The Play Harder Tours “BeerQuest 2018 Munich to Prague” trip is just a few months away. Dates are set, air and accommodations have been booked, all that’s left is a bit of fine tuning. Within 2 months of our trip we will book tours with local guides, buy train tickets and make reservations for special things we might want to do. The trip runs 16 days including our 2 departure days. We bookended the trip with 5 nights in both Munich and Prague, sandwiched in between we have 2 nights each in Hallstatt Austria and Cesky Krumlov. Beer centric travelers will love this trip with both Munich and Prague being 5 star beer centric travel destinations, and Hallstatt and Cesky Krumlov both UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The adventure starts in Munich Germany for Fruhlingsfest, Munich’s Spring Beer Festival which runs from April 20th to May 6th, 2018. Home base is the NH Munchen Deutscher Hotel across from the Munchen Hauptbahnhof (HBF), Munich’s main train station. The hotel is a short walk to the gates of the old city. The convenient location offers easy access to both U-Bahn and S-Bahn transit systems which will take you anywhere in the city in minutes. The festival grounds, Theresienwiese, is home to both Oktoberfest and Fruhlingsfest is just a 15 minutes walk from HBF. With 5 nights in Munich we will have time to explore the city, take a day trip or two, and have plenty of time to enjoy the festival.
Day Trips from Munich worth considering:
Monastic Breweries: Oh those Benedictine Monks can really brew beer and they’ve been doing it in Bavaria for nearly 1000 years! Experience the Benedictine brewing tradition coupled with today’s ultra modern brewing technology while visiting the areas many monastic breweries.
Andechs Monastery Brewery (Andechs Germany) offers guided tours Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, reservations are required but be sure to specify an English speaking guide. If you can’t make the tour you’ll find a beer garden and restaurant, Andechser Braustuberl, adjacent to the monastery. Open daily April – October, closed weekends November – March.
Bavarian State Brewery Weihenstephan in Freising, Germany. This hilltop brewery was established in 1040 by Benedictine monks and is now operated as a state directed enterprise under control of the Bavarian Government. Beer tours with tastings are available Monday – Wednesday, reservations and proper footwear are required. Braustuberl Weihenstephan is open daily from 10:00am to midnight, offering delicious Bavarian cuisine featuring seasonal and regional dishes. A 660 seat beer garden offers a great view over the city of Freising. The brewery is a short 20 minute walk from the Freising train station.
Medieval Towns & Castles: Bavaria is dotted with numerous medieval towns and castles. Regensburg, the former capitol of Bavarian has a remarkably well preserved medieval core that is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The medieval core survived WWII mostly intact and was built upon Roman ruins that can still be explored.
The Old Stone Bridge, completed in 1146, crosses the Danube river and opened a major international trade route between Venice and Northern Europe that was key to Regensburg’s prosperity. Next to the Stone Bridge, you’ll find Historische Wurstkuche, a small pub and beer garden selling sausages since 1146! While the Historic Sausage Kitchen is a favorite with tourists, locals love it too. The food is excellent and shouldn’t be missed. You’ll find more pubs, breweries and beer gardens than you could ever imagine in such a small town. Getting to Regensburg from Munich is easy, just under 2 hours by train with a change in Freising. Along the route between Freising and Regensburg is Landshut home of Traunitz Castle. With an early start you could explore Regensburg, walk through the castle then stop for dinner at Braustuberl Weihenstephan in Freising.
Nuremberg, easily one of Germany’s most famous cities contrasting the medieval old town with the infamous Nazi party rally grounds. Just an hour and a half from Munich by express train you’ll have plenty of time to explore this vibrant city. Explore medieval fortifications, Gothic churches and an awe inspiring hilltop castle.
While you can make this trip on your own, a guide would be strongly recommended. There is so much to see and it would be a shame to miss anything. Expedia offers a Nuremberg Day Trip by train, which includes an English speaking guide, express train tickets and admission fees for $53 per person (meals and beverages not included)
Munich Beer Halls and Beer Gardens: Munich has well over 200 beer halls and beer gardens. My favorites brew their own beer with many pouring directly from wooden casks. They offer traditional Bavarian food specialties and entertain you with music fitting of a Munich beer hall. You’ll find them throughout the city, but if the weather is great be like a local and take it outside to the many chestnut tree shaded beer gardens.
Hofbrauhaus is the most famous of Munich’s beer halls, established in 1589 as the Royal Brewery of the Kingdom of Bavaria. Oom-pah music sets the theme, with wait staff dressed in traditional Dirndles and Lederhosen as they serve beers in 1 liter steins. Hofbrauhaus is located to the east, just inside the old city gates.
Der Pschorr located in the south of the old city just a few blocks from Victuals Market, a 200 year old farmers market selling fruits, meats, flowers and vegetables. Der Pschorr is famous for it’s food, all made from local ingredients and easily some of the best you’ll find in Munich. Enjoy Hacker-Pschorr-Edelhell poured directly into your stein from wooden casks.
Chinesischer Turm located inside Englischer Garten at the Chinese pagoda complete with great food and music. Here you will find a decidedly younger crown as it is just 10 minutes walk to the University. Rent a bike and explore the park, it’s one of the largest city parks in Europe. Don’t be surprised if you see everything from surfing to nude sunbathing as springtime energizes the city!
Fruhlingsfest Things to know: Admission is free to the festival grounds and beer tents. A one liter beer costs 10 Euro. Watch for happy hour specials featuring 1 euro Pils. There are several beer tents, with the largest being the Festhalle Bayernland seating 2000 people. The first keg is tapped at 4:00pm on opening day, April 20th in the Hippodrom-festzelt beer tent. There will be a fireworks display on the 2nd Friday of the festival April 27th. For a great view from above of Fruhlingsfest, visit St. Paul’s Church bell tower adjacent to the festival grounds.
The Beer-Centric Traveler writes for Play Harder Tours… Please email Bill@playhardertours.com and start your travel planning today! For a complete list of recommendations please email with “Munich” on the subject line. I’d love to hear your suggestions too.