Oktoberfest & Bamberg: Best of Bavaria Beer Tour

Eight days, seven nights. | One DEPARTURE A YEAR
• September 21-28 2018
• September 20-27, 2019

Oktoberfest & Bamberg: Best of Bavaria Beer Tour
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Just mention Bavaria and images of beer, Dirndl dresses and Lederhosen come to mind, yet the beer cultures of the north and south are unique in their own rights.  To fully appreciate, enjoy and know Bavaria, you have to experience both Munich and Bamberg.

Set in Munich, Oktoberfest, the undeniable crown jewel of southern Bavaria is to be experienced.  It’s larger-than-life, vibrant, intriguing, exciting, and dripping with earthly pleasures and history.  When you go there you immediately feel this is something larger and more deeply rooted in Bavarian culture than you could ever imagine or understand with only one visit, which is why we are there for four nights.  Oktoberfest is a folk festival with beer, not a beer festival with folks.  The famous tents are not owned by breweries, even though their presence at each tent is often synonymous with the name of the tent.  There’s a lot to know about how to approach, navigate and enjoy Oktoberfest.  To enter blindly can be a recipe for disaster, which is unfortunately, why some people have had suboptimal Oktoberfest experiences. Travel with us and let our knowledge, experience and connections allow you to easily enjoy the festival to its fullest.

But before we head to Munich, we’ll start this grand tour further north in one of the last bastions of Old World beer culture, Bamberg, home of the world-famous Rauchbier and 10 breweries.   The epically scenic UNESCO heritage city of Bamberg is noted for it’s Rauchbier, but the range of styles goes wide and far.  You’ll spend three days exploring this enchanting historic medieval city, its famous taprooms and beer kellers.  As you sit beneath the gentle shade of ancient chestnut trees sipping a glass of fresh Kellerbier, you’ll ask yourself, “What took me so long to get here...and, when am I coming back?”

photos from tours

In case you are wondering what Oktoberfest is like...it's like this. Gemütlichkeit that rolls over you like an emotional rollercoaster. It is simply awesome!

“The first thing that strikes me is just how much beer we left on the table. We visited over 100 breweries and tried something like 500 beers in the three months we lived in Bamberg and yet there are dozens of breweries not far away that we still have not visited. The beer scene in Franconia is that crazy. It’s hard to imagine what it would have been like twenty years ago, when there were an extra 100 or so breweries in the region.”
— Beer Writer Josh Oakes

Tours Include

  • Hotels
  • Ground transportation
  • Brewery visits
  • BMW Welt Museum visit.
  • River boat tour in Bamberg.
  • All breakfasts, two lunches and three dinners.
  • Deluxe BBM! luggage tags.
  • One souvenir BBM! soft-sided cooler per household.
  • Name badges
  • Munich transit pass and professional guide services.
  • Beer is included during group meals (aka company meals) and brewery tours, and on taproom visits included on the itinerary, but not informal pub crawls or café visits.  In Munich, one beer is included and the welcome meeting and one at our Wednesday night tent reservation.  It is also included on your visit to Andech’s Monestery.  The remainder of the Oktoberfest beers are on your own.
  • The begins at our first hotel in Bamberg and concludes at our final hotel in Munich.

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Not Included

  • Airfare
  • Airport transfers.
  • Some meals and beer on your own. Free-time sightseeing.Our guides are available to provide suggestions.
  • Fine Print: You are responsible for the costs of your free-time sightseeing.  Be sure to read our Terms & Conditions Agreement for important details.
  • Gratuities, at your discretion, for brewery tour guides and coach drivers.

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Tour Cost

Deadline to sign up is July 31. 

$2395/per person + Air, $695 single supplement*
* Prices based on double room occupancy.  If you are a solo traveler and would like to have a private room all to yourself there is a single supplement fee of $695 in addition to the base price of $2395 per person. We can also work with you to pair you with other single travelers to avoid the single supplement. Better yet, recruit a friend to come, too! Unless, of course, like Rick Steves says, you prefer to “snore alone.”

We require a minimum number of guests for each tour to be guaranteed to go, so it’s important to sign up ASAP, as opposed to waiting until the deadline. Also, tours can fill rapidly and suddenly, so signing up early ensures that you will go and not be disappointed.

Please share  BBM! tours with fellow Belgian beer enthusiasts, your friends in general, and encourage them to join the fun! 

An explanation is in order as to the pricing for this tour.

 By many people’s standards, Oktoberfest is expensive, compared to other beer tours.  No two ways about it.  But, it is the price of admission, so to speak, to be able to properly experience the real deal.  The cost of hotels in Munich during Oktoberfest dictate the base costs and are what make up the majority of the price.  No one, including tour operators, gets special pricing.  Nice Oktoberfest hotels in good locations can often be more than three times as much as other times of year and other European cities.  If you need more convincing, do some research and you’ll see the tour price seems reasonable, especially when you factor in the investment the organizers have made in learning how to make Oktoberfest accessible and enjoyable to beer travelers.  I guarantee you will leave Bamberg and Oktoberfest feeling the cost was worth every penny!

map of overnight locations

SOME OF THE BREWERIES AND ATTRACTIONS WE HAVE VISITED ON THIS TOUR IN THE PAST:

  • Rauchbier and 10 breweries
  • Weyermann Malting
  • Augustiner-Keller (famous beer garden)
  • Oide Wiesn (Old Festival)
  • Paulaner Seahaus
  • Karlsfelder Lake
  • BMW Welt Museum
  • Olympiapark, home of the 1972 Summer Olympics.
  • Andech’s Monestery
  • Lake Ammersee
  • Wiesenzelt in the Löwenbräu Keller on Stiglmaierplatz.


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Oktoberfest & Bamberg: Best of Bavaria Beer Tour Itinerary

Friday • Bamberg  Welcome to the splendid Beer City of Bamberg!  This grand tour begins this afternoon as we meet in the lobby of our hotel.   After a welcome beer at a nearby taproom, we’ll take a short walking tour of this scenic medieval town.  Afterward, we will tour the famous Weyermann Malting (Weyermann World), visit its creative pilot brewery and fan shop, where you can buy Weyermann beer and swag. Weyermann is the world’s leading manufacturer of specialty brewing malts.  This fourth-generation family run business is very amazing on every level.  Even if you know nothing about malt or the malt business, you will be impressed.  This is one of the few places I’ve ever toured where every employee you meet along the way looks you in the eye and says “hello” in a very sincere and friendly fashion.  The people who work here are happy and it shows. During our time in Bamberg, we’ll visit many rustic traditional taprooms and beer kellers of amazing breweries producing a myriad of distinctive, full-flavored beers such as: Rauchbier, Vollbier, Kellerbier, Märzen, Festbier and Schwarzbier, to name just some.   You have not lived until you have these beers fresh from the source.  The limited bottles of these beers you receive in America do not do these beers justice as they do not travel well and many of them simply are not available elsewhere.  In the three days we are here, we’ll endeavor to visit the taprooms of the 10 local breweries, including the pilot brewery at Weyermann Malting.  We’ll let the weather forecast guide us and try to take advantage of sunny days to visit outdoor venues first and move indoors on days and times when and if we expect rain.  The outdoor beer kellers is really where it’s at for atmosphere and experiencing this unique beer culture.  Afterall, who doesn’t want to be out in fresh warm air, under ancient chestnut trees, people watching, and enjoying traditional German cuisine and some of the best beers in the world?  Tonight, we’ll have dinner at one of my favorite restaurants.  (Dinner)

Saturday • Bamberg  Morning is free to explore, shop, sleep in,  etc.  After lunch, we’ll take a short cruise on the river Regnitz and enjoy some beers along the way.  You’ll see up close, “Little Venice,” the famous row of picturesque fishermen’s houses from the 19th century, which is likely the most-photographed scene in the city.  Afterward, we’ll continue to venture through our list of local breweries and beer kellers.  We’ll also go shopping for trachten (Lederhosen & Dirndl dresses) so you’ll be ready for Oktoberfest.  Bamberg has some good and reasonably- priced trachten shops.  I highly encourage you to buy trachten as it will make your Oktoberfest experience more authentic and enjoyable.   It is SO worth it!  You don’t want to be the sore thumb in blue jeans, Polo shirt and white tennis shoes.   We’ll round out this afternoon and celebrate with the locals with some fresh Schlenkerla Helles on the Lower Bridge (there are no stifling open-container laws) as we watch the river Regnitz flow under us and race to the sea.  This is a little tradition you won’t read about in any brochure on Bamberg, but one I try to enjoy on each visit.  It gives you a good sense of what it must be like to live here and be able to do this everyday.  Dinner and evening is on your own.

Sunday • Bamberg   Morning is free to explore on your own.  This afternoon, we’ll have lunch at one of my favorite Bamberg restaurants, then continue on with our visits to taprooms and beer kellers, then have a company dinner to celebrate our final evening in the Beer City.  Depending on the fitness level and interest of the group, bicycles are an option for today for traversing the town.  For a nightcap, we’ll climb up the hill to visit our friend, Thomas, at the affable Torchuster (cobbler at the gate), one of the few pubs in town that stocks many of the Bamberg beers in one handy location.  (Lunch & dinner)

Monday • Munich   This morning we board a train for Munich and Oktoberfest!  We’ll check into our hotel, then head right to Oktoberfest, where we have a reservation at the Augustiner tent.  We’ll learn the basics of Oktoberfest, and how to use Munich Transit passes, which will allow us to freely and easily navigate the city.  Then we’ll do a walking tour, learn how to use the public transportation and get the lay of the land of the Theresienwiese (or Wiesn for short), which is the name of the giant park where Oktoberfest is located.  There’s a lot to know and learn about how to best experience the festival and it all starts today!  Dinner is on your own. While every night at Oktoberfest is busy, weekdays are less so, which is why we are here now, so we can more freely enjoy the different tents and beer gardens with increased odds of getting in.  Most drinking venues at Oktoberfest shut down around 11 p.m. and stop serving beer long before then, which is surprising to first-time guests.  Just as pacing yourself so you don’t overdo it while drinking is important, so is time management in getting there early enough to have time to enjoy it. 

Tuesday • Munich   Morning is free to sleep in, explore, shop, have a leisurely breakfast, etc.  This afternoon, after lunch on your own, we meet for an optional walking tour of the Old Town of Munich including the main squares, landmarks and some famous beer halls such as the Hofbräuhaus an Augustiner Am Platzle.  You’ll also learn how to get to the famous Augustiner-Keller and some other beer gardens by tram.  Here is a handy link to Munich’s many beer gardens.  Afternoon is free to shop, explore, visit beer gardens, maybe head back down to Oktoberfest to take in some exhibits in the Oide Wiesn (Old Festival), or experience the giant ferris wheel and other rides in the amusement park section.  The kinder and gentler Oide Wiesn, located at the south end, has nostalgic fairground traditions, horse racing, agricultural and animal exhibits, along with other Bavarian traditions.  Dinner is on your own.  I suggest taking in some of the great food available from the many quality and tantalizing food booths at Oktoberfest.  The evening is free to do as you please.

Wednesday • Munich   Morning is free.  At 11:30, we’ll meet in the lobby for an optional walking tour of more of Munich and the English Garden, one of the largest urban parks in the world.  We’ll have lunch (no host) at the famous Paulaner Seahaus, idyllically situated on Karlsfelder Lake and one the few places you can enjoy beer by the water in Munich.  Time permitting, we’ll stop by the Chinese Tower Beer Garden, the second largest one in the city with more than 7,000 seats.

This afternoon, there will be an optional tour of the the BMW Welt Museum, which is a must-see for automobile enthusiasts.  Right next door is the Olympiapark, home of the 1972 Summer Olympics.

Tonight we have our scheduled reservation in one of the more popular beer tents (to-be-announced).  These dinner and full evening tent reservations are coveted and difficult to obtain, but thanks again to our connections, we have made it happen for you.  We’ll arrive early around 5 p.m., have dinner, drink beer, listen to live music and shut the tent down.  You’ll also have the freedom to depart on your own if you choose to leave early.  Either way, a good time will be had by all! (Dinner & first beer)

Thursday • Munich  This morning we embark by train on a pilgrimage to the Andech’s Monestery and brewery situated high on a mountain overlooking scenic Lake Ammersee and the majestic Alps.  Here, the monks have successfully combined tradition with technology to produce a line of world-class beers.   This afternoon, you’ll have lunch and enjoy their fine lineup of monastic brews.  Upon our return you are on your own for dinner and to take another crack at Oktoberfest or perhaps visit Wiesenzelt in the Löwenbräu Keller on Stiglmaierplatz, which is a quick tram ride away.  The festivities, music, dancing, and of course beer, go on all night here!

Friday   Breakfast concludes our week and as all good things must come to an end, so does this grand tour, which will leave you wanting more of Bamberg and Munich. Thank you for traveling with BBM!  Frequent trains are available to take you to the Munich Airport or to your next destination in Europe!

* Itinerary subject to change.

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