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How To Maximize Your Oktoberfest Experience
The Oktoberfest Is Underway In Munich, Germany!
If you are reading this, then you are likely not hanging out in Munich at the Oktoberfest. Too much going on for you to be reading blog posts. Unless of course, you are here looking for how to make the most of your time at the Oktoberfest and in Munich. Oktoberfest is one of those quintessential travel experiences.
The 2018 festival begins on September 22, and will continue on until October 7.
In case you don’t know what I am talking about, the Oktoberfest is the world’s largest people’s festival – you might also call this a “volksfest” or “folks fest”.
The Oktoberfest is an important part of the Bavarian culture, having been held since 1810. Cities across the world hold their own Oktoberfest celebrations that are modeled after the original Munich event.
If you’re interested in interacting and meeting people from all over the world in a fun, friendly setting, where language barriers do not exist, then the Oktoberfest is a MUST. When you work hard, you can play hard right?
I have been to the Oktoberfest in Munich twice and had a great time at both events. Although the historical Oktoberfest was based upon German traditions it has, over the year morphed into more of an international party which spans over a two and a half week period. Each year, more and more people flock to Munich to experience the Oktoberfest.
There is so much I can tell you about the Oktoberfest and Munich, so many stories to share – but it would take forever, so here I have summarized for you the most important points.
Here are things you should know and lookout for in order to enjoy the Oktoberfest to the fullest!
The Oktoberfest Begins……
The “walk” of the Oktoberfest landlords and breweries from the Sonnenstraße-Schwanthalerstraße to the Oktoberfest grounds involves about 1,000 participants.
You will see the Oktoberfest landlords’ families in decorated carriages. Some with magnificent horse-drawn drays, and waitresses on decorated floats, and all the beer tent bands.
After entering the Oktoberfest grounds, the first keg is opened by Munich’s Mayor while shouting “O’zapft is!” (It is tapped!) and the Oktoberfest officially begins.
Be aware, you will see drunk people. Lots and lots of them! The Oktoberfest is known to people of the world as a huge drinking festival! But hold on a second, there is so much to experience at the Oktoberfest – it is not all about the beer – well it is – but it isn’t.
Ok so fine, it is mostly about the beer (in 2013 – 7.7 million litres of beer was served)!
So where can you find the cheapest liter of beer at Oktoberfest 2018? This year, at the 300-seat Wirtshaus im Schichtl tent. Their beer goes for €10.70, instead of the average €11.50!
You will see waitresses carrying 6-8 full liter beer steins, going back and forth serving guests all day while retaining a smile on their faces! A tough job, and you have to have strong arms to do it. They do however, make well over a month’s salary in a few days from tips! Not bad right?
1. Food At The Fest……
There are many options of places to eat. If the Gods of Bavaria are on your side, you will be lucky to find a seat in a tent. Visitors camp outside these tents as early as 06:00 am just to get a table and seats for later in the day. If you can’t find a place to sit in a tent, then you will have to make do with sitting outside which is fun too.
Make sure you get yourself a huge pretzel (38cm/15 inches!) and some bratwurst.
They are soooooo delicious. Just ask for “Würstl mit Brezen”
Other foods you might enjoy are:
- Schweinsbraten – roast pork – one of my personal favourites
- Hendl – roast chicken
- Knödel – potato or bread dumplings
- Reiberdatschi – potato pancakes
- Steckerlfisch – grilled fish on a stick
- Schweinshaxe – grilled ham hock
- Käsespätzle – cheese noodles
- Sauerkraut or Rotkohl/Blaukraut – red cabbage
- Obatzda – spicy cheese-butter spread
- Weißwurst – white sausage
A beer at the Oktoberfest costs about €10.40. I think this is by the litre. I am told that the price is crazy expensive – I wouldn’t know, I don’t drink beer. Oh well – it is a festival, and people are willing to pay the price.
Sodas and water are also available, so if you don’t drink alcohol, you won’t suffer from thirst or dehydration. There is something for everyone.
2 Watch Your Bag……
Don’t bother taking a backpack or a large purse with you. These are banned due to higher security being taken. Leave any non-essential items at home. You will make it into the premises quicker and without discussion if you don’t bring any bags or rucksacks at all. It would suck to ruin your evening because you are banned from entering. Your bags or rucksacks must not exceed a volume of three litres or a size of 20cm x 15cm x 10cm.
3. Kids And Pets……
Contrary to what many people think, children are welcome at the Oktoberfest – except on Saturdays and on the final night. Mark this day on your calendar, October 3 – the Day of German Unity. Lots of games and amusement type rides are available for children on all other days.
If you want your child or children to experience a part of the Bavarian culture and Oktoberfest, use the Wiesn Barometer which shows you the best times for a quiet stroll around the site.
I would personally advise you never to bring your child to this event. There is too much going on, it gets really loud and rowdy, plus a lot of drunkenness.To each his own.
4. Make Sure You Get Yourself Some Souvenirs……
The three most common souvenirs you will find are:
Filzhüte – Felt Hats
Maßkrüge – Beer Mugs
Lebkuchenherzen – Gingerbread Hearts
5. Clothes, Hats and Hair……
6. The Traditional Costume Parade
The traditional costumes parade takes place Every first Oktoberfest Sunday. In 2018, the parade starts at 10 o’clock on September 23. Roughly 9500 members take part in the parade.
The parade starts at Maximilianstrasse and everyone marches to Odeonsplatz. The route is 7 kilometers long and continues to Briennerstrasse, Maximiliansplatz, Lenbachplatz and Stachus.
It then goes down Sonnen- and Schwanthalerstrasse. Finally the routes reaches back to the Oktoberfest after crossing the Kaiser Ludwig Platz. Throughout the route, you can expect bands, music, dancing, and flag bearers. Do I need to mention beer?
7. Where You Should Stay In Munich
If you are attending the Oktoberfest next year, try planning ahead. If you are going this year and don’t have a room, you are pretty much already out of luck.
Hotels in and around Munich quickly fill up of course. Airbnb is another good option as long as you book in advance.
In order to get good deals, book your accommodation at around Thanksgiving or Christmas the year before you plan on going. The closer you get to the festival grounds, the more expensive beds are.
Here are some great hotels in Munich. Do the same when you book your flights, find great deals and book early!
Getting to Munich is easy as it’s accessible my rail from all major points in Europe and has its own major, international airports.
Ready To Go?
No matter how much fun you have, all good things must come to an end.
The Oktoberfest 2018 still has 9 more days of fun, entertainment and partying left.
On October 7, the Bavarian city will say goodbye to its’ guests and visitors while looking forward to welcoming them for the Oktoberfest 2019.
Have you ever been to an Oktoberfest? In Munich or elsewhere? If not, consider visiting Munich or check out other locations around the world that celebrate the Oktoberfest.
Please share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments section below.
I HAVE ALWAYS MISSED THE EXACT DATES SINCE FOREVER – LOL
NOTED THE DATES FOR 2018, GOD WILLING.
NICE WEEKEND TO Y’ALL.
Oktoberfest has always stuck me as a cultural experience. So much fun with dance and song and food. Sadly I will be missing it this year too. Will look forward to more posts on it.
We were there on opening day 2016. It was pouring down rain but we had a great time. It was a wonderful first experience trying many tents and getting the felt hats as well. It truly is a great event. Lot of memories.
Thanks for all the great information! Oktoberfest has always been on our wanderlust list; hopefully one day! I especially want to go for the food!
Oktoberfest is on my bucket list for many years. But, somehow I have never managed to visit it. I hope to make it eventually! Steckerlfisch and beer sound good to me 😉
Too bad were not alcohol drinkers. We get drunk even with half a mug of beer. But that bratwurst and those pretzels though. We could probably stay here and eat all day while watching the Oktoberfest festivity!
I’ve seen how the women dress up for Oktoberfest but wondered how to dress as a man. I think I would dress up as a Bavaria Lederhosen to enjoy Oktoberfest, this would make perfect Instagram pictures!
Thank you for all the tips about Oktoberfest. I visited Munich in December – such a lovely city. It truly will charm your pants off!
I want to make it to Munich for Oktoberfest so bad! Thanks for this incredibly informative post. I think I am going to have to go to the German restaurant nearby tonight. Mmmmm….Bratwurst and Käsespätzle
When i was in Germany, it was summer. I didn’t get to enjoy Oktoberfest but maybe next time. I like how you mentioned the history and tradition. Keep writing 🙂
Great and informative post! I have wanted to participate the “real” Oktoberfest for a long time now. And I don’t even drink beer.. ha ha. But I want to experience the festives, and it is such a big part of German culture. I have visited Germany but not at the Oktoberfest time.
I always wanted to see Oktoberfest, hopefully i will get there one day! But anyways, the photos are amazing, it sound amazing, thanks for posting.
I am so jealous of this experience! Attending mock Oktoberfests in other countries isn’t nearly the same. The food, the drink, the comraderie, such a blast!
Oh, I didn’t know that Octoberfest is a global thing. I thought it was just here in the Philippines. Honestly, I’m not a fan of beer, but the events organized by the companies here sounds fun. Overflowing beer + good music is a good way to spend time with friends.
I think the festival that is Oktoberfest has hit the whole world! We also have it here in the Philippines, and we celebrate with beer and music. I wonder though what is really behind the festival, and why it was started in the first place. 🙂
Oktoberfest is huge everywhere these days not just Germany. In Australia it is growing in popularity and it’s a whole lot of fun but it’s not the same as being there. I wold love to visit Munich during Oktoberfest. Even just to have one of those bratwursts!
This looks likes a lot of fun. I’ve never been out of the USA and I’m due to travel. Looks like a great destination!
And the drunk people… well it’s oktoberfest!! Lol, but the food looks delicious!
The festival looks really fun and I am very sure I would love to be there right now. There are so many similar fests here in India and the food is just amazing.
I’ve never celebrated Oktober Fest. It’s nice to learn more about it through your post. The oktoberfest in Munich sounds very great. Very alive. And I see some typical German food. Maybe I’ll go to check it out one day.
I didn’t know much about Oktoberfest until I’ve read this post, so I’ve learnt something new today 🙂 Always interesting to include a bit of history to understand the origins of certain celebrations. It looks like a very fun festival and the pictures are super.
Awesome! Oktoberfest is very different in Europe as in the rest of the world. In the Philippines we also try to cover Oktobert fest, which literally just translates to beer fests. That’s why I also created a blog about Manila nightlife. 🙂
OMG! Your photos are superb! I love Munich and I wish I can visit this place too. We have a different celebration of Oktoberfest here in Manila and we call it “Octoberfest” where we have our version of street parties filled with amazing shows and overflowing beers 🙂
This is interesting. I didn’t know that Oktoberfest is an important part of the Bavarian culture since 1810! Here in the Philippines wha i know about Oktoberfest is just a flooding of beer..happy to learn a thing or two about traditions here…
Hi, Sheri. I think Octoberfest has taken the world by storm because in any country that has beer, I assume each will have its own promotions. Like in our country, October is that time of the year when events are organized and establishments serving beer will have promotions here and there. The one thing I truly think of when I come across Octoberfest is beer – so yes, expect people to get drunk. LOL.
All along, I thought Oktoberfest only happens in our country. Yes, it is the time of the year when bottles and cases of beer are a plenty and people are celebrating. Thank you for this. Learned that it is a world celebration and I must say Munich knows very well how to party and celebrate.
You are so right! Oktoberfest is the last place you should take kids, I have never seen so many drunks at 10am and not just at the festival, but even in the tube, main station and city centre. Munich is a great place and well worth a visit!
Hahahahaha! You are right Pat! I think it is best to keep kids away. They don’t need to see all that. As you said, Munich is a fantastic place.
This looks like so much fun! My husband actually has Germany on his bucket list which I thought was really odd considering he’s Cuban but he has told he that he has always wanted to visit Germany! I’m going to show him this post and maybe get a vacation out of it!!! lol
OMG!!!! Oktoberfest is something that is on my bucket list!!!! I would love to go one day!!!!
Oktoberfest looks like so much fun event to get the glimpse of the Bavarian culture! I loved the great list of food that you’ve suggested. I would love to try Reiberdatschi and Käsespätzle for sure!
They are both very delicious Ana!
Wow! This is a much fun celebration than what we have here in our country. I would like to see it in person.
Hahaha Sheri, you nailed it! I am reading this and I am not there lol! I wanted to go there when I was younger but it is too unhealthy for me anymore! And … I can only imagine how difficult it probably is to get to the ladies’ room with all that amount of bear drank!
Great review and thatnk you for the booking sites. I know you are an expert in them.
LOL Veronica! Trying to get to the bathroom is a miracle in itself. Best thing is to just hold it. Thank you for your kind words. Have a great day and weekend. 🙂
What an incredible experience. Looks like this would be great for families. Something for everyone to do and see.
I did not know about this. Oktoberfest looks like a lot of fun. I have been looking for a good reason to visit Germany. I may have just found it.
Oktoberfest looks like so much fun, especially in Germany!
One of my goals is to go a real Oktoberfest in Germany, not one of the silly ones they put on over here in Australia.
Oh my goodness this looks like so much fun. I’d love to go.
Oktobarfest sounds like an absolutely great experience! Even to me, person who doesn’t like beer lol.
I wanna goooo! I loved the food (and drink) in Germany. I am seeking to go to Oktoberfest in NOLA so that I can pretend I’m back in Europe.
While I can’t go to Germany for Oktoberfest we have a pretty authentic version here locally that I need to go and check out!
It sounds like an adventure of a lifetime. I love the colors and the hair my daughter said if I can try to make that braid on her! Oh and I can imagine that yummy food! Thanks for giving us a little peek into such a wonderful festival!
Munich sounds like a great place to visit any time of year but during Oktoberfest would be even better. This is awesome advice on how to enjoy it.
This looks like it was such a fun experience. I have only ever experienced Oktoberfest when it was at a local venue.
So much history and fun wrapped up in this celebration. I wish my community celebrated like this.
Very informative, thank you for this post.
We are actually planning a trip to Munich – not for Octoberfest – but in December. My friend, the travel agent, recommended Munich when I asked for tips for a weekend before X-mas. The shopping is not our priority this time, it is just to soak up the X-mas feeling, at cozy markets and drink gluwine. Do you have any tips?
Sounds like fun for those who are so inclined! Thanks for this Sheri. Will definitely pin.
How fun is that!!! I have never been to Oktoberfest but it is definitely on my bucket list!! Looks awesome 🙂
I’ve never tried attending Oktoberfest in Munich but it sounds like a lot of fun. It’s definitely not an event that you should take the kids to especially if they’re still too young. The food sounds amazing as well. It’s going to be delightful and exciting for sure!
I love October fest,,, Never been to Germany, but have had fun attending local celebrations….
I’ve never seen Oktoberfest broken down in a way that made sense as far as the history. This seems like a great resource for those Oktoberfest-newbies planning to visit! Gutentag!
I love to travel and have travelled quite a bit but yet to see Munich. I have to wait for the kids grow up a bit so that, me and my hubby could explore Munich and attend Oktoberfest.
Loved your tips about hotel too.
I wish I took more Fall trips – Oktoberfest sounds like the best celebration of everything culture food and party. The Bavarian culture is really fascinating. I have been to a little community similar to a mini Oktoberfest here in the United States called Leavenworth in Washington state. It was amazing! Lots of people enjoying all different types of Bavarian food, pretzels, Bratwurst sausages and German beer. The culture was authentic and fun – everyone up dancing and singing and having a great time with a bunch of drinking strangers. One of these years I would love to make it to the Munich event! It sounds like a great mix of people from all over the world attend. It’s an enormous drinking festival.
OMG I love that hair braid bun! Is it bad that I see those big pretzels and just think of disneyland? We have Oktoberfest here but we’ve never been for the reasons you mention: loud and busy!
I agree as fun as it looks taking your child is a risky affair. That is expensive for beer but it is a famous festival and people are paying for the experience at the end of the day.
Those pretzels!! That sausage! I hate that you had to add: watch your purse. I think it is like that everywhere these days.
Hi Terri..Can you please explain what you mean? I am sorry I don’t understand when you say “it’s like that these days”
What an awesome event! I love your tips about leaving the bulky bags at home-I would not have thought about that.
I have ALWAYS wanted to go to Oktoberfest!!! We have a smaller local one here in Texas, and we love it!
love the pictures and the traditional outfits, oktoberfest is one of the things on our bucket list to go and see!
Wow that looks like so much fun. I would love to go there it looks relaxing and I know I would love to hear the music and watch the dancers dance!
I’m drooling over those pretzels.
How fun! And those pretzels? YUM! I love Oktoberfest but it’s not the same in the States. My Mom was military so I lived in Germany growing up and I loved going there.
This looks so fun! Munich isn’t that far for me but I’ve never been there. The photos look so good. Thank you for sharing.
Man, I want to eat those pretzels right now! Yum! This looks like so much fun!
This looks like so much fun! I wish I could be part of it myself! x
So authentic compared to anything we have in the US. I’m Georgia, we have an Octoberfest in Helen. But it’s not nearly as great!
Hi Kim, how long does the Oktoberfest run for in Georgia? Did you have fun at the one you went to? Did you wear a Dirndl? 🙂
Steckerlfisch sounds amazing! I bet Oktoberfest is quite an experience to say the least. I may have to put this on my list of things to experience.
Oktoberfest sounds like the fun. The food looks amazing and the festival so much fun.
I would LOVE to go to Oktoberfest in Munich! It’s definitely on my bucket list — great pics!
Oktoberfest sounds like a lot of interesting fun what with the food, beer and community spirit. Love the fact, that these festivals not only still go on, but are becoming very popular. As a beer drinker, I love this and will put it on my to do list. Thanks for posting.
Oh you would have the best time! I can’t imagine attending for the full three weeks, two nights is more than enough for me. I have never heard of a beer drinker who did not absolutely LOVE it.
Oktoberfest would make for a great grownups night out. I’d enjoy the yummy foods and my husband the beers 🙂
You are absolutely right Karina!
We have many, many Oktoberfest festivals right here in my home city in WI! Lots of German culture around here. They usually are only one day festivals but we love attending!
That is fantastic Rachel. I did not know there was a lot of German culture in Wisconsin. Maybe one day, I will get to celebrate Oktoberfest over there instead of here in Europe.
This looks incredible and I wish I could be a part of it! From the food to the activities to the stuff to buy – I want to magically transport there now!
Hi Karen, it really is a great and fun event. Lots of fun things to do and great people to meet. You cross paths with people and either stay in touch with them or never see them again. Either way, a wonderful experience.
Oktoberfest sounds like the MOST fun! I don’t like beer, but it seems like I’d be pretty pre-occupied with the food anyway!