As one of the premier drinking celebrations in the world, people from around the globe gather each fall to celebrate Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. If you have a thirst for beer and adventure, then a trip to Munich would be unforgettable–that is, after you wake up later in the hotel. Here are some tips for the savvy tourist planning to visit Oktoberfest:
1. Choose a hotel in the center of the action
Munich offers as many as 121 hotels within walking distance or a short cab ride from the festivities. They range from three to four-star hotels. Your choice really depends on what amenities you want. After all, your main attractions will be at Oktoberfest.
• Hotel Bavaria: This is a hotel is family-friendly and has a three-star rating and features all modern amenities. It is only .13 miles from the Oktoberfest site. That is something to consider if you want to spend a lot of time celebrating.
• Westend Hotel: Visitors will enjoy the features of a three-star hotel that is only a five-minute walk from Theresienwiese Underground Station, site of Oktoberfest.
•Tryp Munchen Hotel: If you want to enjoy the luxuries of a four-star hotel, this one is also only a five minute walk from the celebration and major means of public transportation, like the subway.
2. Public Transportation: Getting from Here to There
Not many tourists come to Munich for Oktoberfest and rent cars. Even if they do, there is no room for parking around the festival. So, hopefully your chosen accommodations are close. Many are within walking distance as previously noted. Having subway tokens and cab fare ready in advance allows more time for fun. Also, you may not want to walk if it is raining or if you are feeling a bit tipsy after celebrating.
3. Make Reservations
Like eating in an upscale restaurant, Oktoberfest always draws crowds and seating is limited. It would help to know the festival’s schedule as well as those for the individual beer tents. In order to ensure comfortable seating and to avoid standing in long lines (especially on Friday and Saturday), phone ahead of time for reservations. The closer to the keg, the better! Coming to the festivities early also means less of a chance to miss something. Here are some notable beer tents to consider:
• Hofbrau tent: This tent includes reserved seating and non-reserved standing room.
• The Hippodrom: For the young party crowd and a possible chance of meeting someone famous, this is definitely worth getting a reserved seat.
• Hofbräu Festhalle: Tourists who are looking for traditional atmosphere will enjoy this world-famous beer tent.
4. Know Schedules: It is 5 o’clock somewhere
Oktoberfest is kicked off each fall with an opening ceremony that begins on September 20 at noon. Many people choose to start gathering hours earlier so they have the best views of the festivities. It is also important to know the hours of the beer and food service. Most beer tents serve from 10am to 10:30 pm on weekdays and until 11:30 pm on weekends. Some places may offer discounts on certain days. By checking things out beforehand, you can take advantage of peak times and discounts.
5. Want to party hardy? Then party smart!
As a tourist in any foreign country, it is important to remember that not every local has your best interests in mind (it may be focused on your wallet). This is especially true in such a crowded atmosphere where almost everyone is drinking. To have peace of mind while you slug your brew, keep these pointers in mind:
• Carry only the amount of money that you will need for food, drink, tips and transportation.
• Partying can be messy! Enjoy comfortable clothing and leave the tux or gown back at the hotel.
• Even though there are many friendly people and police security available, it is still wise to be aware of your surroundings and who is around you. Traveling in small groups adds bonus security.
• Like in most bars and restaurants, people who are courteous to the wait staff and pay generous tips will no doubt have better service and a more pleasant experience.
Immersing yourself in the rich culture and language of Germany will be an experience of a lifetime. If the tourist is well-prepared and uses common traveling sense, then there will be a lot of things to toast at the big party. Bottoms up!