The city of Munich is one of the most iconic locations in Europe, and has in fact hi-jacked many people’s perceptions of German culture. The truth is, however, that Bavaria actually has its own very distinct heritage and traditions that are markedly different from the rest of Germany, so coming here guarantees a truly unique travel experience.
Of course, among Munich’s top attractions is the enormously popular Oktoberfest, which takes place annually over the last three weeks of September and is the world’s biggest celebration of beer. Anyone visiting the city outside of Oktoberfest needn’t worry about missing out on all the fun though, as Munich’s many beerhalls offer a buzzing atmosphere – as well as the chance to sample some of the famous local brews – all year round.
Visiting some of these is a wonderful way to get to grips with Bavarian culture, although we wouldn’t recommend spending all your time at the bottom of a stein of beer. Make sure you get out into the Bavarian countryside too so that you can discover some of its fairytale-like castles – including the stunning Neuschawanstein palace. Hiring a car at Munich airport will give you the means to discover all that the surrounding area has to offer (you can find out more about doing so here), but it’s probably not a good idea to get behind the wheel immediately after a visit to a beerhall!
Undoubtedly the most famous of all Munich’s beerhalls and an absolute must-visit for lovers of the golden nectar, the Hofbrauhaus dates all the way back to the late 16th century, when it was established as the Royal Brewery of the Kingdom of Bavaria. As such, it has become one of the most popular hangouts for locals and tourists alike, and is a wonderful place to get to grips with the local culture and history.
Live bands playing tradition oompah music provide the entertainment, while typical Bavarian food is served by waitresses dressed in classic dirndl outfits. The beer certainly isn’t bad either, with much of it being brewed on site and coming in one-litre steins. Just remember that each glass be the equivalent almost two pints, so order too much in one go!
Weissbier – sometimes referred to as blonde beer in English – is the traditional Bavarian beer, and a huge number of brews of this type are produced in the region. Among the best places to get a taste for this is the Weisses Brauhaus, which serves a great selection of drinks that fall into this category.
Constructed in the 19th century, the building itself has been carefully maintained to ensure that it has lost any of its original charm, so visiting the beerhall really is like stepping back in time. Grab a stein and sing along with the locals on a rowdy Friday or Saturday night for the ultimate German drinking experience.
Home of the first ever Oktoberfest beer tent, Lowenbraukeller has been at the centre of the annual festival for around 130 years. To this day, the mayor of Munich launches Oktoberfest at this very beerhall, so it’s certainly worth a visit next time you’re in town.
Known as much for its food as for its drinks, this is a fantastic place to get a taste for the local cuisine, with dishes like dumplings and sauerkraut as well as a huge selection of pork and veal cuts and sausages being included on the menu. Naturally, all this is best washed down with a stein of beer!