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OKTOBERFEST – A BEER CELEBRATION, WHICH YOU SHOULD NOT MISS

Oktoberfest head

Once you arrive at Munich between september and october, you shall see crowds of people in the streets dressed in typical Bavarian costumes – ladies in drindles and men in leather trousers with a red checkered shirt and waistcoat. What´s happening? Oktoberfest!

Oktoberfest takes almost three weeks and during this beer festival over 6 million people visit the Terezian meadow (the ground known as “Theresienwiese"), which drink more than seven million litres of beer. The first season started during the occassion of the bavarian crown prince Ludwig I. ´s wedding in October 1810, and since then the tradition remained. And after all, because weather is warmer in september, Oktoberfest nowadays begins earlier – hence the Oktober mystery.

Every year Oktoberfest is opened by the mayor, who taps the first keg in the Schottenhamel beer tent and shouts out loud: "O'zapft is!" - "It is tapped!" And we can start…

 

 

How to travel to Oktoberfest

There area couple of ways how to travel to Munich. One option is for example to book a bus or train ticket. And because both Munich central stations are near of Theresienwiese it is possible to get to the Oktoberfest by foot. If you choose public transport, then U-Bahn U4 or U5 will take you to Theresienwiese, costing at 2.80 EUR.

Another option is to get Munich by car. In Munich it is possible to park at Park&Ride parking and then continue to the city centre with public transport, or try your luck and park close to the main train station. The most comfortable option is to accomodate at a hotel which offers parking.

Oktoberfest tent Oktoberfest tent

It is wise to book your accomodation much ahead of time, in order to avoid astronomical prices, preferably close to the Theresienwiese or main train station. An affordable tip would be 4You Hostel & Hotel Munich (with parking) or Wombats City Hostel, see Booking.com.

Useful apps are Maps.me and the official application Oktoberfest.

 

 

How things go at Oktoberfest

Entry is free of charge and the Theresienwiese starts filling up with the first visitors already in the morning. During weekends the gates are opened at 9:00 and workdays at 10:00. During entry the visitor first goes through a detailed check-up by policemen and guards, which are in total over 600 in service. Be careful what you take with you – the inspection can be similar to those at airports. Backpacks, smaller bags and other luggage over 3 litres and 20x15x10cm is not allowed and may be charged for storing. After check-up you will join the excited crowd streaming into beer tents and may let yourself soak into the cheerful mood of the event. People pass by booths with souvenirs and refreshments, in the distance merry-go-rounds are looming, also huge attractions and rides shooting visitors into the sky.

There are 16 large beer tents and 22 small ones at the Oktoberfest. The overall capacity of the area is 106 thousand seats. The largest tent being Hofbräu, with 7000 seats inside and 3000 outside. The oldest tent is Schottenhamel, of which history dates back to 1867. Next, a beautiful sight brought by Hacker-Festzelt tent with a bavarian sky, here well known is Paulaner Winzerer Fähndl, however it is worth trying the vibe of every one of them.

Oktoberfest tent Oktoberfest tent

Receiving beer in the tent is not always easy, since you have to have a place at the table. The worst time for looking for spots – suprisingly – is Friday and Saturday. During workdays it is a little more easier and the golden rule abides: whom arrives first, sits first. For those who look for certainty, it is possible to reserve seats at the web page of concrete breweries, for example Hofbräu Festzelt. Tables are with 10 seats, however during evenings people don´t sit anyways, rather stand on benches and dance... But to stand on the tables is forbidden.

One mass of beer (one litre) for example in the Hofbräu Festzelt tent costs 10,90 EUR and hunger may be calmed for example by typical bavorian pretzels or a curry sausage for 9,90 EUR, or an exceptional pork knee for 19,50 EUR.

Safety is ensured by the all-present and action packed guards, and if they don´t like your mood, rather don´t resist them.

The band stops playing at half past ten and after people finish their last quarts, beer tents start getting slowly empty. Crowds leave the Theresienwiese and once again security checks may repeat. Therefore it is not advised to take any beer quarts, glasses out of the premises, as every year over 100 thousand glasses are confiscated.

 

 

Oktoberfest is a spectacular party

Amusement reaches its full potential after five o´lock the band in the middle of the tent changes from german folk music to rock hits and pursuade everyone to sing along. Even though it is not allowed, often some hero stands on the table and applaused by the rest drinks a whole quart of beer in one go. Also pretty ladies in german folk clothes stand up on tables and ovations are of course larger. To prevent themselves from forgetting how many beers they had, some beer fans arrive in white shirts so they may write on each others backs the amounts of quarts they had. Sometimes it looks like being at a stadium, with popular iceland chants „Hu, hu, hu…“ After 8 in the evening, most people stand on the tables, dance and sing with the energetic band, which plays one hit after another and the flow of music is interrupted from time to time by the well known melody „Ein prosit, ein prosit“. After saying cheers everyone continues again - „We are the champions…“. It is amazing to experience 7000 people on the same vibe.

 

 

Advice in conclusion

Breweries make special beer for Oktoberfest, which has a higher alcohol percentage, usually around 6,5 percent. Furthermore, Oktoberfest beer has a wonderful characteristic of „easily going down“, so foreign visitors often forget they are not holding a typical half-litre beer, but a german quart. The result therefore may be unexpected and consequences unintended. There is nothing more fun than being caught up in alcohol after the party and getting lost in night time Munich, in oblivion. Correct, my own experience.

The next Oktoberfest starts 22.9. 2018. Prosit!

 

 

 

Looking for flights to Munich? Try flight tickets Kiwi.com.

 

 

 

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