Munich Once a Year in Munich...
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Munich Once a Year in Munich...

If one were to fault Munich for something, it’s that the city keeps its traditions rather hidden. The best known annual attractions only take place once a year, including the biggest ever flea market and a festival held in the middle of the night.

Hang out in the middle of the night

Held once a year, the Kocherlball is second to Oktoberfest in terms of size, but remains one of the best traditional festivals. The odd time of day at which this festival is held makes it truly special. Kocherlball starts at 6am in the beer garden of the Chinese Tower and runs until 10am, but if you want to get a table with your friends, its recommended to get there as early as 3am. You can also make reservations in the adjacent restaurant. By 4am, the atmosphere is remarkable: candle-light illuminates the tablecloth-lined tables where customers quietly whisper over their first beer by night. The sun rises around 5.30am, unveiling the patrons as darkness dissipates. By 6am, the festival officially kicks off with music and dancing.

Back in 19th century, over 5,000 workers would gather at the Chinese Tower early on Sunday mornings in summer, when weather permitted, to dance before going to work. This launched the tradition of Kocherlball, which remains a part of Munich today.

The biggest flea market

Taking place mid-April, this market of unprecedented proportions found on the Theresienwiese is a must for flea market aficionados. Here, you will find anything your heart desires, from furniture, crockery, clothing, Bavarian goods, to automobiles. Top vendors will arrive a day early to secure the best location for their stalls – this is how you distinguish the professionals from the amateurs. Stall presentation is also of utmost importance, as the most beautifully displayed stands enjoy the most success. Some even play music to attract customers. Spend the day here, and you will find something to buy, but don’t forget to haggle – the vendors do enjoy it. The market traditionally begins at 7am, with over 2,000 stalls taking part – a spectacular sight that changes from the cliché beer tents on the Oktoberfest grounds.