EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE OKTOBERFEST
Oktoberfest is the biggest folk fair in the world, the largest beer festival in the world, and the best-known German celebration too. Every year it draws over six million visitors from all over the world to Munich. Almost everyone wears traditional Bavarian clothes and typically spend hours (often days) indulging in copious amounts of ale, food and fun. Home to thousands of restaurateurs and breweries, Bavaria’s capital is the perfect location for a celebration on such an epic scale.
Taking part in a traditional procession, featuring festively decorated horse carriages and marching bands, the city’s foodies put on a show well worth seeing. At precisely 12 p.m., Munich’s mayor taps the first beer barrel in the Schottenhamel tent, and with the traditional cry of “O’zapft is” (“It’s tapped”) the Oktoberfest opens.
The Munich Oktoberfest has a long and proud tradition. 200 years ago, Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria married Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. Commoners and nobility alike joined in at the marriage celebration, which culminated in a horse race on the Theresienwiese - named after the bride. This was the birth of the “Wiesn”, the location of the Munich Oktoberfest ever since. A short 10 minute walk from Munich’s Hauptbahnhof, getting there couldn’t be easier.
From roast chickens to giant pretzel, there’s plenty of good food on offer in the countless tents and beer gardens. And when you’re not eating or drinking, you’re having fun - whether that’s on the big wheel, giant swing or roller-coaster. There’s something for everyone at Oktoberfest Munich!
- More than 6.5 million visitors every year
- More than 7.5 million litres of beer served annually
- Over half a million chickens eaten every year too
- Around 119,000 seats are at the disposal of the Wiesn visitors
- 8,000 permanent employees and 5,000 seasonal workers
- 20 fairground rides available for kids (and big kids!)
- There are 14 big and 21 small tents at Munich’s Oktoberfest
- The festival runs 16-18 days between mid-September and early October
Oktoberfest is, of course, the busiest time of year in Munich. Visiting the Bavarian capital during this time has many advantages and disadvantages, but the chance to see Oktoberfest is as good a reason as any to brave the crowds. Here are a few tips for surviving Munich during the Oktoberfest celebrations:
- Transport will be busy: Whether from the airport, Hauptbahnhof or just in the centre of Munich itself. Keep this in mind before you set off anywhere and plan your route in advance. It’s also helpful to buy tickets and travel passes in advance too, where possible.
- Hotels are pretty busy too: Think about booking your accommodation a few months in advance, as hotel rooms can be scarce nearer the time. Book yourself somewhere comfy – like the Platzl Hotel, of course – so that you get a good night’s sleep after a long day of celebrations.
- Don’t forget to see Munich: A city of so many sights and attractions outside of just Oktoberfest, Munich has a lot to offer as a city break destination. The Rathaus, Residenz Palace, & Olympiapark are just some of the attractions and things to do in Munich during your stay.
Dancing & swaying
“Schlager” hits at maximum volume, a boisterous atmosphere and Oktoberfest beer – even people who normally hate to dance find themselves moving to the music. Dancing and swaying on the beer benches is, of course, allowed here. All this exuberant fun should, however, take place within certain limits: anyone who takes it up a level and climbs onto the tables must expect to be thrown out.
The more satisfied the serving staff are, the better the beer tent atmosphere is. It’s best to give a generous tip up front and to always be friendly to staff. Remember, those serving you decide how quickly you receive your food and drink – and you might be there for a few hours!
Oktoberfest is more than just a beer festival – it’s a traditional and family-friendly celebration. That said, it’s best to have an idea of what you can do with the whole family before you make your visit. Be sure to check out the Familienplatz, the rides, and – if you can – visit on ‘family day’ on Tuesdays for special offers and events the kids will love.
Of course, to fit in perfectly at the Wiesn, your outfit has to be right for the occasion! As we all know, the traditional garb for men is lederhosen. Women get to wear a pretty dirndl – the traditional Bavarian skirt. Be careful to choose a dirndl that reaches below the knees, however, or risk causing offence! Wearing hats, sneakers or sports shoes with typical Bavarian costumes is also not in keeping with Bavarian tradition, so bear this in mind.
Single, spoken for or still available? If you want to know more about the relationship status of a pretty dirndl-wearer, you can look at the dirndls bow:
- If the bow is positioned to the right, the lady is keeping her distance from flirting at Oktoberfest because she is in a relationship or even married
- If the dirndl bow is tied in the middle, the wearer is a virgin (according to tradition)
- If the bow is worn on the left of the dirndl, this means that the wearer is single and can be asked to dance
- If the bow is tied at the back, the wearer is either widowed or she is your waitress!
Everyone has their favourite tents at the Munich Oktoberfest – keep an eye out for our recommendations:
The traditional Armbrustschützenzelt, with its total of 7,450 seats, is one of the biggest tents on the Theresienwiese in the heart of Munich. Inside, the tent is dominated by green and white cloths. While the tent’s facade resembles an alpine house, the tower is a reminder of its origins as a beer castle.
The tent of the “Winzerer Fähndl” guild has existed since 1895. The traditional German crossbow championships continue to take place here every year at Oktoberfest time. The tent has already possessed its own crossbow shooting range for 110 years.
Experience the traditional ambiance in the Armbrustschützenzelt and celebrate with smooth Paulaner Wiesn beer, pork hocks and other treats. You will find the Armbrustschützenzelt to the north, directly between the Marstall-Festzelt and the Hofbräu-Festzelt.
Here are your options for travel from the Platzl Hotel to the Wiesn:
- S1 to S8 to Hackerbrücke
- S7, S20 and S27 to Heimeranplatz, continuing with U4 or U5 to Theresienwiese or Schwanthalerhöhe
- U3 or U6 to Goetheplatz and Poccistraße
- U4 or U5 to Theresienwiese or Schwanthalerhöhe
- MetroBus line 53 to the Schwanthalerhöhe stop
- MetroBus line 58 to the Georg-Hirth-Platz or Goetheplatz stop
- StadtBus line 131 or 132 to the Hans-Fischer-Straße or Poccistraße stop
- StadtBus line 134 to the Theresienhöhe or Alter Messeplatz stop
- Line 18 or 19 to the Holzapfelstraße or Hermann-Lingg-Straße stop
- The lines 16 and 17 will bring you to the Hackerbrücke stop, from which it is, however, still about a kilometer by foot to the festival field.
Round off your Wiesn visit with a stay at the Platzl Hotel. This 4-star superior hotel offers international service and is located in the heart of Munich’s old district.
The hotel’s central location makes it perfect for those who want to see more of the city during Oktoberfest. In the direct vicinity is the famous Hofbräuhaus, which will offer you a special form of hospitality. The Marienplatz, the Bavarian State Opera, Maximilianstraße and the Viktualienmarkt are all also within easy reach.
Find out more on our homepage. Local stylistic elements are combined with modern technology in 167 guest rooms and suites at The Platzl Hotel.