The Beginner’s Guide to Oktoberfest

Ocktoberfest or Wiesn as it is locally called is one of the largest beer festivals in the world that welcomes millions of beer-lovers every September and October. Held in Munich, Germany, Ocktoberfest was born out of the multiple-day wedding celebration between the crown prince of Bavaria, Prince Ludwig, and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen in 1810. And, has since become an annual two-week festival for beer and partying. It begins on the third Saturday of September and runs until the first Sunday of October. 

Here is a beginner’s guide to creating a travel itinerary and having the best vacation at Oktoberfest.

Getting There 

International travelers can land at the Munich International Airport while regional travelers in Europe can catch a train to the Munich Central Station. The best form of transportation to Oktoberfest is public transportation, even if you aren’t drinking, as it is difficult to find suitable parking due to the large crowds. Luckily, there are many bus and tram routes to Oktoberfest. The U-Bahn and S-Bahn train lines take you directly to Theresienwiese and Wiesn respectively, which are just a few minutes away from the festival. Additionally, MetroBus lines like the 53, 58 and 62 lines are ideal for heading to the festival. 

Where to Stay

The festival occurs in the center of Munich, Theresienwiese, which hosts numerous luxury and affordable hotels and apartments. The centrally located Sofitel Munich Bayerpost hotel is the epitome of luxury and German architecture with beautiful rooms and a top-of-the-line spa. The Tent Hotel is a quaint and alluring hotel for travelers on a budget. Its location right next to the festival grounds makes it the perfect place to lodge.

Explore Beer Tents

Beer tents are huge tents that hold thousands of people where festival goers convene to drink. There are 12 large beer tents run by the six main Munich breweries namely Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, and Spaten, as well as many other smaller tents that serve other types of alcohol. Each tent offers a varied experience from a more relaxed and calmer vibe to a party scene with loud and exciting German folk music playing in the background. Since the tents are assigned to different breweries, you can expect to enjoy an assortment of beers in each tent. The tents typically open at 9 am and close around 11 pm, however, smaller tents like the wine tents stay open for longer. 

Due to the immense popularity of the festival, tables at the tents are booked as early as January. It is important to book a table at a tent well in advance to secure good seats, especially if you are attending with a large crowd. Also, it is not uncommon to sit with other beer lovers you don’t know at their table. 


Head over to Kotzhugel, which translates to “puke hill”, a green patch of land on a hill where you can lie down after a full day of drinking. This infamous location earned its title because many of the festival goers frequent it to throw up. It is a great place to have a laugh as drunk partyers frequently roll over themselves as they walk up the hill.

Rides and Rollercoasters

Even though the festival celebrates the beloved fermented barley drink, there is much more to do during Oktoberfest than just drink beer. Get your adrenaline pumping by jumping on the thrilling rides on offer at the festival. From the swing carousel on the Weisn to the Skyfall, the tallest mobile drop tower in the world, there is no shortage of excitement at Oktoberfest.

Win Prizes 

There is an assortment of fair games and competitions from shooting water guns to keg rolling games where you can win a range of prizes. Be sure to bring your A-game and stand a chance to win great Oktoberfest souvenirs, trinkets, toys, and stuffed animals that will remind you of your time at the festival. 

Try Authentic Local Cuisine

Try out some authentic local German cuisine that is sure to leave you looking for more. Try their Schweinshaxe which is roasted ham hock with crispy skin and juicy meat, and classic German sausages, Würstl. Also, you can’t leave Oktoberfest without trying Brezen, soft, doughy Bavarian pretzels that are a phenomenal accompaniment to your beer. 

There is also a range of vegetarian options such as Reiberdatschi, savory shallow-fried potato pancakes and Sauerkraut, and fermented sour cabbage. One of the best restaurants in Munich to feast on these delights is the Hofbräuhaus München, a 3-floor beer hall that promises an outstanding indoor Oktoberfest experience with its wooden architecture and expansive space that hold up to 5,000 other beer enthusiasts. Augustiner Klosterwirt restaurant is a better-kept secret amongst the locals that serves some of the best pork knuckle, young pig roast, boiled beef and schnitzel. 


During Oktoberfest, you can find the locals wearing their traditional Bavarian attire all around Munich. Women typically adorn dresses called the dirndl and men wear lederhosen, and leather shorts. As a visitor, you can attend Oktoberfest in traditional German attire, however, it is in poor taste to wear cheap costume attire. If you are going to put on the local attire endeavor to purchase authentic clothes or just come in your regular clothes. 

Money and Payments 

The currency used in Germany is the Euro. While certain establishments accept card payments, it is ideal to carry cash to pay for fair games, food, drinks and tips, as it is the preferred form of payment. Expect to pay around 11 euros for a beer and upwards of 5 euros for rides and games.

Safety and Security

As Oktoberfest is an alcohol festival, expect to find people intoxicated and not acting on their best behavior, thus, exercise caution during interactions with strangers. Beer at Oktoberfest is notably stronger than regular beers so you may want to drink with a bit more care than you normally would. There are numerous security personnel on standby who are trained to handle people who may be drunk or acting absurdly; seek them out if necessary.

Oktoberfest is a magnificent occasion to explore Munich, hang out with friends and of course drink beautifully crafted beer in the fall. Be sure to drink responsibly while having a good time!

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