Let’s be honest, Oktoberfest doesn’t rouse images of romance. But if you plan it right and know what to expect, it can be a fun adventure the two of you will never forget.
♥ The (Love) Story of Oktoberfest ♥
In fact, did you know Oktoberfest was born from a celebration of love? Well! It all started on October 12, 1810 when Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese invited the entire city of Munich to attend their wedding festivities. Way back then, it was held in the fields in front of the city gates which were later named Theresienwiese (Theresa’s fields) in honor of the Princess. The celebrations were a big hit and thus became an annual tradition that grew bigger and bigger each year, eventually evolving into what we now know as Oktoberfest, still held on those same grounds today. Oktoberfest attracted over 5.9 million visitors to Munich in 2015.
So..What should we wear?
♥ Ladies wear Dirndls ♥
So if you’re thinking you’ll skip the fancy dress part, you can. Plenty of people weren’t wearing costumes. But let’s face it, they were the boring people. Jokes aside though, have fun with it! How often do you get the chance to experience Oktoberfest?! Run with it, have a laugh – even if it’s at yourself and how out of place you look. Hell, I couldn’t have looked less German if I tried!
I wore a skimpy and short beer wench dress that cost me €40 euros rather than the traditionally long dirndl that can be anywhere from €50 euros upward. Wearing this may have resulted in wolf whistles from the guys and death stares from the girls but the way I see it, life’s too short to blend in. Rock what you got, sista.
♥ Men wear Lederhosen ♥
As you can probably guess, Ryan isn’t tied down by tradition either (another reason I love him!!). He bought an Alpine Bavarian hat for €20 euros at the festival (you can buy them beforehand here but they looked too gimmicky, I would recommend purchasing one when you get there. There are plenty of stalls selling them and they are much better quality)
What should we do?
Choose your beer tent
Now, let’s get this “tents” idea straight. If you, like me, thought Oktoberfest was just going to be a row of crappy canvas tents with scantily clad tourists puking along the outer walls, you’re in for a nice surprise.
There are 14 big tents and 20 small tents. Each tent is owned by different companies that serve their own specialties and draw their own type of crowd. My biggest regret was not researching or picking my favorite tent beforehand so I knew where to head straight away. With massive crowds, and no wifi, we chose based on what we could see from the outside. Don’t make the same mistake. Check out the Oktoberfest website for photos and details about each tent and read this awesome summary to make that decision a little easier.
Locate your beer tent (and stay there!)
Find exactly where your tent is on the map and head straight there! Although it’s free entry for all beer tents, unfortunately the crowds are too big to move between them. I highly recommend choosing one and enjoying it. Avoid the potential disappointment of leaving and not being able to get into any other tents because they’re already full. Imagine it – drunk, at a beer festival, with no place to go? What a sad state of affairs. Don’t do it to yourself!
♥ So, what’s the deal with the beer tents? ♥
People will freak you out and tell you “oh my god, you have to book in advance or you won’t get a seat”, but the best thing about being a couple is that there are only two of you so you don’t need to pre-book.
Show up early
If you’re not fussed on big or small tents, you can pretty easily slip through the gaps in the crowds and get in somewhere. But if you have your heart set on one of the big tents, or better yet one of the most popular tents like Hofbräu or Hacker Festzelt, show up early (6am on weekends or 10am on weekdays) to secure some seats for the day. I am not even kidding. Sleep at the table, do what you gotta do.
Don’t get me wrong though, you can get lucky. We showed up at midday on a Sunday and somehow got into one of the big tents (which is apparently quite rare) so it does depend how busy it is on the day. Suss it out and make the judgement call. If you only have one day, play it safe. If you have several days, maybe take a chance.
Bring plenty of cash!
There is a small ATM set up at the entrance of Oktoberfest, but in case it runs out of cash you should definitely bring some along. No eftpos or credit cards are accepted anywhere at the festival. So if you want to drink a lot of beer and eat endless bratwurst, don’t forget to get cashed up first.
Drink plenty of beer
When you see someone wearing a traditional lederhosen or dirndl carrying 8+ beers in their hands, CHASE THEM DOWN. That, my friends, is your portable bar. That is pretty much how it goes at Oktoberfest, there are no bars, just these beer maids that run around with their arms full of 1 litre pints of beer and a brown leather wallet to take your money as they sell off each one. The selling price was between €7 -10 euros/pint.
Enjoy the rides
I think what surprised us the most was the fact that Oktoberfest was engulfed by a fair! Not a tame one either, there were full-blown roller coasters set up for the event. We were totally not expecting that. These Germans don’t mess about! Rides were between €5 -10 euros/ride.
How do we get there?
Fly to Munich Airport > Catch the S1 or S8 line to Marienplatz (don’t forget to validate it!) > Walk to Oktoberfest! There are quicker ways of getting there, but if it’s your first time in Munich – you HAVE to see Marienplatz first. Trust me.
If you get lost, just follow the people in full costume!
Where should we stay?
♥ Stay closeby, with a local ♥
For £115 per night, we had the privacy of our own room at the price of two beds in a hostel dorm during Oktoberfest. It was walking distance from both Marienplatz (Munich’s main metro station) and Theresienwiese (location of Oktoberfest). We booked a room in this cute shared apartment on airbnb and got to experience living with a couple of local German students who gave us some tips on the ‘Wiesn (as they call it) and how to get into the beer tents;
“The tents are really full today but there are usually beer gardens behind the tents and sometimes you can get in that way”
Aside from loving Munich in general, we had an awesome time at Oktoberfest. After all the research (done a little late, I might add!) I definitely want to head back there again in future to check out the two most famous big tents, Hofbräu and Hacker Festzelt. Will need at least a day for each!
Do you want to go to Oktoberfest?
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