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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.
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.