One of the most festive, spirited parties in the world takes place in Munich, Germany during September and October of each year—Oktoberfest. While places all around the world attempt to celebrate Oktoberfest, nothing beats the authentic German festival. Oktoberfest is of major cultural significance for the German people and millions will head to Munich to partake. Read on to learn about the best places to stay, drink and more. ‘Prost!’
Oktoberfest is the ultimate drinking celebration, so be prepared to spend the festival with a German Bier in your hand. The festival is set up with massive tents so the event can occur rain or shine, and the tents are attractions unto themselves, as each differs in size, décor, and the crowds they attract. The best way to experience Oktoberfest is to hop between tents, especially since entry is free to the grounds, the tents and the tables – you only pay for what you consume.
The largest of the tents is Hofbräu-Festzelt, one of the most recognizable brands at Oktoberfest. It is also tends to be on the louder and rowdier side as it often attracts crowds of young students. If you are a student or in your early 20’s or 30s, then the Hippodrom is another tent that is popular with your age group. However, if you are of the older crowd, opt for the nautically-themed Fischer-Vroni tent, where there is still plenty of activity to enjoy, minus the wild young adults. Maybe you and your family are venturing to Oktoberfest? Then your best bet is to head to the Augustiner tent, which is that of the city’s oldest brewery, and is known to host events and games for the whole family to enjoy.
With a lot of drinking comes a lot of food, so be prepared to wash down the beer with endless German eats. Many of Munich’s top vendors set up shop on the fairgrounds, so you will not have to wander far to grab an authentic wurst or German bretzel. The food offerings are very convenient and are at a fairly low price, usually ranging anywhere from $A4 to $A15. While there are vendors all throughout the grounds, different tents offer certain food specialties, so if you are looking dine out on something in particular, make sure you grab a seat before the tent fills up.
The Schützen-Festzelt tent is a favourite among Münchners, where the special dish is a roast suckling pig, sauced up with beer. On the other hand, the Ochsenbraterie tent has a tradition dating back more than 130 years of roasting a full ox on a spit, and plaiting that with sides of vegetables and potatoes. If you are not all about the traditionally rowdy Oktoberfest parties, then stop by the fairgrounds during the week for a calmer experience and to try the special weekday lunchtime food menus.
Oktoberfest is a celebration of Bavarian culture, so you will see people in all sorts of outfits. Since fall is frequently a wet season for Germany, make sure to pack water-proof gear, wear lots of layers, and dress for comfort—Oktoberfest can be a very long day.
However, do not be surprised to see many locals dressed in Trachten, traditional German garb. Men often sport suspendered leather trousers and women wear the classic Bavarian dresses designed in bright prints and colours. For visitors, investing in one of these traditional outfits is often worth the price, as it doubles as a unique memento to remind you of your time in Germany and experience at Oktoberfest.
Since Oktoberfest is one of the busiest times of the year in Munich, booking in advance is definitely recommended. If you are hoping to stay close to the Oktoberfest action, making for easy arrival and departure, book a room near Munich’s central train station in Marien Square, near the Old Town centre. Some wonderful accommodations in this area include the Bayerischer Hof and the Louis Hotel. Since rates sky-rocket during Oktoberfest season, if you are on the hunt for a more economical stay, try to book a room at Motel One München-Sendlinger Tor for close-by quarters that are budget friendly.
If a trip for Oktoberfest ends up being a last minute adventure, finding a place to stay so close to grounds will definitely be much more difficult. However, many hotels in the surrounding Munich area are prepared for the Oktoberfest guests with their own beer gardens, and they often have public transportation options mapped out for guests.
Oktoberfest is an incredible experience and loads of fun. This festival is a great way to experience German culture and food, and to celebrate such a wonderful country. Unfortunately, many hospital trips are the result of an Oktoberfest incident so be prepared with travel health insurance so you do not have to foot the medical bill. However, do keep in mind that most travel insurance plans do not cover alcohol-induced incidents.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Christian Benseler; cropped from original.