Munich, a very charming city in Germany, hosts the biggest public festival in the world. People from all over the globe come to experience a fun and traditional beer festival.
I stayed at the Four Points Sheraton in Olympia Park. This hotel is very convenient for access to Olympia Park, BMW Welt, BMW Museum, BMW Group Plant (for those BMW fans!), and Olympiazentrum Station, all of which are next to the hotel.
The hotel staff were very friendly, and they looked great wearing Bavarian dresses. The mood in the lobby was very Oktoberfest with traditional music and beers of course, and the bar offered Bavarian food and bar bites too. From here it takes approximately fifteen minutes to get to the Oktoberfest station. Take the U8 or U3 lines, and then change to the U4 or U5 lines to get to Theresienwiese Station, the Oktoberfest stop. Walk a few minutes more, following the crowds to the festival.
I was advised to get to Oktoberfest early, before noon. We went on a weekday at 11:00 am, which was definitely too early. There were a lot of people walking around the shops and fair, but the tents, which are very nice buildings even though they are not permanent, were kind of empty at this time. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed. I imagined finding a single huge main tent full of people that was surrounded by smaller beer tents. My idea was completely different from reality, but reality turned out to be much better!
There are fourteen large beer tents, without mentioning the small ones, serving their Oktoberfest beer. Don’t ask for something else or a different size. It is simple – one liter of Oktoberfest beer and enjoy!
There are plenty of food options. Every beer tent has a local and traditional Bavarian menu like roast chicken, pork, ham, sausages, potatoes, bread dumplings, pretzels, and more. The brass bands inside the tents start playing traditional folk music around noon, and after 6:00 pm the music gets a little louder and less traditional, but it’s still really pleasant and actually more energetic. Beers and food are only served if you are seated on a table inside or outside the tent. Payment happens immediately after beers and food are served to your table. Be sure to bring enough cash, although there are ATMs available. Outside the beer tents, there are shops, food carts, rides, and roller coasters. It is also a family-friendly event where kids have fun too.
Walk first on the main corridor where all the large tents are located, explore for a while, take pictures, and at the end of the corridor make a right to reach the Bavaria Statue for a great overview of Oktoberfest.
Käfer’s tent was the first one on the right when walking away from the Bavaria statue. It was the only tent where people were waiting to get in. It is the smallest tent of the large ones, with a seating capacity of 1000 inside and 1900 outside. It is a gourmet and very comfortable tent. The food looked elegant and the atmosphere was warm.
Second stop, Winzerer Fähndl tent. Serving Paulaner beer, with a seating capacity of 8450 inside and 2450 outside. Music started at noon and tables were available. The majority of the tables had a label with a reserved note from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Reservations are possible one year in advance and locals have priority. Those are the choice hours for finding an available table inside the tents where the music and party is happening.
Third stop, Löwenbräu tent, which is the tent with a big lion on top. Seating capacity inside is 5700 and outside 2800. The sun was out and we had a beer in their beer garden. A person was taking pictures and I thought it was part of the brewery, but the surprise was when the lady came back with a very nice printed photo of us on a gingerbread heart frame. A nice souvenir for $8 Euros.
Fourth stop, Pschorr-Bräurosl tent, with a seating capacity inside of 6220.
The band stopped playing for a little bit; the sounds of voices, laughters, and chinking glasses became the music until suddenly trumpeters started playing from the second floor. It was an emotional moment, enjoying the beautiful sound of perfectly played trumpets that elevated the atmosphere and beers. Unfortunately the table was only available until 5:00 pm, so the time was approaching to look for another table inside a tent and stay there for the rest of the night.
Fifth stop, Augustiner-Festhalle tent. The seating capacity inside is 6000 and outside 2500. All tables were full inside, but the sun was still out and we enjoyed the beer garden with beers and pretzels. Even though there were large crowds, the service was good, friendly, and efficient everywhere.
Our sixth and last stop was the Ochsenbraterei tent, serving Spaten beer and with an inside seating capacity of 5900. Finding a table inside was difficult, but we were lucky to see some people leaving after walking around for a few minutes. A great variety of dishes are found in their menu, excellent for a Bavarian dinner especially after all those big beers. The atmosphere was incredible – everybody’s energy was amazingly high, singing loudly, and the brass music was outstanding and never stopped until closing time!
What an amazing experience – a traditional enormous public festival, people from all over the world, live brass bands, excellent Bavarian beers, impeccable organization, and an incredible spot to meet new and old friends. Prosit!
Extra four tips:
1. Buy traditional Bavarian dress for the full experience. Check out stores between Karlsplatz and Hauptbahnhof (Central Station) metro stations. I found my dirndl at ReSales located at SonnestraBe 2, 80331 Munich. They have a great variety and good prices for dirndl and lederhosen.
2. For a beer garden in Munich try Hofbräuhaus which is a very popular one also found at Oktoberfest. The atmosphere, music, and beers were great.
3. For charming architecture, shops, the New Town Hall, and restaurants, walk between Karlsplatz and Marienplatz.
4. Try to avoid staying around central station (Hauptbahnhof). It was not that charming.
Live hard! Live wise! With Simply Green.