Dressed in full laderhozens and Armed with a Litre of Bavarian beer, I looked around a huge beer tent of people and just went “man! I’m in Oktoberfest!”.
There really is nothing rather quiet like the experience,
If you have never been you have to add this to your bucket list on your next trip to Europe.
First off, be sure to remember Oktoberfest starts in September and ends during October, it doesn’t run for the whole month of October, so make sure you get your dates correct before heading to Munich.
Sure Oktoberfest is held and replicated all over the world.
But it really is a unique experience to be a part of Oktoberfest in the birth city of Munich.
You learn that beer is a powerful thing and loved the world over, but particularly in Bavaria where they truly know how to enjoy the stuff.
How do you get a table booking??
The most difficult challenge when visiting the Oktoberfest in Munich is booking a table.
Beer tents start to open bookings in March and you’re quickly learn that they don’t last very long.
I think you might be reading this blog after just discovering this,
Needless to fear there is still hope of getting into a tent and onto a table!
The reason why the beer halls sell out so fast is due to repeat customers.
A lot of German households repeatedly go to the same beer tent and as they have their details on file, it’s easier to arrange repeat bookings.
This keeps up traditions and relationships within the beer tents that they have built up over the years.
There is also Travel companies that reserve bulk spots and then go on to create tour packages.
So of course you can always go with a tour company and use their bookings but this comes at an extremely heavy cost. If you are on backpacker’s budget and want to do things yourself, not a problem there is still a solution.
Hofbräuhaus has a very popular restaurant in the heart of Munich that puts on a beer hall experience almost every night.
For Oktoberfest, they also put on a tent for beer lovers to enjoy along the main Oktoberfest strip.
HofbräuFestzeit (Name of the tent) takes no bookings for the centre tent section during the noon period.
Even on weekends? Yes, even on weekends.
So you can just simply walk in and kick off the celebration? Sadly, no
Still, you will have some work to do, but it’s very simple, if you get it right, then you can start your Oktoberfest celebration!
The aim of the game is to arrive a hour early before opening.
The tent will open at 09:00am and you will want to be in the right spot at the right time in order to be prepared to jump towards a table for you and your friends.
Weekends it will be more difficult so remain focused and your be fine.
If you are staying at a hotel or arriving by train or bus, make sure you arrive around 07:00am as it takes time to walk from central station to get to the main Oktoberfest area.
If you are a first time visitor: **WARNING** you will want to take lots of photos, make sure you remind your group its important to get to the tent on time or you could miss out.
At 09:00 exactly (German timing) The doors of the beer tent will open and within 2 minutes 4,022 spots will be filled.
If you don’t make it in then you will sadly miss this magical opportunity so be on your game!
As you walk up to Hofbräu tent at 08:00 you will notice people with whistles they are here to fill the whole area ready for the door opening.
They do not care about you, they care about getting the door opening done, that’s their job.
They will blow whistles at you and shout german until you do as they say, even though you have no idea what’s going on or what they are saying.
Imagen what it’s like to manage 5,000+ people outside a tent ready to take in 4,022, it’s not a nice job so they are very direct but effective and have been doing it this way for many years.
They may look like angry Germans, but just respect what they do, always follow whistle instructions!
I’ve followed this method successfully twice in the past and it’s worked well, I hope it works well for you too.
How to play it
When reaching Hofbräu to line up, you want to head towards the left side of the tent.
Not the centre or the right side, the left side.
The other areas do not give you a good chance of getting a table.
This small 2 minute time slot of entry is mostly filled from the left side door.
You’re pretty screwed if you’re stuck at the back or in the centre front, as your part of the top pit and your chances are limited.
If you arrive at 08:00 and you’re located by the door on the left, well done! You’re going to get a seat and possibly a good spot.
If you can, try and arrive a little before 08:00, 07:45 is a better time on the weekends, it’s a long wait but the beer is worth it.
For the best spot you want to place yourself inside the tent around the edge, here you’re going to get a good view of the whole experience and you have a blast!
One good spot to aim for is in front of the bandstand, this gives you a great central view of the whole tent.
Congratulations! You should now be standing in the heart of the action at Oktoberfest itself!
How Awesome! Now go ahead and order some of the best beer you will ever get to taste in your life and get the celebrations started!
Some bonus tips!
You will be kicked out.
Be warned and be ready.
To make way for the evening bookings your be moved along around 15:00.
Try and stay clear of these whistles people around this time. They will hustle and shuffle you out quicker than you can finish your beers and trust me, they will not let you out without leaving your glass even if it still contains beer. Make sure you empty the glass before you’re kicked out.
Drinking beer from 09:00-15:00 is perhaps a good idea for your belly, a lot of locals will sleep directly opposite on the grass outside for a few hours before getting up and heading to another tent.
This is normally a good time to get something to eat and luckily the best chicken place is located next door to Hofbräu, enjoy!
Also, be careful to never at any point leave the tent until you’re kicked out or you will never be able to get back in!
If you want to get your beer more frequently, be sure to tip big on your first round than your beer server will remember you better and be more quicker with your next order, not tipping might result in a long wait for beer.
Try and dress up in authentic local gear if you can, improves the experience and your photos too.
You can order food to your table as well, you can ask for a menu or check online what’s on offer in advance.
Remember not to try and steal your beer glass as tempting as it is, if you get caught you could be landed with a large fine from the house.
If you feel that your beer was not topped up to the correct measurement its ok to go over the bar area and ask for a top up.
Haven’t had enough of Germany yet? Want to stay a little longer and explore more of this amazing country? Check out this awesome guide from my friends over at Divergent travelers: ultimate Germany road trip guide.
My last bonus tip: if you’re still looking at going into another tent its still possible in the evening in one of the Beer Gardens(not actually in the tent), Winzerer Fähndl tent is worth a shot, you will have to wait a little for people to vacate a table (Normally 30-45 minutes) but it’s rather easy to make it happen.
Thank you for reading my Blog post and I wish you all the best with your adventure to Oktoberfest Munich, if you will have anything like the experience I had then you will have a blast for sure!