The best times to visit Munich with events for every season

With snowy winters, hot summers and plenty of indoor and outdoor activities to fit all seasons, Munich has something to appeal to visitors throughout the year.

Whether you want to flock to (or avoid) the city’s famous beer festival, explore the famous Christmas markets, or find the perfect sunny day things to do, here’s our guide to help you decide the right time for your visit to the Bavarian capital.

 Man surfing with other people watching at the Eisbach river in Munich Germany.
Join surfers riding a wave created by the Eisbach river meeting the Isar © aluxum / Getty Images

July to August is the best time for budget travelers

High summer can mean high temperatures in Munich, but the city’s ample outdoor offerings certainly help to take the edge off. The clear waters of the Isar River are perfect for a cooling dip (with deck chairs, umbrellas and barbecues lining the banks it feels almost beach-like), while the green parks and leafy beer gardens offer plenty of shade and refreshment.

Even though it’s the high season, visitors may find they spend most of their time outside doing free activities, which helps to reduce costs – perfect for budget travelers. Plus most beer gardens allow you to bring your own picnic if you buy a drink. 

Because of the Bavarian school holidays, August can feel quiet in town as families head out on vacation. Munich still offers plenty to do, however, as open-air concerts, outdoor cinemas and street festivals continue to provide a great summer program. Pack summer clothes and sunscreen, but also a light waterproof or umbrella as sudden thunderstorms and downpours are not uncommon.

Cyclists on a bike path pedal past sunbathers and picnickers on the lawns of the English Garden, Munich
Spring is ideal for exploring the parks and streets of Munich on bike © LOOK / Getty Images

March to June are great for outdoor festivals

The transitional seasons of March to June and September to October are a great time to visit Munich. The comfortable climate means you can whizz around on bikes without breaking a sweat while making the most of this easy-to-navigate city.

Come in spring for the start of beer-garden season and the so-called strong-beer season (Starkbierzeit) with breweries throwing parties to celebrate it. 

Folk festivals that get going in April bring carousels, roasted almonds and beer tents to the city, as well as more people than normal wearing Tracht (traditional Bavarian dress). 

June sees summer start to ramp up with long lines at ice cream parlors and packed tables at beer gardens. The annual Munich film festival attracts movie buffs from around the world, while arts lovers flock to festivals of opera, theater, and the circus arts. 

Couples dancing in traditional costumes inside a beer tent during Oktoberfest.
Couples dance in traditional costumes inside a beer tent during Oktoberfest © FooTToo / Shutterstock

September and October bring Oktoberfest to Munich

In fall for the city’s big beer event, Oktoberfest attracts millions of visitors every year, resulting in inflated hotel prices and early bookings. Despite its slightly misleading name, Munich’s famous beer festival kicks off in September. While Oktoberfest takes place on Theresienwiese, the excitement spills out onto the streets and into public transport all over town. In other words, you can’t miss it.

If you want to include Oktoberfest in your trip, plan well ahead. If you don’t want to take part in the festivities, it’s probably better to avoid Munich during this time. 

People curling on a frozen canal on a very cold winter's day
The canal at the Nymphenburg sometimes freezes over in the winter months © StreetFlash / Getty Images

November to February is best for Christmas markets, museums and snow activities

The initial onset of colder and darker days is compensated for by the arrival of Christmas markets at the end of November, as the glow provided by mulled wine and holiday lights soon makes you forget about the chill. December sees tourists and locals alike head to Munich’s multitude of Christmas markets, from the classic stalls in Marienplatz to the “Pink Christmas” market organized by the local LGBTIQ+ community. Combine this with the first snow and children being pulled to school on sleighs and it all becomes rather fairy-tale-like. 

Once the festive charm subsides, however, January and February can seem a little dreary. Many locals head to the mountains during this time in search of “proper” snow. Several slopes are accessible by train, so you may spy passengers clutching their skis at Munich’s central station.

Back in the city, Munich’s many cafes, museums and galleries are a good place to keep warm – and stimulated, too. If the ice allows, some head to the frozen Nymphenburger Canal for a spot of skating or a game of Bavarian curling. Color arrives in February with Fasching (Carnival), when children and adults wear zany costumes for events around the city. 

This article was first published Jan 5, 2022 and updated Apr 30, 2024.

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