Munich is known for...
Munich is known as the beer capital of the world for good reason. Of the 1,300 breweries in Germany, 900 of them are in Bavaria and Munich is its capital. Six major breweries are located in the city itself. The big six, as they are known locally, are: Spaten, Hofbräu, Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Löwenbräu, and Paulaner. Despite having hundreds of breweries in such a small region the Bavarian beer purity law, implemented in 1516, dramatically limits the types of beer available. The purity law limits the ingredients to water, barley and hops. They only later found out that one needs yeast as well and it is now obviously accepted and desired as an ingredient.
The Oktoberfest started simply as horse races held outside of the city as part of the wedding celebration of King Ludwig I of Bavaria in 1810. Today it is known as the largest beer festival in the world with over six million visitors a year. Actually, the locals refuse to call it a beer festival at all, but calling it a volksfest (people’s festival) just isn’t enough. There really is nothing like the original, the largest, the world renowned Oktoberfest in all its drunken glory. For two weeks of unparalleled partying, Munich is the place to be!
Much of what most of the world sees as German culture is actually Bavarian culture. Lederhosen and Dirndls, the traditional outfits of farmers and working class men (that is the stereotype of Germany) are actually Bavarian. May poles, shoe-slapping (Schuhplattler), roast pork knuckle, and beer are just some of the variety of things that separate Bavarian culture from the rest of Germany. In fact, to have a glimpse of all of these things is quite easy in Bavaria as they very much wear their tradition on their sleeve. All you have to do is head to the beer hall, probably the most famous beer hall on earth, the Hofbräuhaus.
Munich’s breakfast sausage is a symbol of the city. Although a relatively new symbol for the city when compared to the monk or even the twin towers of the Frauenkirche, the white sausage is the one traditional food that Munich can truly call its own. The large Weisswurst are for breakfast only (locals insist they have to be consumed before the clock strikes noon) and are traditionally eaten with a slathering of sweet mustard to add flavor. The sausage consisting mainly of veal does not have a strong flavor by itself.
Munich’s palaces are first rate. Not just from a within Germany point of view, but they hold up to the biggest and best in the world. Nymphenburg palace, Schleissheim palace, the Residenz, the Alter Hof, and a short trip away the infamous Neuschwanstein make Munich extremely hard to compete with anywhere in the world. If you enjoy seeing how the other half lived, this is a pretty spectacular place to do it.