By Briana Seftel
No trip to Germany and Austria is complete without beer. As two of the top consumers of beer in the world after the Czech Republic, Germany and Austria know their brews.
Say "prost" to these 10 beer halls and gardens where you can sit back and relax with a frosty beer and a wurst.
Hofbräuhaus • Munich
Take a seat at a long wooden table at Germany's oldest beer hall, dating all the way back to 1589. Here you can sip a Hofbrau beer while enjoying traditional Bavarian fare like roast pork with crackling. In the warmer months, you can sit outside in the charming chestnut tree-shaded garden.
What to drink: Hofbrau house beer (dark, light or white)
Prater Garten • Berlin
Berlin's oldest beer garden in Prenzlauer Berg has survived two world wars, the GDR, Cold War, and the fall of the Berlin - and it's still one of the best places in the capital to enjoy a beer. With half an acre of yellow picnic tables and a beer hall, Prater Garten is perfect any time of year.
What to drink: Prater or Weißbier
Zum Roten Ochsen • Heidelberg
What do Mark Twain, Otto von Bismarck, and Marilyn Monroe all have in common? They all drank at this beer hall in Heidelberg! "The Red Ox" has been in the same family for more than 170 years and serves simple fare like bratwurst along with regional beer and wine.
What to drink: Any local Heidelberg beer
Biergarten Hirschgarten • Munich
Claiming the title as the world's largest beer garden seating 8,000 people, think of Hirschgarten like Central Park, but with beer. In the summer months, there is no better place to clink a mug of Augustiner with friends. Keep in mind, all beer mugs must be washed by customers themselves!
What to drink: Augustiner
Spezial-Keller • Bamberg
This expansive biergarten in Bamberg's historic old town (Altstadt) provides some of the best views from Kaiserdom to the Michaelsberg monastery. While getting to Spezial-Keller requires a bit of a walk, it is well worth it. Enjoy a smoky, malty Rauchbier in the garden or the cosy tavern in the colder months, complete with a wood-burning tiled stove.
What to drink: Rauchbier (smoked beer)
Augustiner Bräu • Salzburg
At the foot of the Mönchsberg lies the largest beer garden in Austria, dating back to 1621. Run by a monastery, the Braustübl has become a popular drinking spot for locals who enjoy their brews from either the indoor beer hall or outdoor beer garden, which can seat a up to 1,500 people. When the hunger pains start, head to the delicatessen arcade for a number of mouth-watering dishes.
What to drink: Augustiner
Schweizerhaus • Vienna
For an authentic Viennese experience, look no further than Schweizerhaus (literally meaning Swiss House). Situated in the corner of the Prater, one of Vienna's large public parks, this beer garden serves hearty portions of schweinsstelze (pork knuckle) and schnitzel plus the ever-flowing house pilsner.
What to drink: House beer (Pilsner)
Klosterhof • Linz
A traditional beer garden in the heart of Linz, Klosterhof is a favorite for its freshly tapped Stiegl beer and shady garden. In the colder months, the cavernous interior is the ideal place to warm your bones while the garden was made for enjoying a refreshing radler, or beer mixed with lemonade.
What to drink: Stiegl grapefruit radler
Biergarten Scholossberg • Graz
Take the funicular to this peaceful beer garden at the top of Schlossberg hill in Graz, Austria's second-largest city. Enjoy the stunning views over the medieval rooftops of the old town while you sip an ice-cold Styrian beer.
What to drink: Reininghaus or Puntigamer
Der Hofgarten • Innsbruck
Within the imperial gardens of Innsbruck, known as Hofgarten, lies a beer garden, open during the day serving traditional Tyrolean faoodand beer. At night, the area becomes a popular nightclub where people party well into the early morning hours.
What to drink: Bierol pale ale
Beer spas in Austria
Soap and water are overrated; in Austria, you can enjoy a relaxing soak in beer! For an authentic experience, head to the Moorhof Hotel in Franking, home to Austria's first beer bath. Each bath is filled with beer extract made from brewer's yeast, hops, malt, and mineral water. While you soak, you can draw an ice cold beer from a nearby tap. Who said baths couldn't be fun?