Oktoberfest: Raising a stein to beer in Munich
Oktoberfest is not just the world’s biggest (and best) beer festival, it’s also the ultimate town fair in the heart of Bavaria.
Where: Munich, Germany
When: 21 September to 6 October 2013
Then: The Oktoberfest festival started as a one-off celebratory parade of the royal wedding of Prince Ludwig to his Therese in 1810. Oktoberfest gradually grew into a horse race, and an agricultural festival and eventually blew up into the veritable orgy of food, fun and beer that it is now! Breweries have been representing their beers at the festival since 1887.
Now: Oktoberfest takes place in the 16 days leading to the first Sunday in October. In 2010, 6.5 million revellers celebrated the festival’s 200 year anniversary.
For the festival 14 large tents and 20 small tents are erected, some of them requiring three months to set up. The festival is very much a celebration of Bavarian culture, Bavaria being the southeastern most state of Germany, more so than wider German culture.
Traditional Bavarian food and dress are a big part of the festival, as is the live music that is performed in the beer halls and the heartfelt singalongs that go along with it.
During the week the opening hours are 9am — 11.30pm, on weekends 10am — 11.30pm. Last orders are at 10.30pm unless you are at the wine tent, which opens till 1am. If you haven’t got a tent reservation (which you probably don’t), aim to be at the fest by 10am on the weekend and 3pm during the week to nab a spot.
Also see: Oktoberfest’s controversial 100 club
Get there: For flights check easyJet and Air Berlin. Once in Munich, the U-Bahn (subway) line U6 runs to the stop ‘Poccistrasse’ every 24 minutes, which is about a 10-minute walk to the Oktoberfest venue.
Stay there: Though the hotels and hostels of Munich book up waaay in advance (not to mention hike their prices up) there are official campsites within a few km of the festival, with bus transport available.
The most popular are Campground Obermenzing or Campground Thalkirchen, both of which take no reservations and are first come first serve, BYO tent.
If you do not have a tent a good option is the Weisn Camp, a dedicated Oktoberfest Campsite where you can rent a tent or caravan from 48â‚¬ per night for up to 4 people.
Otherwise, an organised tour is the best hassle-free way.
Price: From £109 for 4 days
Price: Various packages at 50â‚¬ a day
Price: From £143 for 4 days
Company: PP Travel
Price: From £109 for 3 days
Cut loose at more festivals:
Travel Editor - Jennifer Perkin | Formerly Deputy Editor on In London Magazine, Jenny has travelled extensively around Europe, Asia, Africa and North America and recently worked as a tour guide in Central and South America. She still calls Australia home, although Wales does have its charms.