The available spaces on our BayernTrips tours are almost gone and it was announced this week that all of the Oktoberfest tents are now 100% sold out. If you are hoping to visit Oktoberfest in 2015, it’s time to make your decision!
GETTING A RESERVATION
Getting a seat in an Oktoberfest tent is always tricky. In 2014, the city of Munich cut back the number of places that each tent host is able to set aside for pre-reserved groups. The hope was to make more seating available on a first come, first served basis. Sadly, that hasn’t worked. If you have had tent reservations in the past, you get the right of first refusal. As you can imagine, it is rare for anyone to give up their space at Oktoberfest. Now with the number of reserved tables limited, it’s even harder to snag a spot. If you want to try, however, the procedure is that you have to book, and pay in advance, in sets of 10. For each person, you pay for 2 liters of beer and a 1/2 chicken dinner in advance. So, a table is about € 250. Credit Cards and checks are not accepted, so you have to find a way to pay with a European account or cash in advance. To make a reservation, you need to contact each of the 14 tents separately, since they are run by separate organizations.
GOING SANS RESERVATION
Lots of people get hung up on making a reservation, but you don’t necessarily need one. You may find the tent is over capacity and no one further is admitted. But, if you avoid weekends and holidays and arrive before 5 PM, you should be able to get into most any tent and find a seat. You then find the unreserved section and ask the table occupants, "Ist hier frei?" If they say yes, then you are free to sit down and occupy the seat as long as you wish. On weekends, people line up before dawn to get into the tent.
Understanding the tradition and the culture behind the festival is a key ingredient to our approach. Most tourists picture a kind of "Beer Fest" event with drinking to excess. That's not it at all. Or, if that's your experience, you've missed the point entirely.
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In 2015, we have a special trip planned which will take you to Oktoberfest, but also to two other major festivals in the region. Our first stop is in the Allgäu region where the Viehscheid is happening. This local, colorful event is rarely experienced by international tourists, so you will get to see the authentic Bavarian Culture. Back in Munich, you’ll enjoy the big parade on opening weekend and we have reserved seats at the Wiesn on Sunday night and midday on Monday. After our time at the festival, we dive into the history of Bavaria and include a trip to Ludwig II’s lesser known Herrenchiemsee castle. Set on an island, you’ll love the boating across the “Bavarian Ocean,” the Chiemsee, lined by the Alps beyond the south shore. At the end of the week, we visit the Canstatter Wasen in Stuttgart where we have reserved tables in one of the tents. This festival offers a great contrast to the one in Munich and you’re sure to love it! With the trip, you should arrive in Munich on September 17 and depart from Stuttgart or Frankfurt am Main on September 26. You can see more information at my website – click here.
Scott Stephens owns and operates a boutique touring company in Munich. BayernTrips LLC offers one-of-a-kind tours which unlock the richness of Bavarian culture and history. Visit him at www.bayerntrips.com for more information