When someone mentions Oktoberfest, you immediately think of traditional Bavarian bands, beer, and traditional Bavarian costumes like Lederhosen and Drindl, and you would be pretty spot-on with that mental image.

© murmel.clausen – flickr.com

Oktoberfest was started in October 1810 as a wedding party celebrating the marriage of Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen. They invited the whole city of Munich to a meadow just outside the city gates and threw a party that was so impressive, it’s still celebrated each year in this same place. In 1816, the first carnival booths were set up for the festival, and in 1896 the beer tents you know and see today were first set up.

In 2012, Oktoberfest will take place from 22 September through to 7 October. If it will be anything like previous years, millions of litres of beer and thousands of kilos of sausages and chicken will be consumed by around 7 million visitors.

There are a few things you should know about Oktoberfest if you are planning to attend this year or next:

  • Hotels are in very high demand, so book as early as possible. HRS can help you find and book a hotel, but it definitely pays off to book as far in advance as you can as the hotels fill up very quickly as they try to accommodate the 7 million or more visitors who come to Munich for Oktoberfest.
  • Smoking is not allowed in the beer tents unless you are in a designated smoking area.
  • The main metro station, Theresienwiese, is usually very overcrowded during the festival, and can even be closed down due to overcrowding. The alternative is to use the nearby Goetheplatz station and walk to the festival grounds.

Are you wondering what tent you should visit while you are here?

Well, you can always start with the Hippodrom. This is the tent you are most likely to have seen on television, and is arguably the most popular tent in the festival. The Hacker-Festzelt tent bucks the tradition and has a live rock band instead of the traditional Bavarian oompah band. The Käfers Wiesen Schänke tent is much smaller than the other tents and very popular with celebrities. Then there is the Augustiner-Festhalle which is considered by the locals to be the best tent in the entire festival. You are spoiled for choice, you can visit one, or all, the choice is up to you.

© JasonParis – flickr.com



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