Get ready for plenty of dancing and singing –
Image by Flickr user leigh wolf
seen many of Europe’s key cities and visited several of their annual festivals,
from foodie markets to Mardi Gras. For me, though, one event always stands out
for being the most carefree and jovial of them all, and it’s known across the
world as a brilliant celebration of Bavarian culture and history. I am, of
course, talking about Oktoberfest.
festival is about 200 years old and is held in Munich each year. It’s a really
unique experience and definitely not one for the faint of heart! That said,
Oktoberfest is more than just drinking beer, with plenty of rides and
fairground fun to enjoy. Plan your trip using my handy tips for Oktoberfest
Get up early!
you might not feel like waking up early the morning after a long Bierhalle
session, it’s a great idea to beat the crowds and secure a seat in your tent of
choice. Many people queue as early as 8 a.m. if they haven’t reserved a space, so
bear this in mind. Waking up early also gives you more time to enjoy a hearty
German breakfast – I recommend a feast of liverwurst slices, Comte and Emmental
cheeses and soft pretzel rolls with jam.Prepare your appetite for wurst, chicken and plenty of brez’n.
© Flickr user 5chw4r7z
you’re visiting on the busier days (Saturday and Sunday), you’ll have to book a
table at one of the tents if you want to get a seat. Each tent is different,
with something special on offer at each one. Hacker-Pschorr, for example, has
beautiful cloud decorations adorning the walls and ceiling, Ochsenbraterei is a
chilled-out tent boasting delicious traditional Bavarian cuisine and Hofbräu-Festzelt
is a much livelier option. Inside the pretty Hacker-Pschorr tent.
© Flickr user Jim Kelly
Visit during the week
during a weekday and enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere overall. While it’s still
worth booking a table, regardless of the day you visit, visiting during the
week means rubbing shoulders with more of the locals, while the weekends are
incredibly busy with tourists.
Dress the part
you’re in Munich for Oktoberfest, it’s great fun to dress up. Finding suitable Tracht (traditional Bavarian
clothing) can easily be done online before you travel, or at one of the many
traditional clothing shops in Munich. Local department stores such as K&F,
C&F and Kaufhof will also stock plenty of costumes around festival time. You
can choose to dress in a traditional style, or simply have fun with what you
traditionally clothed women, the main features include a short-sleeved white
blouse, worn beneath a Dirndl dress, which should be calf-length. A pinafore
should be worn over the dress and should be the same length, worn with
low-heeled black shoes or loafers.
men, a plain white or checked shirt can be worn with leather trousers
(Lederhos’n) and these can come with or without braces, although with braces
looks quite fetching! For the complete outfit, men should wear off-white
slouchy socks with authentic Haferl shoes, but regular black shoes will look
Want a beer? Take a
the exception of the Hofbräu-Festzelt tent, if you want to order a beer you
need to be seated. Staff won’t look at you if you’re milling around, so make
friends with a group who are seated if you can’t find a bench for yourself.
This is also another good reason to book in advance.
Take enough cash
you’re out and about exploring the huge Oktoberfest grounds, the last thing you
want is to unexpectedly run out of cash. While some parts of the event do take
card, most of the tents take cash, so before you set off each morning, make
sure you’ve got enough for the day depending on what you’re up to. For a couple
of beers, a main meal, a brez’n (pretzel) and your local transport fare to and
from the event, you’ll need about 50 Euros, and don’t forget to tip your waiter
or waitress (about 10-15%). Personally, I always carry a little extra cash,
just in case.
Don’t put your foot on
the bench (unless you’re prepared to chug)
many people stand around their respective benches to stretch their legs, don’t
rest your foot up on the bench unless you’re prepared to chug your beer. Doing
so will win you the glory of the tent, however remember to pace yourself
throughout the day. All of the tents serve soft drinks and water, so you’ve got
plenty of options if you’re taking a break from beer.Inside a busy tent.
© Flickr user Roman Boed
Learn the local tongue
polite to learn at least a little of the local language when you’re travelling
abroad, so memorise a few phrases before you go. Here are some to help you on
Es tut mir leid
don’t speak German very well
Ich spreche nicht sehr
you speak English?
Sprechen Sie Englisch?
asking for a seat] Excuse me, is there room for me and my friends here?
hier wohl noch ein Platz frei für mich und meine Freunde?
is the subway?
Wo ist die U-Bahn?
are the toilets?
Wo ist das toiletten?
Excited to travel to Oktoberfest in 2016?
Le Shuttle, you can get from Folkestone to Calais in just 35-minutes.