the festival. There are many other things to do though during Oktoberfest.

Visit Marienplatz

Built in the 12th century, this stunning square has been home to medieval markets and festivals for centuries, but now is a perfect place to meet and get a feel for Munich. Located in the heart of the city, Marienplatz is dominated by the Neues Rathaus or New Town Hall. Over 300 feet long, its iconic Gothic façade is festooned with hundreds of statues, turrets and arches. It also houses the famous Glockenspiel, a 100 year old carillon which chimes daily and where 32 life-sized figures re-enact historical Bavarian events. Don’t miss the golden bird that chirps to end the show.

Marienplatz

Grab a beer at Hofbräuhaus

If you want some time away from the bustling Oktoberfest festivities and fancy a drink in a traditional beer hall, then there’s none more famous than Hofbräuhaus. Originally built in 1589 as an extension of the Hofbräu brewery, Hofbräuhaus can accommodate 1,000 drinkers in the heart of the building, called the taproom or ‘Schwemme’.

There’s also a little oasis in the city in the form of a beer garden for over 450 people surrounded by the historic walls of the building with chestnut trees for shade. They serve delicious homemade food as well such as Obazda – a traditional Bavarian cheese spread with onions and bread and a fresh Brezn or Pretzel.

Tour Neuschwanstein Castle

If you could design a fairy tale castle on a hillside with breathtaking views down the valley, then it would look a lot like Neuschwanstein Castle. Located about 100kms southwest of Munich, the Romanesque style castle perched on a craggy hill top was built in the nineteenth century for Ludwig II of Bavaria. It is a spectacular building in an idyllic setting and is one of the most popular royal buildings in Europe. Called the castle of the fairy tale king, Neuschwanstein was the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland.

Rent a luxury car

There’re plenty of places to visit in Munich including Viktualienmarkt, a daily farmer’s market with a huge variety of fresh and regional food; the English Garden, Munich’s largest park which is bigger than New York’s Central Park; The German Museum, one of the oldest and largest science and technology museums in the world and the key symbol of Munich, The Catholic Cathedral of Our Blessed Lady which also offers breathtaking views from the tower.

Rather than walking around the city getting sore feet, rent a premium car such as a Bentley Continental, a Rolls Royce Phantom or a Jaguar XJ and enjoy travelling in and around Munich in luxury.

Munich from the air

Munich is fascinating at ground level, but imagine what it’s like from a bird’s eye view? Helicopter tours of Munich, Bavaria and even the Alps are widely available, but, arguably an even more unique (and quieter) experience would be to see the area in a zeppelin.

Zeppelin

Friedrichshafen, three hours out of Munich is where the legendary Graf von Zeppelin once lived and built his airship factory. From here, zeppelin flights can be reserved that offer breathtaking scenery of Lake Bodensee situated between Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

Bruno Pires is Global Director at 360Experience.

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Comments (1)

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  1. Jan says:

    What a disappointing list. Munich is such a wonderful city with plenty things to do, but:

    1) Don’t go to Hofbräuhaus they are way better beer halls and beer gardens. If the weather is fine, visit the Augustiner Keller. A huge, bustling and authentic beer garden. In some parts of beer gardens you’re allowed to bring your own food. That’s how the locals do it. But make sure to buy all drinks in the location. If the weather is not so good, try the Weisses Bräuhaus (close to Viktualienmarkt). The food is way better (compared to the HB) and the beer also. And at least you have the chance to see some locals here too. Or take the BOB (train), go to Lake Tegernsee and visit the Tegernseer Brauhaus if you want it even more authentic and are looking for an excellent beer.

    2) OK, maybe Neuschwanstein is a must visit, but they are nicer, not that crowded castles places around. If the weather is fine, think about visiting Lake Chiemsee with the two islands Herrenchiemsee (Castle) and Frauenchimsee. Walk around in the beautiful nature, relax and enjoy the picturesque landscape. Or visit Schloss Nymphenburg, it’s a beautiful castle with a lovely garden right in the city.

    3) If you want to stay in Munich, it’s not a good idea to rent a car, streets are way too crowded and parking space is rare. Use the very good public transportation instead and save the money for an excellent dinner or for shopping. If you want it more convenient, simply stop a cab. For a trip to the surroundings, a rental car would be fine though.

    4) If you want to explore a hip quarter with nice boutiques plenty of bars and restaurants, go to Glockenbachviertel close to the Sendlinger Tor. Schwabing is always worth a visit too. If you are interested in cars, make sure to visit the BMW museum. If you prefer art, go to the Lenbachhaus (it has been renovated a while ago, the new building by Sir Norman Forster is stunning, their collection of paintings from the art group “blue rider” is one of the best worldwide) or the Museum Brandhorst (excellent collection of modern art, I am totally in love with the work of Cy Twombly).

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