For me Oktoberfest was one of those love/ hate relationships. Yes, I love beer, singing with a bunch of strangers, and getting good food, but I hated the daily headache I woke up with every morning from to much grog.
These are some things of the Oktoberfest Tips I wish someone told me before I hit the beer tents.
What is Oktoberfest?
Before we get to the Oktoberfest tips we need to know the festivals origins if we hope to survive the blathering beer halls.
Oktoberfest evolved out of a massive wedding celebration in 1810. Every year since then, the Germans have kept the party going.
Fast forward 200 years and it has become one of the biggest festivals in the world, and who isn’t looking for an any excuse to wear Lederhosen (Oktoberfest Costumes). Oktoberfest is my type of party!
Thousands of strangers clashing their one liter mugs together and filling the beer tents with songs while the nonstop celebration of new friendships, good food, and beer rages from morning until night. However, Oktoberfest for all the reasons listed above, can get a tiny bit hectic.
Europe Travel Tips – Your Oktoberfest Guide to Make it Out Alive
This Oktoberfest tip list and guide will feed you all the survival knowledge you need to help you not only enjoy it, but also get the most out of this crazy festival.
Funnily enough Oktoberfest starts the last Saturday or September and goes to early October. (2014 Dates – Sept 20 – Oct 5th) in Munich, Germany, which I think is one of the best cities in Europe. In fact, you should take a couple days from the festivities to see the city as well. Alright enough basic information. Lets get to the Oktoberfest Tips!
Oktoberfest Tips #1 The Early Bird Gets in the Beer Hall.
Many backpackers and travelers tend to avoid earlier morning hours, but during Oktoberfest, this is not wise.
Morning is the perfect time to start your adventure. Thousands of people come to this festival, so as you can imagine, the beer tents fill up fast.
If you want to get a seat in the tent of your choice and don’t feel like waiting in line for an hour or more, then you need to get there early. If you do end up waiting, you should know that beer is only served in the tents, but you can find some vendors in the outside area that sell small glasses of overpriced wine.
You also have the option of reserving a table, but this can be anywhere from 200-400 Euros or more. So unless you are with a big group it is not worth it.
So How Early is Early?
Opening and closing Weekend: These are the busiest weekends of all. People start lining up outside the grog tents around 7:30 or 8:00 a.m. Yes, in the morning! I know you are on vacation and that is early as hell, but if you arrive any later, the chances of getting in a place are slim.
During the Week: Ok, during the week you can get there a little later. If you arrive somewhere between 10:30 and 12:00 p.m., you will have a good chance of getting into the tent of your choice. However, don’t get lax on your timing. After noon, when the bands start playing, it gets a little harder to find an opening.
Weekends in Between: As anything else, the festival attracts more people on the weekends. Get there around 11:00 a.m.
Oktoberfest Tips #2 Pace Yourself
Oktoberfest is an all-day event and the beers are massive. (1L), and cost around 10 Euros.
Yes, you might be a backpacking Europe champ, but your liver can only take so much damage. It doesn’t matter how much you think you can drink, if you don’t pace yourself at the start of the day, you will be back at your accommodation and in bed by 3 p.m. *cough* that didn’t happen to me *cough*.
Oktoberfest Tips #3 Eat Often
Common sense, right?
Well when you are drinking 1L beers that fill you up, you can easily forget to eat.
Also, eating will give you a break from all the drinking, but since you can eat in the tents, you don’t have to take a break from the festivities. Plus the food at Oktoberfest is absolutely “give me another” delicious. Yes, I am looking at you, you mouth-watering roasted chicken and soft, warm pretzels. ( All Traditional Oktoberfest Foods).
A typical meal will cost between 10 to 15 Euros.
Oktoberfest Tips #4 Book Accommodations Early
As a typical night winds down at Oktoberfest, it doesn’t seem like many people use their accommodations.
Of course I am talking about the hundreds of drunken men passed out in parks, in front of stores, or on park benches.
Personally, I wanted nothing but a comfy bed….sadly, I didn’t get it.
I booked late, which was actually two months before the festival, and all that was available was a crappie tent that 50 Euro’s a night! I’m an adventure travel blogger, and I still found this accommodation rough!
Granted the prices of hostels skyrocket during Oktoberfest and go for around 80- 100 Euros, so the tent was still cheaper.
However, it I could do it all again, I would book as soon as the hostel started taking reservation.
Hostels will be around 70 Euros then and for a little more cash is a small price to pay for comfort.
I suggest booking early and finding a cheap hostel instead of a tent for a few reasons.
1- Comfort: Over the last year I have slept in airports, cars, and in the middle of nowhere Mongolia and still, the Oktoberfest tent might have been the most uncomfortable. However, they do give you an inflatable mat, which by the way, uninflated every chance it got. For the price of a tent, you are seriously getting ripped off.
2- Security: The tent had a lock on the zippers, but let’s be honest, if you are spending most of the day at a dubious drinking festival, and someone wants to break into your “locked” tent, they will find a way. This is one of my top Europe Travel Tips for anywhere.
3- Warmth: September is freezing. Drunk, exhausted, and cold is not a good mix. Tip: My favorite hostel in Munich is Wombats.
Other Oktoberfest Tips
Know your hangover cure.(Mine is Advil, Baraka, and a Pepsi)
Check out Munich: Take a day or two off to see the city halfway through your Oktoberfest experience.
Carry cash: Most places in the festival only take cash, plus you don’t want to drink a lot with your debit cards. Talk to the people around you. Everyone is your friend at Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest is a fantastic festival that is full of life, fun, and energy. I loved sitting around a big table making Bavarian friends, singing songs, and drinking beer.
If you have the chance to be in Europe during late September, this is a festival that you don’t want to miss. Have you been to this massive beer festival? Though 5 days is a little extreme!
What are some suggestions and what did you think of these Oktoberfest Tips?