Campervan Oktoberfest Munich A Trip to Oktoberfest in Bavaria, Germany in a Motorhome, September 2007.
By Leslie Brown,
Campervan Oktoberfest Munich during the autumn of 2007, I decided to get away from the hectic pace in the office for a few days, and visit Oktoberfest, the Munich Beer Festival, as well as other sights in Bavaria, Germany. A motorhome seemed like the ideal way to travel around with complete freedom, so I booked one for pickup in Frankfurt. Travelling with two friends, we flew in to Frankfurt am Main airport, and hopped in a taxi to take us to the pickup point. This was in a city called Offenbach, which is around 12 kms from the airport. The taxi took us directly to the depot, and it only cost Euro 24 for the three of us, which was very reasonable. In common with most taxis in Germany it was a diesel Mercedes; very comfortable and efficient.
Campervan Oktoberfest Munich our scheduled pickup time for the motorhome was around 2 PM in the afternoon. We arrived earlier than scheduled at the depot, thinking we could pick up and get on the road early. We were told at the depot that this was not possible, as they were very busy with families delivering back Motorhomes at the end of their rental. The staff were busy cleaning and preparing the Motorhomes for hires picking up that afternoon, including us! We were advised to pop into Offenbach for a while, and take a leisurely lunch and do a little sightseeing.
Campervan Oktoberfest Munich there was a bus stop outside the depot, so we caught a bus into Offenbach. We found a traditional bar with outside seating in the main market square of the city, and had a very nice lunch. The menu featured a lot of traditional dishes, including Wiener Schnitzel, Goulash Soup and Schweinshaxe. After lunch we took a stroll around the marketplace. There was an abundance of really good fruit, especially the grapes, which were right at the peak of their season; we found some lovely large ones, as well as some very small sweet grapes – delicious!
It was now time to pick up our motorhome, so we headed back to the depot at Campervan Oktoberfest Munich. The paperwork involved took an hour to complete – this was very important, as it lists all the existing scratches on the motorhome – I even went up a ladder to check the roof! We also watched a DVD which explained how to use all the equipment on the motorhome. This was extremely useful as the motorhome was a very large new model from Dethleffs – lots of gadgets to play with!
We were a little intimidated by the motorhome to start with – as I mentioned, it was very large, a Premium Plus model. It has three large double beds inside, so there was plenty of room for us. As I was the nominated driver, I had to settle in to the drivers seat and familiarise myself with the controls. This was not a problem, as everything is pretty much standard. One feature that was new and interesting was the miniature TV screen in the dashboard. This is hooked up to a camera at the rear of the motorhome, and came in very useful when manoeuvring and parking. We headed to a local supermarket to load up on some basic supplies, and the large car park here was useful in getting used to the length of the vehicle.
We then set off. We had no plan as such, just a desire to get to Munich in a couple of days, and to get back to Offenbach in a week’s time to return the motorhome. This was one of the best aspects of the break – there was no need to plan ahead and make bookings in hotels or guesthouses.
We headed down Autobahn A3 towards Wurzburg, on the river Main, to the east of Frankfurt. As it was getting late in the day, before we were able to reach Wurzburg we decided to stop for the night. We pulled off the Autobahn just east of Wurzburg and came to a small village called Schwarzach am Main. This was a typical small village, very picturesque. We quickly found a large car park and parked up for the night.
Hunger pangs were starting so we headed into the village and found a lovely local restaurant. It was full of locals, which is always a good sign, and we had an excellent meal. The service was very helpful and friendly. We then headed back to our Motorhome for a good nights sleep, aided by a few local beers.
At about 0630 the next morning we were awoken by the voices of dozens of children. They had been driven to the car park by their parents, and they were then picked up by busses that take them to their schools. I thought this was an excellent idea as it cuts down on the School Rush of parents driving their kids to school and clogging up the roads
After breakfast we headed down to Munich via Nuremburg. This took most of the day, but it was not difficult as the Autobahns in Germany are really excellent. Arriving in Munich, we had the address of the Munchen Thalkirchen Camping Ground, which is the city’s municipal camping ground. We arrived without a booking, as the campground does not take advance bookings, but we had no problem finding a spot to pull up. The camping ground is very well appointed, and we had no problem getting a hookup for the motorhome, plugging into the water and electricity connections that were available. There were excellent toilet and shower facilities nearby, spotlessly clean of course, so it was a delight to stop here. The location is excellent as well, with the famous Hellabrun Zoo and the Isar River nearby, and there is a small shop and snack bar on site.
There were a few Australian and New Zealand staff at the campgrounds, working their way around Europe, so English was the primary language of the campsite. They were very helpful and accommodating, and gave us clear instructions on hooking up the water and electricity connection to our motorhome. We were only 2.5 miles away from the centre of Munich, and we could take a bus from outside the campground that would get us there in about 20 minutes.
The campground is open from the 15th of March to 31st of October each year. You can find more information about this camp site on their website, at
Campervan Oktoberfest Munich and Oktoberfest was in it’s first week, and lasts for 16 days, so the campground was very busy, with row after row of tents filled with young Australians and New Zealanders. We were advised to take the very convenient bus that went from the campground direct to the Oktoberfest ground, known as the Wiesn, and to arrive before 3pm to have any chance of grabbing a seat in a beer tent. Even with this advice, when we arrived at the tent around 3pm, it was almost completely full, and we were lucky to get seats. When it started to rain heavily, we were even more grateful to be inside. We were in the Lowenbrau tent, a very impressive sight, filled with 3,500 people and sporting a large Bavarian band on a stage in the center. We found out after that we were very lucky to get seats, as almost all the tables were pre-booked, a lot of them held by corporations.
There was only table service available, and the standard measure of beer served at these events is a litre; there is no smaller measure available. So we sat at the table, were duly served, and proceeded to get into the spirit of things pretty fast! We were also able to order food, so a couple of half chickens, a few Schweinshaxe and some desserts were ordered, just to keep up our strength. As for how much we drank, the details are a little hazy, but the show wrapped up at 10pm and everyone was gone by 11pm.
I was advised later by some locals that the Augustiner Festhalle has the best beer and food; I guess this is a very personal choice, as we certainly had a great time, and the beer and food was fine.
The site where all the beer tents were set up is also used as a large carnival site all year round, so there was plenty of other things to do apart from drinking.
Some people staying at the campground had arranged for a bus service to take people back to their motorhomes at the end of the evening, and at Euro 5 each this was a very reasonable and welcome service.
We were pretty hung over the next day so we decided to give the rest of the Munich Oktoberfest a miss and visit the Deutsche Museum. The museum is devoted mainly to Science and Technology, and the breadth of coverage is vast. There are 50 exhibit sections spread over 47,000 square meters; Mining, Car Engines, Aeroplanes and many more – you could honestly spend a week here and not see everything. You can find more information on this at their website, http://www.deutsches-museum.de.
After visiting the Deutsche Museum, we went into the centre of Munich. The main square in Munich is known as the Marienplatz, and here we saw the Rathaus, the town hall. There is plenty of shopping in this area, as well as restaurants overflowing onto the streets. Remembering the advice we had been given by locals at the Lowenbrau Tent the day before, we searched out the Augustiner Brau House to give it a try. And you know what? The locals were right – the beer in the Augustiner Brau House was very good indeed – it might not have been as good out in their tent, but here, it was fabulous.
With no destination in mind, the next day we just headed south in the motorhome towards the Alps to get some fresh mountain air.
Bad Tolz is a beautiful medieval town, halfway between Munich and the ski resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Situated on the Isar River, it is older than Munich, and a great place to stop for a few hours at least.
Some people we met in Bad Tolz advised us to go and see King Ludwigs’ Castle at Neuschwanstein, near Fussen on the border between Germany and Austria. We headed down there, and arrived late in the afternoon. We parked in the car park and had a look around. Built on a mountainside with magnificent views, Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, and very busy. In high season, you would need to arrive very early in the morning. I have to say I enjoyed the visit very much; it is a fairytale castle brought to life, and must be seen to be believed. Have a look at the pictures on their website at http://www.neuschwanstein.de to get some idea.
Leaving the castle after our visit, we headed to Camping Brunnen, a campground in a stunning location on the lake shore about 3kms from the castle. The campground is spotless with incredible views across the lake and on to the Alps. There was a restaurant on the site, run by the owners, so we decided to have our meal there, and we were very glad that we did. The food was excellent, and very reasonably priced. The campground is very well run; in fact there are some people who keep homes here all year round, which is a very good sign. You can see more about the campground on their website, including the fabulous views. http://www.camping-brunnen.com
As we only had a few days left, we decided we should head back to Frankfurt. We were advised to take a route called The Romantic Road. The Romantic Road was set up after World War II to promote tourism in the country, mainly from the US. The route starts in Fussen near the Alps, and winds it’s way through the most beautiful areas of Germany as far as the baroque city of Wurzburg on the river Main. The route includes such gems the cathedral in Wurzburg and the wine making region of Franconia.
We visited Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a medieval walled city. The city is well set up for tourism, with an excellent motorhome park on the ring road. There were public toilets (spotlessly clean as usual) and facilities for emptying the waste tanks and filling up with water. The location was great, situated only 500 m from the center of town. We went in and had a look around, and it was incredible. It was a real fairytale town – in fact the movie “The Brothers Grimm” was filmed here to take advantage of the scenery. The whole town was packed with visitors; it is a very popular tourist destination.
The next day we headed north, through the Tauber Valley, towards Wurzburg. The Tauber Valley is real wine country, vineyards as far as the eye can see. In Wurzburg we parked up in a convenient motorhome car park 10 minutes walk from the center of the city. It appeared that this park, located at the intersection of Veitshochheimer Strasse and the Bridge Deutschen Einheit, was actually run by the city of Wurzburg as an amenity for visitors in motorhomes, and it was very welcome. The Ibis hotel is nearby. The location was very good, the only slight problem was the railway nearby, which was quite noisy with night-time rail traffic. The GPS location for this motorhome car park is 49°48’12.76″N 9°55’10.10″E.
Wurzburg itself looks stunning, with the vineyards coming right down to the River Main. We visited the Marienberg Castle, and took a very interesting tour. One of the exhibits was a scale model of the destruction wrought on Wurzburg by the 20 minute bombing raid on 16th March 1945. During the raid, 89% of the city was destroyed. We dropped off our motorhome the next day back in Offenbach, completing the inspections and paperwork at the end of the trip. The process took about an hour, and was quite easy.
One of the highlights of the trip came about entirely because I lost my mobile phone right at the start of my trip. After calling up to get it cancelled, I resigned myself to having to buy a new one when I got back home. Just on the off-chance, however, I called back to the restaurant where we had lunch on that very first day – and the waiter had found it and put it in safe-keeping for me! That put me in very good spirits, and said a lot about honesty in Germany.
That experience really topped off my enjoyment of the holiday – I had a great time, and so did my friends. A very good trip was had by all at Campervan Oktoberfest Munich.
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