Oktoberfest – “Essential Tips”
This will be the last part of the Oktoberfest Series, detailing my unforgettable Oktoberfest experience I had this year in Munich. Since I’ve already introduced you to the festival and provided some pros and cons, in this part I’d like to give you some essential tips I believe will help you have a better overall experience.
Naturally, not all of the tips will work for every reader and some of the tips you may have heard before; nevertheless, I’m sharing this with you and I really hope it will be a useful guide to first-time visitors of Oktoberfest.
Plan the Arrival Beforehand
Unless you’re staying somewhere near the festival grounds, you will probably have to plan your trip to Oktoberfest beforehand. In my case, we were staying at the Kellermann’s Apartments in Memmingen and therefore we had to figure out where to leave the car, where to find the appropriate U/S-Bahn, etc.
Memmingen is about an hour east of Munich. So, we researched some Park and Ride locations very close to Munich, but outside of it. Here are some Park and Ride locations we found around Munich:
Fröttmaning (U6) – Parking garage
Kieferngarten (U6) – Parking garage
Klinikum Großhadern (U6) – Parking lot
Innsbrucker Ring (U5, U2) – Parking garage
Fuerstenried West (U3) – Parking garage
(U2-6 is the number of the U-Bahn at that location, which will end up taking you to Munich. Check the map on the official site of Oktoberfest for exact drop of location, based on the U-Bahn number). You can find more Park and Ride locations here.
We ended up going to the Klinikum Großhadern Park and Ride. The parking fee was 1 euro for the whole day (automated machines), and it is an open parking lot. The U-Bahn is right next to the parking lot, and the trains go every 5 minutes, getting you into Munich in less than 10-15 minutes.
We ended up buying a group daily ticket (12 euros) for the U-Bahn (three travelers) and ended up spending a lot less money than expected between all of us. Also, keep in mind that around Munich a ticket for U-Bahn is valid for the bus and S-Bahn. If you end up getting a group ticket, stay together so you don’t get fined.
Do some research and see what public transportation you can use to save time and money. Driving into Munich can be really expensive, and hectic because of limited parking space.
Reserve a Table
We didn’t reserve a table since we didn’t need to. We went to the festival early in the morning during a business day and therefore it wasn’t crowded as usual.
However, anyone arriving after 12 PM or during the weekends should consider booking a table online because finding a spot can be a real challenge.
This applies especially to larger groups of people because two or three individuals may find half a table or squeeze on a bench. However, five or six people will possibly have a hard time finding an entire table for themselves later during the day. Just keep in mind that online reservations come with certain charges.
Bring Enough Cash
After all, Oktoberfest is a festival fair and it’s not that common to use a credit/debit card at fairs.
In my experience, we did use a credit card once and several places accepted them; however, the majority of the stands and tents are cash only. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to bring enough cash instead of risking running out of money in the middle of the day.
Know the Busy Hours
Just like any other event of this scale, Oktoberfest has more and less busy hours. It’s smart to know when to expect a bit more relaxed atmosphere and when to expect massive crowds.
Naturally, early in the mornings during business days it’s the least crowded since Germans are at work and those that partied late at night are asleep. During this period, you’ll mostly find curious visitors and families.
Everything seems to change after 12 PM on business days and anytime during the weekends; this is when the masses hit Oktoberfest and the streets, as well as the tents, are packed with people. If you wonder when is the best time to visit, I’ll say that depends on your personal preferences.
Choose Your Clothes and Shoes Smartly
Putting on your favorite shirt and sandals is a great option literally anywhere else; not at Oktoberfest!
Visitors at the festival tend to get drunk and puke, also lots of beer gets spilled around and clothes generally are ruined by the end of any festival day. Moreover, due to the crowds, you’ll often get stepped on, plus sometimes it may be even raining. Therefore, it’s good to be dressed in several layers and be equipped with boots or at least sneakers.
Don’t hesitate to check out the weather forecast and possibly bring an umbrella or something waterproof if it’s expected to rain. The first time we got at Oktoberfest it was really cold and then suddenly the sun came out and became reasonably hot.
Luckily, I had a long-sleeved shirt under the sweater and when I took off the sweater it was perfect. My friend, on the other hand, had a tank top under the sweater and she couldn’t take it off; so, she spent the day either freezing or sweating.
Read the Festival Rules
Outside drinks are not allowed at Oktoberfest.
Visitors aren’t allowed to use drugs or narcotics either, while smoking is allowed only at special smoking areas. It is not advised to bring a backpack or a large handbag, while almost anyone is eligible for a random identity check by the numerous guards.
These are only some of the rules that visitors should have in mind and I recommend anyone going to Oktoberfest to read the applicable rules for that season in order to avoid issues with the authorities.
Leave a Tip
Leaving a tip to the waiters is a huge thing at Oktoberfest and it’s smart to respect this, especially if you plan to sit at the same table for hours. It’s always the best to have the waiter like you and provide you with impeccable service instead of avoiding you and thus making it impossible to place an order.
While the tips mentioned before are the most important ones, at least in my personal opinion, there are some other things to have in mind.
Ladies are advised not to wear a purse and possibly store their belonging into pockets or safe bras. Another thing to remember is not to leave the tent and the table before consulting with the security first; this may result with you losing your table and not being able to enter the tent again, especially during busy hours.
Sharing is caring could be a motto for Oktoberfest since people are used to sharing tables with random visitors; thus, don’t even try to oppose this idea or you may be criticised and frown upon. You may also want to learn some songs beforehand, so you can sing along and learn some German phrases in order to fit in.
Finally, have in mind that ordering a beer is possible only if you sit down at a table.
Also, keep in mind that an Oktoberfest trip is not complete without some authentic festival gear. Check out some awesome product below and prepare in advance in order to avoid waiting in lines or overpaying. These are all affiliate links, so if you buy something I will earn a small commission, which will go to my travel fund at no extra cost to you ?.