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Munich Oktoberfest: At Least Once in Your Life
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Matt Oberpollinger, Munich

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Munich Oktoberfest: At Least Once in Your Life

The ultimate beer festival attracts millions of people every year. Here’s how to survive and have fun at the craziest party in all of Germany

Figures speak for themselves. In 2017, 6.2 million people from 75 nations came to Munich to drink 7.5 million litres of beer at the Oktoberfest. To imagine it, this corresponds to the contents of three 50-metre long Olympic swimming pools. But Oktoberfest is not just about drinking; a lot of culinary delights, entertainment and park rides are provided. However, if you are overwhelmed at the thought, we have put together some Oktoberfest tips with do’s and don’ts.

View from the Ferris wheel on Oktoberfest grounds

Although the largest beer festival in the world is called Oktoberfest, it starts as early as mid-September. The first Oktoberfest took place in 1810 and was held for the occasion of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese’s wedding. Since then, this tradition has been maintained annually, with some pauses due to wars and epidemics.

What to consider when you plan your trip to Oktoberfest

If you want to go to the Oktoberfest comfortably, you should avoid doing so on weekends. As you can imagine, the tents are usually already closed due to overcrowding from the morning hours, so there is no way to get into the tent. But if the weather is nice, take a seat in the beer gardens. Our recommendation: if you want to book hotels or tables, then do so well in advance, at least nine months before the start – prices are still acceptable and the chances of getting a place are relatively high.

Do's and Don’ts

With the Oktoberfest being a highly-attended event (which most people are aware of), to get along with one another it’s important to consider one another. Unfortunately, you cannot avoid meeting drunken visitors. So, try to avoid them and don’t get involved in any confrontations. In very few cases there will be a free table, but in Munich it is no problem to ask people if you can join in – and the chance of striking up a conversation is very high. During the fest, the usual beer garden regulations still apply, i.e. in the outdoor area you may eat food you have brought along, but you must buy drinks from the waitress. And remember to tip extensively and treat the waitress with kindness and respect. She has a very stressful job and will thank you for it.

Cuisine

Only dishes of the highest quality are offered at the Oktoberfest, especially in the tents which offer their own specialities. Our recommendation: Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a skewer) in the Fischer Vroni tent, ox bun and sweet Dampfnudel (cooked yeast dough) with vanilla sauce in the Ochsenbraterei tent. In general, a visit to the Oktoberfest includes a large pretzel, Obazda (cream cheese spread), half a grilled chicken, or roast pork with dumplings. A solid meal is important if you plan on staying several hours.

Oide Wiesn (Old Oktoberfest)

The Oktoberfest is popularly called “Wiesn” (meaning lawn). The name is derived from the Theresienwiese, where the festival takes place. Since 2010 there has been a new attraction called the “Oide Wiesn” – which celebrates the “old”, highlighting the traditions of the fest. What should have been a unique attraction at the beginning is now indispensable. The Oide Wiesn is best suited for families and people who want to escape the hustle and bustle. Everything is more relaxed here, which might be because you have to pay a small entrance fee. Hey, it could be the solution for a more peaceful Oktoberfest!

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