Prost! Get your dirndl and lederhosen- It’s Oktoberfest time!
Every September and October, Munich is flooded with women in colourful dirndls and men in classic lederhosen drinking to the tune of “Ein Prosit” and the sounds of thousands of beer steins clinking together. Dating back to 1810 to celebrate the wedding of Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen, the very first Oktoberfest was an absolute hit and quickly became an annual celebration. Although the event itself was moved to begin in September to work better with the harvest, the name has remained the same. Whether you’re preparing for your own harvest or simply on vacation, be sure to head to Munich to celebrate all things German! Planning a trip to one of the largest festivals in the world can be daunting, so we’ve compiled the best hacks to make your trip smoother than a glass of Augustiner.
Which tent is best?
With 14 main tents and 20 smaller tents spread across the festival, we wouldn’t recommend just choosing one at random. Each tent has its own vibe, from family-friendly tents to “dancing on tables and chanting the tune of Sweet Caroline” tents. Schottenhamel is the oldest, and it’s where Oktoberfest is opened every year when the mayor of Munich taps the first barrel of beer. It’s also known as the place to party for younger groups, while a more laid-back vibe can be found at Augustiner. This is the most traditional tent where beer is still served out of wooden kegs, and keep an eye out for kid’s day where kids can eat and drink at a discount. The most famous tent is the lively Hofbraäu, and you’ll see all of the waiters are dressed in traditional clothing. Whichever tent you end up at, if you get a spot… keep it! Squeeze in next to strangers who will quickly become friends. We recommend sending in reservations for a table as early as possible to guarantee a spot, but a portion of tables in each tent are also reserved for walk-ins.
Food and drink
The main draw for most attendees is, of course, the beer! You’ll find the finest beers from famous Munich breweries like Augustiner, Paulaner and Spaten, and many beers are brewed especially for this event. While you may be excited to try everything, don’t forget to pace yourself. The one-liter beer steins, called a maß (pronounced “mass”), are at minimum €10 each, so drinks can add up quickly. We recommend bringing at least €50 per person per day, and remember that cash is king at this event. Don’t forget to eat throughout the day, and our tip is to head outside to the food stalls for more affordable fare. Our favourites are würstl (sausages) with plenty of mustard, brezen (pretzels) for the perfect accompaniment to beer, and sauerkraut that goes with pretty much everything!
The less you bring to the festival each day, the better – cash, your address, and your phone are the essentials. You’ll be much more at ease if you’re not constantly checking for your bag under the bench, and you’re free to dance and sing through the day worry free! For an authentic experience, why not dress in traditional tracht? For guys, it’s a pair of lederhosen leather shorts with braces and a flap cap, and for girls, a dress with a tight bodice and high-waisted skirt called a dirndl. A full custom outfit can get pricey, so either buy your clothes ahead of time or purchase from second hand stores for a more affordable option. Finally, be sure to learn the words to “Ein Prosit” before you go. This short song is a toast to cheer and good times, and you’ll probably hear it sung every twenty minutes throughout the festival.