Oktoberfest Travel Tips

imageMunich is famous for its Bavarian Beer Halls, but from the 17th September- 3th October 2011, the city will brew up a storm for the annual Oktoberfest. This hop-mad festival draws thousands of people from all over the world, to quaff over 6 million litres of beer every year. Bavarian Beer is known as the best in the world, with tight regulations on keeping the brew ‘pure’ – just hops, water and barley. Oktoberfest isn’t just about the beer – from the Bavarian Beauties trussed up in traditional gear, to the live bands, delicious German food and huge funfair, it’s the atmosphere that draws the crowds year after year. Even if you aren’t into guzzling pints, there’s plenty to keep you entertained. But the festival is huge – with around 20 tents in the main field alone, and a whole range of ‘fest etiquette’, from tipping to reserving a table, Oktoberfest can be a little overwhelming for first timers. So if you are planning on heading to Oktoberfest 2011, get the best of the beer fest with our handy Oktoberfest beer guide.

The festival is spread out over several tents – each tent has its own unique atmosphere, and is hosted by a different beer company, so you’ll get a different brew and a different vibe whereever you go. Remember that you can only pay by cash in each tent, unless you have beer vouchers. Here are a couple of suggestions. Some of the huge traditional tents have been around for years, and draw huge crowds. But if you’re after a typical taste of Oktoberfest, and some Bavarian style food and fun, go with the famous tents – Bräurosl, Schottenhamel (the largest tent, with 10,000 seats, and where the festivities kick off) and Löwenbräu-Festhalle – (although be ready to listen to a Lion roar ‘Löwenbräu’ every few minutes). Hofbräu-Festzelt is very popular with Americans and Australians.

This is one of the smaller tents, and is truly ‘hip’ – attracting a young and edgy crowd of drinkers. People go there to see and be seen, and mingle with the mix of scenesters and TV crews filming the action. There’s a sleek sparkling ‘sekt’ wine bar alongside the usual beers. One of the oldest and most traditional tents, Schichtl has been the home of beer based fun since 1869. The entertainment factor is high here – the tent is famous for its cabaret showing fake beheadings. Head next door for a tent serving steaming plates of organic meat and sausages.

Eating certainly isn’t cheating here – you’ll need a little more than German sausage to soak up at that booze! Luckily Oktoberfest is all about the best of Bavarian cuisine, with a couple of other gastro delights along the way. Whilst most tourists stick to guzzling roast chicken and pretzels, you can make like the locals with sauerkraut, radishes and oxtail at the Ochsenbraterei tent.

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