Bavaria in the autumn has stolen my heart. Yes, the weather can be chilly and rainy. Outdoor activities and dining options can be limited and there are fewer hours of daylight. But the crowds visiting Munich in the autumn are noticeably smaller if you visit after that famous beer festival (you know the one!).
Mother Nature puts on a real show in the Bavarian towns and countryside as lush trees slowly take on the hues of yellows and oranges, making the already scenic mountains and lakes all that more special. From the exciting weeks of Oktoberfest to the smaller local festivals, Bavaria in autumn can be as quiet or as loud as you want it to be.
What to Expect for Munich in Autumn
When planning your trip to Munich in the autumn, there are a few different things to take into consideration. If you prefer warmer temperatures for strolling and outdoor dining and do not mind the crowds, you will want to go earlier in the fall. But if you do not mind a chill in the air and some rain if it gets you quieter streets but means you have to head inside to eat, then post-Oktoberfest will be right for you.
When autumn kicks off in late September, the average daily highs are in the mid-60s Fahrenheit while overnight lows are in the mid-40s. But by the end of autumn in December, the daily highs are in the high 30s with lows in the high 20s. While the summer months see the most amount of rain, autumn is the second wettest season. But, on average, November is the driest month of the fall. But there are also about half as many daylight hours in November than in October.
There are a few holidays that you may need to plan around. German Unity Day on October 3rd celebrates the country’s reunification in 1990. In Bavaria and several other German states, November 1st celebrates All Saints’ Day. Bavarian schoolchildren also get a week’s long autumn holiday, although the dates for that vary from year to year.
With fewer tourists and colder weather, museums, and palaces tend to shorten their hours in the fall – or close up altogether. For example, the park palaces across Nymphenburg Park close in mid-October and reopen in March. Nymphenburg Palace itself remains open through the fall and winter but has reduced hours. For palaces, fortresses, and other spots managed by the Bavarian Palace Administration, check their website to see openings and closings.
Across Bavaria, you will start seeing fountains turned off and, along with statues and some monuments, boarded up to protect them from the cold temperatures and precipitation that is sure to follow over the upcoming months.
Outdoor dining tends to be hit or miss. By the end of October, many of the Biergartens in Munich will be closing up shop until spring. Restaurants may have a few tables outdoors, especially if there are heat lamps available, but wide-scale outdoor dining is no longer assured.
After a busy summer and Oktoberfest, the crowds start to lessen in Munich in the autumn. That means museums can be less busy. Airfare and hotel rooms can be less expensive. If you look around, you can definitely find a good deal.
Autumn Events in Bavaria
After everything I have just summed up, it might seem like a visit to Bavaria during the autumn is not ideal. But there are plenty of reasons to visit during the fall.
While New England in the United States is known, at least nationally, for its colorful leaves, Bavaria in the autumn might be able to give them a run for their money. A walk through Englischer Garten, under trees full of yellow leaves, and then grabbing a beer at one of the Biergarten in the park is reason enough to visit Munich in the autumn.
Or try a visit to one of Munich’s nearby lakes. With the Alps in the background, covered in trees whose leaves are turning yellow and oranges, with a calm lake in the foreground is a charming way to spend the day. The countryside comes alive for Bavaria in the autumn.
I recommend heading to the Wallberg on the Tegernsee to experience it firsthand. If you prefer palaces, go for a stroll along the tree-lined canal at Schloss Schleissheim. If you are looking for somewhere closer to Munich to enjoy the autumn colors, head to the Munich Botanical Garden.
Oktoberfest & Other Festivities
It goes without saying that Oktoberfest is the largest and most popular event during the entire year but it is the jewel in the crown of events for Munich in the autumn. And across Bavaria, other towns and villages will also be holding their folk festivals.
But once the world’s largest folk festival ends, things get a bit quieter in Munich as far as tourists are concerned. Instead, indulge in experiences usually saved for locals.
In Munich at Mariahilfplatz is the autumn Auer Dult, or Kirchweih Dult. The festival takes over the square outside of the local church. There is a large flea market selling antiques, handmade items, and other household goods. There are also some carnival rides and games as well as fair food: Steckerlfisch, chocolate-covered fruit, and more.
Just outside of Bavaria, head to Aying for the Ayinger Bräu-Kirta Beer Festival.
Christmas is Right Around the Corner
You read that right: Christmas. When you visit Munich in the autumn, Christmas is likely to be the last thing on your mind. But if you head into many stores and you will already see Christmas candy, advent calendars, and other goodies for sale. As the holiday season approaches, the crowds will increase.
But until then, visitors in the autumn can get a sneak peek at those winter favorites. Get some roast nuts or mulled wine at one of the stands in and around Marienplatz. Or pick up an advent calendar from the grocery store to save for December 1st.
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All photos, as well as opinions, are my own.