2) The Beer
Beer is generally delicious. Oktoberfest beer is ridiculously delicious.There are so many distinctive offerings at the festival, and all of them are strong – you’re unlikely to find anything below 5-6% alcohol content or a beer not served in a sizeable glass. So enjoy yourself, sample everything on offer and enjoy yourself responsibly.
3) The Food
It’s not just about Bratwurst and Schnitzels. If you have a sweet tooth there’s the stall with all sorts of chocolate covered fruit- apples, bananas, strawberries, pineapple…Then there’s the chicken…oh the chicken. The second best thing at Oktoberfest after beer for sure. The 1/2 chicken is simply the best chicken you will taste in my life. It’s so succulent, so juicy, so tender and you will love the salty skin with that yummy marinade. And those massive pretzels with incredible dipping sauces. Get a few steins in you and you’ll soon be ordering chicken and pretzels to your table. So maybe skip breakfast and save room for the smorgasbord of culinary wonders.
4) The Attire
Dressing up at Oktoberfest is part of the fun. Germany is a bustling, multicultural and thoroughly modern nation, but there are some perceptions of Germany that will never die. The traditional Bavarian costume is a common sight around Oktoberfest and you should never pass on an opportunity to join in the festivities with some lederhosen-clad visitors and local milkmaids. Men wear Lederhosen, while women wear Dirndls. It’s like being at one giant costume party, with outfits ranging from basic to very very fancy. I love watching entire families walking past wearing Oktoberfest costumes- even the little children and babies. When you put your Oktoberfest costume on it’s like getting into character, ready for a day of heavy beer drinking. Get into the spirit of things and buy yourself a dirndl or a pair of Lederhosen! You will feel left out otherwise.
5) The Music
We can all admit it – we LOVE cover bands. There is something about hearing an old rock and roll song, or a unique version of some 80s new wave hit that ignites a wave of nostalgia in our souls. Along with the clothing, Oktoberfest’s music is among the things that are most important to the festival’s image. What would Oktoberfest be without hulking brass bands playing ompah music to the masses as they saunter round the site and take in the amazing atmosphere? The bands play all day, every day – and their set list is compiled of more songs you will know than you won’t. There is a fun blend of German and English classics, and quite frankly, the crowd’s reactions to their favorite German anthems might be most entertaining part! The energy is absolutely contagious, and since everyone is singing along, you can sing as loud as you want without being embarrassed.
6) The Funfair
Rollercoasters and dodgems may not be everyone’s idea of post-session fun and they probably aren’t compatible with stomachs filled with bratwurst, but our German friends seem to have a slightly different view of life and have laid on one of Europe’s largest funfairs for your pleasure. The Oktoberfest funfair is a thrilling and unmissable staple of the festival that will surely capture any and all visitors at one point or another.
We recommend a ride in the calm Ferris Wheel that takes you high about the fairgrounds. Whether it’s day or night, you get a unique view of the festival below, as the neon lights flash and the food stands cook up a storm.
There really isn’t any method to it, but you have to do it at some point. Why? Because everyone else is. Imagine every song being like the 7th inning stretch at a baseball game. You rise on the benches, you toast, and you sing. It’s always a sight to see when you look out into a crowd of thousands of people on their feet bouncing to the music. You can’t even see the tables beneath them!
Munich itself is also a great little city to explore with an amazing food markets, pubs, and shopping. There are also incredible museums, the beautiful Marienplatz, and historical attractions, including site of the 1972 Summer Olympics and the Dachau Concentration Camp, located just outside the city. Munich is also home to FC Bayern Munich, who are annually among the best professional soccer teams in the world. Everything is extremely accessible by public transportation, no matter where you want to go.
9) Neuschwanstein Castle
Located in Germany near Hohenschwangau and Füssen in southwest Bavaria, the majestic Neuschwanstein castle was built by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as an homage to Richard Wagner, the king’s inspiring muse. Although photography of the interior is not permitted, it is the most photographed building in Germany and is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. It’s worth the full day excursion to view this incredible attraction.
10) Englischer Garden (The English Gardens)
In the center of Munich you’ll find Englischer Garten. Dwarfing New York City’s Central Park, this massive public park has earned a reputation as one of the largest urban public parks across the globe. Inside the park, you’ll find a Japanese teahouse and garden that was built for the 1972 Summer Olympics, as well as the Schönfeldwiese – a meadow in which nude sunbathing is allowed. If that doesn’t take you by surprise, the surfers will. The stream that runs through the park has served as a prime – although unexpected – place for expert surfers to test their skills on the artificially-pumped waters. This is also home to one of the largest beer gardens in the world.
Another beautiful few days here in Munich, and the weather has been picture perfect for all of our activities.
One day was filled with a bike tour throughout the city, taking in all the sights with our friends at Mike’s Bikes, combined with a full history lesson to boot. Making stops at such landmarks as the Theatine Church, and the English Gardens, where we
stopped to enjoy yet another beer. After a quick clean up, our gang descended upon the Schottenhamel for an excursion into the world famous beer tent. Another wild evening ensued as the band played a wonderfulcollection of new and old songs, with a surprising allotment of American songs that the crowd belted out at the top of their lungs. Our tables were in the private gallery overlooking the band, and after hours of drinking and dancing on the tables, we were once again the last ones to leave as the lights were turned out on us. Our guests weren’t ready to call in a night quite yet, and we found a great bar and band at a pub by the hotels.
Able to recover from a long night, a handful of the Ludus crew gathered early in the morning to make the trip to the incredible Neuschwanstein Castle, located about 90 miles from Munich. Built by King Ludwig during the 19th century, this masterpiece in the Alps was the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. The trip was amazing, including a beautiful saunter up a series of waterfalls as we made our way up to Mary’s Bridge. When you come with us to Oktoberfest next year, do not miss this part of your trip!