Munich is famous for its Oktoberfest, but it is certainly not the only festival coming up. In fact, many people prefer the smaller more local festivals. The reasons for this vary from having a more authentic feel to simply being able to get good food and beer easier and cheaper. As we mentioned a couple months back, local volksfests take place in nearly every town in the region at some point from April through October.
These festivals, just like the Oktoberfest, are extremely similar to county fairs in the United States with carnival rides, games, and a beer garden. The rides and games are almost identical from what you find in the USA, but the beer garden is usually several large tents (like the Oktoberfest), with thousands of people eating and drinking while also typically wearing the traditional clothing of the area (mostly lederhosen and dirndls). The food served is usually restricted to only traditional foods such as roast pork, schnitzel, rotisserie chicken, smoked fish, dumplings, and spätzle. These are all-day festivals which are family-friendly, becoming less so after dark.
Here are a few top picks for volksfests in the Munich area in the next couple of months:
- Pasinger Volksfest July 28-August 2: Pasing is located just 15 minutes from Munich’s city center. Although this was historically a separate (much older) town from Munich, today it is actually part of the city. You can take the S3, S4, S6, or S8 from the Hauptbahnhof to Pasing.
- Volksfest Ebersberg, August 12-22: Ebersberg is located at the end of the S-bahn line 4, approximately 45 minutes from Munich.
- Dachauer Volksfest August 13-22: Dachau is a 20-minute S-bahn (S2) ride from the central station in Munich and advertises the cheapest beer in the region. This is a great way to experience the beautiful town of Dachau rather than just the concentration camp at the edge of town.
- Erdinger Herbstfest August 26-September 4: Erding is located at the end of the S-bahn line 2, approximately 45 minutes from Munich.
- Herbstdult Regensburg August 26-September 11: Regensburg is approximately 1.5 hours from Munich and there are hourly trains nearly around the clock.
- Augsburger Herbstplärrer August 26-September 11: Unfortunately not located directly in the old city, this is still a lovely volksfest held in the most historic of Bavarian cities. Augsburg is 40 minutes by train from Munich with trains running every half hour.
- Herbstvolksfest Nürnberg August 26-September 11: Nuremberg is located 1.5 hours directly north of Munich, however some of the trains take 2.5 hours. This might be a good excuse to explore the beautiful city of Nürnberg.
- Volksfest Freising September 2-11: Freising is located near Munich’s airport and is a town much older than Munich with the area’s cathedral located there. You can take regional trains or the S-bahn line 1 approximately 45 minutes from Munich.
- Rupertikirtag Volksfest in Salzburg September 21-25: Salzburg is approximately 2 hours by train from Munich, with direct trains running at least hourly. This is quite a small volksfest, but it’s located right downtown and it is certainly a beautiful city to visit, even without the volksfest.