As one of the world’s largest festivals, Oktoberfest draws in millions of people each year to Munich, Germany. With its lively atmosphere, traditional music, and, of course, lots of beer, it’s no surprise that this festival is on many people’s bucket lists. If you’re a young adult traveller looking to experience Oktoberfest for the first time, or maybe just looking for some tips to make your trip even better, then this guide is for you.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Oktoberfest, from its history and traditions to the best ways to navigate the festival grounds. So, grab a beer, and let’s get started!
History of Oktoberfest In Germany
Oktoberfest has been around for over 200 years, but it didn’t start out as the beer-soaked party that it is today. The festival originated in 1810 as a celebration of the marriage between Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The event was such a success that it became an annual celebration, eventually evolving into what we now know as Oktoberfest.
Over the years, Oktoberfest has grown in popularity and size. Today, it attracts over 6 million visitors each year from all over the world. The festival is held in late September through early October and runs for 16-18 days, depending on the year.
Traditions of Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest is steeped in tradition, and there are several customs that you’ll see throughout the festival. Here are a few of the most notable traditions to look out for:
- Opening parade: The festival kicks off with a parade through the streets of Munich, featuring traditional Bavarian clothing, floats, and marching bands.
- Tapping of the keg: The official start of Oktoberfest is marked by the tapping of the first keg of beer by the Mayor of Munich. This is usually done on the first day of the festival at noon. When he shouts “O’zapft is!”, the party is in full swing!
- Dirndl and Lederhosen: Traditional Bavarian clothing is worn throughout the festival, with women wearing dirndls (a dress with a fitted bodice, full skirt, and apron) and men wearing lederhosen (a type of short trousers made of leather).
- Oompah bands: You’ll hear plenty of oompah music throughout the festival, which is a traditional Bavarian style of music that features brass instruments, accordions, and tubas.
- Beer tents: The heart of Oktoberfest is the beer tents, which are massive structures that can hold thousands of people each. Each beer tent is sponsored by a different brewery and features its own unique atmosphere and decorations.
Navigating the festival grounds
With over 30 beer tents and millions of visitors, navigating Oktoberfest can be a bit overwhelming. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your time at the festival:
- Arrive early: The festival grounds can get very crowded, especially on the weekends. If you want to snag a spot in one of the beer tents, it’s best to arrive early in the day.
- Choose your tent wisely: Each beer tent has its own unique vibe, so it’s worth doing some research ahead of time to find the one that suits you best. Some tents are more traditional and family-friendly, while others are more party-focused.
- Make a reservation: If you’re planning to visit Oktoberfest on a weekend, it’s a good idea to make a reservation in one of the beer tents. This will guarantee you a spot inside, even if the tent is full.
- Pace yourself: With so much beer flowing, it’s important to pace yourself and drink responsibly. The beer served at Oktoberfest is stronger than what you might be used to, so take it slow and alternate with water or other non-alcoholic drinks.
- Try the food: While beer is the main attraction at Oktoberfest, the food is also a highlight. Be sure to try traditional Bavarian dishes like schnitzel, sausages, and pretzels.
- Take breaks: With all the noise and crowds, it can be easy to get overwhelmed at Oktoberfest. Take breaks throughout the day to rest, recharge, and soak in the atmosphere.
Getting to Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest is held at the Theresienwiese fairgrounds in Munich, which is easily accessible by public transportation. Here are a few options for getting to the festival:
- Train: Munich has a well-connected train system, and the Theresienwiese fairgrounds are just a short walk from the main train station.
- Bus: There are several bus lines that run to the festival grounds, and some even offer shuttle service directly to the beer tents.
- Walk: If you’re staying in the city centre, you can easily walk to the festival grounds. It’s about a 20-30 minute walk from the Marienplatz, depending on your pace.
What beer is served at Oktoberfest?
When it comes to Oktoberfest, beer is the star of the show. But what kind of beer can you expect to find at the festival? The answer lies in the traditional German beer style known as Oktoberfestbier, or Märzen.
Oktoberfestbier is a malty, amber-coloured lager that is typically brewed in the spring and aged over the summer months. It has a medium body, with a sweet, bready flavor and a mild hop bitterness. The alcohol content is higher than your typical lager, ranging from 5.5% to 6.5%.
At Oktoberfest in Germany, you’ll find several breweries serving up their own versions of Oktoberfestbier. The six breweries that are officially sanctioned by the festival are:
- Hofbräu München
Each brewery has its own tent at the festival grounds, with plenty of seating, food, and of course, beer. In addition to Oktoberfestbier, you may also find other types of beer being served, such as wheat beers, pilsners, and stouts.
If you prefer not to drink alcohol at Oktoberfest in Germany, you can always get water and soft drinks. The cost of a litre of water is about six euros. Soft drinks are about €6-7 euros as well.
FIND AN OKTOBERFEST TOUR
What are the tents at Oktoberfest?
The beer tents at the Munich Oktoberfest attract millions of visitors each year and range from 1,000 – 8,500 seats and are owned by various restaurants, breweries and local establishments. Oktoberfest in Germany features 14 large beer tents, each with its own unique atmosphere and charm. Some of the most popular tents at Oktoberfest include:
- Hofbräu Festzelt
- Paulaner Festzelt
- Augustiner Festhalle
- Schottenhamel Festhalle
- Hacker-Pschorr Festhalle
These tents are known for their lively atmosphere, great beer, and festive decor. However, it’s worth exploring all of the tents to find your favourite, as each one has its own unique vibe and experience to offer.
If you’re looking for something a little more intimate, check out the Augustiner Festhalle or the Ochsenbraterei.
These smaller tents have limited seating, so be sure to get there early if you want a spot! Beer-serving hours are typically 10am to 10:30pm on weekdays.
Where to stay
If you’re planning to visit Oktoberfest, it’s best to book your accommodation well in advance. Here are a few options to consider:
- Hostels: Munich has several hostels that cater to budget travellers, with prices ranging from €20-€50 per night. Hostels are a great way to meet other travellers and get a sense of the festival’s lively atmosphere.
- Hotels: If you’re looking for a bit more comfort and privacy, there are plenty of hotels in Munich to choose from. Prices vary depending on the level of luxury and proximity to the festival grounds.
- Airbnb: If you’re travelling with a group, an Airbnb rental might be a good option. You can find apartments and houses for rent in Munich, with prices starting around €50 per night.
- Onsite in tents: Tour operators such as Stoke Travel offer the option to stay onsite in tents at Oktoberfest, providing a unique and social way to fully immerse oneself in the festival experience.
Tips for a great Oktoberfest experience
- Dress the part: While it’s not required to wear traditional Bavarian clothing, it’s definitely part of the fun. Consider investing in a dirndl or lederhosen, or at the very least, wearing something festive and comfortable.
- Learn some German: While many locals in Munich speak English, it’s always appreciated if you make an effort to speak a bit of German. Learn a few basic phrases like “Prost!” (cheers), “Danke” (thank you), “Hallo” (hello), and “Bitte” (please), and you’ll be well on your way.
- Have fun!: Finally, remember that Oktoberfest is all about having fun and enjoying the lively atmosphere. Don’t take yourself too seriously and let loose a bit. You’ll make memories that will last a lifetime.
More: Read our guide on how to say hello in different languages.
What else is there to do at Oktoberfest besides drinking?
There’s plenty to do at Oktoberfest beside drinking!
The fairground is packed with rides and games, and there are also plenty of stalls selling traditional German food and souvenirs.
If you’re feeling a bit more active, there are always the traditional Bavarian folk dances to watch, or you could join in a game of “jumping on the goat” (a traditional Oktoberfest game where contestants try to jump up and touch a goat’s horns).
The traditional costumes are another fun way to get involved and are worn for the entire duration of Oktoberfest. If you’re feeling a bit more creative, there’s always the chance to design and customise your own Oktoberfest outfit.
What are the best Oktoberfest tours?
When it comes to Oktoberfest tours for young adults, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are some of the best tours operated by reputable tour operators:
- Topdeck: Topdeck offers a range of Oktoberfest packages, including camping and hostel options, as well as festival entry tickets and guided tours of the festival grounds.
- Smart Trip: Smart Trip offers a variety of Oktoberfest packages, with options for accommodation, transportation, and festival entry tickets. Their tours are designed to give you a taste of Bavarian culture and traditions.
- Contiki: Contiki offers a range of Oktoberfest packages, with options for accommodation, transportation, and festival entry tickets. Their tours are designed for young adults and offer a fun and social atmosphere.
- Bus2alps: Bus2alps offers a range of Oktoberfest packages, including camping and hostel options, as well as festival entry tickets and guided tours of the festival grounds.
- Thirsty Swagman: Thirsty Swagman offers a range of Oktoberfest packages, including VIP access to the festival, guided tours of Munich, and access to exclusive parties and events.
- Euroadventures: Euroadventures offers a variety of Oktoberfest packages, including hostel and hotel options, as well as festival entry tickets and guided tours of the festival grounds.
- Insight Vacations: Insight Vacations offers a more upscale Oktoberfest experience, with guided tours of the festival grounds and access to exclusive events and parties.
- Stoke Travel: Stoke Travel offers a range of Oktoberfest packages, including camping and hostel options, as well as festival entry tickets and access to their own private campsite with live music and entertainment.
- Evergreen Tours: Evergreen Tours offers a range of Oktoberfest packages, including accommodation and festival entry tickets, as well as guided tours of the festival grounds and surrounding areas.
For young adults looking to experience Oktoberfest in Germany, there are many tours available to choose from, each providing a unique and unforgettable festival experience. Whether you’re seeking a budget-friendly camping trip or a more luxurious guided tour, there’s an Oktoberfest tour to suit your preferences.
To find the operator that’s right for you, check out our comprehensive list of the best Oktoberfest tour operators for young adults.
Top Oktoberfest tips
If you’re thinking of attending Oktoberfest in Germany, here our our top tips:
- Dress the part in a traditional Lederhosen or Dirndl
- Make sure to bring cash as many tents only accept cash over card
- Remember to tip your server
- Don’t try to steal a maß (stein glass)
- Learn a few useful German words
- If possible, book your trip months in advance
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Bring a small back/bumbag. Anything over 3 litres is not allowed inside the tents
- Pace yourself
- Don’t bring valuables
The official dates for the 188th Oktoberfest have been announced, and the festival is scheduled to take place from September 16 to October 3, 2023, on the Theresienwiese fairgrounds in Munich. This means that the festival will last for a total of 18 days, allowing attendees ample time to experience all that Oktoberfest has to offer.
As always, it’s important to stay informed of any updates or changes to the schedule by checking the official Oktoberfest website.
Getting tickets to Oktoberfest can be a bit tricky, as they tend to sell out quickly. Here are a few options for getting your hands on tickets:
- Official website: The official Oktoberfest website offers advance tickets for sale online. These tickets are typically available a few months before the festival begins and can sell out quickly.
- Tour operators: Some tour operators, such as Topdeck, Contiki, and Stoke Travel, offer package tours to Oktoberfest that include accommodation, transportation, and festival entry tickets. This can be a convenient option for those looking for a hassle-free experience.
Check out these Oktoberfest package tours that include your entry ticket in the tour price.
- Beer tent reservations: If you’re planning to visit a specific beer tent, it’s possible to make a reservation for a table in advance. Some beer tents require a minimum group size or a deposit to secure a reservation.
Oktoberfest in Germany is known for its festive and traditional dress, and it’s definitely part of the fun to dress up for the occasion. Here are a few tips on what to wear to Oktoberfest:
- Dirndl: A dirndl is a traditional Bavarian dress that is commonly worn by women at Oktoberfest. It typically consists of a blouse, bodice, and full skirt, often with an apron tied around the waist.
- Lederhosen: Lederhosen are traditional Bavarian shorts made of leather, often worn with suspenders and a checked shirt. They are a popular choice for men at Oktoberfest.
- Comfortable shoes: With all the walking, standing, and dancing that goes on at Oktoberfest, it’s important to wear comfortable shoes. Opt for closed-toe shoes with a sturdy sole, as the festival grounds can be uneven and slippery.
- Warm layers: While the weather in Germany during Oktoberfest can be mild, it’s important to be prepared for cooler temperatures. Bring a light jacket or sweater that you can easily take on and off as needed.
- Festive accessories: To really get into the spirit of Oktoberfest, consider adding some festive accessories to your outfit. For women, this might include a flower crown or Bavarian hat, while men might opt for a feathered cap or traditional Alpine hat.
In conclusion, dressing up for Oktoberfest is part of the fun, and it’s a great way to immerse yourself in the festival’s lively atmosphere. Whether you choose to wear a dirndl, lederhosen, or simply something festive and comfortable, be sure to wear shoes that are suitable for standing and walking, and bring a light jacket or sweater in case the weather turns cooler.
There are 14 large beer tents at Oktoberfest in Germany, each with its own unique atmosphere and charm. Here are a few of the most popular tents to visit:
- Hofbräu Festzelt: This tent is known for its lively atmosphere and raucous party vibe, with live music and plenty of beer flowing.
- Paulaner Festzelt: This tent is a bit more laid-back than some of the others, with a focus on traditional Bavarian food and beer.
- Augustiner Festhalle: This tent is one of the oldest and most traditional at Oktoberfest, with a cozy atmosphere and a focus on high-quality beer.
- Schottenhamel Festhalle: This tent is famous for its opening ceremony, in which the mayor of Munich taps the first keg of beer to officially kick off the festival.
- Hacker-Pschorr Festhalle: This tent is known for its large outdoor beer garden and cozy interior, with a focus on traditional Bavarian culture.
It’s worth noting that each tent has its own unique vibe and atmosphere, so it’s worth exploring a few different ones to find your favorite. Additionally, some of the smaller tents can offer a more intimate and authentic Oktoberfest experience. As always, be sure to pace yourself and drink responsibly while enjoying the festival.
Oktoberfest in Germany is a 16-day festival celebrating Bavarian culture and traditions, featuring an abundance of beer, food, music, carnival rides, and games. Visitors from all over the world gather to enjoy the festivities, with the main attraction being the massive beer tents operated by Munich’s breweries, serving traditional Bavarian beer and food to millions of visitors.
In addition to the beer tents, Oktoberfest also boasts a wide range of carnival rides, games, and attractions that are sure to delight visitors of all ages. From roller coasters and Ferris wheels to bumper cars and merry-go-rounds, there is no shortage of entertainment options at the festival. Furthermore, visitors can also enjoy traditional Bavarian music and dance performances, as well as explore the various souvenir and craft vendors that line the festival grounds. Overall, Oktoberfest is an unparalleled celebration of Bavarian culture and a must-visit event for anyone who loves beer, food, and fun.
While Oktoberfest in Germany is undoubtedly famous for its beer consumption, the festival is not solely focused on drinking. In fact, the event is a celebration of Bavarian culture, cuisine, and traditions, with a wide range of entertainment and activities that go beyond drinking.
Visitors can enjoy traditional Bavarian food, such as sausages, pretzels, and roasted meats, as well as explore the carnival rides, games, and attractions that are available at the festival. Additionally, visitors can also take in traditional Bavarian music and dance performances, shop for souvenirs, and immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere of the festival. So while beer is certainly a big part of the celebration, Oktoberfest is about much more than just drinking.
Moreover, Oktoberfest also has a rich history and cultural significance beyond the beer consumption. The festival originated in 1810 as a celebration of the wedding between Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, and has since become an integral part of Bavarian culture and identity. The festival also showcases traditional Bavarian clothing, such as dirndls and lederhosen, and promotes cultural activities such as parades and music performances.
Overall, while beer certainly plays a large role in the festival, Oktoberfest is a celebration of Bavarian culture and traditions that goes far beyond drinking.
Visitors to the Oktoberfest festival grounds are allowed to bring their own beverages; however, glass bottles and drinks are not permitted inside the tents or beer gardens. This policy aims to ensure the safety of all festival-goers and prevent any potential accidents or injuries.
Visitors are encouraged to enjoy the wide selection of beer and beverages available at the festival’s various tents and beer gardens, which serve a range of traditional Bavarian beers, wines, and non-alcoholic drinks. In addition, the festival also offers a range of food and snack options, including traditional Bavarian cuisine such as sausages, pretzels, and roasted meats. With so much to see, do, and taste at Oktoberfest, visitors are sure to have an unforgettable experience celebrating Bavarian culture and traditions.
If you’re a beer lover, Oktoberfest is an absolute must-visit. With its traditional Oktoberfestbier, festive atmosphere, and delicious Bavarian food, you’re sure to have a great time sampling the different brews and soaking in the festival’s unique vibe.
To ensure that you make the most of your experience, it’s a good idea to book your Oktoberfest tour through a reputable operator like TourRadar. Their experienced guides can help you navigate the festival grounds, find the best beer tents and food vendors, and even provide historical and cultural insights into the festival. Plus, with a tour, you’ll have the convenience of transportation and accommodation already taken care of, allowing you to focus on enjoying the festival to the fullest.
So whether you’re a seasoned Oktoberfest pro or a first-time visitor, booking a tour through TourRadar can be a great way to make the most of your time at the festival. From traditional Bavarian dress to lively music and entertainment, there’s something for everyone at Oktoberfest. So raise a glass, shout “Prost!” and enjoy this iconic celebration of beer and Bavarian culture.