Some six million people visit Munich’s Oktoberfest every year and the world’s biggest and most-loved beer festival can be a daunting experience for the first-time visitor. Here are a few pointers to help you make it through the amber haze in one piece.
DO turn up early to ensure you get a spot. Remember: no table, no beer. Better still, book your Oktoberfest tickets or tours in advance.
DON’T light up. The folly of smoking in a huge tent full of drunken people shouldn’t need further explanation; in any case, Bavaria’s ban on smoking in bars, cafés and restaurants extends to Oktoberfest.
DO bring cash, while exercising sensible precautions against pickpockets. Many tents don’t accept cards.
DON’T get up on the table. Security enforcers turn a blind eye to all sorts of oompa-fueled behavior, but table-top dancing is a big no-no and will see you out on your arsch before you can blink.
DO remember to drink water between brews and eat every now and then. Bavarian cuisine may as well have been developed in a lab as the scientifically-proven accompaniment to beer: make the most of it.
DON’T steal your beer glass; you’ll get fined if you’re caught, and there are endless opportunities to buy souvenir glasses all over Munich.
DO respect your waitress. Carrying armfuls of beer and dealing with drunks is no picnic; always tip and if you learn no other German, remember to say “bitte” (please) and “danke” (thank you).
DON’T forget toasting etiquette: clink glasses with a hearty “Prost!” and remember to maintain eye contact with the other person.
DO take some time out from drinking to experience more of what the city has to offer; there’s plenty to explore with even one day in Munich.
DON’T turn up in October. Despite the name, Oktoberfest takes place almost entirely in September. The 2013 Oktoberfest runs from September 21 to October 6.