Oktoberfest In Munich – Tips For First Timers!

As you walk along the streets of Munich this week, you could be forgiven for thinking that you’d stepped back in time – men are decked out in lederhosen and checked shirts, women are showing off their curves in traditional Dirndl dresses and everyone is slurping frothy beer and enjoying huge platters of meat. It can only mean one thing – Oktoberfest is back in the town!

The world’s biggest beer festival invites locals and visitors to eat, drink and be merry together, and 6 million people flock to Munich city each year to do just that.

So whether you’re a first timer at Oktoberfest or looking at Munich flights and growing your moustache in preparation for next year, here are some tips for how to survive the crowds and really get into the spirit of this exuberant two-week celebration.

Tents

Oktoberfest takes place across 14 different tents, which spring up across the city in the week before the festival kicks off. The tents vary in size but all house the familiar rows of beer-stained wooden benches, with colourful bunting draped across the high ceilings.

The first beer of Oktoberfest is always poured in the largest tent Schottenhamel – it houses a massive 10,000 people, so expect the cheers to be deafening.

Backpackers tend to head to the Hofbräu tent, where you’ll predictably find young American travellers enjoying litre on litre of the beer that they’re banned from buying at home.

If you’re in Munich with the family, head to the Augustiner Festhalle tent for a calmer and cozier atmosphere and to enjoy beer from more modestly-sized wooden kegs.

Tuesdays is family day and this friendly tent offers great-value meals for kids and adults between 12 and 6pm – for an afternoon of German celebrity-watching check out the famous Hippodrum tent – it’s a favourite of Boris Becker’s.

Accommodation

If you’re already in Munich, you’ll know that the city is crammed to capacity – booking a hotel room in advance is an absolute must and even the city’s temporary campsites become full weeks before the festival begins.

In the city centre expect to pay hiked-up ‘festival prices’, particularly in the area around the hub of the action in the Wiesn.

If you don’t mind a short train journey into Munich, try looking at rooms in the neighbouring towns of Nürnberg, Augsburg, Ingolstadt, Landshut and Rosenheim.

Create a Festival Plan

With so many revellers crammed into one city, it’s often hard to find at seat at Oktoberfest. But the one rule of the festival is this – no seat, no beer.

Do a bit of pre-planning before you leave for the airport and note down all the tents and events that you’d like to see.

On weekdays make sure you get to your chosen tent by 2pm at the absolute latest and before midday on weekends – there are outside places to sit across the city, but the cold weather and lack of brass bands playing sing-a-longs may dampen your festival spirit somewhat.

Have you ever been to Oktoberfest? 

(photo credit: 1)

11 Responses to Oktoberfest In Munich – Tips For First Timers!

  1. jmayel & sacha October 2, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    I’m glad i read this. I’ve thought about Oktoberfest before but never really looked into it until now. Is it still enjoyable even though its so busy?

    • Sofia October 3, 2012 at 11:21 am #

      I think it depends on what you’re ready to withstand, haha. But the more prepared you are (you can reserve seats at a table months in advance), the easier it will be for you to relax and enjoy as you won’t spend too much time trying to find a seat.

      There is however, a beer festival in Munich in spring time. Not many tourists know about it, but the locals party just as hard as during Oktoberfest, so it’s definitely an option if you want to enjoy lots of beer, lederhosen and Drindls, but with much smaller crowds and fewer tourists.

  2. Angel October 3, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    in several countries, oktoberfest is also celebrated. in the philippines, it is even a much-awaited event as local bands would gather together to perform for the crowd while beer is free-flowing.

    good times. good times.

    i wonder how different it is though when celebrated in its munich~~

    • Sofia October 3, 2012 at 11:22 am #

      I didn’t know that they celebrated oktoberfest in the Philippines, sounds like a fun event!

  3. Leonardo October 3, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

    Sound like so mutch fun! I realy have to visit oktober fest next year

  4. Priyank October 4, 2012 at 2:34 am #

    I’ve seen so many pictures that I really want to visit the beer festival! See how the server holds 6 giant mugs of beer? OMG!

    • Sofia October 6, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

      Haha I know, pretty incredible how many beers they can hold at the same time. You don’t have to be at the festival to see that though, just visit one of the beer halls when you’re there, I don’t know how the girls do it!

  5. Shaun October 6, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    Good tips! I was thinking of going since we’re in Greece at the same time. Too hard to leave here though. Any idea how early some of the hostels and hotels start taking reservations?

    • Sofia October 6, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

      When it comes to Oktoberfest, you’re never too early ;)
      You can book your stay for next year already shortly after this year’s festival is over.

      Next spring is definitely time to start booking though, by summer many of the good quality places will already be booked out.

  6. Eva October 9, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    Sound like so much fun :) My friend is in Munich and she has participated in Oktoberfest, She told me much about this all))))

  7. Agness (@Agnesstramp) October 9, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    When I was young I never missed October Fest in Germany and I always had such a great time hanging out with Germans and other travellers. Now, when I travel in Asia I can only look at the photos and be jealous of people who went there and had a beer. Great tips guys!