You can't count on good weather in Bavaria in spring (frühling). Germany's southern region with its capitol of Munich can be cold and grey and even snowy deep into March. But you can count on a good time.
Take a Walking Tour of Munich
There are several excellent tour options in English (as well as other languages) that leave right from Marienplatz. They offer a framework in which to appreciate the history of this great city, as well as tips on where to eat, drink, and what to do. (Remember to tip even on a free tour.)
Try to time your visit so you are in Marienplatz at 11:00 or noon. For over 100 years, the traditional Glockenspiel chimes on the hour with the three chirps of the golden bird signaling the end of each show.
Celebrate May Day in Bavaria
May Day in the north of Germany 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
Munich alone has over 200 beer gardens serving the best in Bavarian beer and 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.
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 Munich's largest park and everyone's favorite destination in warm weather.
Visitors can rent a paddle boat and walk through the woods. Want something more unusual? Check out German canal surfing or even catch some rays in the nude. The area around the Universität is particularly notorious for FKK (clothing free) sunbathing. While all these activities are crowded during summer, you can still catch Müncheners enjoying at the first signs of sun.
Munich's 200-year-old Viktualienmarkt is open every day. It is a must-see Munich site and an attraction for locals and tourists.
There are 150 booths of local goods providing the best of produce, baked goods, and spices with plenty of casual dining spots. Sample your way through its best stalls and buy products to create your own German feast.
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 public transportation out to this idyllc destination. 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.
When you say "drinking festival in Germany", most people automatically think of Munich's Oktoberfest. Locals know that this phrase could refer to many excellent festivals held throughout the year.
Start it off with the Strong Beer Festival (Starkbierzeit), also known as the “insider's Oktoberfest”. It features beers of Herculean strength - perfect for keeping warm in the chilly season. The festival is held after Carnival for about a month.
After the snow has melted off the Bavarian Alps by the middle of May, it is time for the skiers to give way to the hikers. Take your pick of peaks and routes like Höhentalklamm, Oberstdorf and Roß and Buchstein.
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: