Here at TourRadar HQ we love getting up close and interactive with the tours we help you book. That’s why we sent our Brand Ambassador, Carly, to Oktoberfest to find out more about the camping tours to Oktoberfest offered by Topdeck, Busabout and Contiki tours. Here’s a look at her 3 day camping trip, courtesy of Topdeck Travel.
After a 4 hour train ride from Vienna I’ve arrived into the heart of Munich – and find myself surrounded by people dressed in the traditional Lederhosen & Dirndl’s, I’m officially in the heart of Oktoberfest!!. For the duration of the Oktoberfest celebrations the entire city of Munich is filled with travellers and locals dressed in the traditional leather shorts for boys (normally paired with a checkered shirt) and the adorable Dirndl dresses for girls. But more tips on outfits later – first, a peek at the campsite where I stayed with Topdeck Travel. Once I had successfully navigated the public transport to get to Campingplatz Thalkirchen, there was a lovely welcoming committee at the entrance of the campsite:
Welcoming committee at the entrance to the campsite
Busabout, Contiki Tours, Topdeck Travel and PP Travel all had their welcome desks set up and were greeting their passengers on arrival. After initial check-in, my friendly guide showed me the way to the Topdeck section of the campsite. Campingplatz Thalkirchen is pretty big, so it was a good thing they were there to show the way! The campsite itself is located in a beautiful green nature reserve complete with a zoo nearby, making a nice green escape from the chaos of the city centre and Oktoberfest grounds.. The campsite is equipped with multiple warm shower blocks, a mini-supermarket, even pop up food trucks selling hot pizza & gulash and of course, plenty of local beers were available. The Topdeck setup on the campsite is pretty impressive;
Camping at Oktoberfest at Campingplatz Thalkirchen
Tents and Lederhosen at Campingplatz Thalkirchen
Your tent will be a standard 3 person dome tent, which fits 2 people comfortably on blow up mattresses. If you’re travelling solo you’ll be paired up with another solo traveller of the same sex. Busabout, Contiki and PP Travel have a similar ‘home base’ set up in the same campsite, so if you have friends travelling on a camping trip with another company you can easily catch up with them and make your plans to conquer the beer halls. Each day your Topdeck tour will include a hot cooked breakfast made on site by the awesome Topdeck chefs and served between 7:30am and 09:30am. You’ll definitely want to get up in time for delicious scrambled eggs, fresh bacon, juice, toast and choice of cereal. Once you’ve fueled up for the day its time to jump on one of the complimentary shuttle buses. On our first day we had the option of a walking tour in the city centre of Munich or to head straight to the beer halls. To indulge my cultural side, I opted for the walking tour led by the lovely Martina. For a full proper look at the campsite and MArtina’s tour, check out our video here:
Once we had been shown the stunning Isartor Gate, the iconic Frauenkirchen and the heart of Munich city centre, we had the choice to walk with the group down to the Oktoberfest grounds or spend some free time in the city centre. Martina had shown us on the shuttle bus where the pickup and drop-off point was for shuttles later in the day – so we were free to roam on our own and enjoy the festival atmosphere and very rare sunshine of Bavaria. My travel buddies were in need of a Dirndl before we headed to the Oktoberfest grounds so we split with Martina and went bargain hunting. If you don’t have an outfit when you first get to Munich, don’t worry, there’s plenty of stores that sell them – from the tacky €20 options to fully embroidered hand-made masterpieces for €500!! We were looking for something slightly in between, so we headed to C&A (a local department store) where there was a huge range of Dirndls available for an average price of €100. When buying your outfit remember, it needs to last the long weekend and you will probably wear it again for dress up parties, Halloween and your next Oktoberfest trip, so it will be worth the investment to get one that lasts. We ended up with a colourful selection:
Happy Topdeckers at the festival grounds
Happy Topdeckers in Dirndl at the camping grounds of Oktoberfest
Once we were decked out, it was time to hit the famous festival grounds and beer halls. We were equipped with directions and insider tips from our Topdeck guides so were able to find our way to Theresienwiese and the Löwenbrau beer garden pretty easily. All that’s left to do once you’re inside the beer tents is find a seat, order your ‘Mass’ (a litre of beer) and get chatting with the others on your table – you’ll be best friends by the end of the evening! One word of advice though – the breweries increase both the price of their beers at Oktoberfest (at least €10 per Mass] and the alcoholic percentage of the beer, so pace yourself to avoid becoming one of the ‘beer corpses’ passed out on the festival grounds. Read more insider tips about Oktoberfest.
After a fun filled day at the beer halls you may be wanting to discover more about Munich and the surrounding areas. Each tour company offers optional activities for people who want to see a little more of Munich than the inside of a beer tent. With Topdeck on our second day we had the choice of a half-day trip out to the somber Dachau concentration camp and a city bike tour around Munich in the afternoon. Busabout offered a day trip out to the stunning Neuschwanstein Castle (the original Disney castle!) while PP Travel always had a party atmosphere at their campsite. No matter who you travel and camp with, you’re sure to have plenty of options to discover the surrounds of Munich.
Munich’s stunning city centre is well worth exploring
Overall the camping trip was a really fun option, for a minimal cost you get a decent nights sleep, a huge crew of people to head into the beer tents with, awesome breakfast and shuttles & walking tours to the city. You can make many friends, the atmosphere is buzzing and there’s always a crew member around to answer a question or have a laugh with. I’d definitely take a camping trip to Oktoberfest again!
Carly is a travel addicted Aussie with a bad case of Wanderlust. After a stint of backpacking Europe, touring South-East Asia and slaving away as a desk monkey for a travel agency she knew there had to be better ways to see the world. One ticket to London later she was leading group tours around Europe, running ski resorts in Tyrol and now lives and loves life in Vienna, with weekend adventures aplenty.