Let’s Go Exploring! Oktoberfest in Munich

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FIRECracker is a computer engineer/children’s author, who used to live in one of the most expensive cities in Canada. But instead of drowning in debt to buy a house, she saved and invested instead. What resulted was a 7-figure portfolio, which has allowed her to retire at 31 and travel the world.
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You know that point in the party where you’re just drinking with some friends and then WHAM you’re getting groped by some random guy?


Well, that’s the type of party Oktoberfest is.

We were sitting next to some middle-aged dude, who had been drinking long before we got there. His wife kept coming around with his daughters to angrily remind him that he had a family and could he stop drinking so they could finally go home.

He responded by ignoring her and then proceeding to grope random strangers (and by random strangers, I mean Wanderer).

If you’ve never been to Oktoberfest, there is absolutely NO WAY to prepare for it.


This isn’t just a bunch of beer tents and people getting drunk. This is an entire amusement park built around it! Complete with full-sized roller coasters, carousels, and ferris wheels!

Cause, you know. Fast, nausea-inducing G-forces is clearly the appropriate palette cleanser after an entire day of drinking.

“Eins! Zwei! Drei! Prost!!!”

That’s the only German we know, but BOY did we get our mileage out of that phrase that day.

Incidentally, MAN can Germans drink. I thought Wanderer could pound them back but these guys take alcoholism to a whole new art form. Between the two of us, we managed to finish only 3 STEINS (6 pints). And this was spread over 8 hours of drinking!

Our German friend Jerg had 12! 12 STEINS. And he was completely coherent the entire time too! How is that even possible?!?

Oh Pretzel, you were my first true love…

Somehow, I managed not to have a killer hangover the next day, and dragged Wanderer up a mountain to see the inspiration for “Disney’s Cinderella castle”:



I’m not sure if it was a coincidence or not, but driving up to the castle, we could see a thick soup of fog surrounding it, all mystical looking, making the castle like it floated straight out of a fairytale.




And just as I suspected, hordes and hordes of tourists crowded the entrance. I was scratching my head wondering how the heck we’d ever be able to get in, until I remember, wait, this is Germany we’re talking about. Of course the trips are going to be organized with ruthless German efficiency. And I was quickly proven right when the guides told us we could purchase a guided tour without lining up, and that our ticket would show up on the airport-style electronic bulletin board when it was our time to go. Ah, Germans.

Most of the tours were already full, but luckily, we managed to nab the 2nd last one. So if you ever go to visit Neuschwanstein make sure you get there super early.

Normally, I prefer going off on our own, but I could see in this case, without the organized tours, there’s no way anyone would see anything.

And the tour proved to be well worth the price, as the backstory of Ludwig II of Bavaria, was pretty bizarre and interesting.



King Ludwig, was a pretty eccentric dude, who frequently liked to immerse himself in building fantasy castles, rather than tackle his kingdom’s actual problems of invading armies and national debt. In fact, his cliff-top fairytale castle took SO long to build (over 16 years) and racked SO much debt, it bankrupted him with a debt of over $14 Million marks back in 1885.

Not only was it situated on top of a cliff, with breathtaking views (see above), it even had a cave, named “Ludwig’s Grotto”. Yup. A freaking cave inside of an already ridiculously fairytale castle on top of a cliff. Hugh Hefner would’ve been proud. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures but just picture something Donald Trump would build in his penthouse if he were a bat.

Unfortunately, King Ludwig’s extravagances and eccentricities caught up with him, in 1886, when his enemies had him declared insane and forced him to leave the castle.

Not long after, his body was found in shallow water, after he went for a stroll around the castle. Even though he was a very strong swimmer and no water was found in his lungs, his death was ruled “suicide from drowning”.

Seems legit.

I guess people weren’t a big fan of him blowing their taxes on fairytale castles. Oops.

Cost Breakdown (in CAD dollars, per couple):

Category Cost/couple/day (CAD) Thoughts
Accommodations $94 Found a nice place through AirBNB. Pretty pricey because it was during Oktoberfest, but wasn’t a huge deal since we only stayed 4 days.
Food $39 Beer at Oktoberfest was pretty pricey ($12 Euros per stein + tip) and we bought a couple of beers for our new friends, but it as worth it! And since we mostly cooked for the 4 days, we were able to drop our food costs substantially. Love Germany and their cheap groceries!
Attractions $16.50 The castle costs 12 Euros per person, and we went on 1 walking tour for 10 Euros per person. Spreading that cost over 4 days, that works out to be only $16.50 per day. The other attractions (parks, Oktoberfest entrance) ended up being free.
Transportation $24 The AirBNB was right in the center of town, so we could walk to everything. The only cost is the $38 Euros for the bus ride from Zurich to Munich, and the $25 Euros train ride from Munich to the castle.
Total: $173.50

Rating: 4/5 Beer Steins

Munich turned out to be pretty pricey, but since we only stayed there for 4 days, it didn’t do much to our budget. Plus we got to see a fancy fairytale castle built by a mad king, and drink until we can’t feel our faces. Good times!

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26 thoughts on “Let’s Go Exploring! Oktoberfest in Munich”

  1. Bavaria, what a beautiful place; I love it! I’m so envy that you guys can already focus on travelling.

    King Ludwig obviously hasn’t read your “Murdering Your Kingdom’s Debt” post 🙂

    1. Pretty awesome place! Did you guys learn that he was building 7 castles at the same time! He was pretty legit haha. I visited this place once, I liked the bedroom which took something like 7 years to complete (if I remember correctly).

      1. Yeah, now that you mention it, I do remember the guide saying something like that. Man, that King Ludwig really was “out there”, but when he commits, he commits. Too bad that ended up getting HIM committed and killed.

    1. Done by Forty, if you are going to be in Berlin make sure you go to the Checkpoint Charlie Museum. It is awesome. You need at least half a day there!

      Firecracker – I remember that castle and the Grotto…the guy had quite the imagination LOL!

    2. I know, right? Pathetic. The Germans totally drank us under the table.

      Have fun in Berlin! Heard great things about it.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I always stayed away from Munich during Oktoberfest thinking everything gets so expensive. I like your cost accounting! Pretty reasonable prices for the peak season! Oktoberfest will now be in the To-Do list for us. Prosit!
    Sorry about the one bad experience in Munich though. Maybe it’s just a European thing. Or the Lederhosn (leather shorts) made him do that.

    1. We had heard of the inflated costs during Oktoberfest, but did it anyway because…c’mon, it’s Oktoberfest!

      You should definitely go! It’s one of those “bucket list” items. And yeah, the groper’s Lederhosn was probably way too tight…cut off circulation to his brain.

  3. Very cool! Did you rent a car to drive up to the castle or take a taxi from the train station?

    And of the castles you toured in Germany (or elsewhere) was this one of your favorites? There seems to be a hundred different castles you can tour and we’re having a hard time narrowing it down for our trip next summer. Munich is on our planned route as of right now but might get cut (trying to limit the number of stops in Germany!).

    1. This castle is essentially THE castle to see (from the outside) but it wasn’t ever finished. Hohenschwangau the castle below this one where he grew up is apparently prettier inside. We didn’t have time to see both.

      However, if you’re into ruins, hope across the border into Austria And climb up to the ruins of Ehrenberg above Reutte. It’s 20 minutes away from Fussen. Worth the hike for the view alone.

    2. That was a bus which ran from the station to the castle. Super cheap and convenient. I think most people took the train and bus. Not sure how much parking cost or whether they was any parking.

      Neuschwanstein definitely stood out. I really liked Hampton Court in England, and Edinburgh castle in Scotland as well, but Neuschwanstein has insanely beautiful views (it’s on top of cliff!!!) that was unmatched. And not only that, there’s this beautiful lake around the castle that you can hike around (will take around 1 hour). So lots of bang for your buck. Your kiddos will feel like they’re in a fairytale.

      If Munich doesn’t fit into your schedule, go to Paris and see Palace of Versailles instead! That is the castle to beat ALL castles. Could be extremely crowded though…

      1. I think we’ll reserve Paris and UK for another trip. Already doing 9 countries in 9 weeks and I’m really thinking about cutting out a couple of stops along the way 🙂

        That train then bus combo looks like a winner. I’m hoping to avoid renting a car in general because I’d be paying to upgrade to an automatic and seems like buses and trains are so much easier. And I can also drink steins of beer without worrying about driving later. 🙂

        1. Yeah, 9 countries in 9 weeks is more than enough. And I highly recommend trains and buses in Europe. Cost effective AND efficient. We took one look at the crazy road signs, thought about driving on the opposite side, and said “nope”. Also, with alcohol so cheap, we didn’t want to hold back just for the driving.

          1. Oh, I have no problem with bus and train and prefer it if I don’t have a free car handy (though all my driving around Toronto would lead you to believe otherwise 🙂 ). Especially if the road signs aren’t in English. I’m still paranoid that there are many tourist destinations that aren’t reachable by transit but then I forget “It’s Europe; they’ve got shit figured out!”.

            As far as driving on the opposite side of the road, they drive on the right in continental Europe, right? UK are the backwards folks.

            As for our schedule, I feel like it’s going to be hectic with around 3.5-4 nights per destination on average (though it’ll be more like 5 nights in one place, 2 nights in the next most likely). I’m looking for destinations to cull from the itinerary but it’s like picking which child you don’t love. Could I really skip Budapest? Berlin? Prague? Vienna? Venice?

            1. “UK are the backwards folks.”
              Or maybe we’re the backwards ones 😛

              “I’m looking for destinations to cull from the itinerary but it’s like picking which child you don’t love.”
              HA HA. Well put.

              “Could I really skip Budapest? Berlin? Prague? Vienna? Venice?”.
              …hm…tough call. I’ve never been to Berlin, so can’t comment on that one. Of the rest, I’d say if I had to choose only 50%, I’d pick Prague and Venice. But that’s just me. Keep in mind, Vienna and Venice are definitely on the pricey side. Prague was insanely good value and so was Budapest. Venice, on the other hand, really stood because of it’s uniqueness. Vienna was very opulent…like Paris…but I liked Paris better.

    1. Pretzels weren’t the most delicious or appetizing thing we ate there, but it went REALLY well with the beer. If I had drank that much on an empty stomach, we definitely wouldn’t have made it to the castle the next day.

      Happy vacation and drink lots of booze!

  4. You guys are having too much fun. There ought to be a law against that, that’s right I forgot. There is, they come under the name of ’employer’ and you guys fired that law enforcer way back. Enjoy!

  5. Just curious. How different was Oktoberfest than in KW? I had a lot of fun here but that was many years ago.

    The castle looks so beautiful!

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