Oktoberfest is one of the most wildest and well known cultural festivals in the whole world. It’s crazy to think that people from all of the world have gathered for over 200 years in Munich to celebrate and share in the Bavarian culture.
Given that I am a festival and cultural lover, I couldn’t possibly go to Germany without working this celebration into my plans.
Given the name, many people automatically assume that Oktoberfest is during the month of October, but don’t be fooled. The festival lasts about 16 days, beginning in the middle of September and finishing on the first Sunday in October.
The dates were absolutely perfect and in line with my birthday on October 2nd, allowing me the chance to dance my night away on my special day.
One of my favorite part of these type of cultural festivals is the chance to see the different Bavarian outfits that people wear. The guys dress up in Lederhosen and the girls in dirndls and there are thousands of different types of outfits that can be seen all throughout the festival.
Many people choose to not wear the outfits, but I found that dressing up was on of the highlights of my experience. If you decide to go all out like I did, these traditional outfits are sold all over Munich and surrounding cities during and leading up to the festivities.
If you plan ahead of time, you can get cute knock off outfits online for a good deal.
Let me point out something from the beginning: you don’t have to LOVE beer to have an amazing and fun experience at Oktoberfest. After many attempts of trying to like beer, I still despise the taste.
I was probably one of the only ones to actually not drink beer during the festival, but that does not mean that I was not dancing and singing the evening away!
There are 14 main tents and each one of them have their own personality and charm and are free of charge to enter. There are some that seat thousands of people and may be very hard to get into, especially the Kafer tent because it closes at 1am, compared to the other tents that close at 10:30pm.
You are able to reserve a table, but in my experience you have to buy a beer in order to sit there, regardless of if you like it or not. Given that I don’t like beer, I ordered a Ridler, which is a very small quantity of beer with lots of lemonade and it was delicious!
Beer is typically 10 euros and sold in quantities of 1L and cost between 12-15 euros.
5 Lessons Learned at Oktoberfest:
- Don’t accidentally leave the tent. This happened to me as a result I was locked out for over an hour from the people that met and had a table with. Sometime you can sweet talk yourself back in the tent, however, there will probably be about 50 other people trying to do the same, so don’t leave once you are inside!
- Bring lots of cash if you plan on drinking (but be careful with this if you plan on drinking too much). Only a few tents accept credit cards, but don’t take your risks.
- Be prepared to sing: memorize some of the lyrics before leaving because you can’t escape this experience without hearing it, so you might as well enjoy and sing up!
- Do NOT wear open toe shoes. There will be thousands of rowdy and excited people dancing all over the place, so don’t take a chance of one of them getting too excited and jumping on your toe.
- We are generally told to never put our feet on the table right? Well at Oktoberfest this is NOT the case. If you put your foot on the table here it shows that you are about to attempt to chug an entire 1L stein of beer, so get prepared for all eyes to be on you.
Typical food at Oktoberfest:
- Brezl/Brezn: Pretzel.
- Hendl: Roasted chicken (yummy).
- Schweinshaxe: Pork knuckle.
- Spätzle: Egg noodles typically served with cheese
- Kartoffeln: Potatoes.
- Weisswurst: White sausage, which is typically eaten for breakfast.
- Cost: free
- Transportation: easily accessible by metro or by foot.
- Accommodation: don’t plan on arriving the week of Oktoberfest and finding centrally located accommodation at easily and at normal prices. Prices drastically increase and availability is difficult. Many people book 6-12 months in advance for a good location, so don’t show up and be surprised.
→ You are NOT allowed to sleep outside the festival, like many other festivals. I saw people trying to attempt this and they were instantly escorted away by the police. ←
- Attire: Lederhosen for guys and dirndls for girls.
- Important words:
Ein Bier, bitte: A beer, please
A Maß: a litre of beer
- Overall opinion: I had an amazing experience and recommend it to anyone at least once! However, you you don’t like crowded and loud places, this is NOT your festival.
Don’t forget to check out:
Have you ever attended Oktoberfest?
How was your experience?
What was the best festival you have ever attended?