Every autumn, millions head to Munich to celebrate that hoppy concoction that we all know as beer. Oktoberfest, the grand German fete for the beverage made from fermented barley and yeast, starts September 18. If you, too, are planning to get high the German way, here’s a list of the top 10 things to do in Munich during Oktoberfest.
The biggest tents
If you’re going for the festivities at the Wiesn (the main area), be sure to check out the big hitters that are well-known and highly anticipated each year. ‘L wenbr u’ can’t be missed — enormous in size and known for its gigantic lion, it takes the intensity of beer consumption to a higher level.
Learn a few phrases
You don’t want to be stuck in the tent, clueless about how to connect with people. Learn a few German phrases to help you stay on track.
Bierdimpfe: Notorious beer drinker, or “tavern potato.” (Hint: don’t become one)
Ma : One litre of beer. Not your mother!
Parking at the tents is nearly impossible, and all experts on the subject recommend taking public transportation.
Check out bike tours
Munich is arguably one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. Mike’s Bike Tours provides four-hour tours through the city. They are safe and fun.
The city’s centre is a 12th-century wonder, and is known as the heart of Munich. Great for sight-seeing, shopping and dining.
Shop at Viktualienmarkt
After you spend time in Marienplatz, walk over to Viktualienmarkt, a daily farmer’s market where you’ll find a massive variety of fresh and regional food.
Beer at Hofbr uhaus
If you want a taste of authentic Munich brew, but don’t feel like braving the storm of the Wiesn, head to the most famous beer hall in the world — Hofbr uhaus. Built in 1589, it’s filled with old, long wooden tables with age-old engravings.
Take a hike
Burn those beer calories by climbing up the 306 steps of Munich’s oldest church, St Peter’s (called Alter Peter). The summit holds some of the most memorable views.
Get back to nature
One of the world’s largest urban public parks, the English Garden has an artificial stream where surfers can to ride the small waves.
Go see a castle
In the woods of Bavaria stands a 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace — Neuschwanstein Castle. Don’t miss it.
Interesting facts about Oktoberfest
First Take: The first Oktoberfest took place in 1810 in Munich, and it was actually a celebration to honour the wedding of the Bavarian prince Ludwig and princess Therese.
Change in month: The Oktoberfest begins in September for a very simple reason. In Germany, the evenings and nights can get very cold in October, so to ensure high attendance, authorities decided to move the celebration to the end of September, keeping the name same.
Name Game: The local name for Oktoberfest, ‘Wies’n,’ is derived from Theresienwiese, the name of the field on which the festival is held.
Double Century: Oktoberfest will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2010.