• Germany

    Bavaria road trip: Munich, Neuschwanstein and Füssen

    What more Bavaria can offer you than the city life in Munich and Oktoberfest? ALPS, castles, small beautiful alpine villages with flowers, pumpkins on the road, lakes and stunning landscapes. While visiting Munich we also recommend to go a bit further to enjoy the beautiful Bavarian views.

    On the first day we made a road trip to Neuschwanstein Castle. In the morning we woke up at 6 o’clock and were packed in the rental car ready to go already at 7 o’clock. Jenna was driving, Sanna navigating and boys were sleeping in the backseat. It took some time until Jenna got used to the German driving style while other cars drove past on winding roads. On our way we saw so many cute little alpine villages and we did our best not to stop by in each of them. When we approached the destination we were impressed of the view: the most beautiful castle we have ever seen in front of the Alps. Another super cute thing was that there were many pumpkin selling points along the way where you could crab a pumpkin with you and pay it by putting the money into a small box.

    The ride to the castle took about 2 hours as the place is almost at the Austrian border. We arrived at 9 o’clock to the small village called Hohenschwangau, where you could buy tickets to the castle. There are many parking lots for people arriving by car and because we arrived so early we had no problem parking the car. The parking fee was € 6 per day. We rushed to the ticket center, but there were only a few other tourists before us. On the castle website they recommend you to buy tickets at least 3 days in advance (not possible to buy online later) and because we noticed that too late we couldn’t buy tickets online. We got the tickets from the ticket center for the tour starting at 10:05. The tickets cost 13€ per person and the students got a one euro discount! From the ticket center it took about half an hour to walk uphill to the castle. Before our guided tour started we walked about 15 minutes to the Marienbrücke Bridge, which has breathtaking views to the castle.

    Neuschwanstein Castle was built between 1868 and 1892 by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. The King admired Wagner’s opera performances and built the castle for himself to be able to live there “a fairytale life”. The king’s favorite bird was a swan and that’s why you can spot swan inspired decoration in many parts of the castle. Also, the name of the castle literally means a New Swanstone Castle. The king lived in the castle for six months before he was found drowned in the lake. The castle was opened to the paying visitors just few weeks after his death to fund the completion of it’s construction as at that point only 16 of the 200 rooms in the castle were ready.

    Visiting the Neuschwanstein Castle is a dream come true for all the little and grown up princesses including these two nearly thirty-year-old ones. After all, the castle was also used as a model for the Walt Disney Sleeping Beauty Castle. The interiors of the castle weren’t as impressive as we expected and unfortunately it was forbidden to take photos.

    In Hohenschwangau village there is also beautiful lake called Alpsee with crystal clear turquoise water. There were many swans swimming in the lake which you could imagine been swimming there also when the king lived. The lake was like from a fairytale and definitely worth to see. After visiting in the castle and the lake we decided to continue our journey to Füssen, a nearby city full of colourful houses. We found a lunch spot and decided to eat currywurst while there was a street musician playing nice music next to us.

    After the lunch we drove back to Munich and returned the car to the main railway station. We rented the car from Hertz at the airport after arriving to Munich. The 24h car rental price including additional insurance was 100€. The fuel costs were 36€ so the total cost of the car was 36€ per person. Our Airbnb hosts also recommended to visit Herrenchiemsee Castle, which is located on the largest island of Chiemsee lake and it is said to be like a small Versailles. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to see it but we’ll keep this recommendation in mind for the future trips.

    In Munich, we spent our time mostly in the Oktoberfest area and the city center around the Marienplatz. (If you want to know more about Oktoberfest, read our previous post Octoberfest 2018  ) In Marienplatz, you’ll find the Neues Rathaus (the new town hall), which is a Gothic style building and well known landmark in Munich. As we both have an eye for aesthetic things we really loved the Bavarian way of decorating the buildings with flowers, it’s so pretty! Right next to the Rathaus there is also a white Hirmer’s clothing store for men which was just gorgeous in it’s flower dress. In Marienplatz Square, you will also find Cafe Rischart, which has a long glass vetrine full of delicious sweet buns, salty pies and cakes. Here you can also find fresh pretzels, which are definitely worth of tasting.

    The famous Viktualienmarkt marketplace is right next to Marienplatz. There you will find German delicacies and you really should have a lunch as there are many options to choose from. The smell of fresh vegetables, flowers and spices on the market was charming.

    Getting around in Munich was easy because of the wide train and metro networks (S-Bahn and U-Bahn). We were 4 people so we bought a 72h group ticket for all zones which is meant for groups up to 5 people. The ticket cost 73€ in total so the cost per person was about 6€ / day. The group ticket will always be cheaper to buy when there are two or more passengers.

    German and especially Bavarian food is quite heavy (meat and sausages) and fills your stomach quickly so be careful not to order too much. If you are looking for a traditional German place to eat in the city center we can recommend a restaurant called Augustiner am Dom.

    Bavaria is truly a beautiful area and we think renting a car allows you to explore it more widely and your vacation is not limited only to the big city’s hustle and bustle. Finally we can say that we were positively surprised at how much Bavaria has to offer!

     

    With love, Sanna & Jenna

  • Germany

    Oktoberfest 2018

    “Let’s go to the Oktoberfest!” said someone at our last Easter break in the Levi skiing center in Lapland. After a few days the flights and Airbnb were already booked. Expectations: beer, beer and beer, even though neither of us is even a friend of beer, but this was probably the first time our men were more excited about our trip than we were. Reality: beer, lots of people, partying all day, Bavarian atmosphere, sausages and pretzels. After we spend two evenings and one full day in festival area we can say that YOU SHOULD GO and EXPERIENCE OKTOBERFEST YOURSELF!

    Oktoberfest is a two-week beer festival held every year in Munich, Germany. It is one of the world’s largest public celebrations and attracts about six million visitors from September to October. The first Oktoberfest was celebrated in October 1810 in honor of the Crown Prince Ludwig Bavarian and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen wedding. The wedding was celebrated for five days by eating, drinking, parades and horse-riding. People liked the event so much that it was decided to reorganize in the coming years and this year it is celebrated 185th time.

    We went to Oktoberfest with our future hubbies Adrián and Petri. Sanna and Adrián had an early flight from Spain and Jenna and Petri came from Finland later on the same day. When we booked our trip, we checked the different alternatives for accommodation and compared the prices. The hotels were really expensive as also the Airbnb options in the central area. That is why we decided to choose Airbnb outside the city center from Otterfing. In total we paid 580€ for 4 nights for 4 people. Otterfing proved to be a very good alternative as it reached the center of Munich in about 40 minutes by train. The trains run late at the night, so after the Oktoberfest, the journey to the apartment was easy as long as someone remained awake to check on which stop to get out. 

    The oktoberfest is all about wearing the traditional costumes so of course we also decided to buy them. Women’s costume is called dirndl and men’s lederhosen. Traditional suits bought from Munich are beautiful but  really expensive. So if you do not want to invest large amount of money, get it in advance from elsewhere. In addition, women accessorize their outfits with different size heart-shaped gingerbreads hanging from their necks and clothespins engraved by different texts attached to their dresses. We thought that the gingerbread hearts would have been a nice souvenir to take home but eventually we ended up eating them on late Sunday night on our way to the apartment. 

    The Oktoberfest is located in the Thereisienwiese area near the main train station. There are 14  huge beer tents in the area, including one wine tent (of course we had to try some wine!) and several smaller beer tents. All the tents are an attraction themselves because they are very different from each other and you can enjoy good food and live music inside them. Outside of the tents there are also stands where they sell German snacks like sausages and pretzels. Most of the tables in tents are pre-booked so finding a seating might be challenging and in some tents beer will not even be served for you if you do not have a seating position. The pints are one liter each and they cost € 11.50 /pint. Guys were super happy with their beers but especially for Sanna the struggle was real. Like why even attend to a beer festival if you don’t drink beer? We tried to fix the situation by smuggling in some wine in a water bottle and actually it worked on Saturday but on Sunday we got caught. At the end even Sanna drank couple pints of Raddler with some help from the others.  Surprisingly, the tents are opening and getting full already in the morning at 10 am and they are only open until the midnight. You can enter to the festival area and tents free of charge, but there is an “old Oktoberfest” area where the entrance fee is 3€. There is a sky wheel and other amusements like carousels to enjoy.

    After all Oktoberfest was a great experience that we warmly recommend to attend at least once in a lifetime. Although the festival is well-known among the tourists, there are plenty of locals and we caught the Bavarian atmosphere from the first sight. If you want to have even more authentic Oktoberfest experience you should go to the smaller cities in Bavaria. We think that the few days we spent in Oktoberfest were just enough for both our liver and budget. Even though there were lots of people and some of them had taken pint or two too many there was a calm and cheerful atmosphere in the area. We met people all around the world and we got a lot of new friends. People were friendly, made place to sit with them and were happy to have a chat with a complete stranger. 


    With love, Sanna & Jenna