You can never count on good weather in Bavaria, Germany's southern region with its capitol in Munich, but you can count on a good time in spring (frühling). This is one of the best times to travel to Germany as crowds are minimal (outside of Easter), the weather is warming up, and Bavaria is ready for festivals.
Take a Walking Tour of Munich
A tour in the rain and cold can be downright dreary so hold off for a nice spring day to do a walking tour of central Munich. There are several excellent options in English (as well as other languages) including SANDEMANs New Munich Tour and City Walk. Remember to tip even on a free tour.
While you are out walking, try to time it so you are in Marienplatz at 11:00 and noon. On the hour for over 100 years, a traditional Glockenspiel chimes, with the three chirps of the golden bird signaling the end of each show.
Celebrate May Day in Bavaria
Germany’s May Day in the north usually has more to do with workers' rights than welcoming spring, but a maypole is still the center of the festivities in Bavaria.
The maibaum is crafted from a single tree trunk and decorated with colorful ribbons, flowers, carved figures, and a village insignia (wappen). The creation and erection of the pole is cause for celebration. Once the Maibaum has made its ascent, and often beforehand, the beer tent is open! Although the maibaum is also under constant threat of theft from rival towns
Germans wait all winter for the biergartens to re-open. The first signs of spring are good enough to throw on an extra sweater and make your way to the beer garden.
Munich alone has over 200 beer gardens serving the best in Bavarian beer and quaint culture.
- Beer Garden Hischgarten - This is the largest beer garden in the world and can seat 8,000 people.
- Beer Garden Augustiner Keller - Looking just as it did when it opened in 1812, this beer garden is the oldest in Munich with Augustiner beer served daily.
- Beer Garden at Viktualienmarkt - Grocery shopping is thirsty work and this biergarten offers the ideal respite. If you are in need of some sustenance, you can bring in your own food and enjoy whatever brewery is on tap that week.
- Beer Garden at the Chinese Tower - Take a break from the English Garden to drink a Lowenbrau in the second largest biergarten in the city. You can't miss it as it is also the site of the giant Chinesischer Turm.
- Beer Garden Aumeister - Another location within the park is is Aumeister. Once the drinking hole for royals, commoners can drink their Hofbrau here today.
If you are around for Starkbierzeit (held after Karneval for about a month) take the time to find a beer hall and engage in the local's Oktoberfest.
Further afield? Locate Andechs Monastery and Brewery above Lake Ammersee to learn some rich area history and taste some truly holy beers.
The English Garden might sound misplaced in the Bavarian capitol, but this sprawling green space is actually Munich's largest park and everyone's favorite destination in warm weather.
Munich's 200-year-old best farmers' market is open every day. It is a must-see Munich site and an attraction for locals and tourists.
Its 150 booths of local goods provide the best of produce, baked goods, honey, butchers' hall, and spices. Sample your way through its best stalls and buy products to create your own German feast.
Go to one of Munich's Other Drinking Festivals
When you say "drinking festival in Germany", most people in the world automatically think of Munich's Oktoberfest. Locals know that this phrase could refer to many festivals held throughout the year.
Start it off with the Strong Beer Festival that sneaks in from winter all the way through spring. Also known as the “insider's Oktoberfest”, it features beers of Herculean strength. Starkbiers (strong, dark beers) are the drink of choice as the city exits the cold season.
Starnberg Lake is just south of Munich and makes for an ideal day trip out of the city.
An idyllic spring destination for locals and tourists in the know, take some time to enjoy sunny weather by walking the promenade and swimming in its clean waters. If you time it right, you might even catch the thrilling April regattas.
Germans are serious about their spas and many of the best in the country are in Bavaria. What better way to prepare for summer?
Best spas in Bavaria: