With Oktoberfest done and dusted for another year there are plenty of stories out there about how amazing it is.
It really was awesome and we are already planning to make sure we head back next year.
If you want to put it on your Bucket List then make sure you take these lessons that we learned along for the ride:
When to Go
Well surprisingly not October actually, unless it is the very first weekend of October which is generally the last few days of the festival. We went for the last 4 days of Oktoberfest, Thursday - Sunday. And while we had grand plans to go for at least 3 of the days we only managed to find an unreserved table on the Thursday and got booted off a reserved table on the Friday at 4pm.
This meant that we could no longer be served beer so had to just enjoy the rest of the festival outdoors. A few brave souls tried to go on Saturday and gave up after arriving at 9am after they joined a queue of over 400 people trying to get into one of the tents. Nightmare.
Next year if we are lucky enough to go again then we plan to head over on a Sunday and enjoy the festival over a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We are also going to try and reserve a table on the official Oktoberfest website with each respective beer hall. However this needs to be done upwards of 6 months in advance!
Bonus tip: Go once during the day, from around 10am/11am and then also try to get in one night after 7pm. They are two completely different atmospheres with a family affair during the day before the party gets started during the night.
Book early. If you are reading this now and it is August 2012 and you are wanting to go in September to Oktoberfest (confusing I know) then it is probably too late to find accommodation apart from at the campgrounds. We found 2 apartments to sleep 8 of us only a 5 minute tram ride from the Wiesn and this meant we could eat breakfast there in the mornings and cook at night if we wanted to. Just don't drink and fry.
Bonus tip: Print out little cards with your address on them so when you stumble out of Oktoberfest you can pass it to the taxi driver or people around you so that you make it home safely.
It is going to cost you a bucket load of money. We tried to budget $50 a day per person and although my memory is a little hazy on what we spent it on, we definitely came back with less than we budgeted. Each stein with a tip costs $10 although you generally only drink a few, it quickly adds up. Especially if you meet some fantastic locals and decide that you want to shout them all a drink.
Bonus tip: My mate kept hiding his money from himself when he was drinking so he would wake up finding it stuffed in his socks or an under-utilised pocket. Great for boosting the morale in the morning, not great if you hide it in someone else's pocket.
Dressing up and Costumes
If you are a guy then don't dress up unless you fork out some decent coin for a proper outfit. We dressed in a pair of shitty cotton Lederhosen's brought online from a costume store and they looked like they cost - cheap. Considering a pair of real leather Lederhosen's can set you back upwards of $100, it is better just wearing regular clothes.
Bonus tip: If you want to dress up then just settle on a chequered shirt as all the men wear them under the Lederhosen's.
The delicious beer is complimented by delicious food. However, the majority of the food revolves around meat so if you are a vegetarian you might struggle to find something to suit your tastes even though I am sure there are vegetarian options. Don't expect elegantly sized portions just expect meat and lots of it and you will be fine. For example, when you buy a half chicken that's what you get, a half chicken. No salad, no potatoes, no sides whatsoever.
Bonus tip: Buy a Pork Knuckle or Pork Sandwich stuffed with crackling - just what that hangover needs to kick start you for the next day.
"Once it hits your lips, its so good!"
Oktoberfest beer is delicious and strong so I will say this once and once only; PACE YOURSELF. There is no need to chug the beers as you will get drunk (if that is what you want). Just enjoy the atmosphere and join in the festivities. No one wants to see you throwing up in the garden outside nor do your friends want to have to leave to look after you later on.
Bonus tip: Combine each stein with a feed. The pretzels are great for soaking up that booze.
Tents and the rest
Enjoy the outdoors as well as the inside. While there are plenty of reasons you may want to stay inside during the festival to consume as much as possible there is a whole other experience outside. I didn't even realise it, until the second day as I got too boozed the first. There are a number of amusement rides including tower drops, roller coasters and arcade games.
Bonus tip: Plus they have beer gardens everywhere so booze hounds never fear.
Munich itself is a fantastic city. There are open spaces and pedestrian friendly areas everywhere. And although there are only a few old buildings that withstood the barrage of bombs dropped during World War II, many were rebuilt in their original fashion. This makes the city a perfect place to explore and it is important you don't miss the sights while having your nose stuck in your stein.
Bonus tip: Take the free walking tour leaving from Glockenspiel for 3 hours of Munich history including how Oktoberfest came about and also Hitler's rise to power.
Hopefully these tips help you enjoy it as much as we did and we look forward to seeing you next year.
Would love to add some additional tips if anyone knows of anything else we have missed?
Travel tip shared by fourjandals