Timing, getting there, what to do after, the "don'ts"

Every year literally millions of people from around the world visit the Oktoberfest in Bavaria, Germany. With six millions of visitors on average it is probably the most famous traditional festival in the world. But without some preparation the visit can easily be disappointing. In the following there are some hints how you can get the most out of your visit.

Timing of your visit: First of all you have to time your visit wisely. The Oktoberfest starts every year at the first saturday after September 15th at 12 pm. It finishes on the first sunday in October which means, that it lasts for 16 to 18 days  each year. During this approximately 2.5 weeks the ideal timing for your visit depends on what you are looking for. If you primarily come to visit the large beer tents you should visit during the week. Avoid weekends and especially the middle weekend since this is the most crowded time (also known as the "italian weekend"). Your chances to get a seat or even entrance to the large beer tents are much higher during the week. Also it is advisable to get there as early in the morning as possible. If you are a group of people one of you could enter the tent right after the opening at 10 pm and reserve the seats for the others. This is a common practice in Germany but not much liked by the waitresses.  If you plan to visit with children, the best time is to visit on Tuesdays. This is family day with reduced prices and the permission to even take your baby strollers into the tents.

Getting there and away: After you decided when to visit, the next challenge is to get there. The festival is located on "Theresienwiese", a place close to the city centre of Munich, the third largest city in Germany. It is absolutely not advisable to go there with your own car. First of all the chances to find a parking lot are very poor. Second of all you have to drive through all the city, which means to cope with a lot of narrow and confusing streets. The best way to get there is by public transportation. If you are on a budget you should take the metro ("S-Bahn" in German). Metros in Munich are safe, clean and reliable. The staff speak English so you will not have a problem finding your way. A more comfortable way would be to simply take a taxi. This is also the best way to get back from the Oktoberfest. Although it is much more expensive than the metro, it allows you to avoid sharing the metro with thousands of drunken visitors after the Oktoberfest.

What to do after the "Fest": If you visit Oktoberfest for the first time you could be surprised that it closes its gates very soon in the evening. The last orders can be made at 10.30 pm and the tents close one hour later. But fortunately you have a lot of options to continue your evening in the city of Munich. As the capital of Bavaria and a major tourist attraction itself it has a big choice of clubs and bars. A very straight way to continue your visit would be to go to one of the brewery bars where they offer you selfmade beer and traditional food in an authentic bavarian atmosphere. A good choice would be the most famous brewery bar called "Hofbräuhaus". There are also a lot of other brewery bars nearby. If you want to continue your night in a modern club you should probably head back to your hotel first and dress up. The clubs in Munich demand (with very few exceptions) a fashionable outfit and without you will not be let in.

What not to do: There are few things that you absolutely should avoid. The two most important things are both directly or indirectly connected to beer consumption: First, do not overestimate your capability of drinking beer. The beer on the Oktoberfest contains more alcohol than the average beer in most regions of the world. The beer is even stronger than other German beers since it is made especially strong for the festival. Second, you should always use the restrooms if you have to make room for your next beers. There is a fine on using nature as a toilet and it could be quite embarrassing to be charged by the police for it.