Oktoberfest in Munich is renowned around the world. Is Oktoberfest on your bucket list? In this post I include information on:
- My favorite and least favorite parts of Oktoberfest
- What to wear: women and men
- Information about tents and tables
- Food and drinks
- Cautionary warnings
Least favorite things about Oktoberfest
- The crowds
- The drunken, sometimes aggressive people
- The hangovers
What to Wear
Women – a dirndl
- Decide your price range (stick to it, because you’ll want to up the budget)
- Do you want a cotton, informal dirndl or do you want a more formal dirndl?
- Do you want a traditional dirndl (a little longer – 60cm, 70c, or 90 cm) or a short dirndl (50cm or less). I was told by my German friends that the shorter dirndl sends a certain negative message, but I have to say I saw a lot of them in Munich. Keep in mind, your boobs are already going to be pushed up front and center, so if you are a modest person, you may not want a really short dress too.
- Choose colors, materials, price range, etc…
- Which style of dirndlblusen do you want? Off the shoulder? Puffy sleeves? Button up to the neck (very classy looking!), or lace sleeves (I loved these!)?
- Shoes. I saw all types of shoes: heels, converse, booties, flats. I went with a pair of black suede wedges.
- Brands I liked (traditional): Almsach, Spieth & Wensky, Ludwig & Teresa
- Click here to see where I bought my dirndl
Men – Lederhosen
Less complicated than the dirndl, but just as awesome. You can find a pair starting at around 100 Euro.
- Decide your price range
- Shorts, or the traditional mid-calf length?
- Light leather or dark leather?
- Size? They are meant to be tight at first, as they stretch over time.
- Consider buying the full set (shirt, shoes, socks, etc.) or you can wear your own stuff. You can put on a checkered button up shirt, calf high knit socks and brown hiking boots.
Tents and Tables
To reserve a table in a tent, you have to book tables starting ten months ahead of time. You have to reserve through the individual tents. Take a look at this website for more information on the different tents. Tents are fairly expensive to reserve (up to 1,150Euro for a Saturday night in a big tent), but the money also goes toward food & drinks. Due to the price and the amount of drinks you would have to drink to pay off, you usually need 8-10 people to reserve a tent.
You can get into tents without a reserved table, but you need to get there earlier, and you may or may not find a seat. For big groups it is almost required to get a tent, especially on the weekends. You can use an app to see the capacity of each tent as well as other information.
Food and Drinks
A “mass” is one litre of beer (HUGE!). Different tents sell different brands of beer. I suggest ordering a Radler (half lemonade and half beer) because it is a little more forgiving. At some tents, they may just bring you a half litre of sprite and a full beer. Expect each beer to cost about 11Euro plus a 1Euro tip for the ladies bringing them to you (this is quite impressive).
Anywhere – Pretzel (bretzel or breze), recommended with spicy mustard or cheese spread
From a sit-down restaurant or tent – Roast Chicken (hendl), pork knuckle (schweinshaxe) or any type of sausage (Wurst). Order with a side of Hot potato salad (kartofelsalat)
Desert – Dampfnudle – a soft role covered in vanilla sauce and butter (you can also get a savory version…but why?), waffle or crepe, carnalized nuts
Lebkuchen – gingerbread hearts with messages like ich liebe dich ( I love you). They are really pretty, but I’ve never seen anyone eat one. You should take a picture with them though.
Go easy on the beer. They are huge, and they are stronger than you think.
Don’t walk alone. A lot of people are drunk, and some of those people can get aggressive (especially at night).
There are so many, soooo many people. Carry your own money and a cell phone in case you get separated (like I did). Have a plan in case that happens. In my case, I just went straight to my hotel and Lance met me there (I couldn’t get him on the phone).
If you chug a beer on a bench in one of the tents, during the day you will be applauded if you finish it. At night or after too many, you’ll be applauded and then escorted out.
You’ll end up spending more money than you expect. Be prepared.
When you catch a cab or Uber, make sure that you give them the exact address. And then watch their progress on your own map if you can. If they take you to one of your hotel’s other locations in the city, you’ll have to pay for the mistake.