” The home of beer and a good time!”
Everyone has heard of Oktoberfest the annual beer festival hosted in Bavaria. But people rarely go. It is a great shame as this is one of the most cultural, lavish celebration of the Bavarian traditions and history. Oktoberfest dates back to 1810 when Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese in October of that year. The citizen was invited by the locals to celebrate the union in the grounds in front of the palace gates.
To this date Oktoberfest still takes place on these very fields named Therisienwiese. Though it now starts in September to make the most of the warmer weather. The whole town came to drink beer and celebrate the wedding of their future King. After 1896 the beer stands were replaced by beer tents and halls which each serve their own individual beer. The festival grew in popularity throughout the years causing the tents to be extended to the size they are today. The tents each hold up to ten thousand people at once and there are around fifteen tents currently in use.
It is not just the beer which is part of the celebration. The majority of people wear the native dress; Lederhosen (leather shorts) for the men and dirndls for the women. Dirndls suit everybody shapes and come in a variety of different patterns and colours which makes each one an individual statement of the wearer. On top of that there are Bavarian hats, calf warmer socks and even Bavaria shoes. There are loads of shops which offer a variety of outfits to choose from but it is better to buy them away from the tourist spots as they can be in excess of two hundred euros each.
The beer tents have hundreds of tables in them each seating around ten people who will all be dancing on the benches. Each tent has its own band and singers in the centre of the tent. They play traditional Bavarian songs and a lot of popular hits. These songs are designed to get you moving and singing along. Each beer glass has 2 pints of beer in it which can get you drunk very quickly. The waiters have to be able to carry a minimum of ten of these Steins in order to work at the festival. The atmosphere inside the tents is incredible but If you want something a bit quieter then there is outside seating. Food is also served in the tents. Large traditional Bavarian dishes such as Schnitzel or different cuts of meat. These can be quite pricey but they taste incredible. If you want something lighter there are loads of food stalls lining the market area.
Outside of the tents there are different attractions, a whole section of the Oktoberfest looks like a theme park. There are stands for shooting or different carnival games. Also, lines of souvenir shops and bars are situated on the strip. There are some novelty items but they may be a little bit lower quality. I purchased a necklace and the clasp broke instantly but they are more than happy to help. The venders and servers all speak English but it is handy to have a little bit of German in order to chat to some of the locals. The public transport is easy to use and runs efficiently so when Oktoberfest closes at midnight you are able to get home easily.
- Go in a group, the evening is a lo t more fun in a group of four people or more.
- Book a table in the tent as they are incredibly popular and it can be hard to find a free spot.
- Talk to the locals and other tourists. You never know who you might meet here.
- Get yourself an outfit or wear your own native dress (E.g. Kilts) to make the most of the experience.
- Pre-drink as the beer can be quite expensive.
- Keep your valuables safe as it is easy to lose your items here.
- Book accommodation early as it is very popular.
- Wear comfy shoes, it can be a long walk home!
- Braid your hair!
Other things to do in Munich
- Check out the English garden park – this is a stunning local area surrounded by history. There is also a surfing area right in the middle of the park!
- Go into the centre and look at the cathedral and town hall.
- Salzburg is a short train journey out of the city and is the home of the sound of music and the door way to the alps.
- Visit Neuschwanstein castle set at the base of the German alps. This castle is something out a fairy tale and is part of the inspiration for the Tangled castle. It is also the Vulgaria castle from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
- Go to the theatre – Germany has a lot of musical theatre productions and a lot of the popular ones are sang in English.
- Take a cycling tour to get an in depth look around the city. Including some of the last Nazi art still standing.