Escape to Munich and run away with the circus

A gigantic neon sign shines above you, lit by thousands of flickering light bulbs spelling out the name ‘Krone’. Inside the tent the smell of popcorn and candy floss fills the air and the distant grumblings of exotic animals make you quiver in your boots. The chairs around you gradually fill up with thousands of other excited spectators, all waiting for the show to start.

The house lights dim, and a single blinding spotlight shines against a man dressed in an extravagant suit. The crowd falls silent, and the show begins.

From that point onwards, you’re transported back to childhood. Sequin-encrusted trapeze artists glide elegantly through the air before plummeting towards a thin net below, then being scooped into the waiting arms of another performer just inches from disaster. Animals perform elaborate tricks, and lion tamers keep the watching crowd enraptured. After a whirlwind of music and colourful lights, the show ends and you walk away with an experience you’ll never forget.

Circus Krone, Munich

The city of Munich is home to Circus Krone, one of the largest circuses in Europe. Affectionately referred to as ‘Bavaria’s National Circus’, it’s been entertaining audiences for over 100 years.

A very modern show, Circus Krone is founded on some of the oldest entertainment traditions in western civilisation. Having persevered through two world wars, it’s estimated that over 40 million circus-goers have been delighted and enthralled by its performances.

Founder Carl Krone was born in 1870, quite literally in a circus wagon. He grew up with the spirit of the circus running through his veins, and became a renowned lion tamer in his family’s circus, before establishing his own circus, Circus Krone, in 1919. Today, the circus is run by his granddaughter, Christel Sembach-Krone.

Unlike most circuses, Circus Krone has its own permanent buildings with a 3,000-seat theatre, along with enclosures for its animals, administration areas, and rehearsal rings. The circus season runs here from December to March every year, after which it takes to the road, visiting over 30 European cities on an 8-month tour from April. This is a mammoth undertaking with over 400 people, 250 animals and its very own city-on-wheels complete with 5,000-seat circus tent, café, restaurant, school and its personal fire brigade.

Going to the Circus

To catch a performance in Munich, you need to head to the city during the winter months. Flights leave regularly from London Stansted, and are reasonably cheap and quick. For drivers, flying from Stansted is easy with a number of cost-effective and hassle-free parking options.

Alternatively, if you’re not a fan of the winter months, you could run away with the circus and follow the route of their popular summer tour.

If you decide to do this, make sure you schedule a visit to Munich during Oktoberfest instead. Taking place, rather predictably, in October, this popular beer festival stretches for a couple of weeks and is a mecca for beer lovers worldwide. Beginning with a parade through the city, and ending with a traditional gun-salute on the steps of the Bavaria Monument, this festival is all about the beer. With some excellent food tents to keep you on the straight and narrow.

So whether you want to be swept away by the exciting life of the circus, or sip a chilled beer on an October afternoon, Munich is the place to go in 2013.

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