“Munich 2019 – I never thought this could happen again in Oktoberfest history. But due to a new and serious pandemic situation, there was a big beer break of two years in 2020 and 2021. The last time this happened was during World War II.”
Luckily this year, Oktoberfest will start through again!
Doors are open from Saturday the 17th of September to Monday the 3rd of October (one day extended, because of a public holiday). Munich citizens can’t wait to celebrate their “Wiesn“ again, an over 200 years old tradition.
But before you decide to attend the world’s biggest beer festival, I will give you a small insight into the most important facts about Oktoberfest in advance.
Oktoberfest in numbers
- In 2019, 6.5 million people from over 65 countries visited Oktoberfest and drank more than 7.2 million litres of beer. That’s three times an Olympic pool with a depth of 2 meters.
- Oktoberfest lasts 17 days.
- Biggest tent: Hofbräu-Festhalle with space for 10.000 people
- This year, the Oktoberfest will take place for the 187th time
Why is it called “Oktoberfest“, although it starts in September?
The first Oktoberfest, which actually was a wedding of Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese, took place on the 12th of October, 1810. The celebration was such a big success, and Munich citizens loved it that much, so the city decided to host this party every year close to the city centre.
Oktoberfest is also called “Wiesn“. It’s a shortcut of Theresienwiese and directly translated means “meadow“.
I guess it’s hard to believe, that such a big commercial venue is still based on tradition. But here are some points, that hasn’t changed in Oktoberfest history:
- The beer becomes more expensive yearly; only six big Munich breweries are allowed to serve beer.
- Before Oktoberfest starts, a festival parade is held.
- Munich mayor taps the first beer at noon on the first Saturday.
- Since 2010 (200 years of Oktoberfest), there has been a new or old space in the Oktoberfest area, which is called “Oide Wiesn“. It’s a little bit separate, and you have to pay an entrance fee (4 € each). But this place is worth a visit. It shows how Oktoberfest was like a hundred years ago.
- For the record, the Bavarian word “oid“ stands for “old”.
Do me a favour; Please don’t wear plastic Lederhosen or Dirndl. Looks silly, and traditionalists could be annoyed. It’s also common to join in jeans or any other casual clothes as well.
If you want to buy some traditional clothes, it can be up to 150- € or more. If you think it’s not worth buying one, rent a Lederhosen/Dirndl. Here are some addresses:
A small historical digression: actually, Dirndl and Lederhosen were working-class clothes 100 years ago. The farmer used to wear Lederhosen on the fields, and the housemaid used Dirndl for working in the kitchen.
None of them would have taken out their working clothes for a big feast. But in the late 80s and 90s, people started to wear traditional costumes at Oktoberfest.
Since that time, it’s very common, and for me, as a local, I would feel a little bit naked not wearing Lederhosen at Oktoberfest.
Vegan or Vegetarian? It is not necessarily easy to find on menus, despite salads or pretzels. But I think it will change a bit to a more to healthier food.
In general, dishes like pork roast, Schnitzel, and roasted chicken can be ordered everywhere, and the quality is surprisingly very high at Oktoberfest. Each tent has its own speciality. I recommend: having “Steckerlfisch“ – whole grilled fish on a skewer. One of my favourite Oktoberfest dishes.
A small Oktoberfest dictionary:
- Brezn: pretzel three times as big as the usual ones
- Hendl: half-roasted chicken
- Obazda: delicious bread spread (red pepper, camembert, onions, cumin, cottage cheese), perfect for dipping with pretzels
Parental advisory, explicit content, drink responsibly! This is not a warning, which is printed on each beer mug. It’s a well-intentioned piece of advice on my part. I’ve seen lots of guys, who thought, they could drink fast and much beer in a short period. After a few hours, they were not able to enjoy the rest of the day anymore.
If you don’t want this to happen, exercise restraint and eat before you decide to drink. Beer at Oktoberfest is a little bit stronger than usual Lager. 5.8 to 6.3 % ABV. Depends on the beer brand.
Only six big Munich breweries can serve their beers at Oktoberfest: Augustiner, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr, Spaten, Hofbräu and Löwenbräu. The price of a Mass beer (1 litre) varies between 12,90 € and 13.70 € depending on the tent you are in.
Some terms you might hear in Oktoberfest:
- Mass – 1 litre of beer served in a big stein
- Prost – cheers, salute, l’chaim
Do you think every beer tent is the same? There are a lot of differences. Here’s what to expect:
- Käfer: for celebrities and wannabes.
- Hofbräu: 16 days home to Australians and New Zealand.
- Augustiner: the only tent with beer from wooden barrels.
- Kufflers Weinzelt: just in case you don’t like beer, only wine is served in this tent.
- Hacker-Festzelt: Heaven of Bavarians, the most beautiful interior.
LGBTIQ @ Oktoberfest
- Gay Sunday at Bräurosl – 1st Sunday (biggest event)
- Rosl-Montag at Bräurosl Beergarden – 1st Monday
- Prosecco-Wiesn at Fischer Vroni – 2nd Monday
- Warm Kitchen at Schottenhamel – Last day
All tables are reserved in advance like months ago, and usually, most of the tents, especially on weekends, are closed all day for people without reservations.
Sometimes you have to be patient and wait in front of the entrance to get in. But it can take a while. Use the side or back entrance; it can go faster.
Take enough money with you. In most tents, cash only is accepted.
Have fun, guys! Prost!