With beer, live music, and gigantic pretzels, Oktoberfest is easily one of the must-see events worldwide. It’s the largest beer festival in the world that attracts tourists from all over the world to Munich, Germany. From oldies to hippies, you’ll find people of all age groups doing one common thing, drinking 7 million liters of beer in 16-18 days. However, if this is your first time hearing about this grand folk festival, we’ve got you covered.
Here is everything that you need to know about Oktoberfest:
A Quick Flashback
Did you know that the original Oktoberfest was held in October 1810? It was to celebrate the wedding of Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. All the fine locals of Munich were invited to join in the celebration – to eat and drink for 5 days. It turned out to be so successful, that they decided to do it every year and extended the celebration into September adjoining it with the harvest.
What Happens At Oktoberfest?
Being the world’s largest beer folk festival, Thereinweise(named after the princess) witnesses more than 6 million people including Bavarians and tourists. It’s a 16 – 18 day folk festival celebrated around mid-September every year and ends by the first week of October. The ceremony begins by noon at the Schottenhamel tent when the mayor of Munich opens the first barrel and announces “O’ zapft” (means it’s open).
When is Oktoberfest?
Oktoberfest begins usually on September 21st and ends on Sunday 6th October. On weekdays, the tents are open from 10.00 until 12.30 am. On weekends, the tents open an hour early and close by midnight except for Käfers Wiesnschänke’ – the log cabin and ‘Weinzelt’ – the wine tent, which is open until 1.00 in the morning.
How To Get There
There are 6 ways to get closer to the world’s largest beer festival, taxi being the most expensive and the fastest(29 min). Although most of them take the same time, if you’re on a budgeted trip, go for rideshare. You can also take a direct bus departing from Flughafen, MAC/Terminal 1 and arriving at München Hbf. Buses operate every day and depart every 20 minutes. The journey takes less than an hour and voila! You are at “The Oktoberfest”.
What To Expect & The Best Time To Visit
Plenty of beer, locals singing, delicious food, and beautiful maidens are a common sight at the all-famous Oktoberfest. Apart from being a beer lover, if you’re a foodie, you can’t afford to miss out on these delectable treats like roast chicken, pork knuckle, sausages, pretzels. Among desserts, The must-tries include the sugar roasted almonds and the beef flavored ice cream.
The last week gets too crowded, so you can either choose to enjoy the fest just when it begins or somewhere at the end if you don’t mind celebrating with the crowd. Also, if you think flying to Germany is way too expensive, there are Oktoberfests happening all around the world. Be a part of an event closer to you and enjoy your drink as you would at the original Oktoberfest.
How To Reserve Beer Tents
While entry to Oktoberfest is free, reserved tables cost you money, especially if yours is a large group and not booked in advance. There are 14 beer tents of different sizes, 6 of them being large tents, that can house up to 12000 beer lovers under one roof. The popular and renowned ones include “The Hofbräu Tent”- internationally well known and a high energy tent, “Schottenhamel”- the oldest and the largest tent and “Hacker Pschorr”- with a mix of locals and tourists and “Augustiner,” perfect for big families.
You can start by February/March the booking of tents from their online reservation system. If you’re late, try joining the last-minute attendees by going early to reserve your tables. The bigger the tent, the longer the line (unless you befriend someone ahead of you in line and convince them to get you in with them).
What To Do At Oktoberfest
When in Bavaria, do as the Bavarians do. Dress up in the traditional costumes – dirndl (pronounced DEERN-dul), dresses for women and lederhosen (pronounced LAY-der-hozen), shorts for men. If beer is the only reason you’re here, jump the wagon and help the Bavarians clear up 6 million liters of beer. Try not to get totally smashed so that you can devour the scrumptious food from the mini food fests inside the camp.
While inside the tent, let yourself loose, make friends, sing the local german songs, and dance in groups. Apart from beer, there are wines and champagnes that one can try at the fest. If you’re outside your tent and need a break from drinking, try the roller coaster rides, beer stein race, sausage sculpting contest, and giant chess.
Lastly, bring only the essentials! More than 5000 items are lost every year at the Oktoberfest. In case you do, approach the service center behind the Schottenhamel Tent and they’ll help you. Become acquainted with the layout of the grounds and know where the help desks are.