Pitcher yourself celebrating Oktoberfest in Munich this year! If you’re planning to go to Deutschland here’s what you need to know to experience the best of Bavaria.
Making your way to Munich, from London
Thanks to excellent connections on Eurostar and Germany’s high-speed ICE trains, Munich is only 9 relaxing hours from London. No harrowing queues for airport security, no taxing taxi fees, no desperate airport parking. Just sit back in your cozy seat on one of Deutsche Bahn’s ICE trains and enjoy the ride as you’re propelled smoothly onward towards overflowing beer steins and sausage. ICE trains are considered the most comfortable and impressive high-speed trains in Europe, by the way. It’s possible to make this journey with only two hops, although some routes do have more connections. We recommend traveling via Brussels and Frankfurt which will get you there schooner than later.
If you’re worried about the cost, let it be the yeast of your worries. We checked out single fares for travel on September 16th by way of Brussels and Frankfurt, and it cost only €149.90 one-way. Compare this to the price of a last-minute airline ticket plus luggage fees and the stress of getting to and through the airport on time…. it’s elementary, my beer Watson. Did we mention that German ICE trains have no luggage restrictions?
Chug in from Paris or Frankfurt
There’s much to be said for considering rail options from Paris or Frankfurt, if you’re looking to extend your holiday to more than one town. One-way fares from Paris begin at a very reasonable €75. Frankfurt is even better value, with one-way fares from just €40.
If you’ll be traveling from Frankfurt, we recommend purchasing the Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket. As the name implies, it’s a weekend ticket that remains valid all day on Saturday or Sunday. During its period of validity — up until 3 a.m. the following day, in case you want to make it a late night — you can make as many journeys as you wish on the regional transport. So, although you won’t be able to catch a high-speed ICE train, you could make excellent use of the Regional-Bahn (RB), the InterRegio-Express (IRE) and the Regional-Express (RE), plus the S-Bahn (a hybrid urban-suburban rail serving the metropolitan region) and more.
Better yet, if one passenger pays the €40 Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket fare and has four fellow passengers, they’ll pay only €4 for their own tickets, so long as the party travels together at all times. If you’re heading to Oktoberfest with a large group of friends and you’ve made more Weiss plans for your money, this is an excellent value. Not only can you get all the way from Frankfurt to Munich for little over a tenner each, you’ll then have a valid ticket to use the Munich S-Bahn to reach your hotel. That’s a beergain.
Get some Weisswurst in Bavaria
You shouldn’t restrict yourself to Munich when you have all of Bavaria within your reach. Once you’ve had your fill of the beer halls and you’ve suffered a humiliating dunk while trying to surf on the icy River Isar, get a hearty meal in a quaint nearby town like Lindau or Füssen. And for that, my friend, you and your mates need the Bayern-Ticket. One passenger pays €25, but the remaining four passengers only pay €6. That leaves you plenty of dough for pretzels, bratwurst, and kuchen! We advise you to consume your Bavarian banquet with caution: you don’t want to put your good health at risk just for an awesome deal on a train ticket.
Extra bonus: The Länderticket, like the Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket already mentioned, permits travel on suburban S-Bahn services. If you’ve had to settle for a hotel away from the city centre because everything’s been booked up for months by travellers more efficient than you, no big deal. Jump on the S-Bahn at no extra cost and go explore. Bavaria’s huge, so we guarantee you won’t run out of places to see. Try the seven types of beer brewed by the Benedictine monks at the Andechs Monastery, see who’s got the best head for heights at the vertigo inducing AlpspiX viewing platform at Garmisch-Partenkirchen or channel your inner fairytale at King Ludwig II’s Neuschwanstein Castle. You could even cross the border into Austria and visit Kufstein or Salzburg! They’re covered by the Länderticket and only a stone’s throw away from Munich.
To find regional tickets that are valid all day, conduct a search for a return journey within the region on our website. For in-depth information about Länder-Tickets and Schönes-Wochenende-Tickets check out our previous blog post.
Allow us to wheat your appetite
In case you’re looking for inspiration, we’ve already cooked up some ideas for you.
Just an hour from Munich, Chiemsee is Bavaria’s largest lake. It’s sometimes referred to as the Bavarian Sea and it’s wide enough to be tidal. Hop off the train at the town of Prien am Chiemsee and catch one of the ferries that run year-round to the two inhabited islands on the lake. On Herreninsel you’ll discover the unfinished palace built by King Ludwig II in 1873 and modelled after Versailles. The King died before construction was complete and although parts of the building were demolished, what remains is well worth a visit! The neighbouring island of Fraueninsel, also reachable by ferry, features an 8th century Benedictine convent.
Nestled in the heart of the Bavarian Alps and yet it’s still only a two hour train ride from Munich: Füssen lies at the end of Germany’s famous Romantic Road and does not disappoint with its clutch of charming historic buildings, including the Abbey of St Magnus and the High Castle. But the main draw lies just outside Füssen, in the town of Swangau, a short bus ride away. The fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein, featured in the classic movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, was built in the 19th century as a retirement retreat for King Ludwig II. Visitors can tour his state rooms and admire the same views which captured his imagination.
Attainable by train from nearby Herrsching, the Andechs Monastery sits on a hill overlooking Lake Ammersee. If the weather’s fine, it’s a rewarding hike to the top — and there’s even a biergarten in case you didn’t get your fill in Munich. Monks have been brewing beer here for centuries, though these days most of the action takes place at the foot of the hill where there’s more space. The brewery tour showcases the seven varieties of beer made here, and you can enjoy a tasting at the Bräustüberl afterwards. Back at Lake Ammersee, why not rent a boat or go for a rejuvenating dip?
You know what they say: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Except this time. This deal is lager than life.