Oktoberfest

The largest beer party in the world!

Munich's Oktoberfest

While the geographical heart of the city is at the Marienplatz, Munich’s passion is beer. Germany’s regulations concerning the brewing of beer are some of the strictest in the world. The beer purity laws of Germany date back to 1516, and were originated in Bavaria, which is the region where Munich is located. These laws were adopted by the rest of Germany in 1906. In one source I found, it was reported that Germans consume, on average, 106 Liters (about 28 gallons) per person per year.

About the Festival

Oktoberfest is the annual “Volksfest” held in Munich to celebrate their love for beer. Granted, it is not the only beer festival held in Germany every year, but it is the largest and most well-known. The festival is actually held in the last two weeks of September, and ends on the first Sunday in October. The festival has been cancelled for the last two years because of the pandemic. But it has been going on for almost 200 years, hosts about 6 million visitors every year, and consumes over 7 million liters of beer.

There are usually 16 beer “tents” at the festival. I used quotes with tents, because these structures are massive. There are also plenty of amusement rides including roller coasters and plenty of rides to swing you around (do the rides before drinking the beer, please) plenty of food and live music.

Getting There

The festival is held in an area called the “Theresienwiese” (the Theresien Field). There is a train stop at the festival site. I would recommend taking a train or a bus to get to the site. First of all, German DWI laws are extremely strict. The allowed BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) is zero. Second, just do the math. If the festival runs approximately 17 days, and they have 6 million visitors, then that means an average of more than 350,000 visitors each day.

Flights to Munich are pretty easy, with Lufthansa, Delta and United offering direct flights to Munich from several international airports in the US.

There are also river cruise options that include a trip to Oktoberfest. For example, Tauck has a 10 day river cruise from Amsterdam to Basel that includes a 2 night stay in Munich for Oktoberfest.

I would plan your trip well in advance. There are tour packages available to make the trip easier, that will include reserved seating in the beer tents. Air and hotels in the area are more expensive during this time as well, and hotels will fill up fast.

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