5 Simple Activities To Do in Germany During the Fall
Each season in Germany has its own “specialness”, whether it’s sipping on Glühwein in the Winter while roaming the Christmas markets, enjoying the cherry blossom trees in the Spring, spending Summer days BBQin’ with friends at the park or admiring the change of leaves from green to gold during the Fall.
While I loved the warm(ish!) weather and lush greenery the summertime brought, I must say Fall was my favorite season when we lived in beautiful Deutschland. From visiting castles to enjoying a stein or two (okay. maybe 3 🍻) at Oktoberfest, some of our most memorable experiences were made during the Fall and I’m excited to share 5 simple things to do when visiting Germany in this season!
1. visit Fairytale castles
Germany is home to impressive and beautifully designed castles such as Schwerin Castle, Burg Eltz Castle (on my bucket list!) and Hohenzollern Castle to name a few. You can easily plan a road trip to see the top castles in Germany, and I can only imagine how breathtaking the drive would be through the Alps and countryside in the Fall!
Located in Bavaria, about 2 hours from Munich, Germany, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, The Neuschwanstein Castle. It was actually the first castle we visited in Germany - and it is truly magical! So magical in fact, that Walt Disney himself was inspired by the "fairytale-like” architecture which led him to create the Magic Kingdom Castle in Disney World... kinda cool! ;)
2. enjoy the golden beauty
One thing about Germany is that there are tons of green spaces, so whether you are walking in the city or driving around the countryside you will be exposed to the Fall's golden beauty. When we lived in Hamburg, walking around the city was always a favorite leisure activity for us to do - especially during this time. The neighborhoods were full of mature trees with chestnuts falling on the ground, and the parks in the city boasted with fall colors as the leaves changed on the trees.
Germany has tons of places to visit that will blow you away with Autumn's beauty such as the quaint town of Spreewald and the Black Forest, where Germany's fairytale stories were inspired. We actually visited Spreewald this Summer for our friends' wedding. It's located outside of Berlin and although small, it is quite the tourist destination because of the charm it offers. There are tons of waterways filled with kayakers and small boats with beautiful trees hovering overhead. What got me really excited was the enchanting homes and cafes that sit along the water - it is incredibly peaceful and seems like it is straight out of a fairytale book.
3. attend oktoberfest + Other fall festivals
Just in case you don't know much about this festival, here is a quick overview. Oktoberfest is a traditional event in Germany that started in 1810 in celebration of the wedding for King Ludwig I to Princess Therese in Bavaria. Initially a festival focused on horse races in honor of the Royal newlyweds, it quickly evolved and gained popularity into a 16-day festival now famously known as Oktoberfest - an annual beer + amusement festival, the largest in the world. Ironically, Oktoberfest no longer starts in October but begins late September and ends in early October. Moving the festival dates up is mainly due to having better weather conditions for guests to enjoy throughout the day and evening (because as you know, the weather in Germany isn't the greatest!).
JD and I have friends who live in Munich where Oktoberfest is held, so we've been able to experience the festival with them (twice!). From the eldest to the little children, pretty much EVERYONE in Munich walks around in their traditional garments known as the lederhosen for men and dirndl for women. If you’re planning to attend Oktoberfest, make sure to reserve a table in a beer tent in advance and also know that one stein of beer will cost you roughly between 10.70 - 11.90 euro (12-14 USD) - you can check out the 2018 Beer Prices here. Although pricey, the stein holds 1 liter of beer...so it's worth the price! Once in the tent, you will also get to experience traditional Bavarian food such as vinegar based potato salad (my favorite!), seasoned roasted chicken and Käsespätzle (basically the German’s version of mac-n-cheese ;) ). If you aren't into beer, no worries. There is a full amusement park in the grounds where you can enjoy rollercoasters, games, Brezels (pretzels) and other common festival food found in Bavaria. This year Oktoberfest is from September 22 - October 7th, so get out your lederhosen and dirndl, prepare your liver, come with an appetite and get ready for an unforgettable experience. 🍻
If Oktoberfest isn't your thing or you've already been there and done that, there are plenty of other Fall Festivals in Germany to attend. I recently started following Helene In Between, an American travel blogger who lives in Germany, and she sums up the Best Fall Festivals In Germany which is worth a look - so whether you're into beer, wine or seasonal food - there are festivals for everyone to enjoy throughout this Autumn season!
4. find cozy cafes
I'm not sure about you, but nothing makes me happier than coming across a cozy cafe to pop into while escaping the cold for a bit. I think my favorite part is the instant smell of fresh, homemade pastries and roasted coffee that welcomes you upon entering. Whether the cafe is small and "homey" or has a modern and simplistic design, you can find cafes pretty much on every corner to order a hot beverage and a Franzbrötchen - a sweet traditional German pastry I'm sure you'll love. And, seeing as October 1st is International coffee day...finding cozy cafes seems fitting when visiting Germany in the Fall :)
5. Visit the Baltic sea
With rugged coastlines and soft white sand, Germany has a variety of beautiful beaches. You might not think visiting a beach in the Fall would be fun...but, actually it's really enjoyable because "tourist" season is over which means less crowds (whoop whoop!). Enjoy the Baltic Sea's hues of blue while walking the beach with a Heiße Schokolade (hot chocolate) and nibbling on a nutella filled crepe. With the crisp air and seaside breeze, it’s a refreshing way to appreciate the coolness of the Fall.
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