Steeped in tradition, the world-famous Munich Oktoberfest started over 180 years ago. Renowned for being the world’s largest ‘beer festival’, it is actually the world’s largest folk festival, complete with traditional Bavarian Oompah bands and a funfair.
Beginning each September (not October as many presume), the festival runs for just over two weeks and usually concludes the first weekend in October. This year, in 2018, the festivities will kick off on Saturday 22 September and finish on Sunday 7 October.
Where is Oktoberfest, Munich and how do I get there?
What should I wear?
Food, food glorious Bavarian food
Prices, tipping and budget
Carnival rides galore
Top tips for making the most of Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest takes place in the Theresienwiese festival grounds found in the Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt district of Munich. Travelling by car should be avoided, not only for the obvious reasons but parking is extremely limited with local roads often grinding to a standstill.
From central Munich (Altstadt-Lehel, ~20 mins)
It’s a short 1.6km walk from Munich central train station (München Hauptbahnhof) to the festival; just follow the crowds if you’re unsure about directions.
Munich central train station to Oktoberfest walking route
Alternatively, you can take the U-Bahn underground train from Munich central train station to Theresienwiese U-Bahn station which is the closest stop to the grounds – but be warned it can get incredibly busy during peak Oktoberfest travel times.
Munich central train station to Theresienwiese station
From Maxvorstadt (~15 mins)
Taking the U-Bahn (U6 & U3) from the Ludwig Maximilian University area is the most direct option. Otherwise, frequent trams (Line 27) run down Barer Straße through central Munich. Get off at the München Sendlinger Tor stop where you have the option to walk or take the U-Bahn to the München Theresienwiese stop.
From Haidhausen (~30 mins)
Regular trams (Line 17) will take you across the river. Get off at the München Sendlinger Tor stop where you have the option to walk or take the U-Bahn. Alternatively, jump on the U-Bahn (U5 & U4) at München Max-Weber-Platz and get off at the München Theresienwiese stop just outside the festival grounds.
It’s not essential but if you want to join in the fun, festival goers like to dress-up in traditional Bavarian gear. Looking for inspiration? Check out the Oktoberfest Clothing Guide from Happy to Wander to make sure you look the part.
It’s estimated that over 6 million litres of the amber nectar will be drunk at Oktoberfest this year – that’s A LOT of beer. The Ultimate Guide to Munich Breweries & Oktoberfest Beer by BucketListEvents provides you with everything you need to know about the beer selection on offer and the associated breweries. If you need help finding your chosen beer, check out the Oktoberfest beer tent map – Prost!
Make sure you soak up that beer with some of the delicious Bavarian foods that are on offer at the festival. Getting to know your Weißwurst from your Kässpätzle and your Pretzels from your Obazda can be tricky. Fortunately, for us, German Girl in America has written a great Bavarian foodie guide: Traditional Foods at Oktoberfest- What To Eat in the Biertents.
While entry into the festival grounds is free, you will need cash (Euros) to enjoy everything inside. This Guide to How to Have an Awesome Yet Cheap Oktoberfest on a Budget by Roaming around the world includes beer prices, tipping and how to find cheap deals.
While beer is the big drawcard for most, it may come as a surprise that the festival also offers a huge fun fair complete with more than 200 carnival rides that include roller coasters and the obligatory Ferris wheel – probably best ridden before entering the beer tents.
2018’s rides are promising to be bigger and better than last years, here’s a look at the 2017’s roller coasters by Theme Park Review.
#1 Plan ahead
#2 Get the Oktoberfest App
For essentials such as showground maps, event timetable and friends finder it’s definitely worth downloading the FREE official Oktoberfest app.
#3 Find the best time to go
Oktoberfest gets incredibly busy with over 6 million people expected this year. If you want to avoid the stampede, we recommend joining the locals and visiting on weekdays.
Here’s the opening time information.
#4 Look after your stuff.
As with most events these days, larger bags and rucksacks aren’t allowed in the grounds. Consider alternatives to keep your cash stash and phone safe.
#5 Remember etiquette
Have fun, but be respectful of yourself and your hosts; dancing on tables, passing out and general debauchery is frowned upon.
#6 Make time to explore
Munich and the surrounding area is stunning. Make time to visit some of the picture-postcard Bavarian towns and attractions.
Surfing on the Eisbach, Munich | Englischer Garten park, Munich
Munich to Freising | 30 minutes by train from Central Munich
Munich to Salzburg | Approx 1¾ hours by train
Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle | Approx 3 hours by train