So it was six years ago this week that my 19-year-old self and two best friends were preparing to go to Oktoberfest…yes the real Oktoberfest. We had never been to Europe, did not speak German, and did not book any accommodation. We did however have plane tickets to Munich and apparently very fearless attitudes. What an adventure!
Here are a few of my tip-top tips. Keep in mind this is my advice based on a 3 day trip at the age of 19!
- Book your plane tickets far in advance. We booked ours the spring before. The festival is usually the last week of September into October.
- If on a budget, check out this camp site (Wiesn Camp). It’s super cheap, close to the festival (train ride away), clean, has shower/bathroom trailers, and a beer and food tent.
- Stick together. If you lose your friends it’s probably very unlikely you will find each other quickly.
- Be prepared to drink a lot of beer! There isn’t a huge variety and they only come in one size – a liter!
- Try some wienerschnitzel! It tastes like fried chicken.
- When you sit down at a table in one of the beer tents – they might bring out chicken and fries for the whole table without you asking. At least this is what happened to us 🙂
I literally look back at this trip all the time and just think to myself “I can’t believe I did that.” It almost seems like a dream. This is why I’m going to show you how we navigated this trip through pictures – so I can remember myself!
We arrived at the Munich airport. As you can see we were a little torn between being backpackers and cute tourists. We had no place to stay at this point.
When in culture shock what do you do? Go to a familiar place – Burger King! This is where we got out the map and brochures and found a camp site to check out.
We made it to the Wiesn Camp, pretended to have a reservation, and got set up with this sweet tent! Now looking back it actually was a great place to stay on a budget. It wasn’t too cold at night, they had a common area that was a great way to meet other travelers, and it was cheap!
We met a great group of guys from Ireland right off the bat. They seemed really nice and like they knew what they were doing – so we decided to stick with them the rest of our first day at the festival. We were glad we did!
The entrance to Oktoberfest.
There were thousands of people! We were very careful to stay together the entire time. As long as you do that you’re good. It really feels like a movie while there!
We got close with the Irish guys quickly! We also kept up with them….that’s a whole lot of beer!
This was one of the German waiters. To realize how much beer he is carrying!?
The next day we tried to be a little touristy and walked through downtown Munich.
The second day of the festival we met some local Germans, drank more beer, and ate huge pretzels. Prost! (That’s cheers in German)
The inside of one of the beer tents. There are so many people in these tents! At one point every person in there broke out in some type of sing-a-long. Again, it was like living in a movie!
We needed proof that we went to Munich so we found the office where they stamped our passports!