Don your lederhosen, grab your stein and join 6 million other party goers in Munich for the world’s greatest beer drinking extravaganza, with Skyscanner’s top tips to Oktoberfest, which takes place from the 20th September until the 5th of October 2008.
Oktoberfest starts in September – that’s right, despite the title, the beer guzzling actually commences in September. So why the name? Well, the first ever Oktoberfest was held on October 12th 1810. Since then, the event has been extended by kicking off the drinking in late September to take advantage of the warmer weather and longer days.
Boozing in the beer tents – all the ale action takes place under 14 giant canvas canopies. Inside, you’ll see tables and chairs laid out as far as the eye can see. Each tent has a different theme and caters to a different crowd; choose from the hip Hippodrom, the traditional Schottenhamel, the Scuotzen-Festzelt famous for its suckling pig severed in beer sauce, or if beer’s not your bag – check out the Weinzelt – the wine tent.
Goodbye pints, hello litres – don’t be expecting to get a pint of Bavaria’s finest at Oktoberfest (pints are for lightweights), instead you’ll be served frosty beverages in litre-sized steins, costing between 7.70 and 8.00 Euros (about 50c higher than last year). Oktoberfest beer is darker and stronger than normal brews, containing up to 6% alcohol and only six Munich brewers are permitted the honour of selling their lagers.
No seat, no beer – unlike your typical British boozer, where it’s ten deep at the bar and you’ll spend thirty minutes waving a twenty at the barman trying to get served, at Oktoberfest, you’ll be waited upon by buxom Bavarian barmaids, dressed in traditional Dirndl attire. However, you’ll need to be seated in order to get served – so either reserve a table beforehand or get there early.
Best of the wurst – Oktoberfest is not all about the beer. Ensure you sample some of Germany’s finest fodder; try the Bavarian wursts such as Bierwurst, a coarse-textured sliced sausage flavoured with juniper berries and cardamom; Bockwurst, a large frankfurter style sausage made with veal, chives and parsley, or Knackwurst, a short, plump sausage containing lean pork, beef, spices and garlic. Potato salad, pretzels, strudel and sauerkraut are also in plentiful supply.
Oktoberfest events – alongside all the beer and bratwurst, you can also enjoy fairground rides, music ranging from German folk to pop and disco, a flea circus, game booths and a traditional procession featuring riflemen, marching bands and thoroughbred horses which takes place on the first Sunday of the festival.
Avoid the Oktoberfest hangover – with all that booze going down the hatch, you’re bound to pay the price of indulgence the morning after. To best avoid the hangover, apply the standard wisdom to your drinking sessions: eat plenty of food before you commence the beering, drink plenty of water before going to sleep, and of course – drink in moderation. Failing that, you can always stumble back out to the beer tents at sunrise, to administer the hair of the dog cure.
How to get to Oktoberfest: the event takes place in Munich, Germany, which has an international airport easily reached from the UK, or most other large cities. Return flights from London airports start at £105 (including taxes). To view the cheapest air fares during the festival see Skyscanner’s cheap flights to Munich.
For more information on Oktoberfest visit: www.oktoberfest.de/en/