Visiting the Oktoberfest: the atmosphere, the camaraderie and the beer!

We arrive at the Hackerbruecke hostel at 11am. The reception is full of people and empty beer cans, a forerunner of what awaits us a few miles further on the Theresienwiese.

Two days of Oktoberfest in Munich, that is the plan. Hopefully. We didn’t make any reservations for the beer tents and apparently it’s a bank holiday in Germany. I heard many horror stories of people trying to get a spot in one of the beer tents, but without any luck…

No time to waste then! After dropping off our luggage, we make our way to the famous Theresienwiese, an area of 420.000 square metres! And boy, is it huge! The whole site looks like a major theme park with funfair attractions, Bratwurst- and Pretzelstands,  and huge beer tents in between. There are 14 major beer tents (and about 20 smaller ones)! We try our luck in the first one that comes along, the Ambrustschützen, with a seating capacity of 5830 people! It isn’t even the biggest one, the Schottenhamel-tent for instance, can accomodate almost up to 10000!! It takes us a while to find a table that hasn’t been reserved yet, but its’s still early, so we manage to find a spot in the back of the tent, ready to sample as much of the Fest as possible. We order a few Maß (a mug of one liter of beer), some pretzels and sing along to the one song you are guaranteed to hear at least every half hour:  “Ein Prosit, ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit”, after which everyone raises their glass and drinks!

The atmosphere is great and the organisation is perfect! It really takes the Germans to organise such a big event and not let it turn into one big chaos! No question of even taking a nap on the table, German security is straight at you!

We go from beertent to beertent, get invited to join people’s table, drink and make new friends. Before we left, I feared that there would hardly be any Germans at the Oktoberfest, mainly Americans or Australians, but this turned to be absolutely untrue! There is even a word in German for people you meet at the Oktoberfest: “ein Wiesenbekannter” ( literally a person you’ve met at the Wiese, the field where the Oktoberfest is held)

Oktoberfest in Munich

Tents close at 11.30 pm, which may seem early, but is absolutely necessary, considering that most people start drinking early afternoon.  We somehow make it back to the hostel, our heads filled with laughter and beautiful memories… and beer!

Lesson learnt: finding a table at the Oktoberfest without a reservation is totally possible! If you go early in the day, socialize and be friendly, you’ll find a space in no time!

Have you been to the Oktoberfest? Or planning to go? I want to hear your stories!

29 Replies to “Visiting the Oktoberfest: the atmosphere, the camaraderie and the beer!”

  1. Norman

    Glad you were able to survive it. Starts again this saturday 🙂 Soo looking forward to it. And yes, locals like me go there. we trap tourists at Hofbräutent and Fishervroni (where no1 from munich would ever go)

  2. Brianna

    Looks like you had a blast! I flew into Munich during Octoberfest last year but made a beeline for Austria. I definitely want to make time to explore Bavaria.

  3. Tim

    I used to be a tour guide and of course one of the places we always stopped at was the Octoberfest. So many memories…not all good 🙂

  4. Veronika

    Looks like you had tons of fun!
    Oktoberfest is one of the things that are worth experiencing once in a lifetime, preferably when young. Maybe not too many more times, as the best state to enjoy it is to be drunk and that might become a little excessive:)

  5. Revati

    Sounds like so much fun! And good thinking on your part about hopping over to Munich. I love visiting places when there’s something fun going on there, and my husband would have completely loved all the beer!

    • Els Post author

      Haha, you should, it’s brilliant! Yes, make plans in advance on where to crash, maybe not just yet though 🙂

  6. Dave Cole

    Glad to see that you had such a nice experience! I also love that there’s a special word for someone you know from Oktoberfest. Hopefully I can make to to Bavaria at the right time some fall to have a few beers. I’ve only been there later in the year, but still made it to the Hofbrauhaus to tip one to the Oktoberfest Gods.

  7. Samantha

    Haha that looks like super fun!! Don’t you love how things just work out sometimes in travel? Even though I don’t drink beer (I know lame right) I’d still love to experience Oktoberfest, at least I want to dress up in one of the outfits!

  8. Heather Cole

    Looks like a lot of fun! Often the cheap flight destinations seem bizarre and in the middle of nowhere, but with a bit of map work it’s easy to find somewhere nearby worth visiting. I wish I liked beer, but it would be fun to visit just for the atmosphere!

  9. Stacey Veikalas @Baskets Life

    What is not to love about Oktoberfest in Munich or Karnival in Koln or the Wine Festival in Ahr Valley I love all things Germany! Very fun, and a little bit crazy LOL I agree it is something you have to do at least once in your life.

  10. Tam Gamble

    We have always wanted to head out to Munich for Oktoberfest but the cost involved seems to go up each year and I think you do need to be organised to a certain extend to get accommodation at a reasonable cost – booking well in advance! The photos look amazing though so I hope we get there one day – maybe next year! 🙂

    • Els Post author

      Yes, accomodation is very expensive during that period! We managed to find a bed in a hostel, which was still around 40 euro/person. But it’s a great experience, to do at least once in a lifetime 🙂


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