I’m not sure what it is with me and Munich, but each time I plan on “going to Germany”, it always ends up in an “I went to Munich” trip.
I’m not sure if it’s the sights, the city, or the beer…but there is something about Munich that pulls me back there. It must be the beer, last time it was for Oktoberfest …definitely the beer.
The Girl that Made it Possible
My affair with Munich started in 2007 when I dated this German girl. We had bought tickets to Munich to see her family…but as fate often has it with me, the closer we got to the trip the more the relationship went south, and we ultimately broke up with only a few weeks to go before the trip.
So I had a big problem…I was “stuck” with a plane ticket to Europe (yay!). I normally have no problems with changes of plans, but…
I did worry about experiencing the longest plane ride ever (her seat of course was booked besides mine). Just imagine being given a lecture for 6 hours (plus embarking and disembarking time) about how cold-hearted you are!!!!! NO MOVIE, NO SHUT-EYE TIME, NOTHING-BUT-LECTURE!
So as I was coming into the plane and looking for my seat, cold sweat running down my back, teeth grinding, fingers crossed so hard it was painful, I hoped she had requested for a seat change.
Nothing, nobody at the seat yet…PHEW!!! Small relief!!!
But I still had a good chunk of time while the plane filled up ad left. Fingers and toes were still crossed, hoodie was on and scarf covering my mouth. The idea of a 6-hour-long lecture still haunting my thoughts so much I could not see straight. With every person coming in I was getting more and more nervous…
And finally, in a melodious voice resembling that of a Disney princess singing, I hear “ready for take-off”.
Added bonus: No one had taken the seat so I had both seats to myself (hello leg room!!!).
Let’s Talk About Munich
Germany in general and Munich in particular are more than beer and sausage (weird, I know). Germany’s past, as crazy as it was, plays a huge part in the history of our world. Germany also has the world famous Neuschwanstein castle and the bavarian alps. And if that wasn’t enough, Munich is also home to the biggest beer festival in the world…OKTOBERFEST.
Here is a list of my favorite activities when visiting Munich:
1. VISIT BAVARIA
Bavaria is about 2 hours away by train from the Munich Hauptbahnhof, and IT IS GORGEOUS. Take any train which will take you to the Füssen station and from there, take any of the buses taking you to “Schloss Neuschwanstein”.
The Bavarian Alps are an amazing sight, trees as far as you can see with the snow-capped mountains in the background. You can find some very good hikes in the area as well.
And then you have Schloss Neuschwanstein and Schloss Hohenschwangau, both castles are within walking distance from one another, and you can see both of them in one day. They say that the Disneyland castle was inspired by Neuschwanstein…I’ll let you be the judge.
2. GO TO A BEER GARDEN
Regardless of which German city you’re in, there is going to be a beer garden not too far from you. Beer gardens are a must when in Deutschland…given that you enjoy a cold beer after a day of (insert excuse for having a beer here). Not much in terms of food however, unless you are on a pretzel-only or sausage-only diet.
3. VISIT THE DACHAU CONCENTRATION CAMP
As unfortunate as it may be, Germany’s history is marred with tales of torture against its own people and foreigners. The Dachau concentration camp site is where some of the worst human atrocities were committed. As uncomfortable as visiting this place may be, I think it is important to make a point and pay a visit to understand the evil that human beings are capable of, so that these things never happening again.
The Dachau Concentration Camp in Munich, the first built in Germany, is about a 15-minute train ride from the Hauptbahnhof (get off at the Dachau station).
4. GO TO OKTOBERFEST
Welcome to one of the biggest parties you will ever attend!!! I was lucky enough to go to Oktoberfest in 2015 and let me tell you, the hype is real! I even managed to not spill my drink once!!!
At Oktoberfest, Munich gets together at one of the many tents to drink over 5 million litters of beer, partying goes on from midday until around 10 PM at the tents, and then continues in the city bars and clubs. Millions of tourist visitors and locals take part in this event, so arrive early to score a good table; but even if you don’t, you’re sure to meet people who will invite you to join them.
Don’t like beer? There are still plenty of games and festivities you can take part of outside of the tents!
As it is to be expected, prices are way up during this event, and accommodation can be hard to find on the days leading up to Oktoberfest, so book early!
WHERE I STAYED
A&O Hostel Laim – Huge hostel located near Munchen-Laim station, with a huge common area, pool table and a bar. Ideal to meet other travelers. Rooms are really clean, which to me it is surprising as it hasn’t always been in my experience with big hostels.
A&O Hostel Hackerbrücke – Pretty big hostel, clean and affordable with a pretty open common area. Perfect for backpackers looking to meet other travelers.
Jaeger’s – This hostel is centrally located near the Hauptbahnhof central station within walking distance of Marienplatz. the included breakfast is quite good in this place. The downside of this hostel? Bedbugs….that’s right BEDBUGS!!! My friends and I stayed there for only one night, but those bugs left us with something to remember for at least 2 weeks. Be forewarned.
What are some of your highlights from your visit to Germany? Have you been to the Wiesen? Let us know in the comments below.