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Prost! Oktoberfest in Munich: The Ultimate Guide to Celebrate 2023

Oktoberfest is one of the most popular and largest festivals in the world, attracting millions of visitors annually. It is a 16-18 day festival held in Munich, Germany, and is renowned for its beer tents, carnival rides, traditional Bavarian cuisine, and lively atmosphere.

The history of Oktoberfest dates back to 1810 when it was first celebrated to honor the marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. Since then, the festival has grown in size and popularity, attracting visitors from all over the world.

If you’re planning to attend Oktoberfest, there are a few things you should know. From the traditional Bavarian attire to the safety regulations, it’s important to be prepared. But with proper planning, attending Oktoberfest can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you’ll never forget.

Key Takeaways

  • Oktoberfest is a 16-18 day festival held in Munich, Germany, and is renowned for its beer tents, carnival rides, traditional Bavarian cuisine, and lively atmosphere.
  • The festival originated in 1810 to honor the marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.
  • To attend Oktoberfest, it’s important to be prepared with traditional Bavarian attire and knowledge of safety regulations.
  • 5 popular tents to and how to enter
  • Key dates 2023: September 16th – October 3rd
Marstall Tent Oktoberfest Prost with German beer in Munich

History of Oktoberfest


Oktoberfest is an annual festival held in Munich, Germany. The festival originated on October 12, 1810, in celebration of the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the royal wedding. The event was so successful that it was decided to repeat it the following year, and the tradition of Oktoberfest was born.

Evolution Over the Years

Over the years, Oktoberfest has evolved into a world-famous event that attracts millions of visitors from all over the globe. The festival has undergone many changes since its inception, but the most significant change occurred in 1887 when the first beer tents were introduced. Today, the beer tents are the main attraction of the festival, and there are over 30 of them that can accommodate up to 100,000 people at a time.

Another important change that occurred in the history of Oktoberfest was the inclusion of amusement rides and games in the festival. In 1818, a carousel was introduced, and over the years, more rides and games were added, making Oktoberfest a family-friendly event.

In 1832, Oktoberfest was lengthened and the date pushed forward because days are longer and warmer at the end of September.

The festival has also had its share of challenges. In 1939, the festival was canceled due to the outbreak of World War II, and it was not until 1950 that Oktoberfest was held again. In 1980, a terrorist attack took place at the festival, resulting in the deaths of 13 people and injuring over 200.

Despite these challenges, Oktoberfest remains one of the most popular festivals in the world, and its history is a testament to the resilience and enduring spirit of the people of Munich.

Munich city center in Germany castles

Oktoberfest Celebrations

Event Schedule

The Oktoberfest is an annual festival held in Munich, Germany, and is considered the largest folk festival in the world. The event typically starts in mid-September and lasts for 16 days, ending on the first Sunday in October. The dates for the 2023 Oktoberfest are from September 16 to October 3.

The festival’s opening ceremony is marked by the tapping of the first keg by the Munich mayor, who then announces “O’zapft is!” (It’s tapped!). The first beer is then served to the public, and the festivities begin.

Major Attractions

The Oktoberfest is known for its lively atmosphere, traditional Bavarian music, and, of course, the beer. Visitors can enjoy a wide variety of attractions, including carnival rides, games, and food stalls.

The festival’s main attraction is the beer tents, which are set up by Munich’s six major breweries. Each tent has its unique atmosphere and decor, and visitors can choose from a variety of beer brands, including the famous Oktoberfest beer.

Other popular attractions include the parade that takes place on the first Sunday of the festival, featuring traditional costumes, floats, and marching bands. Visitors can also participate in traditional Bavarian activities such as yodeling, folk dancing, and the “Masskrugstemmen” (beer stein holding) competition.

Overall, the Oktoberfest is a celebration of Bavarian culture, and visitors from all over the world come to experience the lively atmosphere and traditional festivities.

Pre Oktoberfest Celerbations Prost Germany

Traditional Song: “Ein Prosit.” This song has its origins in Bavaria, Germany, and is a key part of the Oktoberfest experience. Here’s some information about the song and its origins: “Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit” which translates to “A Toast to Coziness” or “A Toast to Friendship.”

Origins: The song “Ein Prosit” was composed by Gerhard Jussenhoven and Kurt Elliot in the early 20th century, making it a relatively modern addition to Oktoberfest traditions. It was first introduced in 1957.

Purpose: “Ein Prosit” serves as a drinking song and is played multiple times throughout the day at Oktoberfest. When it’s played, festival-goers raise their beer mugs and join in a communal toast.

Lyrics (German):

Ein Prosit, ein Prosit

Der Gemütlichkeit

Ein Prosit, ein Prosit

Der Gemütlichkeit

English Translation:

A toast, a toast

To coziness

A toast, a toast

To coziness

Tip: Practice this simple and catchy song and you’ll be a hit amongst the locals

Traditional Bavarian Cuisine at Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is not only about beer, it is also about delicious traditional Bavarian cuisine. Visitors can indulge in a variety of hearty and flavorful dishes that have been enjoyed for generations in Munich.

One of the most popular dishes at Oktoberfest is the classic Bavarian pretzel, or Brezn as it is known in the local dialect. These soft and chewy treats are perfect for soaking up all the beer and come in different sizes ranging from small to giant.

Another must-try dish is the traditional Bavarian sausage, or Wurst. There are many different types of sausages available at Oktoberfest, including the famous Weisswurst, which is a white sausage made from veal and pork and typically served with sweet mustard and a soft pretzel.

For those looking for heartier fare, the Schweinshaxe is a pork knuckle that is roasted until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. This dish is often served with sauerkraut and potato dumplings.

Visitors can also enjoy a variety of roasted meats such as roast chicken, or Hendl, and roast pork, or Schweinebraten. These dishes are typically served with potato salad or crispy potato pancakes, known as Kartoffelpuffer.

Finally, no trip to Oktoberfest would be complete without trying a delicious sweet treat such as the Apfelstrudel, a warm apple-filled pastry served with vanilla sauce, or the Lebkuchen, a gingerbread cookie shaped like a heart and decorated with icing.

Overall, traditional Bavarian cuisine at Oktoberfest is a true delight for the taste buds and a must-try for anyone visiting Munich during the festival.

traditional bavarian food for oktoberfest

Munich’s Oktoberfest Beer

Munich’s Oktoberfest is famous for its beer, which is brewed exclusively in Munich by six breweries: Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, and Spaten. These breweries have been serving their beer at Oktoberfest for over 200 years.

The beer served at Oktoberfest is a type of lager called Märzen, which is characterized by its malty flavor and amber color. The beer is brewed in March and stored in cool cellars until it is ready to be served at Oktoberfest in September.

Each brewery has its own tent at Oktoberfest where visitors can enjoy their beer. The tents are massive structures that can hold thousands of people, and they are decorated with traditional Bavarian motifs.

The beer is served in one-liter glass mugs called Maßkrüge. The mugs are heavy and have a handle to make them easier to hold. The beer is poured by waitresses called Dirndl, who wear traditional Bavarian dresses.

Visitors to Oktoberfest can expect to pay around €11 for a Maß of beer. The price may seem high, but it includes the cost of the mug, which visitors can keep as a souvenir.

Overall, Munich’s Oktoberfest beer is a unique and delicious experience that visitors to Oktoberfest should not miss.

Carrying all the beer like a proper german frauline

Traditional Attire

Oktoberfest in Munich is a time to celebrate Bavarian culture and traditions, and one of the most important parts of this celebration is the traditional attire. Visitors to Oktoberfest will see many people dressed in the traditional Bavarian clothing, known as Trachten.

The most famous Trachten are the Dirndl for women and the Lederhosen for men. The Dirndl is a dress that consists of a blouse, a bodice, and a skirt. The Lederhosen are leather shorts that are worn with suspenders, a shirt, and sometimes a hat. These outfits are not only stylish but also practical for the Oktoberfest festivities.

When selecting a Trachten outfit, it is important to choose one that is authentic and fits well. Visitors can purchase Trachten from many stores in Munich, both new and second-hand. It is also possible to rent a Trachten outfit for the duration of the festival.

While Trachten are the most popular attire at Oktoberfest, visitors can also wear other traditional Bavarian clothing. Women can wear a blouse with a skirt or pants, and men can wear a shirt with pants and a vest. It is important to note that visitors should avoid wearing clothing with offensive slogans or logos, as this is not in line with the spirit of Oktoberfest.

In conclusion, wearing traditional Bavarian clothing is an important part of the Oktoberfest experience in Munich. Visitors should choose an authentic and well-fitting Trachten outfit or other traditional clothing to fully immerse themselves in the festival’s culture and traditions.

5 Can’t Miss Tents:

Tent Hours: 10-23:30

1. Hofbräu Festzelt:

Fun Facts: Hofbräu is one of the most famous beer brands in Munich. Their tent is known for its lively and energetic atmosphere, often attracting a younger crowd. It’s a great place for dancing on the benches.

What it’s Known For: Hofbräu beer, vibrant atmosphere, and hearty Bavarian food like roast chicken and sausages. This was where I saw 3 impressive young ladies down 1L beer like it was nothing! It was quite a foreigner tent with people I met mostly from the United States or Australia. 

Famous Hofbrau beer tent in Munich for Oktoberfest

2. Schottenhamel Festhalle:

Fun Facts: Schottenhamel is famous for hosting the official keg tapping ceremony that marks the start of Oktoberfest. It’s where the first beer is traditionally served.

What it’s Known For: Hosting the opening ceremony, a mix of traditional and modern music, and a diverse crowd.

3. Paulaner Festzelt:

Fun Facts: Paulaner is one of Munich’s six major breweries. The tent is known for its cozy and traditional Bavarian atmosphere.

What it’s Known For: Paulaner beer, traditional Bavarian dishes, and live Bavarian music. This held a special place in my heart for being my most celebrated beer.

4. Weinzelt (Wine Tent):

Hours: Opens daily from 10:00 AM to the wee hours.

Fun Facts: While it’s called a wine tent, it also serves beer. It’s known for a more relaxed atmosphere and a diverse selection of wines.

What it’s Known For: A wide variety of wines, sparkling wines, and champagne, along with beer, plus a quieter and elegant setting. Head to this tent for the after party! 

5. Marstall Festzelt:

Fun Facts: Marstall translates to “royal stables.” The tent is known for its stylish and elegant interior, making it a unique option at Oktoberfest.

What it’s Known For: This was a classy tent compared to the first three and had incredible talent and performances on the stage. Highly recommended!

Marstall tent in background with sausage and beer

Economic Impact of Oktoberfest

The Oktoberfest is not only a cultural event but also an economic powerhouse for the city of Munich. According to a survey commissioned by the Department for Labor and Economics (RAW) of the City of Munich, the 2019 Oktoberfest generated an economic value of €1.23 billion ($1.45 billion) in terms of turnover, taxes, and employment.

The festival contributes significantly to the city’s tourism industry, with more than 5.7 million visitors attending the event in 2019. These visitors spend money on accommodation, food, souvenirs, and other activities, which boosts the local economy. In fact, Munich’s economy generated more than €1.2 billion ($1.4 billion) thanks to Oktoberfest last year, according to the economic department of the Bavarian state capital.

The Oktoberfest also creates employment opportunities, with around 13,000 temporary jobs being created during the festival. These jobs range from security personnel, waiters, and bartenders to souvenir vendors and carnival ride operators. The festival also supports the local economy by providing business opportunities for local vendors and suppliers.

The beer tents are the main attraction of the Oktoberfest, and they play a significant role in the festival’s economic impact. The tents are run by breweries, and they serve millions of liters of beer during the festival. The beer sales alone generate a significant amount of revenue for the breweries and the city of Munich.

Overall, the Oktoberfest is a significant economic factor for the city of Munich, contributing to the local economy, creating employment opportunities, and supporting local businesses.

Prost and have fun at Oktoberfest, girl in drindl

Safety and Regulations at Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is a world-renowned festival that attracts millions of visitors every year. While it is a time of celebration and excitement, it is important to be aware of safety regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.

Prohibited Items

To ensure the safety of all visitors, certain items are prohibited from being brought onto the festival grounds. These items include:

  • Glass bottles and containers
  • Weapons and firearms
  • Large bags and backpacks
  • Folding chairs and stools
  • Skateboards and bicycles

Visitors are encouraged to leave these items at home or in their hotel rooms to avoid any potential issues.

Security Measures

Security at Oktoberfest is taken very seriously. Visitors can expect to see a large police presence, as well as security personnel and bag checks at the entrances. It is important to cooperate with security personnel and follow their instructions to ensure a safe and smooth entry into the festival.

First Aid and Medical Services

In case of an emergency, first aid and medical services are available on the festival grounds. Visitors who feel unwell at any time during Oktoberfest should not hesitate to seek medical attention at the recovery tent. It is also important to note that smoking is not permitted in the recovery tent.

How to Attend Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is one of the biggest festivals in the world and attracts millions of visitors every year. If you’re planning to attend Oktoberfest in Munich, here are some tips to help you make the most of your experience:

Plan Ahead

Oktoberfest is a massive event, and it can be overwhelming if you don’t plan ahead. It’s also a good idea to book your accommodation early, as hotels and hostels fill up quickly during the festival. For last minute accommodations for 2023, see here

Get There Early

The tents open up at 10 am, get there in the morning and hold down the fort with your group so you have a guaranteed spot before the crowds set in. This also gives you a chance to visit the other tents and feel out the vibe of where you want to hole up for the rest of the festivities or endure long lines to even enter the tents. 

Know the Rules

There are a few rules you need to follow when attending Oktoberfest. For example, you’re not allowed to bring your own alcohol into the tents, and you’re not allowed to stand on the benches. It’s also important to pace yourself when drinking, as the beer at Oktoberfest is stronger than what you might be used to.

Dress Appropriately

Oktoberfest is a fun and festive event, and many people like to dress up in traditional Bavarian clothing like dirndls and lederhosen. While this isn’t required, it can add to the experience. It’s also a good idea to wear comfortable shoes, as you’ll be on your feet for most of the day.

Wrapping Up

Oktoberfest is one of the biggest and most popular festivals in the world, attracting millions of visitors from around the globe to Munich every year. This annual event has a rich history, dating back to 1810, and has become an important part of German culture.

The festival is held over a period of 16 days, usually starting in late September and ending in the first weekend of October. Visitors have ample time to indulge in the festivities, which include traditional Bavarian food, music, and of course, beer. Over 7 million liters of beer are consumed during the festival, making it the world’s largest beer festival.

One of the main attractions of Oktoberfest is the beer tents, which are set up by the six major Munich breweries. Each tent has its own unique atmosphere and serves a different type of beer. Visitors can enjoy a variety of traditional Bavarian dishes, such as roasted chicken, sausages, and pretzels.

In addition to the beer tents, there are also a variety of other attractions at Oktoberfest. These include amusement rides, games, and live music. The festival also hosts a parade, which features traditional Bavarian costumes and floats.

Overall, Oktoberfest is a must-visit event for anyone who loves beer, food, and culture. It is a unique experience that offers a glimpse into the rich history and traditions of Bavaria. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, you’re sure to have a great time at this world-famous festival.

traditional german bavarian pretzels

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the dates for Oktoberfest 2023 in Munich?

The dates for Oktoberfest 2023 in Munich are September 16th – October 3rd. 

What are the dates for Oktoberfest 2024 in Munich?

The dates for Oktoberfest 2024 in Munich are September 21st – October 6th. Cloud Connections is planning a celebration, sign up to be informed of how you can attend with a lively group.

Learn more about festivals in O

Can anyone attend Oktoberfest?

Yes, Oktoberfest is open to the public, and anyone can attend. Entrance to the festival grounds is free. However, you’ll need a reservation to enter the beer tents, especially on weekends.

What should I wear?

Many visitors wear traditional Bavarian clothing known as “Tracht.” For men, this includes lederhosen (leather shorts) and a checked shirt, while women wear “dirndls”, which are traditional Bavarian dresses. You can also wear casual clothing, but dressing in traditional attire adds to the experience.

Where can I find a map of Oktoberfest in Munich?

A map of Oktoberfest in Munich can be found on the official Oktoberfest website or on the Oktoberfest app. The map shows the locations of all the tents, rides, and other attractions at the festival.

Some recommended hotels near Oktoberfest in Munich include Hotel Senator, Hotel Munich City, and Hotel Augustin. It is recommended to book hotels in advance, as they can fill up quickly during the festival. For a list of last minute recommendations, see here

Some popular activities at Oktoberfest in Munich include visiting the beer tents, trying traditional Bavarian food, riding the carnival rides, and participating in the parades. Visitors can also shop for souvenirs and enjoy live music and entertainment throughout the festival.

Is Oktoberfest only about beer?

While beer is a significant part of Oktoberfest, it’s also a celebration of Bavarian culture. You can enjoy traditional foods, music, dance, and cultural events without consuming alcohol.

How can I get to Oktoberfest in Munich?

Munich has a well-connected public transportation system. You can take the U-Bahn (subway), S-Bahn (commuter rail), or trams to get to the Theresienwiese, where Oktoberfest takes place. It’s recommended to use public transport, as parking can be challenging to find.

Do I need tickets to attend Oktoberfest?

No, tents are a first-come, first-served basis however, make sure to make reservations if you can, especially if your coming with a big group of friends

Save your appetitie for lots of german beer for Oktoberfest

Is there anything else to do at Oktoberfest outside of drinking beer and attending the many beer tents?

Yes, there is a huge fairgrounds with carnival rides, booths and activities.

What happens if I get hurt during the festival?

Oktoberfest is equipped with a safety and medical tent. Make sure to get travel insurance for prolonged travel. 

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