24 hours in Munich - Oktoberfest
You’ve just hopped off a beautifully scenic train ride through the Alps, or headed south on a long journey from the German capital, and arrived in the land of Oktoberfest - Munich. If you’re there over the period of the festival then by all means get into the spirit of it and imbibe, but if not, there’s a lot to experience in this unique Bavarian town that doesn’t (exclusively) involve beer.
10AM - Walk the streets
Take a free tour of the city
Hit the ground walking with a free tour of the city. There are several to choose from, and although they can be a little contrived, if you’re pressed for time there’s no better way to get an overview of the city. Most meet at Marienplatz and last up to three hours. They will take you past Munich’s most famous buildings and gloss over basic history of the city, allowing you to head back to places that sparked your interest. The regular tours are usually free, though if your guide did a reasonable job it’s good manners to reach into your wallet and hand over a few Euros as thanks.
1PM - Head to the market
Skip the tourist traps dine out at a market
Leave the beer halls alone, for now. And don’t think about heading to those tourist trap restaurants you walked past earlier. Instead, walk over to one of Munich’s famous food markets where you’ll find a range of fresh, regional produce and meals ready to go. There are several to choose from, but the best-known and most central is still Viktualienmarkt where you can pick up everything from fruit, vegetables and meats, through to basic household items. If you’d prefer to stick to street food, then head to Hall of Taste, one of the city’s newest food markets.
3PM - Get your fix of cars (and sports)
The BMW Museum is interesting even for non-petrol heads
Unexpectedly housed inside Olympiapark, the BMW Museum is an entire complex dedicated to the famous automobile manufacturer, and even if you’re not a huge fan of cars it’s one fascinating place to visit. There are models of several vehicles on display, from ancient relics to the cutting edge, and if you’re lucky you might get to witness a motorcycle extravaganza right there in the building. And if you’re interested in sporting history as well, the tranquil 1972 Summer Olympic Park is just across the road.
6PM - Find the still wave in the Englischer Garten
Or just kick back and relax
Munich’s Englischer Garten is an ideal place to get a touch of nature in the middle of the city. This massive park offers more than 1.4 square miles of tranquility - perfect for relaxing in the late afternoon sun. If you’re feeling energetic, track down the famous still surfing wave in the Eisbach - you can rent boards and wetsuits in the city and give it a go. But even if you’re not up for a surf, it’s a fascinating sight to watch before tracking down your first Bavarian brew, in one of the park’s many open-air beer gardens.
8PM - Time for beer
You didn’t come all the way to Munich to walk around outside
Let’s be honest - the reason most people want to go to Munich is to celebrate Oktoberfest. The iconic event which takes place at the end of September each year is one for the bucket list, but if your timing is off, or you’d prefer to visit at times less chaotic, then you can still get your Bavarian cultural, culinary and beer fix. With just one night in town, head to the most iconic of the beer halls, Hofbräuhaus, where you can slide up next to a mix of tourists and locals and drink and dine out in traditional fashion.
9AM - Recovering from the night before
Get stuck into a proper Bavarian breakfast
If you only have a few minutes to spare before you catch your train out of the city, and you’re desperate to shake off the few too many Bavarian brews from the night before, then head off for a traditional breakfast. There are several spots around town serving up Bavarian brunches, but the one that seems to get most back on their feet is a Bavarian Weißwurst, which you can pick up at restaurants around the city, including Tresznjewski or Schneider Bräuhaus.