The Oktoberfest is the largest folk festival in the world. Even a special beer is brewed for the event, which attracts countless visitors to Munich every year. Learn more.
Everyone would like to be there. According to official estimates, the Wiesn, as the Munich Oktoberfest is also known, was visited by 5.7 million guests in 2022.
Although I, as an experienced Munich city guide, also see a problem in the crowds of visitors. Because it often takes a very long time for guests to reach their table in the beer tents, so that displeasure is almost “programmed”. Unfortunately, even the best tourist guides can do little about that.
Nevertheless, we want to go into more detail here about the beautiful sides of the popular festival and its historical roots. This year, on September 16th, the time has come again: the festival area on the Theresienwiese opens its doors. An area of around 42 hectares, which is virtually framed by the Theresienhöhe and the Bavariaring and bears its name for a good reason.
O’zapft is: Now it’s off to the Oktoberfest!Pack it up! For North Germans and those who are not Bavarian
speak: “Let’s tackle it!”
Who doesn’t know the sayings and quotes associated with the Oktoberfest in Munich? Guests from all over the world flock to the Bavarian state capital and to the fairground in the district of Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt.
Incidentally, not only from Germany and neighboring European countries. Because German beer and the Oktoberfest seem to be extremely popular with Asians and Americans in particular.
This applies not least to the traditional costumes and the very popular beer mugs. Therefore – curious fun fact on the side – law enforcement officers had to take back around 112,000 stolen beer mugs from the “souvenir hunters” last year.
In the right outfit for the Oktoberfest?
In fact, the trade in dirndls and lederhosen is also booming around the Oktoberfest. As historians explain to us, traditional costumes were not really popular in the early days of the Wiesn.
Strictly speaking, the dirndl is peasant clothing that only gradually became en vogue. Today, of course, a visit to the Oktoberfest is only perfect for many in a dirndl or traditional jacket or with proper lederhosen. Special costume pumps are also extremely popular with women. However, it is not just the right clothing that generates sales. In 2019, guests from outside the city left 289 million euros for food, shopping, taxi rides and public transport. Thus, the Oktoberfest is also an important economic factor for the region.
Welcome to the Oktoberfest!
A colorful hustle and bustle that families also have fun with. Especially the quieter days during the week are ideal for a relaxed stroll. For a visit with children, I would suggest mornings and early afternoons.
Incidentally, children and young people under the age of 16 are only allowed to be present on the fairgrounds from 8 p.m. if they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. The catering establishments and beer tents are generally taboo for children under the age of 6 after 8 p.m.
On the other hand, Tuesday at the Wiesn is family day and children’s wishes can be fulfilled at significantly lower prices than usual.
A festival that even has its own museum:
Incidentally, the Oktoberfest is even commemorated with its own museum. Because in the Beer and Oktoberfest Museum at Sterneckerstrasse 2, everything revolves around the largest folk festival in the world. The barley juice and its history are not neglected either. After all, beer and the Oktoberfest belong together like Ernie and Bert.
Among other things, the museum revives beer production from antiquity to modern times. In addition, the eventful history of the Oktoberfest is shown. It all began as a royal wedding between Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and his chosen one, Princess Therese, after whom the festival grounds are still named today.
As a guest in one of the oldest town houses in Munich:
The museum also gets to the bottom of the question of where the Maß actually comes from. This is set up in one of the oldest town houses in Munich, which dates back to the 14th century, and also shows photos of closed breweries and well-known Munich beer barons.
The showcases with their beer mugs are also worth seeing, as are the coins that the later King Ludwig I and his wife Therese threw among the people on the occasion of their above-mentioned wedding.
Other highlights of the city:
Of course, the Bavarian state capital has so much more to offer than “just” its breweries and the Oktoberfest. The list of sights is almost endless. Starting with parks and green areas such as the Hofgarten, a historic park in Munich’s old town, which is considered the oldest garden in the city.
The New Botanical Garden or Sea Life Munich with its more than 33 pools and around 3,000 sea creatures are also worth a visit. Not to forget the impressive Munich architecture. The silhouette of the city against the backdrop of the Alps almost automatically casts a spell over every visitor.
Munich can be explored on foot or on a deluxe city tour. Last but not least, my snack and beer tours are extremely popular. After all, Munich is known for its culinary delights.
Because roast chicken and knuckle of pork are not only consumed at the Oktoberfest. White sausages, Bavarian pretzels and delicious beers are also inextricably linked to the Free State and its state capital.
A tour through the traditional Munich inns could also round off your visit to the metropolis. Because hops and malt, may God preserve it, is a motto that is not only traditional in Munich and at the Oktoberfest.
Anticipation is the greatest joy!
The planning for the Wiesn 2023 is already in full swing. This year it lasts 18 days from September 16th to October 3rd and will start with the traditional Oktoberfest tapping at 12 noon by Mayor Dieter Reiter.
Then it says again “O`zapft is!” and starts the next round of the largest folk festival in the world.
See you at the Wiesn or on one of my guided tours!
Your beer sommelier and Munich city guide Paul Riedel