Wies’n! It’s more than just beer! It’s more than just rides! It’s an experience of a lifetime. Munich, the Bavarian capital, open it’s doors to world for the biggest beer festival of the world! Drink and food flow freely, it’s the perfect party to get drunk and break all ties from societal norms. Each and every year around 5 million people make their pilgrimage to Theresienwiese finish up approximately 7 liters of beer!
Dates: The last two weeks of September. This year it’s 21st September to 6th October.
Location: Theresienwiese Schwanthaler Hohe, Munich, Germany 80336.
Entrance Fee: Free except for the attractions and rides.
Beer Serving Hours: 10.00am to 10.30pm on the weekdays, 9.00am to 10.30pm on the weekends.
Cost of Beer: 9.10 to 9.50 Euros per liter. The cost varies from tent to tent.
Smoking: Not allowed in the tents and punishable by law, by either refusing service or charging a fine. There are designated areas where you’re allowed to smoke to be sure to scout them before hand.
Tent Reservation: The reservations can’t be made on the official festival site, but you can call the respective tent owners to book your spot.
In and Around the Festival
Let’s be honest! The main attraction of the Oktoberfest is beer. The variety that’s served specifically for the Oktoberfest is Marzen. 6 percent alcohol, bottom fermented and lager-ed for at least 30 days, it’s stronger and darker than the tradition beer we’re used to in bars. It’s served in a one liter mug pronounced, “mass”.
Six of the oldest breweries of Munich are the only ones permitted to serve beer at the festival. Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbrau, Lowenbrau, Paulner and Spaten cater to 14 large tents and several smaller beer tents. In case you can’t get seated in a tent there’s always an option to duck on to the beer gardens.
If you want the ultimate experience, it’s best to reserve a table for yourself in one of the tents before hand. You can always enter the tents without a reservation but should probably come a little early because the tents fill up within the first half hour during the weekends and by early afternoon during the weekdays. Each tent has a limit and when that’s reached, no one can enter. Beware, you’ll only be served if you’re seated not if you’re standing up.
While you’re at the fest you don’t want to be drinking on an empty stomach. Be sure to try some of the traditional hearty fare! There are a wide variety of Bavarian delicacies on sale. Hendl, which is basically grilled chicken, is one of the favorites of the many tourists who visit each year. Blaukohl is beloved by vegetarians with a sweet tooth. It’s an apple dish which tantalizes your taste buds! Brezn, German pretzels, are another favorite snack to munch on while guzzling down beer.
In between the wide array of events and beer, you can roam around to experience the many rides available like the Ferris wheel, roller coaster, water slide, or the haunted house. There will be lots of performers as well performing tricks and feats that will leave you confused. You can even win adorable keep sakes at the many game booth scattered across the 103 acres of Oktoberfest grounds.
The German police isn’t very tolerant, so be sure to be on your best behavior lest you end up in trouble!
Entry of Oktoberfest Landlords and Breweries: This parade is the official prelude to the begin the partying. There are around 1000 participants inclusive for the landlords’ families entering the grounds on spectacularly decorated carriages drawn by horses. They’re closely followed by the waitresses posing on decked up floats and all the beer tent bands playing along.
Anstich: Munich’s mayor beat a tap in to the first keg of the festival and shouts, “O’zapft is!” The beer is officially tapped and everyone finally gets served.
Oktoberfest Costume and Riflemens’ Parade: This is the highlight event of the Oktoberfest. You can skip everything else, but you can’t skip this parade. It’s famous worldwide for the diversity of it’s costumes and diversity of participants. Not only does it have people from all over Germany, but even animals, like goats, horses, oxen etc.
Open-Air Oktoberfest Music: 400 musicians, one stage, an audience of 5 million and plenty of beer. On the second Sunday of the event, this open air concert it the ultimate music fest!
Italian Weekend: It’s commonly referred to as the flirting weekend. It’s the busiest weekend of the fest and it’s when the Italians come in hoards to join the festivities.
Family Days: On Tuesdays, the prices of beer, food and rides are reduced for everyone to enjoy.
Traditional Gun Salute: The last day of the Oktoberfest is marked a traditional gun salute on the Barvia statue steps.
The hotels are more expensive and reservations are hard to get. Book your rooms at least 4 to 5 months prior to the Oktoberfest to ensure that you have somewhere to stay. Most people prefer to get their rooms in a youth hostel because they’re more reasonable. Some people prefer to camp, but the weather gets chilly this time of the year and the utilities on the camp grounds usually aren’t very hygienic.
Tips for your trip
Choose the time that best suits you. You want to avoid the crowds, venture in during the week rather than be trampled over on the weekends. If you experience every aspect of the festivities, the be sure to arrive early to get a decent seat.
While traveling, always carry some form of valid identification as proof of age. Carry an extra jacket or a pull over because as the sun sets, the autumn atmosphere kicks in with a rapid drop in temperature. Most importantly, be sure to carry your camera! How else are you going to record all the memorable moments? That should probably be the only valuable on you because considering the fact that you’ll get drunk, most tents don’t allow expensive items into their premises.
Another helpful tip is to give tips. Be generous towards the waitresses if you want quick service, because they tend to skip over stingy customers. If drinking beer is your top priority, you’ll also want to stay hydrated and behave! Lewd behaviour is well and good between the members of your own group but don’t bother strangers too much.
Last of all, enjoy yourself! The Oktoberfest is a unique opportunity to meet new people from all over the globe. Maybe even give yourself a few extra days to see some of the sights in the city after the fest is over!