Travel Diary: Munich – Oktoberfest

For years I’ve been wanting to go to Munich during Oktoberfest to experience the real beer festival. And guess what? I finally have, and let me tell you, it was an experience… There are quite a lot of things I wish I had known before going, and thought I would give you a bit of a debrief. Here are tips which I find useful so you can truly enjoy your experience:

– If you go on a weekend, prepare to head to the tents as soon as they open otherwise you won’t be getting in (or queue for hours).

– Weekdays are quieter but the tents still get crowded after 6pm, so head there between 2-4 and you’ll “easily” find a table.

– Pick the tent that best fits your criteria (find the descriptions below).

– Always carry cash. Germans are not the biggest fans of credit card and you have to pay all the beers and food in cash (there are ATMs).

– If you’re in a big group of people, either go to the tents very early or reserve a table online.

– You’ll only be able to order a Stein (2L beer) once you have a seat, and each table has their own waitresses.

– Now, are you looking to get yourself a traditional Dirndl? Sure, you can order them online before you get there, but my tip would be to head to C&A where most dresses will be 50% off during the festival.

– Book your flights and hotel early.

– And finally, don’t wear your nicest shoes and get ready to dance on tables!

The Tents

Now that you’ve got a general idea of what to expect when you go to Oktoberfest, here are descriptions of a few of the different tents. With 14 tents to choose from, pick yours wisely as once you get a table, you’ll want to keep it.

Schottenhamel

This tent is the most important tent of the festival. Because on the first day of the festival, the mayor of Munich will come into that tent and tap the first keg! Only from that moment can all the other tents serve beer. It’s on the smaller size but still seats 10,000 people with outside and inside seating. This is the most popular place for young people to meet and party at night.

Armbrustschützen-Festhalle

Are you familiar with the famous Paulaner beer? One of our favorite Munich born beers, this tent has incredible food served all day as well as one of the best brass bands inside.

Hacker-Festhalle

This is without a doubt the more originally decorated tent. With clouds and stars surrounding you, you’ll feel the great atmosphere of the place. Look out for the rock’n’roll band during the evenings!

Augustiner-Festhalle

This is the place to be if you’re planning a family holiday in Munich. Known to be the friendliest place of the festival, you’ll also enjoy children special meals and events!

Schützen Festzelt

Schützen belongs to the smaller tents of the lot regarding seating but has the largest ground cover! With a beautiful balcony overlooking the place, this chalet looking tent is the most photogenic place to be. What used to be a more laid back tent attracting older crowds is now becoming hip with dance music on the evenings for the youth!

Löwenbräu-Festhalle

This is my personal favorite. You can’t miss this tent with the electric moving lion at the front of the door (one that used to speak!). This place has great atmosphere and where most celebrities meet (or so they say).

Things To Do 

Other than eating and drinking at the festival, there are plenty of other things to do both within Munich and within the festival area. Something I wasn’t completely aware of, is that the fest also includes a giant fair with rides, stalls with delicious food and souvenirs.  Although I couldn’t think of anything worse to do after a few liters of beer, apparently going up and down the rides is very popular.

There are a few attractions I’d recommend doing if you’re only in Munich for a few days. Of course, you’ll have to walk in the city center and take in the beautiful Marienplatz, dominated by the impressive city hall. The pedestrian roads between Marienplatz and Karlsplatz are filled with shops and restaurants.

You can’t miss out on the impressive public park: Englischer Garten, larger than New York’s Central Park. Between waterfalls, trees, and squirrels, this place is the perfect spot for a bit of fresh air after an eventful day. You can also sit and have a bite in the German restaurants within the park.

 

Have you ever been to Munich during Oktoberfest? Please do tell us what you thought. The best way to be comfortable and trendy when visiting new cities is without a doubt by wearing some cool trainers. Take your pick here

Images/Sources:  Oktoberfest, @aidavaldez, @auroregroult

 

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