Surprisingly, Oktoberfest kicks off in Munich mid September and last just over two weeks. The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810 in honor of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, and has since evolved to what it is today. Although the dates were moved to September as the nights were warmer, the last weekend of events will always be in October!
Oktoberfest is a huge celebration of German culture (especially beer), with traditional costume parades, large scale beer tents, Bavarian costume, brass bands and family friendly entertainment. Over six million visitors flock to Munich each year to enjoy the celebrations, so if you’re thinking of attending this year then it’s worth doing your research and booking your spot in the beer tents early.
So, here’s what we recommend:
Embrace the culture – Oktoberfest is all about embracing the German Bavarian culture so enjoy it and get involved. The traditional clothing for Oktoberfest for men is the famous Lederhosen and for women the Drindl. Wearing traditional dress is encouraged, so if you really want to feel like one of the locals then get stuck in!
See the opening of the first barrel – If you are in Munich right at the start of the festival, then watching the opening of the barrel is the perfect way to kick things off. The town mayor opens the barrel in the Schottenhammel tent at 12 noon. Once the barrel has been opened, 12 cannon shots are fired from the steps of the Bavaria statue.
Try different beers – This is an obvious one, but with so much on offer it’s easy to get overwhelmed. With over 30 small and large beers tents to explore, there’s something to suit every taste with different things going on in each.
See the parade – The traditional costumes parade takes place Every first Oktoberfest Sunday. Breweries and landlords travel through the town on various floats and horse drawn carts in traditional clothing. It’s a great way to start off the day and is a great photo opportunity.
Pace yourself– Drinking starts from 9am and if you want to get a seat in a beer tent then you should get there early or pre book. Also make sure you try the delicious food on offer throughout the festival, a bratwurst is a tasty way to line your stomach.
Family affair – It’s also worth noting that despite the beer heavy theme, Oktoberfest is not just for adults. There’s plenty for families to enjoy with designated family days on Tuesdays where the fairground rides and entertainment cost less.
Tempted to explore Oktoberfest? Search all of our Munich hotels for the perfect festival base.