The world’s largest fair, Munich Germany’s Oktoberfest is set to begin in less than two weeks. What started as a horse race a little over two centuries ago turned into the world’s grandest party. Now is the time to plan to attend this famous fun event; here is your travel guide to attending Oktoberfest in Munich.
Oktoberfest will kick off with a parade on Saturday, September 22 at 10:45 a.m. Led by a young Munich woman on horseback and dressed as the Münchner Kindl, a monk-inspired city mascot, this parade is a prelude to the big festival and includes 1,000 Oktoberfest workers and horse-drawn drays from the city’s breweries delivering the first drops of beer.
The second parade on Sunday is a not-to-be-missed event that lasts for nearly three hours, beginning at 10 a.m. It includes over 8,000 marchers wearing spectacular provincial apparel and traditional costumes from across Italy, Poland, Austria, Croatia and Switzerland through the center of Munich. Along with them are dancers, carriages and floats as well as horses, cows, oxen and goats.
Your best bet for getting around during Oktoberfest is public transportation. Driving is not recommended, and taxis can be very hard to get but there are trains and subways that run frequently until 2 a.m. on weekends and 1 a.m. during the week. The closest subway stop is at Theresienwiese.
The “drinking tents” are actually big wooden halls in Munich’s fairgrounds just southwest of the city’s main train station, and most of the drinking is done here. The festivities start at the Schottenhamel tent with the peak of celebrations taking place in the Hacker, also known as the “Heaven of Bavaria,” while the hip crowds tend to gravitate toward the red Hippodrom tent near the main entrance.
If you’re looking for true Bavarian culture, head to the Augustiner tent, while the Hofbräu tent is usually filled with more tourists than locals.
While the focus of Oktoberfest may be around drinking beer and eating sausages, that’s certainly not all there is to it. In addition to the parades, visitors will find concerts and fun rides including rollercoasters and Ferris wheels. Of course you may not want to imbibe too much in drinking and eating before embarking on one of the thrill rides – other riders and spectators will certainly appreciate that too.
The traditional concert of Oktoberfest, at the feet of the Bavaria, will take place on Sunday, September 30 at 11 a.m.
Where to stay
There are a number of good hotels in the area; however, they usually need to be booked at least several months in advance. Even if you haven’t made a reservation, it is well worth checking with Hotel Maritim Munich located between Oktoberfest and Old Town. Here you’ll find a spectacular rooftop swimming pool along with luxurious rooms and an excellent piano bar with live music every night, just a 15 minute walk to Oktoberfest.
Other options include camping at Munich’s Thalkirchen, the cheapest place to stay with tents available for only a few euros. Buses are regularly scheduled to depart to Oktoberfest throughout the festival, and you’ll find a 24-hour party atmosphere here as well.
There are also several good hostels just south of the main train station, including Jaeger’s and Wombat’s in Senefelder Strasse.
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