When you think of Munich, you probably think of Oktoberfest, which is why it might surprise you to learn that the city’s visitor arrivals in September (which is when Oktoberfest mostly occurs) aren’t, on average, much higher than the rest of the summer and autumn months. Just as the vast majority of tourists come to Munich outside of Oktoberfest, a whole world of other activities exist in the Bavarian capital, no matter where your travel interests lie.
Take a Trip Back in Time
You’ll come face to face with history as you walk the streets of Munich – and not just girls in traditional Bavarian outfits serving beer. As you stroll past Munich landmarks Frauenkirch and the Old Town Hall, which date all the way back to the 15th century, or traipse through the regal 14th-century Residenz Palace or the stately 17th-century Nymphenburg Palace, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back to another time entirely.
The most imposing structure in old town Munich is the Neues Rathaus, which dates back to the mid-19th century, and towers over the city’s central square. Several of the heritage buildings around the Neues Rathaus also house fine Munich hotels, allowing you to quite literally make your Munich home amid history.
A Walk in the Park(s)
Munich during Oktoberfest is anything but relaxing, so use your next trip as an opportunity to enjoy the city’s impossibly tranquil green spaces. You could easily spend a whole day just exploring the Englischer Garten, which occupies a larger footprint than other famous city parks like Hyde Park in London or Central Park in New York City. Have a picnic lunch – or a beer, since you’re in Munich – along one of the park’s peaceful lakes or streams.
Another option for enjoying some green time in Munich is the city’s zoo, Tierpark Hellabrunn. Connect with nature in one of Europe’s largest zoos, one that prides itself on animal welfare – the zoo has worked hard to reproduce animals’ natural habitats, allowing them to roam cage-free whenever possible and safe.
Feel Like the King of the Alps
If you felt charmed as you walked past Frauenkirch and the Old Town Hall, you’ll feel positively enchanted as you approach Neuschwanstein Castle, a fairytale fortress that once served as home to German Kaiser Wilhelm II, located just outside Munich near the town of Fussen. Visit in winter to see the surrounding Bavarian Alps (not to mention the castle itself) covered in snow, adding to the feeling that you’ve traveled back in time.
Return to Munich the same day via hourly trains, or use your sojourn to the castle as a springboard for sightseeing in the Alps, from helicopter tours and hiking in the summer, to skiing and snowboarding in the winter. No matter how you end up spending your time in Munich – and even if you have a German beer in your hand the whole time – you’ll leave knowing there’s so much more to Bavaria’s capital that just Oktoberfest.