5 Fun Things To Do At Oktoberfest In Munich, Germany
Munich’s annual Oktoberfest is the most famous beer festival in the world. A 16-day celebration of German culture and beer takes over Munich and floods the streets with Lederhosen-clad fellows, Dirndl-clad girls, polka music, and the smell of sausage. But it can also bring with it gaggles of obnoxious, intoxicated tourists and mornings of headaches and hangovers. Here’s how not to be part of that group, but still get the most out of your Oktoberfest experience. Have you been? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
Drink a litre of Bavarian bier. Then drink water.
In fact, if you want to drink beer at all, it has to be by the litre. Most beer tents will only sell their brews by the Maβ (pronounced “mahs”), a one-litre stein.
Bavarian beer is brewed according to strict purity standards, called Reinheitsgebot in German. The regulation establishes that to be considered Bavarian, barley, water, and hops must be the only ingredients used in the production of beer. This gives Bavarian beer a clean and light taste, making that litre go down surprisingly easy. Make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, so you wake up refreshed and ready for another day of German celebration.
Each beer tent sells a specific kind of beer, so try to hit more than one to get a wide sampling of all that Bavaria has to offer.
Get a seat in a beer tent.
With the huge crowds at Oktoberfest, getting a seat in a beer tent can be difficult. You can book ahead, but you need to reserve a table for ten – and each person needs to eat half a roast chicken and drink at least two litres of beer!
If you’re travelling in a smaller group, it’s best to go in the morning. Reservations start pouring in in the late afternoon, but you can get plenty of partying done before then.
The Hippodrom is the most famous of all beer tents, and festers can often spot European and international celebrities taking part in the festivities there.
Eat German food.
Thankfully for Oktoberfesters, German food is made to soak up all that beer. Many tents specialize in their own specific dish. For example, the Ochsenbraterei serves up rotisserie oxen, while the Knödelei is known for its dumplings. Outside the tents, stalls selling a myriad of sausages and fish sandwiches line the carnival grounds.
For vegetarians, pretzels are ubiquitous at Oktoberfest, and perfect for a beer snack or for the morning after. Cheesy spätzle (a pasta-like miniature dumpling) and sweet apple strudel are other veggie-friendly eats.
Sing – and wear a goofy hat.
Oktoberfest is not the place for the meek or easily-embarrassed. Don’t be afraid to look silly as you belt out traditional Oktoberfest songs, such as Ein Prosit, which is played about every half hour and accompanied by cheers and toasts. Later in the evening, people of all ages dance on the table, and sway arm-in-arm to polka music, top 40 hits, and traditional German folk songs.
If you’re feeling particularly in the spirit, vendors sell felt Oktoberfest hats, buttons, lederhosen and dirndls in the tents, all over the grounds, and throughout Munich.
Oktoberfest is about community and people coming together to celebrate German culture. To really get into the festival, don’t be afraid to make friends. Singing, dancing, and drinking are all much more fun in a group, and most everyone is cheerful and open to meeting new people. And if you don’t speak the same language? No worries! Beer and cheer are internationally understood.
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