Oktoberfest is our favourite event on the European calendar. It’s the world’s most famous beer festival, returning to Munich on 17th September. Essentially a massive celebration of all things Bavarian, the annual 2-week event is hard to beat for a better (and boozy) time. Expect an endless flow of Steins, Pretzels, dancing, traditional dress and true Bavarian fun.
However, there are some interesting facts that surround the much-loved Oktoberfest event that you probably don’t know about. Check them out…
Heading to Germany for the event?
DESPITE THE NAME ‘OKTOBERFEST, THE EVENT ACTUALLY TAKES PLACE AT THE END OF SEPTEMBER
Yup. Oktoberfest actually begins in September. ‘Septemberfest’ doesn’t really have the same ring to it though. While the event starts on 17th September, it does run into October ending on 3rd October.
ONLY BEER FROM MUNICH IS SOLD AT OKTOBERFEST
Sticking to true Bavarian culture, Oktoberfest only sells beer from within the city limits of Munich throughout the festival. A much more authentic experience, we think.
LOCALS KNOW THE EVENT AS ‘WIESN’
So you’ll probably hear ‘Wiesn’ A LOT if you attend Oktoberfest. And now, you’ll know what it means.
YOU CAN’T START DRINKING UNTIL THE MAYOR OPENS THE FIRST KEG
The festival officially begins when the mayor says “O’ zapft is” during the opening ceremony on the first day of the event. There’s only one place to be to witness this; the Schottenhamel tent. Here you'll get to experience the Bavarian tradition where the Mayor of Munich will have the honour of tapping the first keg of Oktoberfest beer at noon. Once the first barrel of beer has been opened, then everyone else can get their beers in and officially start Oktoberfest.
THE BEER BREWED DURING OKTOBERFEST IS EXTRA STRONG
They’re specially brewed just for the festival and they have at least 6% alcohol. So take this into consideration when drinking, and make sure to line your stomachs with the delicious Bavarian food.
THERE ARE OVER 17 BEER TENTS TO CHOOSE FROM
You’re spoilt for choice on which tent to choose. And each tent gets packed out whether they are big or small…
OKTOBERFEST WASN’T ORIGINALLY A BEER FESTIVAL. IT WAS A WEDDING PARTY
Originally, Oktoberfest was celebrated to honour Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig's marriage in 1810. It just turned into a massive beer event over time.
6 MILLION PEOPLE GO EACH YEAR
Munich is the busiest time of the year during Oktoberfest where people from all over the world head to the Bavarian capital to enjoy the event. Locals love it too. In fact, the vast majority of Oktoberfesters are German. It gets pretty crowded, but the more the merrier.
AND THEY CONSUME 1.8 MILLION GALLONS OF BEER BETWEEN THEM
That is A LOT of beer.
A TRADITIONAL STEIN (OR MASS) USUALLY COSTS AROUND €11
Tickets are free to enter Oktoberfest, so you only have to pay for beers (you’ll be happy to know this after seeing the price on a stein). Take some cash with you to the event just incase. Locals actually call a stein, a 'mass' - good information to know when ordering.
OVER 4000 LOST AND FOUND ITEMS EACH YEAR
So try and keep your things safe. Lost and found possessions include wheelchairs, crutches and even wedding rings. And they find a pair of teeth almost every year.
OKTOBERFEST EMPLOYS 12,000 PEOPLE
So it’s great for the economy…
THERE’S A WINE TENT
Oktoberfest has thought of everything. Don’t like beer but want to attend for the experience? Not to worry, just head the Weinzelt tent where you can find wine and champagne.
If you need a bed in Munich for Oktoberfest, check out Europe's Famous Hostels. Their Euro Youth Hostel is just a 10-minute walk from the Oktoberfest grounds.