Yes..I am very much talking about the Oktoberfest which is held at Munich every year. The festival is visited by approx. 6 million people from across the world making it the largest in the world. This is one of those quintessential travel experiences for anyone who enjoys beer and partying.
Coincidentally, I too was here last year though am not a beer fan or a fest fan. In fact, having been part of many Indian festival and fares, this was quite a deviation from what is usual in India. Westerners love it and beer lovers go gaga over it.
What to expect
So many men, women, and children all dressed up in traditional Bavarian clothes (lederhosen for men, dirndls for women), having a good time, celebrating, and enjoying good beer. People come from every nook and corner of Germany to be part of this. Children too have no fewer attractions- it’s a carnival out there with many rides, games and even haunted houses besides all sorts of candies, pancakes and traditional German food to devour.
Oktoberfest Fun facts
- It’s a 208 year old tradition now. Started in 1810 to celebrate Bavarian crown prince Ludwig’s wedding, it is celebrated for 16 days during Sept-Oct each year.
- Since it’s a Bavarian festival, the only beer you will find here is the one brewed within Munich city limits. Considered the best in the world.
- Locals call this festival “Wiesn” . It is named after Theresienwiese, the land where it takes place, now the name of the metro station.
- Despite its international appeal, this fest is a local affair. It is called Oktoberfest but starts in September.
- Approx 7.5 million litres of beer was consumed by 6 million plus visitors in 2017. Hmmm must appreciate capacity of Bavarians.
- Every year approx 4000 things are lost and found during Oktoberfest.
Guide to Oktoberfest planning
Entry into the Oktoberfest is free and so are the beer tents. Just that you would have to find a seat in the beer tent unless you have a prior reservation. The beer served in the tents is of course charged and is comparatively expensive but those are huge mugs with high alcohol content. Also, the beer cost differs from tent to tent.
Making a reservation at beer tent– You can book tables at a tent beforehand, however you would have to pay for the complete table comprising of 6-10 seats. Each tent has its personality based on the kinds of visitors – Americans, Australians, Celebrities, Rich Bavarians etc . Check here to know more about tents
Stay in Munich -The major cost of attending this festival for outsiders is the stay in Munich. Prices touch the sky around this festival. One option to attend the fest on a budget is to go for Stoke camping. Stoke Travel does an all-inclusive camping package that is the best option for value at Oktoberfest. If not, book the hotels well in advance.
Hotel booking strategies to help lessen the financial hit during Oktoberfest:
- Book in advance (even an year in advance is sensible)
- Stay on the outskirts. Munich has awesome transport connections
- Prefer Sept end or October second week
- Avoid weekends
How to reach – The best way to get to the Oktoberfest is by using public transport network. The underground train station name is Theresienwiese or Schwanthalerhohe on line U4 or U5
S1 – S8 to Hackerbrücke
S7 and S20 to Heimeranplatz, and then U4 or U5 to station Theresienwiese or Schwanthalerhöhe
U3 or U6 to Goetheplatz or Poccistraße
U4 or U5 to Theresienwiese or Schwanthalerhöhe
MetroBus-Line 53 to Schwanthalerhöhe
MetroBus-Line 58 to Georg-Hirth-Platz, Beethovenplatz or Goetheplatz
MetroBus-Linie 62 to Hans-Fischer-Straße, Poccistraße or Herzog-Ernst-Platz
StadtBus-Line 134 to Theresienhöhe or Schwanthalerhöhe
This is me at Oktoberfest
All of us went to the fest but at different times. I was here during the day with my son and Sudeep went to the fest in the evening with his gang.
Word of caution: Survival Tips
You can dress like Germans but not necessarily drink like Germans. With most Oktoberfest beers clocking in around 6% alcohol, it only takes a few of these enormous beers to get you singing and dancing along the traditional Bavarian tunes.
Below is someone who not only danced and sang to the tunes at the fest but also vomited throughout the night after 2 mugs of that beer. Probably the Indian in him couldn’t digest the Bavarian food & beer combination. So, drink carefully or carry your own Indian snacks. Just kidding!
Don’t be alarmed, this is the case with many. Either the finances hit or the beer. Hoping that my tips will help you to plan well and be prepared to enjoy this epic festival to the fullest. This article is coming now for you to pre plan for Oktoberfest. Yes, that early.
Attending a beer fest is way up my bucket list. Thanks for the tips!