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That’s right, we said it. If you’ve ever been to Oktoberfest you may be able to sympathize. For those who haven’t and plan to head to Munich to partake in the drinking fest for the “real” Oktoberfest experience, hold your horses!

First of all, like you, thousands and thousands of other tourists and foreigners will also be heading to Bavaria to drink until their faces fall off… likely outnumbering the locals which give it that undeniably Bavarian feel.

Oktoberfest is all about two things: beer and massive crowds. 

If you like both of these then you might find the festival all it’s cracked up to be. For the rest of us, it’s not. At this point you’ve missed the opening weekend which is, to say the least, the worst part of it all. That is when the crowds are at their peak. If you’ve been tossing up whether to book last-minute flights to Munich to catch the tail-end of Oktoberfest or not here are three reasons why you should not go.

No outside drinks allowed


If you’re planning to participate in the drinking going on inside the tents you have to get there early in order to get a seat. The benches fill up pretty quickly and once you’re there, you’d better stay there. Even though you can buy other beers and drinks on the festival grounds you can’t take them into the tents with you. There is security at all the doors checking bags. If you’re not a beer drinker, this can be a problem since there is only beer on tap at the bar. Any soft drinks, juices or wines you buy outside the tent must be consumed outside the tent.



As you can imagine, visitors need to use the W.C. a lot when they’ve been drinking beer all day. The only W.C. facilities are located within the beer tents (remember, no outside drinks allowed). As you might imagine, the lines can be quite lengthy (and toilet paper scarce) so if you need to pee plan ahead! As you can imagine the people waiting at the front of the line might not be so kind to let someone in front of them, no matter how entertaining their “pee dance” is.

Mind the crowds

Crowds at Oktoberfest

If you had the idea that you would arrive at Oktoberfest, find your way to the tent and grab a seat, you’re highly mistaken! You need at arrive early in the morning in order to get a seat in any of the beer tents, or else you need to reserve your place in advance. If you arrive at a tent and by some extraordinary struck of luck you find a free place, GRAB IT! Don’t leave it for the rest of the day because you’ll never get it back. If you lose sight of your friends, don’t panic but make sure you’ve organized a meeting place in case you get separated. It’s unlikely they’re going to hear their phone ringing in this commotion.

Fame & Popularity


Munich’s Oktoberfest is the largest beer festival in the world, the most famous as well. Truth be told, many of the local residents take their holidays during the festival time and come back once it has all been cleaned up. Most of the people you will meet there will be foreigners or from other parts of Germany, which is great if you’d like to connect with other travellers! But, if you were hoping for a more authentic Oktoberfest experience, with the locals, then steer clear of Munich and check out some of the smaller beer festivals happening in other parts of Bavaria and Germany.

This year’s Oktoberfest runs until October 3rd, 2011.

Have you ever been to Oktoberfest in Munich before? What was your experience like?

Img: James Almond, berisha olivier, EuropeTrip.2009, ObolonUkraine, tburning / Flickr cc.

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2 responses to “Why NOT to go to Oktoberfest in Munich

  1. I visited Oktoberfest with a local. She took me to a quieter tent. The Hoffbrauhaus apparently has the least locals. We went in the evening and found a seat. Not easily, but everyone was very friendly and made room on the table. We sat with a designer for BMW and a bank employee from Munich and talked as if we had known each other for years.
    I have fond memories of singing “Smoke on the Water” to an Oompah band while balancing on trestle tables. Sure don’t go by all means, it will leave more space at the tables for the locals, who supposedly don’t frequent the event. ;o)

    1. Hey John!
      Great comment, love to hear back from other travellers about their experiences. It’s unlikely that our post would actually sway others from not going… I mean, c’mon, it’s Oktoberfest, you HAVE to go in Munich! 🙂 But for those who want more than the over-crowded, foreigner-saturated drinking fest, some of the smaller regional ones are a lot of fun! Thanks for the tip on Hoffbrauhaus, very good to know!!

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