So you’ve booked your ticket, organised your flight, sorted out accommodation, and got your game-face on – you’re off to Oktoberfest! As an old hand on the beer festival scene, let me tell you, you’re up for some serious fun! But if you jump in headfirst without a bit of prior preparation you could miss out on some of the best experiences – this is the world’s largest beer festival after all! I’ve ploughed years of experience into this handy little guide just to make sure you squeeze every drop of excitement out of this manic, but fun-packed festival!
Turn up as early as possible every day – hungover or not. In fact if you are feeling a bit worse for wear then nabbing a seat early on might be the difference between survival or an early night! The moment you get in with your buddies, identify a meeting point so that when one of your crew gets lost (and someone will, I assure you) you don’t have to spend hours trying to find each other. ‘We’ll just call each other?’ I hear you cry! Forget it – you’ve got more chance of getting a Unicorn for Christmas than a mobile signal at Oktoberfest.
2) Limber up!
If you’re feeling particularly limber, don’t be afraid to leap over tables and benches in order to grab spare seats. As long as you don’t cause too much disruption, jumping around seems to be an acceptable method of travel when floor space is at a premium. Just don’t knock over someone’s beer! That could get you in serious trouble when it’s probably taken the best part of an hour to get served!
3) Blend in
This may be hard after a day on the booze, but try to not do anything too daft that could mark you out as a potentially easy target. You don’t want to end up losing your wallet to an unhelpful stranger! Likewise try to avoid wearing novelty t-shirts and other merchandise that will highlight you out as a tourist – although I appreciate that might be hard when that traffic cone is looking like it would make such an awesome hat!
4) Avoid the crowds
Don’t mind crowds? Then we recommend going on the Saturdays, or on a bank holiday where the entire thing is likely to be rammed full of people. However, if you prefer a (slightly) quieter drinking atmosphere, then we recommend the middle of the week, as by that point traffic is likely to be moderate. Tents are open every day, all day so this will give you the best chance to sit down, kick back and soak up the atmosphere (and beer of course!)
5) Know your limits
This isn’t just about how much you can drink, but how much human interaction and general chaos you’re able to cope with. If you start to hit that limit, bow out and take a break. Nobody likes an angry drunk, least of all the burly security men who can and will throw you out. Make sure you respect the booze too and keep an eye on the percentage on the bottle – it’s not unheard of for a German beer to rack up a whopping 20%!
Of course the best way to get the most out of any experience overseas is to learn a bit of the lingo. I assure you if you can shout your order to the barman in German, you’ll get served twice as fast! Want a little help with that? Send us an inquiry for information on language classes. Or, if you already have some knowledge of German but want to learn more, take our German Level Test and see how you measure up.