When I first booked my trip to Germany last year (2014), I was mostly excited for Oktoberfest. So many people have this on their bucket list! I’m happy to say I’ve checked that box, but looking back on the trip, it was actually one of my least favorite memories. We spent the first three nights of our trip in Prague. Read more here. Then, we explored Bavaria.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber – 2 nights
This is the best small town I’ve been to in Europe and highly recommend coming here. I loved the buildings, the signs for each shop, walking through the town, and just relaxing! This isn’t a lot to see here, but you will definitely enjoy your time.
Enjoy the square
People gather around at the top of the hour to watch a mechanical drinking scene. Back in 1631, the mayor of the city had to drink over three liters of wine in order to save the town. Our hotel was the yellow building and is 600 years old. It was old, but clean and they offered a nice breakfast.
Walk through the town
Shop at Käthe Wohlfahrt
There are a few shops around Germany and Rothenburg hosts one of them. To say I love Christmas is an understatement. This holiday shop is incredible and we ended up spending over 300 euro in gifts for ourselves and family. You can’t take pictures inside, so this was the only shot I have from my trip.
Walk the wall and down below the city
The wall is neat and it closes the city in. There are plaques on the wall that show the names of donors who contributed to the rebuilding of the city. The countryside below the town is quiet and great for enjoying a nice walk.
Take the Nights Watchman Tour
For 7 euro a piece, you follow a man dressed as a night’s watchman. This tour went through the entire history of Rothenburg from start until today.
St. Jakob church
Füssen – 2 nights
Visit Neuschwanstein Castle
I’m pretty sure most people who come here, visit the castle. It’s a nice 30 minute hike up to the castle. Be sure to walk to Marienbrücke (Mary’s Bridge) and even venture up a little more for a better view of the castle. It almost looks fake as you stare from a far!
Also Visit Hohenschwangau Castle
It was the childhood home of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. You get to see much more inside compared to the other castle. Look to purchase tickets early in the day if you’re going in peak season.
Enjoy the German food (at Madame Plüsch)
Munich – 3 nights
Day One: It was opening day of Oktoberfest! Munich throws this awesome parade and I’m happy we were able to experience it. The horses were decked out in gear, locals were wearing their best lederhosen or dirndl and everyone was just happy! It ended up being a rainy day, but that didn’t stop us from wanting to join the fun. After watching the entire parade, we headed to the festival. Little did I know, it was basically a large fair. I always gave the analogy it was the Puyallup fair on steroids. It was huge! Lots of carnival rides, food vendors, games, and of course, the beer tents. We grabbed lunch first, then walked around to the many beer tents. After recognizing our favorite German beer tent, Hacker-Pschorr, we thought it would be best to wait in line to get in. We waited, waited, waited, and waited some more. After waiting nearly three hours to get in, we gave up. We walked around trying to get in to other tents and didn’t have much luck. After our fourth attempt at a tent, we finally got in to one with standing room only. For the other tents, if you didn’t have a seat, you didn’t get a beer. I’ll never forget the staff saying, “No sit, no beer!” Inside the tent was fun, but since it was just the two of us, we were over it in a few hours. After leaving the tent, all we noticed were drunk people passed out on the grass and puke everywhere. My experience of Oktoberfest (patience, party, puke). I would highly recommend NOT attempting Oktoberfest on opening day. We ended up meeting a nice couple and learned they showed up to their tent of choice at 7 AM just to get a table.
Day Two: 1/2 day trip to Dachau
The original and first concentration camp in Germany. The site includes the original crematorium, a museum, one replica barrack and a few items like shoes, clothing, a desk, plus more.
Other highlights of Munich:
Visit the Hofbräuhaus
This is what I was expecting from Oktoberfest. It has many floors to listen to music and enjoy a liter of beer. We met two nice couples from the U.S. and listened to music.
Enjoy a Bavarian creme donut
There are cafes all around Munich who serve pastries. This one did not disappoint! We split this donut on the first day, but the next day, I needed my own 🙂