Living in Europe and having the ability to travel around any of the surrounding countries is a blessing. You can go anywhere you want, for whatever reason. Maybe Italy for the beaches, Paris for the famous tower, or Poland for the pottery. But you come to Germany for the beer, the history and Christmas. When anyone tells you there is no party like whatever party they have; tell them to look up any German Christmas Market.
Munich is the capital and the largest city of the German state of Bavaria. It is located on the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps. Munich, or Munchen, is the third largest city in Germany, behind Berlin and Hamburg. It is one of my favorite cities in Germany. It’s the rush of people, the similarity of everyone, the beauty, and of course the tradition that the city hangs on to that makes me love it.
While touring the city you won’t be able to miss the center of all the hustle and bustle. It’s Marienplatz’s market.. The square was originally known as Schrannen but it was renamed Marienplatz (St. Mary’s Square) as a way to ask Virgin Mary to protect the town from a cholera epidemic. The main entrance of the (New) Town Hall is 259ft. It was built between 1867 and 1909 by Georg Joseph Hauberrisser in Flemish Gothic style. If you enjoy architecture any, you will thoroughly enjoy this building. There are faces, statues and dragons carved into every inch of the entire building.
The large column at the center of the square, erected in 1638 to celebrate the end of the Swedish invasion, is known as the column of St. Mary. The four statues surrounding it symbolize the city’s overcoming of war, pestilence, hunger and heresy. At 11, 12 and 17 o’clock (11, 12 & 5) each day, visitors can watch the famous Glockenspiel. The figures perform the Schäfferltanz , which was originally performed in 1517 at the Marienplatz to commemorate the end of the plague.
Hops & Beer:
Humulus Lupulus (hops) are the flowering cone of a perennial vining plant that typically thrives in climates similar to the ones that grapes do. Hop plants are dioecious, meaning the males and females flower on separate plants — and the female cones are used in the brewing process. Hops put the “bitter” in beer. Italy has the vineyards and Germany has the Hops. All through Bavaria you can see fields and fields of hop farms. German beer is clearly different from American beer in its taste, color, alcohol level, and its acceptance. Beer is like water here, you have a glass at lunch, dinner, dessert, etc. Here you find breweries that are family owned and around every corner. Mostly saturated are lagers, the hefeweissen, and the helles.
What better place to start your beer tasting and touring than in the Beer Capital – Munich. Don’t worry if you are with your family or have children, as biergartens such as Hofbraeuhaus allow children inside. Let them grab a pretzel as you taste a summer lemonade, mixed with beer of course.
Each night from November 29th- December 24th, you will witness the most spectacular vision. I can not even explain it in words besides a feeling of warmth and a sense of home. After visiting this Christmas Market in 2008, we vowed to return as often as we could. The scents, the lights, the laughter. It over takes you. In all there are a further 20 Christmas Markets located throughout the city of Munich, including a Medieval Christmas Market with gospel singing at the Wittelsbacher Platz, a gay pink Christmas Market (Stephansplatz) and there is even a Christmas Market with ice skating at Munich’s international airport.
This is where I want to spend the rest of my life.
The Munich Oktoberfest, or Beerfest, is one of the most world famous events. With almost six million people attending every year, it is an important part of Bavarian culture. Oktoberfest is the Largest Volksfest (People’s Fair) in the World! Think Disneyland + Woodstock (for adults). Munich’s Oktoberfest began as a wedding for the Bavarian crown prince Ludwig to princess Therese on October 12, 1810 and attended by the local community. Today the Munich Beerfest traditionally takes place during the sixteen days up to and including the first Sunday in October. To the locals, it is not called Oktoberfest, but “die Wiesn”.
Don’t think any beer is allowed here. Only beer conforming to the Reinheitsgebot, at a minimum of 13.5% (approximately 6% alcohol) may be served at Oktoberfest. The beer must also be brewed within the city limits of Munich. Beers meeting these criteria may be designated Oktoberfest Beer.
You have not visited a city until you take a photo of the Hard Rock Cafe in Munich. Located across from Hofbraeuhaus, it makes it easy to stop in for a beer or 2 until Hard Rock opens for dinner. This international chain is like all Hard Rocks around the world, it’s filled with memorabilia, artifacts and representations of everybody from Eric Clapton to Madonna.
Munich is a city that intertwines the majestic view of snowcapped Alps, breweries, Gothic courtyards, and metropolis architecture like the Hard Rock Cafe. Walk, pedal a bike, or hitch a ride on public transport to the HRC Munich and get some good ol’ American cooking and a cold beer.
All photos linked to their respective owners. Article links are purely my own recommendations.