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If you are a beer connoisseur or just love a good party, then making it to Germany’s Oktoberfest beer festival should definitely be high atop your list of “things to do in this lifetime.” After all, about 30% of the year’s beer production of the largest breweries of Munich is consumed during this world-renowned event. This Bavarian festival, usually held during the last two weeks of September despite its name, is a remarkable once-in-a-lifetime experience.


Two words here: BOOK EARLY. Hotels are always booked solid during Oktoberfest. The longer you wait to book, the farther out from the city you will have to stay. If you are single under the age of 24, your best bet for inexpensive lodging is to stay at one of the many youth hostels located in town. After that, you’re looking at anything from 35 DM a night to 200 DM a night, depending upon where you stay. A delicious breakfast buffet of various breads and rolls, spreads and preserves, boiled eggs and perhaps some of the strongest (and best!) coffee you’ve ever had is usually included in the price. However, a toilet and/or shower usually aren’t. Ask to be sure. One hotel to try:
Villa Waldperlach/Hotel Garni, Putzenbrunner Strasse 250, 81739 Munich. Tele: 011-49-89-6600300 FAX: 011-49-89-66003066. This hotel offers breakfast with the price, which usually runs 35 DM –100 DM per night, depending on whether or not you want a shower in your room (most European rooms do not come with showers, but rather have community showers down the hall). It’s a 10-minute drive from downtown Munich and is very clean. The owners speak perfect English.

The Festival:

The Oktoberfest is held at Theresienwiese (U-Bahn U4 and U5) It’s best to try to take the train or some sort of public transportation to the festival rather than spend all day finding a parking spot. Tables in beer tents fill up early, and usually once people sit down at the tables, they are there for the long haul, so either reserve a table in advance or get there early (tents usually open around 10am) You’ll see EVERYTHING during Oktoberfest. Dutch men dancing on the tables wearing wooden shoes. People stripping for free beer. Bavarian men wearing “lederhosen”, a short of short overalls made of leather and adorned with fine stitchery. The best tent at Oktoberfest is always the Hofbrauhaus tent, and it’s always packed with at least 7000 people (standing room only.) There is also a midway with rides, carnival games, and all sorts of food from all over the world.

How to get there:

Fly into Franz Joseph Airport, Munich (airport code: MUC). It’s 22 miles from downtown, and there are buses (13 DM) available every 30 minutes to take you into Munich. You can also use your rental car or take a taxi or train into town. Passports are required, as are travel certificates for any pets you might be bringing with you.