daI’m often asked which places to visit in Bavaria, so I might just as well write it up here and point people to this page in the future. Needless to say, I am a terrible tourist guide. But there are places I like quite a lot and I make a point of visting them every time I am back.
As soon as I am in Munich airport I tend to take the S-Bahn into town center, exit Marienplatz and proceed swiftly to the Augustiner-Großgaststätten, Neuhauser Straße 27 to induldge in my yearly fix of Bavarian “Schmankerl” (i.e. delicatessen) and the incredibly fresh beers straight from the brewery. It doesn’t take long and the first portion of Weisswurst is on the table, followed by Obazda (cheese) and most likely the traditional roast pork: Schweinsbraten! Traditionally one drinks a Weissbier with the Weisswurst (often for breakfast even), and Edelstoff thereafter and a Maximator or a Dunkel with the Schweinsbraten, although some seem to just stick to Edelstoff and that’s just as well. Bavarian cooking is quite hefty and it’s not necessarily to everyone’s taste. You have been warned! Thereafter it doesn’t take long and one can spot me at the Weisses Bräuhaus, which is were the original Schneider brewery was located before it got destroyed during WWII and moved to Kehlheim. Schneider is still a family run and owned business, and it’s the current owner’s wife which restored this location and turned it into a lovely restaurant. It’s also great for breakfast and it’s not unusual to see some locals start the day there by downing one of two Aventinus before facing the daily routine. It’s served in very distinct glasses and one can see quite a lot of them dotted around on the tables… and it’s not even 10am yet. A visitor from the USA once remarked with bewilderment that Bavarians treat beer like a soft drink. It’s everywhere. In public drinks dispensers, petrol stations… even the tea lady in Siemens has it on the trolley! I’m not too keen on the Hofbräuhaus, but I guess it’s worth having a stroll into there.. Since we are still in the old town center, then a visit to the Valentin Musäum is highly recommended. It gives an insight into the Bavarian humor, but I don’t know whether outsiders will understand it… Since we are already talking about exhibitions, then the Deutsches Museum is a place I used to love when I was a child. For the artistically minded the Pinakotek is really worth a visit. It’s spread over several locations and a good little restaurant with fresh beer is never far away.
Chances are you will hear traditional music, either in the Beergarden, or in the Beerhalls… so it’s worth a little note to make sure not to be caught unguarded. It’s not very sophisticated music, but it gets better as the tally on the beer consumption increases. I guess that’s what it was made for. So, there is the famous “Schuhplattler” — which you all know as thigh slapping dance. Here is a nice compilation on Spotify. It’s probably best to be familiar with it beforehand… just in case…
Munich is quite spacious and I love it on a bicycle. The town is well suited for this and it’s a great way to zoom from brewery to brewery and from beer garden to beer garden. Speaking of which, the most infamous one is probably the Chinesischer Turm in the Englischer Garten. Again, very touristy but well worth seeing… briefly. Locals tend to prefer beer gardens like the Aumeister and the Emmeramsmühle.
A 40 minute train ride from Munich’s Hauptbahnhof is the idyllic alpine lake of Teegernsee. After exiting from the station one strolls down the hill and, oh suprise, there is the castle of the Duke with it’s attached brewery and Braustueberl. It’s that huge yellow house in the picture below. In summer it can get quite busy and their brews are excellent! In fact, it’s the preferred Helles according to the Schneider family, and that’s why its the only lager you can get when at the Weisses Bräuhaus, mentioned earlier. So here we are. Yet another dose of great Bavarian weather, more Helles and Schmankerl. Life is good. It’s very easy to spend and entire day there and it’s an easy trip from Munich by train. I really like the Teegernseer Bräustüberl.
The monastry in Andechs is equally reachable via train and is run by the Benedictine monks. It’s a great location and they serve their charcuterie from their own butcher’s and smokehouse. Naturally, they also brew beer – very good beer actually. In fact they brew such good beer that they are often swamped with visitors and the monastery is now self-supporting and any excess profits are donated to charities. What to drink is the Andechers Dunkeler Doppelbock. Note that that big glass is not called a “Stein”. Nobody knows what you want with a stone and why you are asking for one — which will only make the authorities suspicious of you. The correct name is a Maß (a measure) — which equates to 1 litre. So when you say that you want one then that’s what usually comes. If you are not of drinking age (16) then you can ask for the smaller portions which come in 1/2 liter glasses (pretty much like a pint) and that’s then refereed to as a “hoibe” (a half).
Close to the Austrian border (that’s not very far from Munich), is Burghausen – the longest castle in the world (1000 meters). It’s the only non-beer related recommendation but it’s really worth a visit. This should get anyone started, provided one is able to actually leave the Augustiner, the beer garden or able to make it back up the hill to the train station when in Teegernsee. There are loads of castles to visit in Bavaria, and the best starting point would be the homepage of the Bavarian Castle Authority. Since it’s not beer related I would recommend to take a break for a day and see the lovely castles. Your liver will thank you for it!