In 2015, Tours4fun’s very own Tess Jordan got to live the dream and experience the historic Oktoberfest in Munich. Check out her testimonial below to learn all about the festival before you make the big trip to Munich to experience it yourself. If you’ve been before, please share any comments and advice below.
Oktoberfest is an annual beer festival that takes place for about a month in Munich, Germany. With millions of visitors each year, Oktoberfest has become a symbol of Bavarian culture and international revelry. This past weekend, I was lucky enough to experience the sights, sounds, and beers of the festival. Here are my takeaways from my first Oktoberfest!
As I found my gate to board my flight to Munich, I noticed several people in Lederhosen and Dirndls. It was obvious that most of us on the flight were in good spirits, flying out to drink some world famous beer. When we landed, people broke off in various directions to find taxis, buses, and other means of getting to the center of the festival. I opted to take Germany’s rail system which is easily accessible from the airport. Both the S8 and the S1 will take you from the airport to within walking distance to the festival for 10 euros.
When I got off at my stop, I became a part of a massive crowd walking to Oktoberfest. The streets were filled with men, women, and children in traditional dress heading to the festival grounds. I decided buying a Dirndl was necessary for my time at the festival. While some visitors wear normal clothing, I would recommend buying a Dirndl or Lederhosen because it makes the experience much more fun! I’ve also heard it makes getting in to beer tents a bit easier. There are countless shops where traditional German dress can be bought from anywhere from 35 to 120 euros. Once I had my Dirndl on and my hair in braids, I met up with several friends and entered the festival.
The festival is made up of avenues lined with hundreds of food shops, souvenir stands, rides, and of course beer tents. With a little luck, I was able to get into a beautiful tent with yellow streamers hanging from the ceiling and a large boat fixture near the back where performers danced and played music. My friends and I sat down with a few strangers and were almost immediately served a stein for 10 euros. One stein holds about 3 beers and most people stick to having just a few throughout the day.
While it was easy enough to get into a tent in the afternoon, my friends and I were determined to find a table the next morning in a large tent that many other visitors had recommended to us. The tent opened at 9:00 am which meant a large line (or crowd) began to gather outside the entrance of the tent at around 7:00 am. However people waited in line as early as 5:30 am!
Once the doors to the tent opened, it became full almost instantaneously. Thousands of people rushed in and tables were claimed as people sat and ordered beer, pretzels, and donuts. Within minutes of beer being served, a man stood on one of the tables and began to chug his entire stein as the whole tent watched and cheered. This continued throughout the tent for about an hour. If you finished your stein you were met with a thousand peoples’ whooping and hollering. If you didn’t finish your stein you were made to shamefully sit down as people threw pretzels and booed.
Sitting in the tent was easily my favorite part of the festival. People from all over the world had come to watch others chug beer, clink glasses with their friends, and eat mass amounts of Bavarian food. The convivial atmosphere in a beer tent is like nothing I’ve experienced. It is impossible not to have a good time when every person seems to have a permanently sunny disposition.
By the afternoon, I had finished a stein and a pretzel. I was ready to take on a few carnival rides and some German sweets. The rides at Oktoberfest include small roller coasters, large swings, fun houses, a Ferris wheel, and plenty of rides with drops and spins. Rides cost between 4 and 10 euros but it is worth going on a few! Come night time, the rides are lit up, turning the festival grounds into a technicolor party. The rest of my day consisted of crepes, schnitzel, and a few more drinks.
After having spent two successful days drinking German beer and eating enough candied nuts for a lifetime, I was sated and happy with my Oktoberfest experience. I left Munich the next day with a Dirndl, a Deutschland bottle opener, and some awesome stories.
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