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So you wanna grab a gigantic mug at the world’s premier beer drinking event? Well, you and about 7 million other people do, too. Earth’s largest beer festival is Germany’s famous Oktoberfest, held annually in Munich since 1810. The festival actually begins at the end of September and runs for three weeks, finishing on the first Sunday in October. In 2017, the festivities happen Saturday, September 16 through Sunday, October 3.
 
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Never a shortage of beer at Oktoberfest | Photo by GettingStamped.com

Where to stay during Oktoberfest
The Munich Oktoberfest is an internationally known festival that draws people from every corner of the planet. Rooms near the festival book out years in advance or are rented at a hefty premium. The the further you stay from the festival grounds, the progressively lower the room rates will be. The upside is that Munich has a very efficient public rail and bus system. Thus, your best bet is to find a room further away from the grounds, yet near a metro line. Just be sure to practice taking the metro before consuming too many liters of beer at the festival. If you aren’t confident in your metro riding skills, keep in mind Uber is outlawed in Germany. So, you’ll be subject to using pricey and hard to get taxis if you stay outside of walking distance. Don’t forget to factor in transport costs when booking a hotel in Munich Oktoberfest.
 
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Make sure you’re dressed for the occasion | Photo by GettingStamped.com

What to wear to Oktoberfest
One of the biggest misconceptions is that visitors think they need to dress in traditional Bavarian clothing to attend the festival, but you don’t. Many local Bavarians and tourists will be wearing lederhosen for men (that’s leather shorts with suspenders) or a dirndl for women (a fitted dress that’s often worn with an apron), but they are certainly not required. If you choose to suit up in traditional swag, make sure to get the real thing. You will not win any points with the locals if you show up in a Halloween costume version. Keep in mind these are traditional outfits still worn in this part of the country for special occasions, not as a joke. If you still want to rock lederhosen it’s best to buy them while in Munich, but be warned they won’t be the cheapest pair of pants you’ll ever buy. Most outfits will set you back around $300. If you don’t buy the authentic gear, you’re better off in normal clothes and saving your cash for a few more liters of beer.
 
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No matter which beer tent you choose it’ll be epic | Photo by GettingStamped.com

Which beer tent to visit
The simplest answer is whichever beer you like the best. There are 14 large tents and around 20 smaller tents set up every year at Oktoberfest. Each tent houses only one brand of Munich’s famous beer. These tents will only sell beer from their brewery and usually only Oktoberfest-style beer (some offer additional styles). The big tents are for brands like Hofbrau, Paulaner and Hacker Pschorr. The tents are actually giant, festively decorated exhibition halls full of long tables.
 
Aside from choosing a beer hall based on its beer, there are a few other things to consider. The Hofbrau tent, for whatever reason, seems to draw some of the rowdiest crowds and tends to be filled with more visitors than locals. Meanwhile, some of the other tents, like Paulaner and Augustiner, are more relaxed and can feel like more of a local experience. Another festival favorite is the Hacker Pschorr tent. However, no matter which tent you find yourself in, they are all lively and fun (especially toward the end of the night ) and full of traditional “Umpapa” band music.

Watch out, beer coming through! | Photo by GettingStamped.com

 
Other things you need to know about Oktoberfest
 
  • You can only order a beer if you are seated at a table in one of the beer tents at Oktoberfest. The one exception is in the Hofbrau tent, which has a designated standing section in the tent.
  • The weekends can be extremely busy with local visitors and people coming from neighboring countries in Europe. If your travel plans allow, visiting mid-week can be much more enjoyable.
  • The mugs of beer at Oktoberfest are significantly larger than your standard beer. Each mug is one liter, or 34 ounces, which is about 2.8x bigger than a standard 12oz beer, and usually about 30%+ more alcohol. Pace yourself—you don’t want to miss the fun at the end of the night (or the next day, if you’re hit with a serious hangover).
  • Don’t miss the food. Along with the beer, delicious roasted chicken, pork knuckles, and various other traditional fare can be brought right to your table.
  • Yes, those ladies really can carry more than 10 liters of beer, and yes, you should stay out of their way.

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Tagged: Europe, Germany

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Hannah & Adam | Getting Stamped Bloggers
Hannah & Adam are travel writers & photographers who have called the road home since 2013. Their passion for adventurous travel has brought them to 60 countries and counting. They blog about their adventures on their travel blog GettingStamped.com.

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