- What is Oktoberfest?
- History of Oktoberfest.
- Opening hours for the beer tents.
- The best time to go to Oktoberfest.
- The best survival tips for Oktoberfest.
- Small Bavarian dictionary.
What is Oktoberfest?
The Oktoberfest in Munich is the largest public festival in the world. Each year, “the world’s biggest beer festival” attracts millions of visitors from all over the world. A total of 127 catering businesses, including 14 large tents and 19 smaller tents, served about 6.2 million visitors in 2018 alone. Approximately 7.5 million mugs of beer were consumed! The tasty Bavarian beer, which is served in 1-liter mugs, creates a unique atmosphere that has made Oktoberfest the festival par excellence among beer lovers of all nations.
History of Oktoberfestes
The Oktoberfest dates back to the wedding celebrations of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. But as these celebrations were annually repeated, carnival operators and breweries enjoyed the festivities just as much as the guests and thus Oktoberfest became an established tradition on the Theresienwiese in Munich. The Theresienwiese, which is the field where Oktoberfest is held, was named after the bride to flatter her. Today, it is often referred to simply as the “Wiesn” – particularly among younger visitors. Oktoberfest initially developed from a horse race event that was held to commemorate the wedding the following year in 1811.
Today, the Oktoberfest blends tradition and modernity in the cosmopolitan city of Munich – the capital city of Bavaria. And so the Wiesn (Oktoberfest) remains popular among both Munich natives and guests from all over the world without losing its charm or traditional Bavarian flair.
Opening hours for the beer tents
It goes without saying that the most important thing at the Oktoberfest in Munich are the beer tents. But when do the festivities begin at Oktoberfest? When do the beer tents open their doors and how long can one party and dance on the famed beer benches? At what time are the last beers and delicious Bavarian dishes served?
The Oktoberfest begins on September 21, 2019, with the opening ceremony taking place at 12 pm. The beer tents open their doors at 9 am, but beer cannot be served until the first beer barrel has been tapped by Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter.
Opening hours for the beer tents
Monday – Friday: 10:00 am – 10:30 pm
Sat, Sun and public holidays 9:00 am – 10:30 pm
Closing time 11:30 PM
The large beer tents serve beer daily until 10:30 pm, the smaller tents serve beer until 11 pm.
The exceptions are the Käfer’s Wiesn-Schänke tent and Kufflers wine tent, which allow you to extend your Oktoberfest visit into the night until 1:00 am, though beer is also only served until 12:30 am.
The best time to go to Oktoberfest
The Oktoberfest grounds in Munich offer all kinds of attractions for young and old. There is something for every type of visitor and we have collected all of the Oktoberfest dates, highlights and traditional events that have been maintained and cherished through the years here. Depending on your schedule, you should be aware of the following highlights:
- The Oktoberfest opening parade on September 21, 2019, at the Munich Oktoberfest grounds with the participating host families and breweries.
- The festive opening of the Wiesn at noon on September 21, 2018, by Munich’s Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter in the Schottenhamel tent: O’zapft is!
- A special highlight for gays and lesbians: the legendary Gay Sunday in the Pschorr-Bräurosl tent on September 22, 2019.
- Ciao Amici! The Oktoberfest transforms into “Little Italy” during the famous “Italian Weekend” that always takes place on the first Oktoberfest weekend.
- Cheers! The “Prosecco Wiesn”, also known as “Pink Wiesn”, is not only popular among gay visitors. Men and women alike enjoy the lively atmosphere in the Fischer Vroni tent.
The best survival tips for Oktoberfest
To ensure that you enjoy your Oktoberfest visit to the fullest, you can read our 6 ultimate Oktoberfest survival tips here:
- Pay attention to your health
With approximately 6 million visitors per year and the flu season starting in September/October, you can easily catch a cold – or worse! It is best to wear warm clothes – including a jacket or scarf when outdoors. You’ll likely work up a sweat while dancing in the beer tents. And the more beer one consumes, the easier it is to forget one’s own health! For this reason, you should make sure to have an adequate intake of vitamins before your visit and it is recommended to plan a day of rest for recovery.
- Ordering a beer correctly: “A Maß Bier, bitte!” (One beer, please)
The waiters at the Oktoberfest in Munich are considered extremely friendly. The biggest favor you can do for them, besides leaving a generous tip, is to order a beer like a native. Take note all non-Bavarian German-speakers: You don’t order a “Maaas” but a “Mass” of beer! And yes, the word “Mass” is feminine in German. And please, do not order Brezl, Brezeln or Bretzel, because in Bavaria we only have Brezn, which is both the singular and plural form.
- The correct attire
Traditional Bavarian dress has a long tradition. Those who would like to proudly strut through the Oktoberfest in authentic Bavarian dress would be wise to obtain advice from a Bavarian dress shop in Munich. One thing is for sure: glittery orange and pink sequin dresses adorned with skulls and a petticoat will be as out of place at the Wiesn as men wearing lederhosen with sport socks and sneakers. However, there are some differences of opinion when it comes to traditional dress. But even those with smaller budgets can enjoy the Oktoberfest in traditional garb: These days, it is very easy to find shops that will loan out such clothing complete with professional advice. With the right attire, you won’t be advertising yourself as an Oktoberfest tourist!
- The Wiesn ID
The Wiesn ID is a practical invention for “Zuagroaste”, i.e. non-locals. Those who enjoy their beer a little too much should print their Wiesn Ids in advance. Here, one can enter an emergency contact and wear it around their neck. Ideally with a 20 euro note, just in case. Those who can no longer find their way home, can inform the taxi driver of their desired destination simply by holding up the card. But this is actually meant as a rather funny gag and we wouldn’t recommend letting things get that serious!
- Calm and patience
Without patience, a visit to the Oktoberfest in Munich can be a real nightmare. You will spend a lot of time waiting: Waiting to enter the tent, waiting for your beer and especially in the lines for the toilets. You should plan for a wait of at least 30 minutes for the restrooms. Also, it is wise to plan in advance how you want to return home because taxis in Munich are hard to come by during the Oktoberfest! Walking or taking the subway is often a much better and faster option than waiting for a taxi!
- Absolute No Go’s
In a nutshell: these are some mistakes to avoid at Oktoberfest:
- Don’t forget to tip. The servers work hard over 16 long days – they deserve better!
- Don’t wind up on the Kotz-Wiese (vomit field)! If you have partied so hard that you need a nap, then it is best to end your day at the Oktoberfest perhaps a bit earlier than planned and make your way home.
- Don’t drink your beer in one go. Enjoy your day at the Oktoberfest and don’t overdo it!
- Use the toilets! Please use the provided facilities. Every tent is equipped with toilets – so use them.
- Don’t send yourself (or anyone else) to the hospital! Know your limits. Oktoberfest beer is strong and some visitors have required a visit to the hospital to recover from their excesses.
- Don’t sexually harass anyone: Be respectful – even when flirting! No one wants to be groped at the Oktoberfest – even the ladies in their sexy dirndls!
Small Bavarian dictionary
Bavarians are generally considered very friendly people. But to help outsiders from different regions of Germany – even different countries – make the most of their visit to the Oktoberfest in Munich, we have compiled the most important Bavarian phrases.
As with anything: practice makes perfect! And after a beer or two and a Bavarian flirt, the dialect will only gain additional attractiveness! So, what are you waiting for? Los geht’s!
|Bussal, Busserl, Busse||Small kiss (usually on the cheek)|
|A feschs Madl||A pretty gal|
|aufmandln||To put on airs|
|Gschbusi||Lover, (intimate) boy/girlfriend|
|Manschgal||A lanky man|
|Mannsbuid||A manly man|
|Ruach||A greedy person|
|Fozn||Face, mouth (or: blows, beating)|
|Lädschn||Face (usually with a negative connotation)|
|Goas||Expression for a woman, usually with a negative or humorous connotation|
|Dibbfalscheisser||A petty person|
|Grischbal||A thin man (beanpole)|
|Zwiedawuazn||An unpleasant woman|
|Ratschkattl||A chatty woman|
|Noagal||The last drops of the drink in the mug|
|Mogsd Schmusn?||Would you like to make-out?|