If you like to drink beer and you like to go to festivals, experiencing Oktoberfest in Germany (the world’s largest beer festival) is a must! But that’s not the only reason to attend; Samual shares his experience with us and some things to know before you go:
Munich is a thriving beautiful city, rich in history and culture; and it is well placed to rival any European city for sights, sounds and adventure. Attractions include but are not limited to: The worlds only BMW museum, sliding down the Bloomberg on a ‘Rodelbahn’ (luge), visit the Schloss Nymphenburg- Munich’s famous royal palace or just party the night away at the Kunstpark.
Munich’s location sits right in the heart of the European continent, and with one of the most comprehensive transit systems I’ve ever seen as well as hosting the 6th busiest international airport in Europe, it is the perfect gateway city to Eastern and central Europe. But let’s be honest, Munich’s biggest draw is Oktoberfest which should comes as no surprise when its serving 7 million litres of beer over 16 days every year.
To clarify, Oktoberfest is not for the faint-hearted. The beer supplied at Oktoberfest is of an increased sugar and alcohol volume served in two pint steins (Oktoberfest beer is approximately 6%), this has led to the quirky German slang – Bierleichen (beer corpses), for the many foreign visitors who fall into the very easy trap of over indulgence.
Pro-tip: Mix in a couple of Radlers (fruit flavored shandies) during the session to avert the mid-afternoon beer sleeps, as some unknown German Monk attests- ‘He who drinks beer sleeps well.’
Aside from that, there is a lot of fun to be had here, I strongly recommend travelling with a tour group; it’s one of the only ways to get a table reserved so that you will avoid all the long line ups and Beerucracy. Once inside the large beer tents, it’s next to impossible not to get carried away by the vibrant atmosphere expertly crafted by the central oom pah pah band, piping away a mix of traditional calf slapping songs and more modern sing along style tracks. Even the most reserved characters will have trouble not buying a ridiculous looking hat and standing on their table chanting along to the beat with the other ten thousand beer swilling patrons.
There are other events and activities beside the huge beer tents, lots of souvenir stalls, and fair ground rides including the odd large roller coaster! I know what your thinking ‘surely beer and roller coasters don’t mix’ -and you’d be right too! But that doesn’t stop you from hanging out by the exit of the ride and snapping pics of all the green faces lined up sitting against the wall (don’t worry, they won’t notice they have bigger problems to deal with).
In all seriousness Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavaria’s cultural and historical identity and a worthy component on anyone’s bucket list. Despite its name sake Oktoberfest falls mostly in September and concludes on the first Sunday of October thus taking advantage of the warmer September weather.