Welcome to Munich. As today is arrival day there are no activities planned until our important group meeting this evening at approximately 6pm. Please look for a message from your Tour Leader at the hotel reception, detailing where and when to meet for this meeting. For those who arrive early, if you would like to get a quick overview of beautiful Munich, stretch your legs, climb the approximate 150 steps up the tower of St. Peter's Church on Marienplatz and enjoy a fantastic view over the city and the surrounding countryside. If you are lucky you will have the full panorama of the Alps.
After breakfast (want something local? Try a 'weisswurst' with a soft pretzel and some sweet mustard), then head out on a guided tour of this magnificent city. We start our tour at Marienplatz - the very centre of town with its famous Glockenspiel. On our way have a look at "Alten Peter" ("Old Peter") the oldest and one of the most well-known churches in Munich. Don't miss the famous beerhall the Hofbräuhaus. Continuing through the streets of the old town, we get to the Viktualienmarkt - Munich´s fresh produce market, where stalls are set up offering plenty of traditional food and snacks to locals and visitors alike. Making our way through the centre of Munich we will pass the "Feldherrnhalle" also known as the Beer Hall Putsch, which was the scene of a confrontation between the Bavarian State Police and an illegally organized march by the followers of Adolf Hitler. Carrying on we will pass the Frauenkirche (Cathedral of Our Blessed Lady), which is considered a symbol of the Bavarian State Capital and end up again at Marienplatz where our tour started. Later in the day, visit a local Munich brewery. Before frolicking at the Oktoberfest, you’ll probably be curious to learn about where all the beer comes from and what drives a brewery’s pursuit of ultimate quality (did you know that the German government itself ensures that all German beer conforms to strict quality and purity standards?). This tour will give you a great idea of where and how the famous beers are made as well as give you the opportunity to sample the finished product of course!
Today we head over to the raging party that is the famous (or infamous!) Octoberfest. Although this is our designated day to visit the Oktoberfest, the celebrations are actually taking place throughout our time in Munich, so there will be plenty of opportunity for joining in!! Experience the entire spectrum of the Oktoberfest - watch how the entire spectacle progresses from the mellow morning atmosphere, to a few hours later when after a couple of one-litre beers, some may be up on the benches singing along with the oom pah pah band. If you want to truly be a part of the cultural experience, this is the only way to go! The Oktoberfest is a sixteen-day festival held each year in Munich, Bavaria, during late September and early October. It is one of the most famous events in the city and the world's largest fair, with some six million people attending every year. It is an important part of Bavarian folklore. Beer plays a central role in the fair, with every festival beginning with a keg of beer tapped by the Mayor of Munich who declares "O'zapft is!" (Bavarian for "It’s tapped!"). A special Oktoberfest beer is brewed for the occasion, which is slightly darker and stronger in both taste and alcohol. It is served in a one-litre tankard called "Maß". The first mass is served to the Bavarian Prime Minister. Only local Munich breweries are allowed to serve this beer in a Bierzelt, a beer tent which is large enough to hold thousands.
On your free day, feel free to head back for another dose of Oktoberfest or consider exploring more of Munich. Or why not visit another country for the day and head out an optional day tour to the fairytale town of Salzburg, Austria. Austria is part of the Bavarian culture, and perhaps nowhere else in Europe can one enjoy "Hochkultur", history, architecture, and stunning natural scenery all in a small town atmosphere. Mozart was born here and this is where he received much of the inspiration that would become his timeless musical genius. Not only this but the classic movie "The Sound of Music" was filmed here and countless people have lost their breath at how perfectly “European” one place can be. As if all that isn’t enough, many shopping opportunities present themselves, as well as quaint restaurants and cafes, perfect for investigating the local cuisine. Our last day’s included activity will be a dinner and beer at a typical Bavarian restaurant right in the heart of Munich. Bavarian fare does not consist only of sausages and sauerkraut. Oh no no mein Bruder, you’ll have the chance to sample hearty foods such as pig's knuckle, schnitzel, haxe, creamy sauces with locally produced mushrooms, suckling pig, creamy cheeses etc. This food is rich and tasty. Just be prepared for a higher than normal fat content and enjoy the moments in a hearty Bavarian restaurant atmosphere where the waiters are dressed in traditional Bavarian clothing and pure joy that could only be brought about by the world’s one and only Octoberfest season, bursts from every seam.