A cool breeze coursing through the canopy of green leaves overhead. The crunch of gravel underfoot as you seek out a table in the shade, frothy mug of beer in hand. Nothing bespeaks summer in Bavaria more than the beer garden. And nothing meets the current pandemic moment better. If you’re still on the fence about traveling this summer, an al fresco beer is one of your safest culinary options.

Beer gardens are legion in Bavaria, so much so that Franconia in northern Bavaria has its own book called “111 Franconian Beer Gardens That You Have To Visit.” That’s just the tip of the iceberg in a federal state that includes Upper and Lower Bavaria, along with the metropolis of Munich.

Where to begin if you’re a visitor to Bavaria thirsting after a beer in the shade? Here’s a smattering of leafy oases sprinkled across Bavaria for you to explore.

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Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower), Munich

On tap: Hofbräu

Chinesischer is a bavarian beer garden to visit.

Sure, this pagoda-crowned beer garden in the heart of Munich’s English Garden is up there on the tourist Richter scale, but it’s popular for good reason. In fact, it’s the epitome of everyone’s Munich, young or old, local or tourist. Close to the university, the Chinese Tower attracts a younger crowd, but that doesn’t mean you won’t see baby strollers parked at tables next to Oma and Opa sharing an afternoon beer. It’s also a treat for the senses. Aromas of bratwurst and roast pork knuckle twine together in a heady mix that calls forth one more liter of beer, while oompah bands oomp away beneath the pagoda. If you have time, take a stroll deeper into the English Garden to the sublime Aumeister beer garden, or stop off for a lakeside beer at the Seehaus.

Fasanerie, Munich

On tap: Hofbräu

Fasanerie is a bavarian beer garden to visit.

If the bustling Chinesischer Turm plays host to the entire city, the intimate Fasanerie maintains an air of exclusivity. Tucked away in the woods north of Schloss Nymphenburg, the Fasanerie (which means pheasantry) is a throwback to the time of royal hunting preserves. The pheasants have long since flown the coop, but you can still conjure up the thrill of the hunt in this sequestered beer garden.

Wochinger Brauhaus, Traunstein

On tap: Wochinger

Wochinger is a bavarian beer garden to visit.

Wochinger’s tranquil beer garden in Upper Bavaria has that certain je ne sai quoi that makes it just right. To one side, dappled light plays soothingly on the former stable’s weathered wood. On the other, the yellow inn framing the garden emanates cheerful sunniness. Fans of dark beer should be on the lookout for Wochinger’s Dunkel, a chestnut-colored beauty offering a dusting of cocoa accented by spicy hops. Located in the foothills of the Alps, Wochinger is a perfect stop on the train between Munich and Salzburg.

Alte Linde, Regensburg

On tap: Kneitinger

alte linde is a bavarian beer garden to visit.

This riverside grove affords one of Central Europe’s best beer garden views. No matter the time of day, it’s as if Regensburg’s stone bridge and spires were painted on a canvas backdrop framed by the tree boughs arching overhead. Kneitinger’s chocolatey Dunkel Export makes for a fine sipper while you watch the Danube flow by.

Wilde Rose Keller, Bamberg

On tap: Various local beers

wilde rose is a bavarian beer garden to visit.

The idyllic Wilde Rose Keller is everything you’d expect from a beer garden in the woods. Even the shade here is accented forest green. Stacks of empty casks line the periphery, while potted plants and flower boxes mark off cozier spaces amid the majestic trees. The beer selection changes occasionally but typically includes Schlenkerla’s famous Rauchbier and Keesmann’s delicious Herren-Pils.

Kloster Andechs, Andechs

On tap: Kloster Andechs

kloster andechs is a bavarian beer garden to visit.

Kloster Andechs is Bavaria’s oldest pilgrimage site. If the monastery still welcomes dozens of pilgrimage groups per year, it plays host to scores more who make the trek for a different reason: otherworldly beer. (A panoramic view of the Alps doesn’t hurt, either.) All of the beers go fetchingly with hearty cuisine like sausages from the onsite butcher, be it the subtly hoppy Spezial or the Weissbier featuring notes of intense clove and banana custard. The monks fund their charitable endeavors from the proceeds of the latter-day pilgrims who climb the Holy Mountain to wash down hearty Bavarian classics with Kloster Andechs’ beer, so drink up!

Pro tips:

*Transportation: Purchase a day pass for Munich’s public transit network (MVV), which includes buses, trams, subways, and S-Bahn trains that get you out into the countryside. Larger cities like Bamberg, Nürnberg, and Augsburg have similar transit passes. For travel within Bavaria, nothing beats the Bayern Ticket day pass, valid from 9:00 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and all day on weekends for travel on regional trains and buses, and on Munich’s public transit network. Prices begin at €26 for a solo traveler. If you’re traveling as a group, even better: Each additional person up to five travelers costs just €8 per person.

*Covid protocols: As of mid-April, you need proof of one of the following to enter culinary establishments, including beer gardens: full vaccination; a negative Covid test result; or evidence attesting to recent infection. Consult the German Foreign Ministry website for entry regulations.