Planning your trip to Oktoberfest in Munich this September? The festival lays claim to being the world's largest folk festival, attracting nearly six million visitors each year. With so much going on it pays to do your research. Here, Global Blue guides you through everything you need to know about the 184th Oktoberfest from the eating, drinking, dancing and parades to the traditions and top Oktoberfest tents to visit.
When is Oktoberfest 2017?
Oktoberfest will be held from Saturday 16 September to Tuesday 3 October. Stalls open from 9am on weekends and 10am Monday to Friday. Beer-serving hours are until 10.30pm.
Where is Oktoberfest?
Oktoberfest takes place to the west of Munich’s city centre, at Theresienwiese, a large open space of about 420,000 square metres. The area becomes home to 14 enormous marquees and 20 smaller tents as well as rides and attractions.
What is the historical background?
Oktoberfest has its origins in a celebration for the people of Munich, held in October 1810 to mark the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. Festivities lasted six days, with plenty of food, drink and parades, and on the final day a horse race was held. The decision to repeat the horse race in subsequent years gave rise to the tradition of staging a festival at this time. In later years the event was brought forward to September so as to enjoy better weather. The festival is now celebrating the184th anniversary since it officially started.
What tents are there?
Entry to all the tents is free, so make a tour of them to get a rounded feel of the event. The Schottenhamel is where the opening ceremony takes place, with the mayor of Munich tapping the first keg of Oktoberfest beer. It is also the most capacious tent, with seating for 10,000. The Augustiner-Festhalle is renowned for its friendly atmosphere and is one of the more popular tents for families. Those wanting to escape brass band music should head to the Hacker-Festhalle where a rock ‘n’ roll band performs in the evenings. Those tiring of beer could make a bee-line to the Weinzelt, the event’s wine tent.
Do you need to book?
You don’t need to book a place in a tent, but if you don’t do so you should arrive early and grab a seat at one of the wooden benches. Reservations are made through the respective beer tents.
What else is there to see and do?
Although around seven million litres of beer are consumed over Oktoberfest, there is plenty to see and do other than drink beer. The main highlight of the festival is a traditional costume parade, which takes place on the first Oktoberfest Sunday (so this year on 17 September). It starts at 10am at Maximilianstrasse in the city centre and attracts about 9,500 people who come dressed in a great variety of traditional costumes. The parade also features dance routines and beer wagons, bands and flag bearers. Carousels and rides are also highlights, and this year six fun new rides are offered. Visitors will love the Oktoberfest 2017 souvenirs, which range from glasses to mugs, shirts and accessories. Gourmets will be impressed by the array of food stalls offering everything from Bavarian sausages to raclette dishes, hot pastries, cakes and pretzels.
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