LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Every autumn, millions of people head to Munich to celebrate that hoppy concoction that we all know as beer. Oktoberfest, the grand German fete for the beverage made from fermented barley and yeast starts September 18.
Online travel experts cheapflights.com offers a list of the top 10 things to do in Munich during Oktoberfest. Reuters has not endorsed this list:
1.Check out the biggest tents
If you're going the festivities at the Wiesn (the main area), be sure to check out the big hitters that are well-known and highly anticipated each year. Lwenbru can't be missed -- enormous in size and known for its gigantic lion, it takes intensity for beer consumption to a higher level. On the other hand, Winzerer Fhndl is recognized for its whimsical atmosphere and tipsy sing-alongs.
2. Learn a few phrases
You don't want to be stuck in the tent and clueless on how to connect with people. Learn a few German phrases to help you stay on track.
Bierdimpfe: Notorious beer drinker, or "tavern potato."
(Hint: don't become one)
Ma: One liter of beer
Ozapfa: To tap a beer barrel
3.Take public transportation
Parking at the tents is nearly impossible, and all experts on the subject recommend taking public transportation to the main event. Also, it's fun to connect with the people of Munich and see a bit of the city on its buses and trains.
4.Check out Mike's Bike Tours.
Munich is arguably one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. With more than 15 years of experience as a mainstay tour company in both Munich and Amsterdam, Mike's Bike Tours provides four-hour tours through the city that are safe and fun.
5. Explore Marienplatz.
The city's center is a 12th-century wonder, and is known as the heart of Munich. A hub for sight-seeing, shopping and dining, Marienplatz is a perfect starting point for getting a taste of the city. You'll see Rathous, the city hall with a gigantic facade, and plenty of other 19th century Gothic architecture.
6. Shop around Viktualienmarkt
After you spend time in Marienplatz, walk over to Viktualienmarkt, a daily farmer's market where you'll find a massive variety of fresh and regional food. More than 140 colorful booths fill the area with unique flavor, as well as products from local florists, bakeries, and restaurants.
7. Grab a beer at Hofbruhaus
If you want a taste of authentic Munich brew, but don't feel like braving the storm of the Wiesn, then head to the most famous beer hall in the world -- Hofbruhaus. Built in 1589, it's filled with old, long wooden tables that have engravings of people from hundreds of years ago. All beer is served in one-liter steins and Bavarian bands play live all day.
8. Take a hike
Well, not really. Burn those beer calories by climbing up the 306 steps of Munich's oldest church, St. Peter's (called Alter Peter), and bring your camera -- the summit holds some of the most memorable views of the city. Once inside, the aesthetics continue with five Gothic paintings by Jan Polack, alters by Ignaz Gunther and a ceiling fresco by Johann Baptist Zimmermann.
9. Get back to nature
Balance all the towering architecture and rowdy beer halls with the peacefulness and serenity of the English Garden (Englischer Garten). One of the world's largest urban public parks, the English Garden is more expansive than even New York's Central Park. An artificial stream that runs through it has its own unique calling: Expert surfers come to ride the small waves at the mouth of the stream, but we don't suggest trying this after you've had a few steins.
10. Go see a castle
Tucked away in the woods of Bavaria is a 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace called Neuschwanstein Castle. Commissioned by Ludwig II, the castle is a tribute to "Mad King Ludwig's" need for a retreat from the public. The castle's rooms have a Versailles-like quality and an unmatched panoramic view of the countryside.
(Editing by Paul Casciato)