We know a lot goes into planning a trip to Munich. Here are a series of frequently asked questions about Oktoberfest that we have fielded over the years.
Half of the year, the grounds are simply a public park. Around June, the tents and fun fair foundations begin their staggered process of construction with a completion date of late September, just in time for the beginning of the festival. This area hosts a space of 420,000 sq ft and is easy to get to from central Munich.
Oktoberfest begins in September and ends in October on the first Sunday in October, or on October 3, whatever is later. It lasts for at least 16 days.
The next Oktoberfest Munich dates are:
• Oktoberfest 2021: September 18 – October 3
• Oktoberfest 2022: September 17 – October 3 (Extended)
• Oktoberfest 2023: September 16 – October 3 (Extended
The first Oktoberfest was celebrated in Munich in 1810 in honor of Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The festivities began October 12, 1810, and lasted for almost a week, until October 17. The public celebrations ended with an exciting horse race. After such a spectacular party, the happy couple decided that the same type of festival should be continued annually. In the following years, the galas were repeated every October, prolonged and, eventually moved forward into September primarily because of the weather.
This is easily one of our most Frequently Asked Questions about Oktoberfest.
Every year, it’s a long process for us to book beer tent reservations, and you don’t always get exactly what you want. Every tent has its own system for booking reservations, not to mention they each start the process at different times of the year. You always have to make reservations in groups of 8-10 people, and most of the reservations go to locals who have held tables at the Wies’n for several generations.
The big tents (holding 7,000-10,000 people at a time) are the most difficult to get into and often close their doors by noon on Saturdays simply because they’re already full. It’s nearly impossible to get into a big tent without a reservation on a busy day; however, you can sometimes squeeze in with someone at a table outside and order a beer to establish your spot. If you’re already in a tent when the reservation time has expired, you can stay in that tent – you just have to find an opening at a table in a non-reserved section. Weekdays are much less crowded compared to Saturdays and weekend nights. Two people can usually find their way into a tent and find a seat to get a beer. At night it’s often too crowded to order food (unless you have vouchers with your reservation) but don’t worry; there are plenty of vendors serving hearty Bavarian food on the Oktoberfest Fair Grounds.
The Bucket List Events packages includes at least 1 beer tent reservation per person. Depending on which weekend you’re in Munich, you may end up at a big tent (5,000+ capacity) or a medium tent (under 1,000-5,000 capacity). Most reservations include 2 beers (1 liter each) and 1 food voucher (usually a chicken plate). It is sometimes possible for us to include a second beer tent reservation in your package for an additional charge – just ask!
The price for a liter of beer ranges between €8 and €9 per liter (about $10-12). A liter of table water costs about €6. Soft drinks also cost about €6-7 (you’ll usually find Coke and Spezi, a Coke/Fanta mix).
It’s safe to say that there is a noticeable increase of congestion on the Oktoberfest during the weekends, but this doesn’t necessarily mean the tent experience is any different. If you are booking during the weekdays, we do not think you are missing out on anything. No matter which day you attend, the same beer is served and tastes the same, the bands play the same songs and the food is the same.
If you are looking for the most tradition, we would recommend opening and closing weekends. There are two parades opening weekend (One on Saturday and one on Sunday) and then closing night. Each tent has their own tradition for the occasion that you cannot experience any other night of the festival.
Many people recognize the name Hofbräu and think they must go to that tent. Truthfully there is no best tent. All of the tents have a unique aspect about them but none of them are any better than the others. Locals prefer the less known tents while college kids like the Hofbräu. No matter what tent you are in your going to have the time of your life. Just don’t drink too much and take some pictures so you remember it!
While beer will be occupying just about every inch of the 420,000 square foot Oktoberfest grounds, there are some wine and champagne options at just about every tent – just ask.
Children under six-years-old must leave the tents by 8 p.m., even if they are with their parents. The tents tend to get crowded by the evening and it wouldn’t be fun for either the children or the parents to be in the tents at that time, anyway. Activities like carnival rides in the fair grounds would be more suitable for children.
Considering the amount of stores in the vicinity of your hotel, where can’t you purchase an outfit? Whether it’s in the train station or a pop-up vendor just outside the tents, the pricing is pretty consistently in the €100-125 euros. If you prefer shopping a wider variety of options, we recommend the popular department store C&A, located in the Neuhauser- and Kaufinger Straße. This is an easy walk from your hotel.
In 2019, over 7,000,000 people attended over three weeks.
As expected, the focus at Oktoberfest is the drinking, eating, cavorting and singing. It is this tradition, atmosphere and spectacle that makes it so special. To break up proceedings, you can amble through the fairground that surrounds the beer tents, where there are seemingly endless rides and carnival games in which to partake. However, if you are visiting at the right time, you may be coinciding with some of the special events that take place.
On the opening weekend, the Costume and Riflemen’s Parade sees some 7,000 costumed performers and musicians, thoroughbred horses, oxen and associated farmyard animals walk through the centre of Munich to celebrate the Oktoberfest’s opening weekend. If the weather holds, an open-air concert featuring 400 musicians will take place on September 25 at the Theresienwiese.
Within Oktoberfest grounds, it varies. If you’ve got reservations and vouchers, the tip is sometimes included. In this case you do not need to give extra tip, or just if you think the service was extraordinary. If tip is not included, the waitress will tell you what the tip is. In fact, it’s not really a tip – it’s more like a “service fee”. It should be not more than 10 to 15% of the beer or food price. And yes, giving a bit of extra tip will ensure that the waitress will always serve you in time and in quality.
Only beer conforming to the Reinheitsgebot, at a minimum of 13.5% Stammwürze (approximately 6% alcohol by volume) may be served at Oktoberfest. The beer must also be brewed within the city limits of Munich. Beers meeting these criteria may be designated Oktoberfest Beer.
The breweries that can produce Oktoberfest Beer under the criteria are:
♦ Staatliches Hofbräu-München
You have a good choice of dishes. A must-try is the classic “Wiesn-Hendl” (grilled chicken), best enjoyed with French Fries. The slow-roasted, butterbasted chicken is irresistible after a few beverages. Freshly-baked and doughy, salt-strewn pretzels are delicious and extremely popular. Also expect to sample traditional sausages and the seemingly endless dessert options available at Oktoberfest.
All the tents have English menus, so feel free to ask your waitress for it.
HERE is more about the specific foods at Oktoberfest
We say that up to two Mass beers (two liters) are OK. This can typically be handled by normal folks without any serious problems. With three Mass (three liters) you will quickly approach the borderline. The beers are large and pack a punch.
This will not be a problem. The language sections of the travel guidebook usually contains the German translations for relevant dialogue, so you are able to sneak by if needed. Again, most tents also have English menus, so ask for them if you are not comfortable ordering in German.
There are enough facilities in the tents. But in a tent with thousands of people drinking thousands of liters of beer there also is a clear need for these! For men, this usually means a wait between 5 and 10 minutes in the line. For women, this usually means a wait between 10 and 20 minutes in the line.
Beer Serving Hours are typically 10 AM to 10:30 PM on weekdays, and 9 am to 10:30 PM on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. At 10:30 PM the band will stop playing, the lights will go on, and the waitresses will start to clean the tables around you. Typically you will have left by 10:50 PM.
The highlight event of the Wies’n is the Oktoberfest Costume and Riflemen’s Parade. The parade occurs on the first Wies’n Sunday of Oktoberfest. It starts at 10am and lasts about 3 hours. More than 7,000 performers will participate along the 7 kilometer (5 mile) parade route.
Other important events include the Parade of Oktoberfest Landlords and Breweries, the Official Tapping of the Keg on Opening Day (at the Schottenhamel tent), the Oktoberfest Mass, the Böllerschießen (handheld canon salute) in front of the Bavaria statue, and the Open-Air Oktoberfest Music Concert Fest.
Yes, it’s very safe. But just like any travel/festival experience, be aware of your surroundings. Keep money is a safe place (not in your back pocket). Everyone is really friendly but of course with so much bier, you’re bound to see some altercations. Security is very present in the tents and Polizei outside the tents.
Munich is a large city with a plethora of things to do as a tourist. Your package with Oktoberfest Tours comes with a bike tour of many of Munich’s famous attractions, including the English Gardens, as well as a trip to the famous Neuschwanstein Castle.
Here are some common destinations of our guests:
♦ Olympic stadium and Olympic park
♦ BMW World & BMW Headquarters
♦ Isar River
♦ Deutsches Museum
♦ Schloss Nymphenburg (Palace)
♦ Hofgarten and Residenz
♦ Neues Rathaus
♦ Allianz Arena (Home of FC Bayern Munich)
♦ Dachau Concentration Camp
Oktoberfest began as the marriage ceremony between Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese on October 12, 1810. All of the townspeople were invited to attend the festival, which took place in the fields outside of the city gates. Following the wedding the fields were named Theresienwiese after the Princess, and the party was such a hit that the townspeople asked King Ludwig to continue the celebration the following year. Oktoberfest in 2017 will mark the 210th anniversary of the festivities.
Want to get a custom quote for your Oktoberfest trip and get more details? Fill out the form and our Oktoberfest event manager will respond to you shortly.
Due to the cancellation of the 2020 Oktoberfest, our 2021 program is filling up faster than usual. Please note that some 2021 dates may already be sold out.