Who would have guessed that I’d return to Munich for Oktoberfest for the second year in a row? Last year, we took and enjoyed Mike’s Bike Tour (review). Lenny’s was a possible option for this year but the route looked pretty similar to Mikes. My one free day was forecast for showers and rain all day. After being turned away from Mike’s new rental office (the weather forecast was not good, happily it was also wrong), I quickly rented a bike from the original location and set off on my own tour. Munich has an emerging craft beer scene that could warrant a tour of its own and I wanted to visit at least a couple of small breweries.
Riding south out of the Altstadt, the first stop was to be Brauerei im Eiswerk. It was easy to find but sadly not open until 17:00. Next up was Giesinger Bräu. Armed with both a printed map and GPS, the brewery was tough to find. A friendly Frau sensed my uncertainty. After a mishmash of English, German, finger pointing, and head nodding, I set off up the only hill for miles around. And found Giesinger at the top, next to the all important “kirche” (church) landmark.
Following a couple of beers and a very tasty smoked fish salad, I headed back downhill and rode towards the Oktoberfest “Wiesen” grounds. The map showed the most direct route was via the busy Humboldtstraße. As I looked for a suitable side street to avoid traffic, I crossed Humboldtstraße and discovered generous bike lanes and no need for taking the back roads. Munich’s reputation as a bike friendly city is well deserved.
I rode around the exterior of the Oktoberfest grounds to get a better sense for the scope of the festival and took some photos from the Bavariapark hill on the west side. I continued a short distance west through Bavariapark, the mostly empty Wirtshaus am Bavariapark beer garden, and the Deutsches Museum Verkehrszentrum and stopped at at the Endless Staircase in front of the KPMG building to get a shot of this stairway to nowhere….or is it art?
From here, I rode north and east to the main pedestrian entrance to Oktoberfest. Many visitors, including my group, arrive via the U-Bahn and miss the photo opportunity at the walking entrance.
Continuing east, I rode past the
Hauptbahnhof, numerous Trachten (Germanwear) shops, and a constant flow of Lederhosen and Dirndl clad revelers headed to the festival.
Finally, I rode into the Altstadt, stopped for an obligatory selfie with the wild boar in front of the German Hunting and Fishing Museum and worked my way back to Mikes.
Here’s the map:
The route is about 10 miles; it took me about four hours, with frequent stops for photos and lunch.
A couple of notes if you decide to take a similar ride:
- The Thereisenwiese grounds are home to Oktoberfest as well as a few other festivals. Depending on the time of your visit, there may be nothing there to see.
- If I rode this again, I’d continue up the hill past Brauerei im Eiswerk and look for the bike paths that appear to connect more directly to the Giesinger area. But do ride down using the route shown through the woods.
- Another fun alternative would be to ride from Mike’s across either the Maxilimilian or Ludwigsbrücke bridge and visit one of the beer gardens shown on the east bank of the Isar River. Or go the other way around and end your ride there.
- There’s nothing magic about the route I took through the Altstadt and there are places on the pedestrian malls where bikes must be walked.
- Finally…..if you haven’t taken one of other Munich bike tours…do that BEFORE you venture out on your own.
- Have fun!