• 13 September 2019

What is Oktoberfest?

Oktoberfest is the world’s largest folk festival, hosted each year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. The first-ever Oktoberfest was a marriage celebration for the Bavarian crown prince Ludwig and Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen on 12 October 1810. The festival date was later moved to September to allow for better weather conditions, but the name stuck.

Festival-goers were entertained by traditions such as tree climbing contests, sack races and goose chases. After a successful first Oktoberfest, it was decided that the horse races will be repeated the following year and so it did. Years later, carousels, swings and beer stands were added for visitors – the start of Oktoberfest as we know it today!

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MUNICH: Historic fairgrounds, Theresienwiese , outside of Munich. It’s referred to by the locals as the ‘Wies’n’

Today Oktoberfest is a 16-day festival that attracts literally millions of people from all over the world! More than 6 million people attended Oktoberfest in 2017, drinking more than 60 000 hectolitres of beer.

The big attraction is the six big breweries that serve beer in over beer 14 tents: Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, Spaten and Hofbrauhäus. But Oktoberfest is like a massive state fair and the festival fairgrounds offer something for young and old, like carnival rides, roller coasters, yodelling contest and beer tasting contests – to just name a few!  The best part is getting to know the German culture and to experience the great atmosphere of people singing and having a good time.

6 Million people attended Oktoberfest in 2015.
6 Million people attended Oktoberfest in 2015.
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Löwenbräu is a brewery in Munich and one of six official breweries at Oktoberfest.
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Traditional costume parades take place on the first Oktoberfest Sunday.

What are the official dates & the address of Oktoberfest 2019 

The original Oktoberfest in Munich is September 21st  to October 6th 2019. The festival grounds are located on the same location – the Theresienwiese, a meadow outside of Munich named after Prince Ludwig’s wife and referred to by the locals as the ‘Wies’n’. The beer tents open at 9:00 am over weekends and 10:00 am on weekdays and they stop serving beer at 10:30 pm and close the tents around 11:30 pm.

How much time do I need to experience Oktoberfest at the fullest? 

Spending one or two days at Oktoberfest is more than enough. Most of the locals join in on the fun for only a day or two and then head back home. Tourists generally stay longer, but to be honest, one can only consume so much beer and wurst. Booking out one of two days to spend at the Oktoberfest Festivities in Munich or Berlin is more than enough.

What do I wear? So glad you asked!

Dressing up for Oktoberfest is a must! Locals and visitors dress up in traditional Bavarian outfits. Men usually wear a shirt, bandana, lederhosen, suspenders, socks, shoes and hat. You can see women dressed in dirndl, blouse, apron and ribbon necklace. To look the part you can invest in expensive designer wear or simply buy a €50 outfit at any of the local stores in Munich and Berlin. Lederhosen or Dirndl of good quality cost around €150. Alternatively, outfits can also be rented for a couple of days.

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Colourful, traditional German wear – Lederhosen and Drindl.

What do you need to budget for?

  • Entrance? It’s all absolutely free of charge.
  • Oide Wiesn (Vintage Wiesen) with historical Oktoberfest museums and rides like the Witch’s Swing or the Krinoline charge about €3 for entrance (free for children under 14).
  • If you want to enter the Historical Wiesn grounds (“Historische Wiesn”) you may need to pay a small entrance fee of €3.
  • A 1 litre stein of beer will cost you about €10. Check beer prices on the official Oktoberfest Website .
  • German meals served in the tents include amazing Rotisserie chicken, Cordon Blue, Pork Knuckle and the best Schweinebraten (Bavarian style pork roast) that you’ve ever tasted in your life! €12-€20 . It’s always a good idea to eat outside the tents where more affordable meals and snacks like Bratwurst or sausages are sold for about €4.
  • If you plan to stay one whole day budget about €100 to drink 2-3 beers and eat more than once.

What food can I expect to find?

Brezeln: Pretzel
Weisswurst: White sausage (usually served for breakfast with wheat beer)
Brattwurst: Pork sausage (served with a bread roll)
Kartoffeln: Potatoes
Hendl: Rotisserie Chicken
Sauerkraut: Pickled Cabbage
Apfelstrudel: Apple Strudel
Schweinshaxe: Pickled Ham (served with sauerkraut and potatoes)
Dampfnudle: Bread dumpling (savoury dish with herbs, cheese and vegetables or as a sweet dessert with vanilla sauce and melted butter)

Top Tip! If you’re not into beer you can also attend the “Weinzelt” or “Wine Tent”, where they serve 15 different varieties of red and white German wine; or try “Weinschorle” – red or white wine mixed with sparkling water.

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Brezel stand serving delicious German Pretzels.

I can’t speak a word of German! 

It’s not a problem if you can’t speak German, most tents have English menus available and since the festival is an international tourist destination waitresses can speak basic English. Come prepared by learning some basic phrases…

Cheers!: Prost
Thank you: Danke
Please: Bitte
You’re welcome: Bitte Schön
Welcome!: Wilkommen
Yes: Ja
No: Nein
One Stein of beer please: Ein Maẞ bitte (pronounced mass) Beer is served in one-litre glass mugs or in Bavarian language a “Maẞ”.

General Oktoberfest Tips !

  • Depending on the weather, it’s generally more quiet during the week.  The earlier you go, the better the chances are of you getting a table. From around 2:30pm all the tents fill up quickly. Go from about 9:00am! Go here for a good overview of the tents and seating availability.
  • If you have a big group of friends and you don’t want to wait for seating, book a table! To book a table you have to eat and drink up to a certain amount (€300). Keep in mind that you will be seated and drinking for the whole day when there. Find relevant numbers to call here. 
  • Do not underestimate how strong German beer can be. Oktoberfest beer is known to be stronger than normal German beer. Pace yourself and stay hydrated.
  • Check the weather! Late-September is autumn and the weather tends to be unpredictable. Warm, cosy weather with a high of over 20 degrees as well as unexpected cold and rainy weather has been recorded in the past.
  • The 3rd of October is the German National Day of Unity and a bank holiday in throughout the country. All the weekend rules count!
  • Tipping is very common. In fact, it’s more like a compulsory service fee. The waitress might tell you what to pay extra, if not, at least tell her to keep the change. The waitresses serve literally thousands of people carrying about six gallons of beer at a time! In Germany, it’s also good manners to state the amount that you’re tipping rather than taking your change and then handing the tip to the server.
  • Remember that the beer mugs belong to the breweries and taking them as a souvenir can get you in deep trouble.
Festival-goers enjoying the sunny weather at Oktoberfest.
Festival-goers enjoying the sunny weather at Oktoberfest.
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Hofbrauhäus Beer Tent – Oktoberfest

What Expat Explore tours can I join to be in Munich during the festival?

Check out the latest availability on our Europe Highlights, Europe Escape, Eastern Highlights, Croatian & Eastern Delights and Ultimate Europe tour itineraries that visit Munich during Oktoberfest.

 

Questions & Comments




  1. Do you have the dates and cost for 2020?

    • Guest Explorers says:

      Hi Rita,

      How exciting that you are looking to explore with us.

      Please be advised that our annual launch for 2020 dates and rates will only be released in July 2019.

      Hope to see you aboard one of our tours soon!

  2. Bertha Martinez says:

    Can you send me a brochure?

    • Guest Explorers says:

      Hi Bertha,

      We do not provide brochures as we are an online business.

      You are able to view our site for all tour information and departures.

      Hope to see you aboard one of our tours soon!

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