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Your Very Berlin Guide To The Oktoberfest

It’s that special time of year again where friends and family have an annual get together; an event that all ages can dress up for; a place where dancing on the table feels just as good as, if not better than, dancing on the ceiling. And eating and drinking to your heart’s content is quite frankly, obligatory.

On 19 September, the Bavarians will open their arms to the world once again as they host the world’s largest beer festival for the 182nd time. The only question is, how are you getting there?

Berlin’s location is normally indisputably great, but at times like these, you can’t help but feel a little far north. While many northern Germans are quite against and even revolted by the idea of Oktoberfest, I have to say I’m with the Bavarians on this one. Why wouldn’t you want to dress up in traditional costume along with the rest of the city plus its thousands of thirsty visitors and party with family, friends and strangers in a tent filled with brass band music from morning till midnight? I guess there’s no hiding my inner Brit after all.

If you’re on the fence, get bloody well off it! Oktoberfest is 100% worth it and something you should witness at least once in your life. However, I am certainly not denying that it sure can burn a hole in your pocket and in your liver. To remedy this sad fact, I have something closer to hand for all those not jumping on an eight hour bus to make the annual beer pilgrimage.

Oktoberfest im Loewenbrau am Gendarmenmarkt

From 18 September - 4 October you can celebrate with a litre of Loewenbraeu Oktoberfestbier in hand. It’s the perfect feierabend location especially on Fridays and Saturdays with live music from 17.00.

Oktoberfest am Eastgate

Still relatively fresh on the scene, the new tent on the block is here for the 4th time and opens from 25 September - 4 October. Free entry and 1000 seats make it worth a visit if you’ve never been to Marzahn.

Oktoberfest am Alexanderplatz

Clink glasses at Alex in the very centre of Berlin from 25 September - 11 October. You’ll be drinking Paulaner beer with live music and all the Bavarian food specialities you could dream of.

Oktoberfest Berlin 2015 in der Malzfabrik 

In the south of Berlin, you can soak up the atmosphere in what was once a Malzfabrik (malthouse) over the period of one weekend and one weekend only. Don’t miss out, and book tickets now for the 2 or 3 October at the presale price of 10€.

My final words of wisdom? Sip and slurp up all the Bavarian you can…here’s some survival vocab to get you started:

O’zapft is: Literally ‘It is tapped,’ signals the start of Oktoberfest on the Saturday at 12 o’clock  as the first barrel of beer is tapped open. Prost!

Wiesn: The original Oktoberfest is held at Theresienwiese in Munich, meaning field or meadow of Therese, hence the unbearably long term has been shortened to Wiesn by the locals. If only Germans could do this with more of their words…

Hendl: There are already multiple words for chicken in the German language, but here’s another one! Hendl is the traditional roast chicken which is extremely popular on the Wiesn.

Dirndl: While the men traditionally wear Lederhosen, the girls dress in a Dirndl. Typically a white blouse covered with a colourful checked dress on top, they are not for the faint hearted!

Ein Prosit der Gemuetlichkeit: Possibly the most important words of the Wiesn. These will be sung over and over until you will sing them in your sleep.  When you hear these words, hold your beer high and ‘cheers’ everyone and anyone in sight. Then drink to the cosiness!

Remember, where there’s a Wiesn, there’s a way!

By Alice Higgins

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