The first time I visited Munich was for Oktoberfest. It is then I fell in love with this city and decided that I should live here. Most of the locals hate Munich in Oktoberfest period as it gets really chaotic and makes life difficult for them with a lot of people puking everywhere, dirty streets, packed public transportation and so on. But I love it. It is great fun! It is a pure celebration of being and being together. But under the condition that you got your ass covered and know your shit. Otherwise, it can be really troublesome to find your way in Munich during Oktoberfest. That is why you need to know these 25 Things about Oktoberfest:
1.It is not in October
Oktoberfest starts in September (In 2017 on September 16th) and continues for two weeks, 3 weekends and ends on the October 3rd .
I can hear you asking “Why is it called Oktoberfest then? “ The first Oktoberfest started in October 1810 as wedding celebration of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig with Princess Therese and then became a yearly celebration. But by time they moved it to September to make use of good weather (which sometimes does not really hold)
2. Locals call it Wiesn
Oktoberfest is a global name, a touristic one so to say. Locals here go to Wiesn. Wiesn means meadows. It describes the area where the Oktoberfest is held: Theresienwiese. It has always been held there.
3. The festival is not something like a music festival in open air
Yes, there is music. But it is all inside the tents. 7 Munich Brewers are allowed to build tents in the “wiesn”. There is a music program inside the tents. In the afternoon hours, the music is lower and In the evening hours wilder and louder.
4. Festival area is like an amusement park
Apart from the tents of the breweries, there are many amusement rides. Some of them traditional, some of them up to date and a bit scary. But the beer helps! (If you don’t drink too much – in this case, it might make it more difficult 🙂 )
5. There is a special opening ceremony – Arrival of tent patrons
Oktoberfest opens with a parade of all the breweries, kiosks and employees that take part in the event, important people of the city and even mayor. You can see beautiful horses, kegs of beer, wine, blast bands marching through the city into the festival area.
Then the mayor taps the first keg of beer by saying “o’zapft is” meaning it is tapped. Now everybody can drink!
6. Beer is served as 1L, which is called Maß
There is no other way to get your beer, which is the standard serving. That size is called Maß here. So you should order “Ein Maß”
7. Beer costs way too high
In Munich, you generally get 1 L beer for around 7,50 Euro in the restaurants/bars. In Oktoberfest this year it will cost between 10,70 – 10,90 Euro. And the waiter gets their tip from the rest.
8. All other drinks cost the same as beer
Even if you order water, it will cost you nearly the same as beer.
9. Oktoberfest beer is more alcoholic
Oktoberfest beer is a special brew and its alcohol percentage is 6%. The usual beer consists 5,2%.
10. The only way to drink beer in the Oktoberfest area is to go inside a tent or the adjacent beer garden of a tent.
You are not allowed to bring your beer to the festival area. There is security at the entrance and walking around to make sure that does not happen.
There are kiosks and little shops all the way in the festival area but they do not sell beer. So you have to get in and order your beer there with the special Oktoberfest price.
11. The Oktoberfest area is built just a couple of months before Oktoberfest and demolished after
Each year they build the festival area from scratch and demolish it after the event is over.
12. You may have to set aside some money for planning your Oktoberfest visit and in cash!
A typical evening for one person can cost nearly 50 Euro:
- 2 beers = 22.00 Euro
- 1 chicken, or similar food = 15.00 Euro
- 1 Brez’n, or similar food = 5.00 Euro
- 2 trips on public transport = 6.00 Euro
- Total cost, per person = 48.00 Euro
Important note: In the Oktoberfest area you can only pay by cash.
13. Book your hotel way in advance and don´t forget alternative accommodation
The hotels get fully booked very quickly and the prices skyrocket. You should book your place many months before Oktoberfest begins. For budget friendly accommodation check hotels/motels on the Ubahn, Sbahn line which are not close to Oktoberfest area Theresienwiese. If you can stay a bit sober, you can very easily reach your place by public transportation. Also, try Airbnb and ask friends of friends if they can host you.
14. Local people go to Oktoberfest dressed in Lederhosen (men) and Dirndl (women).
If they have to go to work the same day, they go with these clothes, it is quite normal. They don’t even have to go to Oktoberfest to get dressed like that.
15. You can notice single girls from their dresses
The traditional dress Dirndl is completed with an apron. From the side, on which the dirndl apron is tied, you can understand if the girl is single or not:
- The bow is on the right: she is in a relationship
- The bow is on the left: she is single
- The bow is on the front middle: she is a virgin/ baby girl
- The bow is on the back: she is a widow or a waitress
Unfortunately, there is no sign to understand that about men. And usually, they don’t act like it matters!
16. Last night of Oktoberfest offers a special experience
Towards the end of last night, they give away sparklers. Then they turn off the main light. Everybody lights up their sparklers and lighters and sing all together. It is so magical.
17. Best time to get in the tents without reservation is early on weekdays. On the last week, you can also find places in the weekend.
65% of the places are reserved and the rest is left for the other customers. As there are many that visit Oktoberfest it is difficult to get one of these free places. And if the tent is full, the security will not even let you in.You have better chances if you go during the day on weekdays as most people come after work. Your chances of finding a place increase in the last days of the event.
18. A tactic that sometimes works is to ask for a bracelet from someone leaving the tent
The people that have a reserved place get bracelets to get in and to get beer. If you catch some of them leaving, you may ask them to give you their bracelet. And if it fits you may enter the tent.
19. Every time the “Prosit song” plays, you drink
This is the song you will hear the most. When it plays, raise your glass, clink your glasses with your neighbors and drink after “eins zwei drei gsuffa”.
20. Hofbräu Tent is visited mostly by tourists but it is usually easier to find a place there
Locals don’t like Hofbräu tent. It is usually populated by Australian and New Zealanders. But for a tourist Oktoberfest is always fun. So why not enter?
21. Don’t get on the table
It is allowed to dance on the benches but it is a no go to dance on the tables. As soon as you get on the table you will be taken down by a guard, if not kicked out.
22. Bring a plastic bag with you but put it in your pocket because backpacks and large bags are not allowed
Due to security reasons, you are not allowed to enter the festival area with a backpack or a large back. (bags with a volume of more than 3 litres and/or larger than 20cm x 15cm x 10cm are not allowed to be taken into the Oktoberfest area ). But you will probably have a coat on which you have to store somewhere at the tent. That’s where your plastic bag will come handy. You put your things inside it and place it under your table so everything stays dry and clean.
23. Never ever try to take your beer glass with you when you are leaving the tent
There are strict controls at the tent gates and if they find out you got a glass they might even call the police. Stealing beer glass/ stein is an official crime.
24. It might be a better idea to walk to next Ubahn station to get to/ from Oktoberfest
You can either walk to/ from Hauptbahnhof or to/from Schwanthalerhöhe. It takes 5 -10 Minutes walk for both alternatives. Believe me, you will thank me. On a weekend night, you may have to wait half an hour just to get inside the Theresienwiese Ubahn station to go home.
25. If you still have energy and motivation, you can go to an after Wiesn Party
Party people like to continue partying at “After-Wiesn” Parties in Clubs. There is one very close to the Oktoberfest area called Wiesnclub on Theresienhöhe 15.
Are you already pumped? I got excited only by writing down. Looking forward to Wiesn 2017!
Drop me a message if you want to know more about Oktoberfest!