Visit the Octoberfest in Munich, Germany
August 21, 2019
by Ramona Huber
In the south of Germany, you find Munich the capital of Bavaria. Traditions and beer are a fundamental part of the city’s picture. Throughout the whole year, you can bump into people wearing typical Bavarian clothing. Man are wearing Lederhosen and women Dirndl Dresses. During the Last Week of September and the first week of October, the whole city is in folklore fever. It seems like almost everyone is wearing traditional gear and the city is decorated in the Bavarian colors blue and white, like the Bavarian sky. Bakery’s sell huge Brezn, a lot of business use this time of the year to place their Bavarian folklore related products. Bavarians call that time of the year the fifth season. And sure, as you already guessed, it’s all about the Octoberfest. Claiming to be the largest folklore festival in the world. Next, to drinking beer from one-liter Glasses, eating chicken and potato salad and dancing to brass band music, there are a lot of parades and traditional happenings. In the following, you can find a guide about an enjoyable visit to the Octoberfest.
Octoberfest was founded when Ludwig I married Princess Therese of Saxony. The festival was in front of the gates of Munich on Theresienwiese (Theresa’s Field). An Area of 42.000 square meters. And the citizens of Munich were invited to celebrate together with the royal family. This royal wedding was closed by a horse race. The decision to repeat the race the following years and even include an Agricultural Show in 1811 were the founding stones to Oktoberfest.
What to expect now
Octoberfest consists of 16 main tents and 22 small tents and every one has its specialties and a whole own theme and tradition. There are a lot of rollercoasters and small stands which offer candy and souvenirs as well. Every year there are around six million visitors and the beer consumption during the 16 days is around seven million Liter.
How to prepare
The outer most important thing is to fit in, the clothing is really pretty and the perfect souvenir. But make sure to buy proper traditional clothing, people will frown on cheap and too sexy carnivallike costumes. The Dirndl Dress fits all the different body types and manages to only show women’s candy sides. For the Lederhosen it is important to have nice calves. Somehow the women of Munich (Münchnerinen) love these body parts of men. There is even special Lederhosen-Work-Out in the English Garden. For girls, it’s a good thing to have some hair braiding tricks up your sleeve.
Another important thing is to keep in mind that during Oktoberfest whole Munich is booked out. So, start searching for a room well in advance. If you want a table reservation in one of the tents you need to be an early bird, too.
Finally, the language, even if Munich is in Germany local people talk a dialect called Bavarian. Don’t worry almost everyone speaks English and the Bavarian accent is rather enjoyable.
Here some useful phrases:
“Servus!” – is the often-used informal Bavarian greeting, if you want to be more formal use “Grüß Gott”.
“Oans, zwoa, drei, g’suffa!” – It’s the typical Bavarian drinking song and played by the bands every hour. Its basically translated to “one, two, three, drink!”
“Prost!” – is the bavarian “Cheers”
“O’zapft is’!” – that’s the most important sentence on the first day of Octoberfest. The city’s mayor will shout it after tapping a beer keg. And after that statement, the tents are allowed to sell beer.
“Die Maß” – it’s the typical one-liter beer mug
“Pfiat di!” – it’s the Bavarian phrase to say goodbye
My favorite tents
Do you want a small crash course about my three favorite tents and find out which one fits you? Of course, there are many nice tents. The best way to find out which one is your favorite is to have a stroll.
It’s the biggest tent on Octoberfest and a lot of international guests love it for the party atmosphere. It’s nicely decorated with 16 tons of hops, in the middle hangs the beer angel Aloisius. The Legend says he was a postman and was sent back to earth after his death to deliver an important message. But rather went drinking beer in the Hofbräuhaus.
The favorite tent of the party-loving people from Munich is massive and run by the Hacker-Pschorr brewery. The beer is well-liked, and the rocking roll cover band is creating a lively atmosphere in the evenings. The crowd is not too young, you can find people in almost every age in this tent. The beautiful painted ceiling and the rotating stage are the key pieces of this tent.
You can find the tent under the Lady Bavaria Statue and on the balcony, you have a few on the statue and on the gigantic ferries wheel. The tent is famous for its great music, the whole crowd is singing along with the songs and dancing like crazy on the beer benches. The decoration consists of red, yellow and green garland. One reason for its party atmosphere is the Wilderer Bar, where you can get hard booze.
At 10.30 pm the tents stop to sell beer and close up shortly afterward. But as always there are two exceptions Käfter Wiesn Schänke and Kufflers Weinzelt, they close at 1.00 am.
But what to do if you still have some energy left, or manage to still be thirsty?
There are several options for after-hour parties. The typical thing on the way home is to take some shots (in Bavaria called Schnaps), at small bars directly outside of the tents. Peaches are one good example of it. You can find the stall on the main way to the subway.
If you are in the mood to dance to Bavarian music and like the folklore feeling, you should visit Heustadl. Do you need some different music? Do you want to go out dancing in a nightclub atmosphere? I can recommend you Afterwiesnclub. A nightclub only opens during the Octoberfest.
If you want more information, check Oktoberfest.eu it is the festival’s official website (as well available in English). This website even offers a map for the Octoberfest area. The websites for local tourist offices are the German National Tourist Office (germany.travel) and Munich Tourist Office (muenchen-tourist.de).