Only a month until Oktoberfest 2014! From 20th September to 5th October in Munich, Germany, drinking beer all day every day will be the in thing and socially encouraged too – hoorah! We hope you’ve read our Oktoberfest Beer Guide for tips on the best beers to try. And if you haven’t got a place to stay yet, hop to it to our Last-minute Affordable Oktoberfest Accommodation page.
In honour of this celebration of all things pint-shaped, and to get you in the mood for some beer-swilling fun, here’s our top tips for surviving Oktoberfest 2013 in style…
1. Check out the guides
We’ve written our own Oktoberfest Guide, but there are loads of other great mini guides out there written by locals or travellers who go every year. About.com’s Oktoberfest Guide is a simple and straightforward with info on how to reserve a table at a beer tent and info on getting to/from Munich. It gives you a fab overall idea of what to expect.
2. Expect €10 beer and tip well on top
Beer is pretty much compulsory at Oktoberfest, so if you don’t already love it, we suggest you learn to. And fast. This amber ale is flowing just about everywhere, and is served exclusively in one litre glass mugs clocking in around the €10 mark.
One quick tip: for your own safety, don’t try to keep up with the locals! While you’ll see the Bavarians inhaling up to 8 litres on a regular day, remember that this potent elixir has a 6-7% alcoholic kick (that’s one awful lot more than you’ll find in a local pub pint!) To avoid becoming a ‘bierleiche’ (German for a ‘beer corpse’), pace yourself by alternating beers with beer-lemonade mixers, waters, giant pretzels, pork knuckles and the odd gingerbread heart! Considering how delicious the food is (and how much there is around), it shouldn’t be too hard to resist that extra pint in favour of something a little more sustaining.
Another thing to remember is to tip your waitress! Considering there are no bars at Oktoberfest, you will be relying on one Frau as your sole source of alcohol. These women work incredibly hard, and if you don’t look after them, they won’t look after you. With beers costing around €8-9, it’s best to give a €10 note, although an extra €5 on the first drink will never go astray…
3. Get in costume
While you may not be a native Bavarian, donning a traditional ‘tracht’ is a great way to fake it! For women, the outfit of choice is a ‘drindl’, which is composed of three different pieces: the dress (‘kleid’), the blouse (‘bluse’) and an apron (‘schurze’). Personalise your outfit with a ‘krpofband’ necklace featuring an Edelweiss pendant, or a coloured handkerchief tied around your neck and locked in place with a metallic flower.
For men, it’s all about the famous ‘lederhosen’ leather shorts, which are typically worn with a special cotton shirt, long socks and boots. Consider adding some suspenders, a leather ‘gurtel’ or hat crowned with decorative goat’s hair to complete your look.
Just be warned: these costumes can be pricey. Check out Ebay for some discount alternatives or head to a second hand ‘trachten’ outlet store when you arrive in Munich.
4. Learn from others’ mistakes…
A drunk band member struggles to hold his Hofbrau and play…
…And in case you can’t make it for the start of the festival, scenes from past openings.
5. Learn the basic phrases
It’s always nice to exercise your lingual skills and learn a couple of phrases in Bavarian. Here’s a few basics to get you started:
- Guten Morgen = Good morning
- Danke schön = Thanks very much
- Es freut mich = Nice to meet you
- Wie heist du? = What’s your name?
- Prost! = Cheers!
- Ist dieser Platz frei? = Is that seat taken?
- Eine Maß, bitte = One beer, please
- Wo ist die Toilette? = Where is the toilet?
- Können Sie mir ein Bier spenden?= Can you donate me a beer?
- Ich muss mich gleich übergeben = I need to throw up
- Ich habe einen schrecklichen Kater = I have an awful hangover
For more useful terms and phrases, why not check out this handy Oktoberfest dictionary?
Prost! If you’ve been inspired to head out to Oktoberfest, book a hostel in Munich now and search for cheap flights to Munich to guarantee the lowest price.
If you’ve been to Oktoberfest before, or are going this year, get in touch with your tips below, from the best beer tent to your favourite Oktoberfest memory!
- Last-minute Oktoberfest Hotels and Other Accommodation
- The Oktoberfest Beer Guide
- Oktoberfest: Where you least expect it!