Heading to Munich this year for the world’s biggest beer festival? Us too!
Running from 17th September to 3rd October this year, read on to find out exactly where to stay, what to do and how to find the very best beer tents. Prost!
Where did it all begin?
Way back in October of 1810, the Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria was married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. To celebrate, a huge public festival was held in the fields just outside of Munich, with horse races and a few stands of beer. The following year, folks decided that it’d been pretty fun last year and decided to celebrate again. Soon enough, Oktoberfest was born.
As the festival grew, so did the festivities: circus acts, carnival rides and – of course – beer all became a signature part of the fun. Now this German beer festival is the biggest public festival in the world!
Getting into the spirit
Today, Oktoberfest runs for 16 days from mid-September to the first weekend in October (or October 3rd, whichever is first).
The beers served must all be brewed within Munich and conform to a whole list of specifications. It’s all down to personal taste to find your favourite, and if you don’t like beer, there’s no shame in asking for wine!
All of the tents have their own personal character – some are big and rowdy, some are smaller and more family orientated, but one thing’s for sure: all of the tents are friendly! If you want to find out which one might be right for you, check out this article.
One more point: don’t be afraid to dress up! You’ll find the traditional Oktoberfest outfits everywhere you turn and if you decide to join in on the fun, you certainly won’t stand out. You can pick up a traditional Bavarian costume for cheap before you go, or there’ll be plenty of places to stock up once you’re in Munich.
How to get there
Once you’re in Munich, forget trying to drive to Oktoberfest – the roads will be super busy! Instead, you’ll probably be better off using public transport to get to the festival site. The best two options are the suburban train ("S-Bahn") and the underground ("U-Bahn"), with Theresienwiese and Schwanthalerhöhe being the best stations to head to. Once you get to one of these stations, simply follow the crowds to the festival, you won’t be able to miss it!
If you’re hoping for a seat in one of the tents, get there as early as possible on a weekend (or on Monday 3rd October which is a public bank holiday). On a weekday, you should usually be fine to get there in the early afternoon and still get a seat.
Budget and costs
As much fun as you’re having at Oktoberfest, we can’t forget about the money side of things. The good news is that it’s absolutely free to enter the festival and you don’t need a ticket – although this is the first year that you’ll have to enter through special security gates.
Once you’re inside, prepare to pay for everything, from food and drinks to rides, costumes and souvenirs – make sure you bring cash! A huge stein of beer will set you back around 11€, whilst a meal is about 15€. It’s free to sit at one of the long benches inside the tents, but if you tip your waiter or waitress an extra 10% or so, you’ll get extra good service!
If you’d like to stick to a budget for your trip, our Multi-currency Cash Passport could be the perfect option for you. Simply load it up with a set amount of euros before your trip and use it abroad wherever you see the MasterCard acceptance mark.Order your euros Find out more about our Cash Passport