So you want to go to one of the largest & BEST Beer Festivals in the world? Join the 7 million other people crossing off the same bucket list item. Know before you go and ensure that you will have one of the most memorable times of your life.
Before you go…
1. BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION ASAP!
This is the biggest thing. If you are considering going- book AS SOON AS YOU CAN. If you’re on a budget and looking for a crazy time to meet a lot of people-Hostels are the way to go. They do fill incredibly quickly though with some filling up more than half a year in advance. You could also camp (all inclusive camping *alcohol included*, could be cold/rainy) or couchsurf… but depending what weekend you attend (especially first and last), you might run out of options and find yourself sleeping in the train station. Hotel prices also rise during this time but if you have the money it will be worth it for a good nights sleep!
2. Contact your bank
The last thing you want to deal with is a shut down credit/debit card abroad. Let your bank know you’re going and grab euros from an ATM when you get into Germany. I spent the weekend in Munich and one day at Oktoberfest and spent approximately $180 (aprox 165 Euro). That includes 3 liters of beer (10 or 11 euros each), a chicken dinner, 3 + crepes (too good), soft pretzels, transportation to and from, my dirndl and tickets at the fair.
3. Buy a Dirndl or Lederhosen
You definitely do not want to miss out on the fun of dressing up for this occasion. Literally EVERYONE is in costume and walking around, “prosting/cheersing” and having a great time looking awesome. You can find these traditional get-ups just about anywhere around Munich including outside subway (U-Bahn) stations (around 40 euro) or something of higher quality from other clothing stores in the city. My friends and I got ours from “C & A” for around 60 euro +/- and LOVED them.
1. Looking to drink beer? Wake up EARLY.
There are a bunch of different beer tents to choose from at Oktoberfest. We went to the Hofbräuhaus where the official keg was “tapped” by the mayor of Munich. Here there were a ton of international travelers, study abroad students and locals. Awesome mix of people, great vibes and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a high energy atmosphere. If you want to get into the beer tents on the busy weekends you HAVE to wake up early and line up to get in the doors. We went opening day, woke up around 6am and were in line by 7. Doors opened at 9 and we were fortunate to find a table to sit at. Beer wasn’t even served until noon and the place was packed. The ONLY place you can get served is if you are sitting at a table. If you go during off peak times you will be able to find seating much easier but it may lack atmosphere.
2. Actually Getting Served
When the waitress comes to serve your table, you might want to order two beers. One in case you’re really thirsty and the second because it might take some time for her to come back. Also TIP WELL. Especially if it’s busy. You will only get the server’s attention if she has been treated with respect and tipped well from the beginning. If you don’t have a table try to make friends with people around you so they can order for you (this shouldn’t be a problem).
3. Bavarian Beer Beware
The only beer sold at Oktoberfest is the type of beer sold by the beer tent. I can almost gauruntee that you will LOVE the Bavarian beer so come thirsty, leave happy and know that each sip is a lot stronger than you’d think. Make sure to order a soft pretzel, or 10, to help you out a bit 🙂
4. Table Chugs & Songs
Traditionally it has been known that at any given time, when someone has received a FULL Liter of beer, they may choose to stand on the table in-front of the thousands of people there and chug. If you DO NOT chug the whole liter, the entire tent will boo you and have full reign to throw whatever they please at you. When chugging out of a stein becomes the amateur move of the hour, some people will elect to chug out of their shoes #DasBoot. There are also a bunch of songs that you WILL learn after the 5th time they’re played so don’t be nervous if you don’t know them the first time.
1. Explore Munich
While you’re chugging water and making up for your time at the festival, don’t leave Munich without exploring a bit.
-Take a Free Walking Tour (starting at Marienplatz). This is the best way to see the city and you pay your tour guide based on what you think it was worth – hopefully you get Ben. He’s awesome.
-Find the River Surfers at Eisbach! This is one of the coolest things I’ve seen and you can find it in the Englischer Garten.
-Go to the Hofbräuhaus brewery – one of the oldest in Munich
-Check out the views of the city at St. Peter’s Church from the exterior tower entrance (2 euro to go up)
Happy Oktoberfesting 🙂