If you have been still thinking whether or not to visit this year’s Oktoberfest at Munich, stop thinking and start reading! Backpacking Croissants asked Ludus Tours, a travel company founded in 2003 by avid sport fans and former athletes with just one motto: to make bucket list dreams come true, to write a guest post for us sharing their reasons why one needs to visit Oktoberfest once in their life. And they give you not one, but 10 reasons to visit Oktoberfest at Munich, Germany. Ludus Tours have also been organizing special Oktoberfest tours, so that when you are in a tent with 10,000 fellow beer drinkers and the band strikes up, you are going to take in that experience and remember your time in Munich for long!
Here are their 10 reasons to visit Oktoberfest
There really is nothing like Oktoberfest – a festival every traveler should experience once in their life, or twice if lucky. It’s kind of like being down the bar with your friends, complete with a live band and a few good beers – except a thousand times bigger and more intense. Plus, you’ll go home with some amazing memories and most probably a beer stein and your traditional Bavarian outfit. You’ll definitely want to re-live the experience back home.
1) The Atmosphere
Simply put, it’s absolutely contagious.
Outside the tents, the Theresienwiese is packed with people- it’s one big fairground full of rides and food stalls. You will see entire families of all generations wearing Lederhosen and Dirndls. In fact, the Oktoberfest atmosphere isn’t just confined to the festival ground- everywhere across the city the atmosphere is absolutely electric.
When you first arrive at the tents at the beginning of the day, you will find thousands of people sitting at tables drinking beer. Within a hour, the band strikes up and a few steins have been consumed. The crowd gets a tad bit rowdier, and the chatter rises a good bit. Without fail, a brave man or woman will literally rise to the occasion and take on the challenge of engulfing a full stein as those around pound aggressively on the table. If they finish the whole thing they get a cheer; if they don’t, they have to endure the sound of booing from the crowd. The scene engulfs all those around, and you find yourself completely wrapped up with the party antics, dancing with the strangers around you. In no time, you are fully engulfed in the party.
And it is like this day and night for three weeks.
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. 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 80’s 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
Roller coasters 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.
7) Dancing in the Tents
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 Garten (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.
If you have read this post and are still at your laptop, we hope it is to book your tickets to the Oktoberfest! See you in Munich! Stay tuned for more Oktoberfest special tales.