Four tips to enjoy Oktoberfest to the fullest

Alix M Campbell

Senior Contributor

Traditionally taking place from mid-September to the beginning of October, Oktoberfest is the world’s largest folk festival welcoming visitors from all around the globe. While you want to reside in style at the legendary Hotel Bayerischer Hof or the exclusive Beyond by Geisel during your stay in Munich, you also want to blend in and enjoy this beer fest like the locals do.

Dress in a traditional ‘Dirndl’ for women and ‘Lederhosen’ for men

These traditional costumes are proudly worn by locals and tourists alike to experience Oktoberfest as authentically as possible. A Dirndl consists of a wide skirt attached to a fitted bodice, a short blouse, and an apron. Traditionally, you’d pair your Dirndl with Cuban-heeled shoes, or you can wear Ballerina pumps or loafers.

Lederhosen are breeches or knickerbockers made of deer leather or other soft leather types fitted with suspenders and braces, a crotch flap (yes, really!) and a knife pocket on the sides. If you decide to go head-to-toe traditional, you’ll pair your Lederhosen with calf warmers, so-called Loferls, and Haferl shoes.

In 1887, the organisers of Oktoberfest announced that Lederhosen and Dirndl would be the official outfit for attendees. It has remained like this until today, and these garbs have become a much-loved tradition over the years. Please note: If you wear a Dirndl and tie your apron on the right side, you show that you’re in a relationship. Tie it on the left, you’re signalling that you’re single.

Reserve a table in a beer tent in advance to get a guaranteed seat

Oktoberfest is an annual autumn staple in the festival sphere, and it’s being held on the largest fairground in Munich called Theresienwiese. The best way to reach Oktoberfest is by public transport. The nearest S-Bahn station is called Hackerbrücke, and the closest underground stations are Theresienwiese, Goetheplatz and Schwanthalerhöhe.

If you’re planning to visit Oktoberfest in a group, it’s smart to book a table online or by phone through the central reservation office of the respective festival tent. You can usually reserve from spring onwards for the same year.

A certain percentage of seats can’t be reserved and is kept open for spontaneous visitors, but you can be unlucky if there are too many people with the same idea on that day. Reserving a seat is not a must, and there’s no fee to enter the tents. However, if you plan to visit Oktoberfest on a weekend or in the evening, it’s smart to make a reservation in advance as there will be lots of visitors. Another plus for making a reservation is that you receive drink and food vouchers at the venue you can use as payment.

With all that beer, don’t forget to enjoy some traditional dishes

Even though the beer – served in massive two-litre steins – is the undisputed star of Oktoberfest, you don’t have to drink on an empty stomach (please, don’t!). Use your food vouchers wisely and treat yourself to a hearty meal before you order your first Maß Bier.

What are some favourite rustic dishes to try? If you’re into meat, there’s a lot for you to choose from. Weisswurst is a sausage made of minced veal and pork bacon, often accompanied by Sauerkraut and Knödel, which are potato dumplings. Roast chicken is an all-time Oktoberfest favourite and it’s often ordered as Halbes Hendl (half a chicken).

If you’re very hungry, the dish to order is a Schweinshaxe, which is a roasted pork knuckle with crackling skin. Impressively towering on your plate, it is usually served with a side of potatoes and kraut. If you feel adventurous, why not try an ox on a spit (Ochs am Spieß). This traditional Oktoberfest dish comes with a red wine sauce and potato dumplings.

A delicious vegetarian option are Spätzle, which can be compared to mac and cheese, and they are very filling. Something to snack on and share with others are pretzels which can be bought in every tent.

Go with the flow, meet new people, and be merry

You’re joining a big drove of other enthusiastic Oktoberfest goers and things might not pan out exactly how you’ve planned them beforehand. In general, everyone’s in a good mood and friendly and happy to meet new people at this famous beer fest. Enjoy your time and soak up the atmosphere!

Apart from eating delicious food, drinking big steins filled with German beer, and singing and dancing in the various tents, you can also go on some fun rides if your stomach permits it. The classic swing carousel Wellenflug is a crowd favourite, and the Ferris Wheel gifts you with great views over the city.

Adrenaline junkies will appreciate Olympia Looping, a huge transportable roller coaster, as well as the Toboggan, The Flip Fly or Predator, which is not for the faint-hearted. There’s no shortage of experiences offered at Oktoberfest. If you’re open-minded and follow these tips you’re fully equipped to make the most of your time at this epic festival.

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