How to celebrate Oktoberfest 2017 in style
If youre a fan of craft beers and an enthusiast of high-end all inclusive holidays, why not consider taking a trip to Germany this October to visit one of the many beer festivals. Oktoberfest in Munich is the big name, but theres stiff competition from the Bremen Freimarkt and Stuttgart Connstatter Volksfest during the same month. In just a few weeks time, you could find yourself kitted out in lederhosen, enjoying a carnival ride, already several exquisite ales into your morning! Fun doesnt even begin to describe the atmosphere of one of these internationally renowned occasions.
Aspen Travel works closely with a number of different leading tour operators who provide luxury breaks to Europe. As part of an escorted tour, river cruise or weekend break, you can enjoy the sights and sounds of a European host city, as well as fully immerse yourself in the German beer festival experience. This is our guide to visiting the Oktoberfest and competing beer events around Germany to help you gain an understanding of what youll need to bring, where youll need to go and the etiquette.
What to wear to a beer festival
The official dress of the German beer festival is the traditional clothing of Bavaria; lederhosen! These are leather trousers, that stop just below the knee and are held up by braces, with a checked or plain shirt underneath. This is just for the men. You can buy second hand lederhosen from EBAY, if you dont fancy shelling out the full price for a new set. Theyre typically worn with white socks and black shoes.
Women will need to wear a short sleeved white blouse beneath a pinafore dress, with an apron over the top. Flat shoes are the style, which is actually pretty handy when youre traipsing from tent to tent in search of your favourite tipple. Of course, if you want to make sure you get the outfit exactly right, the best thing to do is buy it whilst youre over there!
During the day, the sun may well still be quite hot in October in Germany, but expect it to get very chilly in the evening. As youll essentially only have a tent for protection, youll probably want to ensure you have a warm coat with you, even though it might be a bit of pain dragging it round with you during the day.
Tips for surviving the beer festival
There are morning and afternoon sessions, where you can reserve seats in the tents and sample craft beers, beer from microbreweries and beers from the mainstream brewers. Given that the festival wont shut until around 10.30 in the evening, things could get a bit messy if you dont pace yourself, or get talked into drinking schnapps. Even one shot of the hard stuff can throw you off your (drinking) game for the rest of the day!
Try to bear in mind the strength of the beers youll be tasting and make sure you line your stomach. Grilled chicken and fries known as Wiesn-Hendl at Oktoberfest is a beer festival favourite, alongside the classic dish of Ox burgers. Either of these should help keep you going for a bit longer! If youre attending the beer festival with work, you might find youre jostled into more beer than youre comfortable with, as theres an openly competitive nature among the colleagues who attend to see who can handle the most. One of our top tips is to try and get the fair rides out of the way early on in the day! Fair rides and a stomach full of beer can occasionally be a recipe for disaster!
Try not to get yourself removed from your tent. That would mean youd lose your reserved seat and the chance to stay with your friends and colleagues. Behaviour that may cause you to be asked to leave include rudeness, smoking in the tent (theres an outside area provided for smoking), dancing on the tables or chairs, or attempting to take a beer glass as a souvenir. You will face rigorous security checks on your way into and out of the festival, so its advisable not to anger those in charge.
If you havent reserved a seat in a tent and youre struggling to find one, the waiting staff should be able to help you. Waiting staff in some of the tents may expect a tip of 15%, while the service charge may be included in your bill in others. Your personal tour manager will be able to advise you on the best course of action when paying.
Many people will speak English to you here, as long as youre polite. As for travelling to the beer festival with children, youll find a very relaxed attitude towards little ones in the vicinity of the beer tents. Although its not legal to drink beer until youre 16 here, and the harder stuff only when youre 18, children are welcome to come and eat, drink soft drinks and enjoy the fair rides for as long as they want; until closing if you feel thats appropriate.
The Oktoberfest in Munich
The Oktoberfest is the big name in German beer festivals. The tents are in a line along a 2 kilometre stretch of the Theresienwiesse, although there is a specific entrance and exit youll need to use to access the area. Your bags may well be searched by security on arrival and departure. Each tent will have its own individual atmosphere and dont worry if you dont like beer (you may simply be supporting a friend or partner who does), as some of the tents will serve wine and cider.
The festival will close at 10.30 each evening, but that doesnt mean that the party has to end. There are plenty of nightclubs in Munich into which you can then move. Whilst youre in Munich, be sure to make the most of the historic sights too. Munich is a very beautiful city, with an exciting cultural and social scene. Munich tourist highlights include the Olympic park and stadium, the fairytale castle that is Schloss Nymphenburg, the English Garden, the Chinese Tower and of course, the fabulous Marienplatz with its abundance of shops and cafes.
We partner with several internationally renowned tour operators who can get you to Munich as part of a luxury tour. You will stay in high quality hotels and even have the chance to explore a number of different destinations. Cox and Kings offer a trip that will give a very thorough insight into the city of Munich, while Great Railway Journeys will take you on a trip that encompasses a few days in Cologne and Munich at the beginning of your tour, before moving you on to visit Verona and Geneva. European river cruises that take in Munich as one of the ports are offered by Avalon Waterways, who will get you from Munich to Vienna via Passau, Linz and Melk, while Titan Travel will provide you with a Rhine discovery tour. Please get in touch with Aspen Travel to find out all the options we have to help you discover the fascinating German city of Munich.
Bremen Freimarkt German Beer Festival 2017
This is one of the oldest beer festivals in Germany and is known for its great carnival rides. Expect lots of seafood, as opposed to grilled chicken here, given its proximity to the coast. If youre over 50, you might appreciate the Bremen Waterways and Beer festival cruise by Saga that were currently offering. Saga Holidays offer a door-to-door travel, all-inclusive, full board experience, with a drinks package. Your personal tour manager will take care of everything on your behalf. Solo travellers are heartily welcomed with hosted parties arranged on your behalf to ensure you meet plenty of likeminded people on your journey. This cruise leaves from Newcastle with Bremen being the first stop. Youll spend a bit of time at the beer festival here before moving on to visit Hamburg, the Kiel Canal and Berlin.
If youd like to attend a German beer festival like the Oktoberfest or Bremen Freimarkt without compromising on luxury, please give one of our Aspen Travel team members a call. Well be able to advise you on all available packages and help you pick one that suits your budget and travel preferences. You wont have to worry about getting to and from the venue, because your tour manager will take care of everything on your behalf. You can enjoy the beer festival safely, before being guided back to your accommodation. What better way to spend your October holiday?