Newest Review: ... are semipermanent structures and do indeed have rafters) from about 11am any weekend day. The Hofbrau Festzelt , right in the middle of th... more
I was very, very drunk
Member Name: Katz1
Date: 10/07/01, updated on 10/07/01 (2445 review reads)
Advantages: Fun, Not too expensive
Disadvantages: Full of tourists
Munich is, of course, renowned for its beer and in particular the Oktoberfest, an event that happens every year during the month of September (bizarrely – I always expected it to be in October, can’t think why).
Unfortunately the Oktoberfest is nowadays a very touristy affair but if you are planning on visiting Munich, it is something should be experienced at least once in your life. Fairground rides, large beer tents, wenches carrying loads of huge litre glasses of bier (or Masses as they are called), lots of German food, traditional German bands playing umpah music – it’s certainly worth a look. Both the Paulaner and Löwenbräu breweries are based in Munich and both have beer halls at the festival (the Löwenbräu hall has a rather scary lion automaton on top of it, growling at people as they go in!). It’s also worth going just to spot some locals (or perhaps they're tourists) with their Lederhosen (yes, some really do wear them), and large curly moustaches.
At this time of year Munich is absolutely teeming with people, so if you want to go, you need to get accommodation sorted out pretty early. All the hotels charge their top prices at Oktoberfest time and the youth hostels are full to bursting.
There are, of course, other beer or wine festivals in Germany if you are a bit claustrophobic amongst large crowds and feel that perhaps the Oktoberfest isn’t for you. The Stuttgart spring and autumn beer festivals, for example, the Erlangen Kirchweih, and the Bad Durkheim wine festival plus umpteen others that I haven’t yet experienced are all worthy rivals. I would definitely recommend both Stuttgart and Bad Durkheim (a small town on the outskirts of Mannheim whose festival is at the start of September) if you want to experience a German festival that is not too overrun by tourists.
If you are overfaced by the thought of so much alcohol, don’t worry, these festivals usually have non-al
coholic beverages too, such as Spezi (a mixture of cola and orange juice – not as disgusting as it sounds), non-alcoholic beer (not recommended), Radler (the German term for Shandy) and other more usual soft drinks.
My advice - try it, you might like it.