Germany Road Trip: Beer Gardens

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German Beer Gardens Tour in Germany:
Freising to Munich to Bamberg

With its many castles and beautiful countryside, Germany is a stunningly scenic country that welcomes thousands of visitors each and every year...

German Beer GardensBut don't be fooled - the true allure of Germany isn't its Old World charm, its gothic architecture, or its delicious bratwurst and Spätzle - it's really the country's incredible brewing lineage and biergartens!

Germany has been producing some of the world's finest ales for more than 3,000 years (and more recently, lagers and pilsners), and this history only adds to the mystical allure of this gorgeous and welcoming land. Simply put, there's no better way to experience the authenticity of German life than by attending Oktoberfest in Munich. But no road trip to Munich is complete without first stopping in bustling Freising, the home of Weihenstephan Abbey. Then after your time in Munich, a visit to the lush countryside of Bamberg will round out a thoroughly enjoyable vacation, and one that's filled with some of Germany's finest libations.

So pull on your lederhosen, book your car rental in Germany, and head out on your very own Beer Garden Tour of Germany's most legendary brewing cities. This once-in-a-lifetime trip is so packed with things to see and do, that it is guaranteed to captivate anyone - even those who don't enjoy beer!

Take your time and scroll through the full itinerary for our German Beer Gardens Road Trip or (if you're returning or checking-in while on the road) quickly navigate to the section which is of the most interest.

Germany Road Trip Planner: Biergarten Tour

Germany Road Trip Planner Driving Distances
Locations Distance (Km) Estimated Time
Munich Airport to Freising 11.7 15 Minutes
Freising to Munich City Center 40.1 35 Minutes
Munich to Bamberg 229 2 Hours, 16 Minutes
Total: 280.8 11 Hours, 8 Minutes

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Biergarten Road Trip Day 1: World's Oldest Brewery in Freising

If you want to take a proper Biergarten Road Trip through Germany, then it makes sense to start where it all began, in Freising. Freising is not only one of the oldest settlements in Bavaria, but it is also home to Weihenstephan Abbey. There in the Abbey in 1040, monks first started brewing their own beer, officially making the Weihenstephan Brewery the world's oldest brewery. The brewery is still in operation today, with its beers exported throughout the U.K., the U.S., and other countries.

Another good reason to get in your rental car and start your journey in Freising is the fact that it is one of Germany's most English-speaking-friendly cities. With the brewery being home to a campus of the Technische Universität München, as well as a local Fachhochschule (technical college), Freising has a very large student population, many of whom speak English fluently.

Freising Germany Road TripAlthough the city lacks proper "nightclubs," its youthful population nevertheless gives it an active nightlife. Most of Freising's after-hours action takes place in the city's numerous bars and pubs, several of which are brimming with students on any given night. Ask any student and you'll learn that some of the best places to enjoy a pint in Freising are Abseits, Schneider Weisse, Carlitos, and B-Trieb.

Of course, man can only drink so much, so thankfully, there are a host of attractions and activities you can enjoy during your stay in Freising. For instance, what better way to work up an appetite than by taking a bicycle tour along the River Isar? While riding, keep an eye out for signs guiding you to Muehlenpark, the beirgarten in Garching. After enjoying a delicious German meal and Bavarian brew, you can follow the river back to the other of Freising's hills (the other being home to Weihenstephan Abbey), Domberg, which is also known as Cathedral Hill. Here, you can visit the ancient twin-towered Roman cathedral and crypt. Also on site are an impressive library, or Bibliotheksaal, and the Diözesanmuseum, which is home to Germany's largest collection of ecclesiastical works, including a nice selection of Baroque and Rococo artworks.

During your stay in Freising, you have a choice of hotels to choose from, each of which will be easily found with a short drive in your rental car. Whether you choose to stay in the lap of luxury (Corbin Feng Shui Business Hotel) or you prefer a more budget-friendly hotel (Hotel Pension Abenstal Garni), you'll be able to find the perfect place to satisfy all of your needs. Or, if you want a more personalized experience, then try one of the city's many B&Bs. Gasthof Schredl, Zum Loewen, and Gaestehaus Buchner each come highly recommended by those who have stayed before.

Biergarten Tour in GermanyAlong with offering the traveler some of the finest ales in the world, Freising also has a wonderful array of restaurants. Of particular note for German cuisine are Weissbrau Huber, located at General-Von-Nagel 5; Braustuberl Weihenstephan, located at Weihenstephaner Berg 10; and Weihenstephaner am Dom, at Domberg 5a. Or, if you are craving something other than traditional German fare, you're still in luck. Use the GPS system in your car rental from Auto Europe, and let it point to something truly unique and more internationally inspired. Thai food can be found at Lucki's, Indian cuisine at Indian Palace, and Italian food at Trattoria Ca del Bosco. Believe it or not, there's even a Greek restaurant in Freising, called Irodion.

Once you have had your fill of Freising's brewing legacy, then all you have to do is jump in your Freising car rental and get on either the A92 or the B11, heading toward Munich. Regardless of which route you take, you'll eventually get on to the A9 to complete your journey. All in all, the trip will take just 37 minutes via the A92/A9 route, or about 41 minutes via the B11/A9 route.

Biergartens in Munich Map

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Beer Gardens in Germany Days 2 and 3: Munich is Hops Heaven

Even though brewing originated in Freising, Munich is, without a doubt, the one city in the world that epitomizes beer drinking. This is due in part to the city's annual Oktoberfest, the world-famous celebration of German beer and cuisine that takes place during the last two weeks of September. As a result, this is the most popular time of year to visit the capital of Bavaria, when you're traveling to Germany on vacation.

If you're driving your rental car through Bavaria outside of Oktoberfest season, you'll still have plenty of opportunities to enjoy Germany's brews. With more than 180 beer gardens in Munich alone, you'll have your pick of places where you can grab a tasty meal and a pint of genuine German ale. Some of the more popular biergartens among locals include Hirschgarten near Nymphenburg Palace, Taxisgarten, Augustiner Biergarten, Aumeister, and Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower).

Besides its beer-friendly reputation, Munich is also a tourist destination in its own right, thanks to its abundance of attractions and festivals. One of the city's most popular attractions is Marienplatz Square. Thousands of visitors flock to Marienplatz Square to photograph the famous Glockenspiel, and the gilded statue of the Virgin Mary fixed to the top of the New Town Hall, or the Fischbrunnen, or Fish Fountain. Another popular stop is the Viktualienmarkt, a vibrant market in the heart of Munich where you can find all manner of vegetables, meats, cheeses, and more.

With so many day trips available in Munich, especially when you have access to the independence that goes along with renting your own car from Auto Europe, it will be hard to limit your visit to just one day. With your German car rental, you can take a day trip to the Alps, or to Schloss Neuschwanstein, where you can visit two of the country's most prominent castles. Then, once back in Munich, be sure to take a visit to Englischer Garten, which is the first public urban park in Europe. Or for a more grounding and contemplative experience, the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site is a smart choice.

If you want to experience the nightlife of Munich, then you should visit Kunstpark Ost. This one-time industrial park has since been turned into the city's hottest club scene, with more than 20 clubs in this one location. But here's a hint - dress well, or you may not be allowed inside. Meanwhile, for a more tourist-friendly look at Munich's nightlife, you can also check out the bar scene in Schwabing. The bars in Schwabing have a youthful vibe, a relaxed atmosphere, and are known to serve very good food.

Munich Germany Road TripLike the club scene, the restaurants in Munich can also be categorized as being either tourist-friendly, or local favorites. For example, Hofbräuhaus is a hugely popular place to eat when it comes to the opinions of visitors to the city. But restaurants like Zum Augustiner, Weisses Bräuhaus, and Hofbräukeller are among those more likely to be dined at by locals. You can't really go wrong with any of your choices, but it is always nice to know which places the locals trust most for their meals. Of course, you can also ask any student in Munich for a recommendation, and chances are good they'll point you to a great eatery that's off the beaten path - and you'll have no trouble getting there with your rental car.

Regardless of when you decide to visit Munich, it pays to book your accommodations well in advance. But this is especially the case if you are planning to attend Oktoberfest, as thousands of visitors descend on the city during this time.

With Munich's Frühlingfest (Spring Festival) and Starkbierzeit festivals taking place in the spring, this is another time of year when booking early is highly recommended. The Hotel Uhland is regularly rated one of Munich's top hotels. It is located on a quiet residential street, in close proximity to where the Oktoberfest celebration is held. Meanwhile, the Hotel Laimer Hof Munich is a popular favorite among those who prefer their accommodations a little cozier, and a little less expensive. Or, if you want to live it up during your stay in Munich, then the Mandarin Oriental Munchen and the Rocco Forte The Charles Hotel are two of the newest and most luxurious hotels in the city.

Next stop on your German Beer Garden Road Trip is Bamberg. It's just over two hours away via the A8, so hop in your Germany rental car and enjoy the drive south. Your trip will take you through the gorgeous Hofoldinger Forest, along Seehamer See, and over portions of the Alps.

Biergartens in Munich Map

 Map image and directions courtesy of Google Maps 

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Biergarten Trip Day 4: Bamberg - The Lush Rolling Hills of Bavaria

On the fourth and final day of your road trip, you'll wind up in Bamberg. Sitting on seven lush hills, the city of Bamberg is as charming a destination as you have ever seen. Chock full of Bavarian-style houses, old cobbled streets, and trickling creeks, Bamberg makes for the perfect finale to a thoroughly enjoyable tour of Germany's most popular beer gardens.

One of the reasons why Bamberg makes for the ideal final city on your Germany road trip is because it is decidingly not-touristy. In fact, the city is as genuine as a city can get. And as a result, most of the attractions here are architecturally inspired. For example, the top attractions in Bamberg include the Bamberg Altstadt, the Altes Rathaus, and the Romanesque Dom. You can also enjoy a peaceful afternoon by visiting the Altenburg, where you can hike up the hill to the beautiful castle estate, restaurant, and grounds after leaving your car rental behind at the hotel.

Bamberg may not be as tourist-heavy as Munich, but it does offer a surprising array of different restaurants. From Franconian cuisine at Kachelofen, to Italian cuisine at Fellini Ristorante, to the quintessential German fare at Schlenkerla, Bamberg has a restaurant to meet any craving. But this trip is about biergartens, and thankfully, Bamberg has several excellent biergartens to choose from. Some of the city's most popular ones include Griefenklau, Spezial-Keller, Bamberger Weissbierhaus, and Volspark.

Because Bamberg is a smaller city, many biergartens can also be found on the outskirts of the city proper, such as Landgasthof Heerlien in nearby Wildensorg, Weierich in Lugbank, and others - each, just a short ride away in your car rental from Auto Europe.

If you want an exciting nightlife, then Bramberg isn't Bamberg Germany Road Tripwhere you're going to find it. This city caters to more of a sit-and-drink crowd, and as a result, its watering holes are restricted to simple bars and pubs. If you want something a little more active, then you're going to have to hop in your car rental, and drive to nearby Hallstadt so you can go to Pio Diskotheken GmbH & Co. KG, one of the only nightclubs in the entire area.

During your stay in Bramberg, what better hotel to stay at than the Fassla Brewery? That's right - it's a hotel, restaurant, and biergarten all in one, and it's a recipient of TripAdvisor's Certificate of Excellence (2014). Another great choice is the Barock Hotel am Dom, which blends Old World elegance with modern conveniences like Wi-Fi Internet, complimentary German breakfast, and comfortable appointments. Or, if your finances are hanging by a thread on the final leg of your journey, then you can stretch your dollar by staying at the Best Western Hotel Bamberg. Yes, there's a Best Western in Bamberg, Germany, and it's not only one of the more affordable places to stay, but it's also one of the most conveniently located hotels in the city, within walking distance of several of the best local Bräurys (beer places).

Biergartens Bamberg Map

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German Beer Gardens Road Trip: Planning the Perfect Trip

Now that you've gotten the run-down on all the must-see attractions and beer gardens in Freising, Munich, and Bamberg, you're well on your way to enjoying the best beer in the world, in the very place where the drink originated. With the resources provided here by Auto Europe and our comprehensive travel guides, you'll have all the knowledge you'd ever need to guarantee the perfect road trip through Bavaria.

All you need now is a fulfilling itinerary, a few days off, and a good pair of driving gloves to go with your premium car rental in Germany. Just remember, drink responsibly and never drive unless you're completely sober. In the meantime, enjoy beautiful Bavaria's brews!

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