If you are a lover of beer, or major world festivals, then the annual Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany is one event that is probably near the top of your travel wish list. The 2013 Oktoberfest celebration started in September and runs through the beginning of October.
Are you heading to Munich for Oktoberfest this year? Here are some helpful tips for the first time visitor to Oktoberfest.
If you are reading this now and do not have lodging, it’s likely too late for this year as some hotels fill up a year in advance. If you are thinking of a spur of the moment Oktoberfest trip this year, expect to find accommodations at least an hour or more away from the festivities. Although the tents close relatively early at night, drinking and driving is no joke in Europe.
If you are looking for last minute accommodations for this year, consider nearby cities like Nurnberg where you may find lodging. Just note that train tickets also may be hard to come by so book ahead.
If you are spending a few days in Bavaria, try to hit Oktoberfest during the week. While the weekends see the biggest parties, those without advance reservations in any of the beer tents will stand a better chance of getting a seat when it is less busy. Finding space at a table on the weekend can often be a futile effort, as hundreds of people tend to queue in hopes of snagging a seat in one of the tents.
While dressing up in traditional Bavarian costumes may seem like a good idea beforehand, consider your comfort level. Think about the time and money you’ve put into this trip and if you want to don your traditional lederhosen or dirndl, spend the money on quality attire. There is nothing worse than not only wearing an uncomfortable costume, but one that falls apart in the middle of Oktoberfest!
While beer is the main attraction at Oktoberfest, the food is hearty and very necessary for offsetting the multiple steins of beer you will no doubt consume. Aside from drinking lots of water, try some of the local specialties like half-chicken, pork knuckle, soft pretzel and weisswurst.
One thing that often catches people off guard is the price of beer at Oktoberfest. For 2013, the cheapest beer is 9,40 euros ad the most expensive is 9,85 euros – over $10 US for a stein or “Maß”, which is one liter of beer. While there may be a couple of ATMs around, lines are likely to be long and you don’t want to attempt leaving a beer tent in the middle of your time there to go get more cash.
Do not attempt to drive to Oktoberfest! Parking options are extremely limited and rare and combined with traffic coming from Munich itself, driving will create a nightmare that can derail your entire Oktoberfest experience. Not to mention the obvious issue of drinking and driving, it is advisable to leave your vehicle at the hotel or one of the Park & Ride stations (see Oktoberfest website for list).
Please drink responsibly and use a designated driver, as your RoamRight policy does not cover loss resulting from or caused by being under the influence of alcohol.
Do you have any additional tips for Oktoberfest?
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Erin is a travel and food writer who currently splits her time between the Netherlands and Belize. She's traveled to 60+ countries on 5 continents with a passion for culinary travel, luxury hotels, and all things Disney. Her writing has appeared in numerous online outlets including Gadling, BootsnAll, CNN, Art of Backpacking, TravBuddy, CBS, and more. She was the major author of Belize's official visitor magazine, Destination Belize 2013; wrote the official AFAR Guide to Belize; and is also AFAR Magazine's local Belize expert.. In addition to writing for other publications, Erin maintains several blogs, Our Tasty Travels, No Checked Bags, Pooh's Travels, and the brand new Caye To Belize. Follow Erin on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.
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