With almost 7 million litres of beer being consumed (or perhaps even ‘chugged’) by around 6 million visitors every year, the Munich Oktoberfest attracts both locals and zealous travellers from around the globe. The festival is the epitome of a carefree and crazy German experience.
Dubbed as the largest beer festival in the world, Munich’s Oktoberfest is often emulated by other major cities, including Singapore. However, the truly authentic Bavarian culture, celebrated with a surplus of beer and traditional delicacies like Hendl (roast chicken), Schweinebraten (roast pork) and Sauerkraut (red cabbage), is best experienced at its origin.
So do like the locals do with these 7 tips, and your time at the Munich Oktoberfest will be one for the books!
1. Tradition is taken seriously. Wear Tracht.
In its global offshoots, Oktoberfest is mainly known for its mix of Bavarian beers and Schweinaxe (or pork knuckle) amongst other delicacies. However, it doesn’t just stop there! As much as Germans love their beers and food, they love their Tracht, or traditional garments, just as much.
With men donning Lederhosen, or short to knee length leather breechers, and women in the Dirndl, a traditional feminine dress, you’ll definitely want to get in on the action. These garments can be found easily in Hertie or Galeria Kaufhof, department stores in Munich, in the months leading up to the Munich Oktoberfest.
2. Tents or Gardens? We choose tents, but try both!
When we think of tents, images of flimsy makeshift fabrics propped up against each other come to mind. The beer tents on the other hand, are a misnomer – and are actually anything but makeshift. In fact, each tent can hold more than 8000 seats, with every visitor swaying to the Oompahs of the brass bands and singing “Fliegerlied”, inevitably leaving them dancing on benches by the end of the day. The catchy tune is one that you might want to pick up before heading to Munich, to truly contribute to the raucous festive atmosphere in the tents!
If you’re looking for a quieter and more serene environment, the beer gardens are for you. The outdoor area makes a great time to enjoy homemade food while making great conversation with both new and old friends.
Our advice? Just try both, and your preference may surprise you!
3. Get the best of both worlds: party downtown, sleep in the suburbs.
The festival is located at the heart of Munich – Theresienwiese, or Theresa’s Fields. While staying downtown amongst the midst of the festivities and ebullient atmosphere created by Oktoberfest may seem tempting, accommodation prices tend to skyrocket during this season. If you do want to be in the middle of the action, start your accommodation hunt as early as possible!
Nonetheless, with Germany’s unparalleled efficiency, you don’t have to worry about the exorbitant prices downtown. The U-Bahn train system will make it easy for you to travel within Munich, getting you to your destination in no time! Moreover, by staying away from the downtown area, you’ll have the chance to experience both the festivities downtown as well as life in the suburbs.
4. Weekdays…Weekends… Oktoberfest never sleeps
While Oktoberfest is celebrated throughout the week, you’ll witness smaller crowds during the weekdays and larger crowds over the weekends. To immerse yourself in the full German experience, take some time to soak in both the festive atmosphere in full swing with tourists and locals mingling and having a sloshing good time over the weekend, as well as the quieter yet equally intriguing weekday experience!
5. Be prepared: Make contingency plans
With the ginormous festival grounds filled with a myriad of festival-goers decked in the finest of traditional garments, it can feel disorientating at times. The last thing you want is to get lost in the crowds, and feel like a 4-year-old who momentarily lost sight of his or her mother. To avoid such a situation, make sure to “buddy up” (especially when travelling in big groups), have designated meeting points and set meeting times, so that you can have a worry-free and fun time!
6. At Oktoberfest, we eat… to drink
Stepping into the biggest beer festival in the world can be overwhelming. With an entire spectrum of Bavarian beers to choose from, it is certainly easy to get carried away. The best advice that we can offer you is: to pace yourselves!
Bavarian beers are not served in full pints (and definitely not half pints), but in a stein (pronounced as “Sch-tein”), otherwise known as a full litre of beer. It may be tempting to order a few rounds without a break, but ordering some food to accompany the beer will keep your body a lot happier! Tasty favourites including Schweinstaxe (Pork Knuckles), Hendl (Roasted Chicken), and an entire variety of Wursts (Sausages), will leave you coming back for more.
As much as we all love beer, finding that delicate balance will keep you going!
7. “Chope”-ing tables is a huge no-no
Blocking out a seat with a tissue packet or name card may be common in a food court in Singapore’s CBD, but remember that such behaviour is frowned upon in Munich. Be merry and don’t be afraid to share a table when you get to the Munich Oktoberfest, as after all, it’s the perfect place to make new friends, and have a few good conversations with a stein of beer in hand.
Whilst Oktoberfest is celebrated around the world, the authentic Munich Oktoberfest must be experienced at least once in a lifetime, to truly understand the hype that goes hand in hand with the festival.
So what are you waiting for? Plan your trip with our tips in mind, and fly direct from Changi Airport to Munich with Singapore Airlines, available twice a week.
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Best time to visit
Spring (March to May), Summer (June to August) and September.
In the spring, Munich begins to thaw from the cold winter, and you’ll be able to enjoy the city before it hits its high tourism season in the summer. While you may need to pack a coat in September, there will be plenty of beer to bring your body temperature up at the annual Munich Oktoberfest! The festival is one that you’ll definitely want to experience.
Munich has an extensive public transportation network – with suburban trains (S-Bahn), underground trains (U-Bahn), trams and busses to get you around the city.
For tourists, getting the day ticket is the best option as the ticket grants you to an unlimited number of rides on any of the transportation means.
The Euro (€).
There are ATMs everywhere and most places accept credit cards.
Changi Airport is linked to Munich Airport with a direct flight by Singapore Airlines.
So start your planning for Oktoberfest, and book your beer filled holiday to Munich today!