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When you live in a popular tourist destination, like Munich in southern Germany, you get asked the same question over and over. “When is the time to visit?” Without hesitation, I always tell people to come to visit me in autumn. Southern Germany and Munich are the best autumn holiday destination in September and October because you can use Oktoberfest as a starting or ending point while enjoying some of the best things to do in the autumn like the world’s largest pumpkin festivals, seeing autumn foliage, experiencing local folk & cultural festivals, cow parades, and perfect temperatures.
So, when you’re planning your European holiday destinations this September and October make sure you come to southern Germany for these awesome autumn activities.
If you’re like me and find the stuffy hot summer days too exhausting, then visiting Southern Germany in the autumn is perfect for you. You can still enjoy all the major tourist sights and outdoor lifestyle without overheating. While we do have some rain, most of our autumn and fall days are brisk, sunny and can even get up into the 70s! Pack a light jacket, boots, and your favorite scarf to enjoy your favorite fall fashion in a fashionable city!
2. Admire Fall and Autumn Foliage
Everyone always raves about the east coast USA or Canada for their beautiful autumn foliage, but just wait until you’ve seen the German Alps in autumn. It is stunning. Aside from the golden mountains, major cities like Munich, Passau and Nürnberg all have a bounty of color changing trees to make city life seem magical.
3. Experience Oktoberfest
Who hasn’t dreamed of going to Oktoberfest at least once in their life? This bucket list event takes place in Munich in the autumn. I always tell people to spend a week or two traveling Southern Germany in the autumn so they can start or end their trip at this massive festival. The bulk of Oktoberfest is in September and the tail end catches the first few days of Oktober, so this alone makes Munich the best place to holiday in September and October.
4. Attend a Local Folk Festival or Volksfest
If Oktoberfest is too big for you, or perhaps not enough for you, try attending a local Volksfest in Southern Germany. You’ll find plenty of beer, carnival rides, street food, local music, and cultural traditions. Each city typically hosts their own Volksfest ranging from August to September. I recommend stopping by Nürnberg for the big event found, here. Or head over to Passau for their Volksfest found, here.
5. Welcome the Cows Home at an Almabtrieb
If you’ve ever wanted to see the cows come home, literally, then you need to get to Germany for their annual autumn festival where they bring the cows down from the Alps. The cows parade through the villages or cities with flower crowns. When they arrive in the lower pastures the party begins. Enjoy local meats, cheeses, and of course beer while live bands play and the locals make merry! For more information, check out my full blog post on where and when these events take place.
6. Hike in the Colorful Alps
Hiking in the Alps in the Autumn is a great way to see autumn and fall foliage, and with that perfect temperature I was talking about it is prime hiking season. My favorite place and a great introduction to Alpine hiking is Tegernsee. Read about how to plan your autumn hiking adventure, here. Other great places are Wendelstein and the Allagü region.
7. See Neuschwanstein with Autumn Colors
You have to see Germany’s greatest castle, Neuschwanstein, the one that inspired Disney during every season to truly appreciate its beauty. I might argue that autumn might be the best time to see it with the golden and orange trees surrounding it. Plan your trip to Neuschwanstein with my guide, here.
8. Take a Brisk Walk in a Park
I mentioned earlier that the cities in southern Germany have lots of yellow and orange trees filling their parks. Munich has one of the world’s largest urban parks, Englishchergarten, which just explodes with color in the autumn. Seeing this park and other city parks is awe-inspiring.
9. Pick Pumpkins at a Pumpkin Patch
Get in the Halloween and autumn spirit, by spending your September and October holiday at farms around Southern Germany picking pumpkins. Go to the patch, pick your pumpkins and hop on a hayride to complete the perfect day. I suggest going to Jerry’s Pumpkin Patch for hayrides and pumpkins, or you can venture just a wee bit out of Southern Germany to Hitscherhof Pumpkin Farm and Sunshine Pumpkin Farm, which both have corn mazes and other autumn activities.
10. Drink Strong Beer Brewed by Monks
If anything is going to warm you up on a brisk autumn day it is going to be Starkbier or strong beer brewed by monks. Make a day of it by heading up to Andechs Monastery, including a small hike through autumn colors. At the top you’ll find a cozy monastery serving up strong beer to keep you warm! Find out how to do the full day trip, here.
11. Frolic Through the World’s Largest Pumpkin Festival
I saved the best for last! You have the see to believe this amazing festival happening in Ludwigsburg, Germany. This festival has giant pumpkin carving, pumpkin food, booze, boat races in a freakin’ canoe and massive statues made out of pumpkins. The theme changes every year, so no matter when you go you’ll experience something new. Plan your trip, with this full guide.
The Best Autumn Holiday in Europe is Clearly Southern Germany
Southern Germany has all the best fall and autumn things to do for a rockin’ holiday in Europe for September and October. Make sure you pin this to your favorite autumn board for some wanderlust inspiration.
Susanna grew up in small-town Alaska where the changing climate was always on her mind. Through traveling, she gained an interest in the power of sustainable and regenerative travel. She now attends a Master's program for environmental sustainability and bridges sustainable travel with environmental science.