Best hostel in town!Euro Youth Hostel has a great location in Munich-close to the station and a short walk to many of Munich's main sights
What’s that? You’ve never heard of Oktoberfest? Well make sure you’re sitting comfortably and we shall begin. Oktoberfest (with a K not a C) is a sixteen day beer festival that kicks off every year, in October, in downtown Munich.
To put the scale of it in context, take the population of London, migrate them to an already populated city for about two weeks, give them eight million litres of beer, construct about 108 square acres of beer tents and throw in several thousand classically attired, beer vending, Bavarian ladies.
This is the mother of all beer drinking festivals and it inspires tribute acts around the world ‐ even in places as far flung as California! If this sounds like your cup of beer flavoured tea then make sure you book a bed well in advance because what’s there goes fast and the price of what’s left sky rockets. In the past some very clever backpackers have still managed to attend Oktoberfest when the Eurohotel inn was full, simply by staying at the Yoho in Salzburg and commuting by train. It’s only an hour away! Also just so you know, the best drunken munchie food in town during the festival is Reiberdatschi – potato pancakes. They’re filling and almost healthy.
1# – When to go
Yes, Oktoberfest started as a party held in OCTOBER to celebrate the wedding of the Bavarian King Ludwick in 1810, but this year (as every year since the re-unification of Germany), it will start in September.
2# – How to get there
The U-Bahn station “Theresienwiese” is directly at the Fest. It can be reached through the U4 or U5 undergrounds, which also run from the main station. You can buy a group ticket for up to 5 people (€22 for 1 person, €38 for 5 people).
This ticket gives you unlimited use of ALL Regional public transport in Bavaria. Including all Regional trains, buses and city transport. These passes are valid from 9am on weekdays until 3am the following morning.
3# – Starting up
Once you get a seat (this can sometimes take a while at peak times)/the attention of the waitress, make sure you give her a nice tip. They work hard and put up with a lot during their shifts, and should be rewarded. Bear in mind, they are not likely to serve you again anytime soon if you don’t tip. This year the price of a beer will be 9,50 euros. Give her 11.
And whatever you do, and however good a keepsake that Mass would be, don’t try to pinch any of the glasses. They may be famously more easy-going but Bavaria is still in Germany so anyone caught trying to sneak away with their glasses will be fined. If you want one, you can pick them up (legally) at the souvenir stands.
4# – What to eat without spending too much of your hard-earned beer money
Food inside the tents is expensive and of varying degrees of quality. A nearby Beer Hall called Augustiner Braüstubn might be a good option before you get to the Fest. It’s a 5 minute walk away, and serves THE best food in town at a good price.
When inside the tent, make use of the Pretzel sellers. What they lack in taste, they make up for in alcohol absorption, leaving you satisfied and ready for another Mass.
Be prepared: Take enough cash with you. ATMs are few and far between, and you will be hard pressed to find a tent that accepts credit-cards. Don’t take too much, after a few Mass it isn’t uncommon to lose your wallet (and dignity). In Germany, it is the law to have ID on you at all times. Leave your passport at your hostel, take a driving license or photo-copy of your passport to the tents.
5# – What to wear
If you’re gonna do it right and splash out on some “Trachtn”, there are a few things to remember:
- If you wanna get some decent get-up at an affordable price, try C&A at the main station. Bavarians will pay thousands for their costume, possibly at the expense of a few endangered animals. Here you can look the part for a little over 100 euros, and will have an impressive fancy-dress outfit for life once you’re back home.
- DON’T forget the socks. You can get away with wearing trainers with Lederhosen, but without the socks you will stand out a mile, and get some dirty looks from the Trachtn snobs.
Guys learn from our mistakes! Invest in a neckerchief; it will pay off dividends if you use the following advice:
There are hidden messages in both guys and girls clothes at Oktoberfest. If you wear your neckerchief (guys) or tie your bow (girls) to the right, it means you’re in a relationship. To the left and it’s game-on, expect to be hit on; technically you’re welcoming it! There are also ways to indicate whether one is a virgin or a widower.
6# – Special dates
The first Sunday of Oktoberfest is Gay Sunday. If you’re not that way inclined, of course you can still go, but expect members of the same-sex to try their luck.
The second weekend of the Fest is Italian weekend. Huge amounts of Northern Italians set off on this weekend to get their share of the party, so if you’re planning on having a car with you (which I highly urge you not to) be ready for traffic jams and parking trouble.
Where to stay
DO NOT try to wing a bed. Most places are fully booked well in advance, so book with plenty of time to spare to avoid paying the highest prices or worst still being left on the street.
Euro Youth Hotel is about 100m from the Train Station (the Hauptbahnhof) where the two main metro lines that serve Oktoberfest leave from.