Travel Hacks

Oktoberfest: Essential dos and don’ts

Oktoberfest is back! A carnival of epic proportions. A joyous celebration of Bavarian culture. A place where each year 7-million thirsty visitors get their fill of almost 7-million litres of beer. But this flamboyant spectacle can be a bit overwhelming for the uninitiated (especially after a few steins). What to wear? What to eat? What to drink? What to avoid?

Well, don’t fret, first-timers. Because we asked our expert Trip Manager and Oktoberfest aficionado Maddy Schuerz for her comprehensive Oktoberfest dos and don’ts. Here’s her essential guide. (Thanks Maddy!)

Do wear Tracht

Most important and almost self-explanatory: If you go to Oktoberfest please invest a couple of Euros and get yourself a traditional Dirndl or Lederhosen. There are lots of second hand stores around the city and super cheap stands at the main train station where you can buy a Dirndl for €50,- or less. Dressed appropriately you will experience Oktoberfest on a whole new level. Also, it’s a beautiful souvenir that you can bring back home and maybe wear during Halloween or Mardi Gras.

Don’t chug a stein of beer!

You might think you are the king of beer and can handle it easily but that doesn’t mean you can drink a whole liter of beer at once at Oktoberfest. Keep in mind that the beer served in the tents is special Oktoberfestbeer and usually is a bit stronger than usual German beer that already has a higher percentage than most beer around the world. Additionally to the fact, that the beer is stronger, most tents forbid the chugging of beer. The security is kind enough to let you finish your beer and celebrate your five seconds of fame but gladly get you off the bench or table and kick you out of the tent directly afterwards.

Do take enough cash

Oktoberfest isn’t cheap! One Maß of beer costs a little over 13 Euro, but with tip you usually pay between 14 and 15 Euro. Food is quite expensive too and if you want to enjoy some of the rides you need money for that too. Although there are a couple of ATMs at the fair ground most of them charge a fee of at least 5 Euros to withdraw money. Since you cannot pay with a credit or debit card anywhere, you need to bring enough cash for the day.

Don’t bring big purses or backpacks!

There are two good reasons why you should only bring what you really need and put that in a small purse. First: security checks have become quite strict this year so you either be stuck at the entrance for a while until they have checked your bags or make you leave your bag in a luggage storage. Also do not bring any unnecessary things. Oktoberfest is the biggest fair in the entire world, hence there are also a couple of thieves that only wait for you to have one beer to much to snag your valuables. The only things you need are your ID, enough cash, your phone and/or camera and maybe your make up to freshen up after the third stein of beer. All those things fit into a small purse and then you are good to go.

Do go on weekdays or early in the day on weekends

On weekends the fair ground and especially the beer tents get really full very fast. To make sure you find a place to sit, eat, drink and party you either need a reservation or should get there early in the morning. In small groups or with good connections you’ll probably find a table later in the day too, but in bigger groups it’s almost impossible. If you don’t want to go super early, but still want to bring your 16 friends you should go on weekdays, when it’s quite easy to get a table in any of the tents.

Don’t rest at the little hill behind the tents!

Behind the beer tents on the right side of the beer alley is a long greenish-browhnish hill leading up to the streets. You always see a lot of people sitting there, sleeping there and even having sex there. But believe me when I say: Stay away from that hill!!!! Among locals it is known as “Kotzhügel”, which roughly translates to puking hill. You see why you should stay away now? The chances of you sitting in somebodies vomit or pee is relatively high and it’s not worth the troubles.

 

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Do try some traditional food

To make sure you don’t get to drunk to fast you need to eat some food. Luckily there are a big variety of delicious traditional dishes sold at Oktoberfest. There is one particular tent known for it’s delicious meals containing ox meat and it’s called the Ochsenbraterei (the ox roast) and they make one of my favorite food at the whole fair: The Ochsenfetznsemmel. Other than that they serve grilled chicken and duck and for all the cheeselovers there are the delicious Käsespätzle. Got a sweet tooth? There is a whole tent for you. It’s called Cafè Kaiserschmarrn and serves pure deliciousness.

Don’t test your bladder

I know that most people have a better bladder than I do, but believe me when I say, as a woman you should definitely give yourself some time for the wait.  The lines for the bathrooms can get really long. I’m glad that I never had to wait for more than 20 minutes in any of the tents, but I’ve met people who waited for over an hour and apparently tha is quite common.

 

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Do go on some rides

Oktoberfest is not like most people probably assume just for drinking, but a full on fair. There are lots of fun rides and fairground booths to feel like a little child again. The Olympia Rollercoaster with its five rings is the most famous ride at the fair. But there is also the Teufelsrad, which is a spinning plate, a ferris wheel and lots of shooting stands. Most of them are quite fun after one or two beer, but not that much after more than that.

Don’t leave the tent if you’ve found a good place

As soon as you arrive at the fair ground you can enter any of the 14 big tents, lots of small ones or one of the beer gardens. While you will definitely have fun in any of them, there are a couple of differences so I would totally recommend going to one of the big tents, because the atmosphere is incredible. Many tables inside the tents can be reserved and around 5:00 in the afternoon those reservations change, meaning that this is the worst time for trying to get in. Just before or after that is a lot easier. As soon as you have found a table to sit on, you should not leave the tent, because you might not get back into any of them.

 

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Do enjoy the Fest

Oktoberfest really is a special place, they call it the happiest place on earth for a reason. Immerse yourself into the craziness that is Oktoberfest and don’t forget to take some pictures, as you might not remember the whole day.

Now, that you know the most important Dos and Don’ts of the biggest beer fest worldwide there is only one thing left to do: Get onto the benches, dance around and have lots of fun.

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