- Location: Munich in Germany
- Time to Visit: Held in Munich, Bavaria, the name of the festival was given so as it begins in September and ends on the first Sunday in October. The dates of the coming years’ Oktoberfest are:
2009: September 19 – October 4
2010: September 18 – October 3
2011: September 17 – October 3
- Admission Fee: $5.00 for 16 and above on Friday, $5.00 on Saturday and free admission on Sunday. Kids under 16 are free all three days
- How to Reach: The public transports to reach Oktoberfest are S-Bahn: all the lines from S1 to S8 to Hackerbrucke
S-Bahn: S7 and S27 to Heimeranplatz, then take the U4 or U5
U-Bahn: U3 and U6 to Goetheplatz and PoccistraíŸe
U-Bahn: U4 and U5 to Theresienwiese or Schwanthalerhohe
- Nearest Railway Station: Hauptbahnhof
- Nearest International Airport: Munich
Visit the Hofbrauhaus Festzelt tent at your own risk. The locals consider the beer to be terrible, and most serious travelers think it is too touristy, packed with fun-seeking Americans, Australians, and New Zealanders. It is great to meet your countrymen on foreign lands, but you really want to soak in the real and authentic experience, so you can carry great memories back home. Therefore, follow the old adage (with a little appropriation): when in Munich, do as the Bavarians do, and the Bavarians avoid Hofbrau. Hippodrome, Schottenhamel, and Armbrustschí¼tzenzelt are some of their favorites, mainly because they are more than just party places serving beer and great wines — they have a tradition, and that is what Oktoberfest is all about — tradition. Tradition manifests itself at every ledge of Oktoberfest — the costumes, the songs, the brass bands (okay, Haker Festzelt does have a rock band) and the traditional greetings.
However, Oktoberfest is also a place where diverse cultures meet and interact. It attracts thousands of tourists not only from different corners of Germany but from all corners of the world. Get tipsy, but not drunk — do not miss out on the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends.
With some 6 million people attending every year, the the16-day festival of Oktoberfest, Germany or Wiesn is one of the greatest events all over the world. Oktoberfest beers are the beers that have been served at this popular event in Munich, the bustling metropolitan hub of Bavaria, since 1818.
Historical Overview of Oktoberfest in Munich
The first-ever Festival of Oktoberfest of Munich was held in the year 1810 to celebrate a royal wedding with horse races and various gastronomic delights and since then, the Munich Beer Festival continues to be held almost on an annual basis. The culinary delights, especially the beer, became more popular than the wedding ceremony and horse races.
The beer of Oktoberfest is available in two flavors — ‘Pils’, also known as ‘Helles’, which stands for light and a darker brew called ‘Dunkel’, the German word for dark. Apart from them, a special type of Oktoberfest brew is also offered and it is known as ‘Wiesnbier’.
Today, the Oktoberfest attracts a large number of visitors, is the largest festival worldwide. Apart from beer tents, the festival offers various other types of enjoyments like circus appearances, festival parades, live brass bands, and roller coasters. It is a great place to hang around, with or without family.
The opening of the traditional ceremony begins at noon. The Mayor arrives in a festive coach which is followed by a gorgeously decorated horse-drawn brewer’s cart. Guests and staff along with the numerous brass bands, all wearing traditional costumes (lederhosen and dirndls), welcome him. He formally declares the fest open by tapping the first mug of beer at Schottenhamel, the oldest of the tents, still a favorite among youngsters.
There are other important events such as the Parade of Oktoberfest Landlords and Breweries, the Official Tapping of the Keg, the Oktoberfest Mass, BollerschieBen and so on.
- Beer serving hours in the tents: 10 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. on holidays
- Daily tent closing time: 11:30 p.m.
- Opening hours for carnival and rides: 10 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. (Monday — Thursday), 10 a.m. — 12 a.m. (Friday and Saturday) and 10 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. (Sunday and holidays)
Where to stay during Oktoberfest
Starting from luxury hotels, there is plenty of budgets and cheap accommodation in Munich, the capital city of Bavaria on the Isar River. They offer comfortable lodging tinged with convenient facilities and a wide array of hospitality services.
Those who are coming to Oktoberfest can reside at the accommodation of Hotel Alpen, Hotel Kraft, Hotel Seibel, Hotel Tryp, Hotel Uhland.
You must savor the traditional delicacies such as Hendl (chicken), Schweinsbraten (roast pork), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Wurstel (sausages) along with Brezel (Pretzel), Knodeln (potato or bread dumplings), Kasespatzle (cheese noodles), Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), Sauerkraut or Blaukraut (red cabbage).
You can bring the Oktoberfest beer mugs as souvenirs. They are made from heavy glass and usually have an attractive brewery logo on the side. There is a general Oktoberfest souvenir mug, made of clay and it shows the Oktoberfest poster of each year.
Things to do
The breweries of Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbrau, Lowenbrau, Paulaner, and Spaten are together known as the ‘Big Six’. Check them out, but check out the others too. You may be in for a pleasant surprise. Munich in itself is a wonderful destination. It has numerous discos, beer halls, cinemas, theaters, classical music and opera venues scattered all over the city. You can also go to visit the famous attractions of Munich such as Deutsches Museum, Frauenkirche, Marienplatz, Peterskirche and Rathaus.
Click on the links below for some first-hand tourist info and audio-visual information on Germany’s favorite festival:
http://www.oktoberfest.de/en/: If you are planning to participate in Oktoberfest 2009, check this site out for authentic travelers’ information as well as some cool merchandise. Buy your official Oktoberfest tees from here.
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/blogs/travel_blog/2007/09/mass-hysteria-at-old-munichs.html: An exciting personal account of Oktoberfest that catches the excitement of the festival in a very honest manner.
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=YBy56or9x7Y: For a complete immersion in the myriad sights and sounds of the colorful Oktoberfest, watch this video! Get to know the most popular, and the not so popular, tents in the festival as well as local customs, dresses, and food.
http://www.lonelyplanet.tv/Clip.aspx?key=6B6936BD35B9078C: Another wonderful clip that beautifully catches the spirit of the Oktoberfest. To get some valuable local knowledge on the fest from people who have all about it all along with their lives, watch this video!
http://www.travelpod.com/travel-photo/laine/europe/1222263000/munichx-oktoberfest.jpg/tpod.html: For exciting snapshots of the Oktoberfest, watch this! A large of photographs that catch the spirit of the festival from different angles and points of view.