Enjoy our many Munich Festivals!
In the vibrant and historical city of Munich, there is no shortage of things to see or do. And with so many customs and traditions that have thrived over the years, festivals in the Bavarian capital are always a fun treat for visitors and locals alike. Here are some of my favorite Munich festivals that aren't to be missed if you are in town.
Two weeks in late September until early October
By far and away the most famous (or should we say infamous) festival in Munich is Oktoberfest. Known as "Wiesn" by the locals, this 16-day festival is a whirlwind of carnival rides, game booths, traditional Bavarian food, full liters of German beer and a chance to party it up at the largest fair in the world.
Grab your lederhosen or dirndl dress, practice your accent with "O' zapft is!" and get into the traditional Bavarian spirit by visiting Oktoberfest. If you are in Munich at the end of September, this festival is not to be missed..not that you could even if you tried.
Three weeks in March
This Munich festival, also called "small Oktoberfest", is held throughout the city at local breweries and beer halls. It's a chance for Munich residents and welcomed visitors to enjoy some of the best and dark and strong beers that Bavaria has to offer.
The term strong refers to the beer's 'original wort', which indicates the amount of solids in the beverage. But, the alcohol percentage does pack quite a punch as well. The most popular place to get the celebration started is at the Paulaner Nockherberg brewery just south of the city center.
Three weeks in July
For three weeks, right in the peak of summer, the Tollwood festival transforms the Olympia Park in Munich into a makeshift village made of colorful tents and rocking stages.
Running from late June to early July the Munich festival is known for its wide array of musical acts and circus-like performances. In addition to the theatrics of the park, Tollwood's lanes are lined with booths that feature culinary delicacies, local and international arts and crafts, and hand crafted jewelry.
Third sunday in July
For something a little more traditional, you might want to check out the Kocherlball, or the "Cook's Ball". At the end of the 19th century, the city's working servants, nannies, cooks and other household helpers would gather early on Sunday mornings for a dance around the Chinese Tower in Munich's English Garden Park.
Banned by the mayor from 1904 until 1989, the party is now back and bigger than ever before. If you are an early riser (or a very late night owl), then this festival, which starts at 6am, is a great way for you to recreate an old Munich tradition.
May, August and Oktober
The Auer Dult is a traditional market that takes place three times a year in the Mariahilfplatz in Munich. The fair features close to 300 stalls selling household and handmade goods and is the largest market in Europe of its kind.
Delicious meal and snack carts line the alleys and there are even rides for the kids. You'll find each of the nine-day fairs in the beginning of May, late July, and the last one in October.
Two weeks end of April until beginning of May
The Spring in Munich Festival is a chance for everyone to sample a Mass (or two!) of springtime beer. Sometimes referred to as the Little Sister of Oktoberfest, the Frühlingsfest takes place over a two-week span at the Theresienwiese.
There are thrilling rides to ride, plenty of traditional music to listen to, and yes, lots of fresh spring beer to enjoy.
Last three weekends in July
Step back into the Middle Ages and experience the largest modern day knight's tournament in the world. The festival takes place at the Kaltenberg Castle every July and includes a program full of jousting, sword fighting, horsemanship and other classical medieval sports.
Outside of the tournament there is a medieval market, mouth-watering food stands, and traditional knight games for kids.
Late November - Christmas
If you want to see some of the most original and authentic Christmas markets in the world, then head to Munich during the month of December. Between the smell of roasted nuts, the sounds of winter cheer and music and the bustling, friendly atmosphere, you'll be in the holiday season in no time at all.
Various Christmas markets are scattered around the city and feature booths selling homemade ornaments, decorations, personalized gifts, and even warm glasses of Glühwein. If you only have time for one, check out the picturesque Marienplatz Christmas market while in the Bavarian capital.