The Oktoberfest is not only one of the must-see attractions on the list of things to see and do in Munich, but it is also the largest folk festival in Germany and one of the most important in the world. It has been held every year since 1810 and receives more than six million visitors in each of its editions.
Below I tell you everything about the Oktoberfest so you can enjoy it and make the most of your visit.
What is the Oktoberfest?
The Oktoberfest, which is imitated all over the world, has in Munich its original and multitudinous edition and during its celebration it fulfills a rigorous calendar of activities and traditions typical of the folklore of Bavaria. The festival, which is divided into stages, is attended by the mayor of the city and the most prominent brewers. Afterwards, the public takes center stage, adding color to the festivities.
The festival takes place on Theresienwiese, a 46-hectare field located west of the city center and next to St. Paul's Church. There, for a little more than two weeks between September and October, the Oktoberfest attracts all the attention of visitors and locals alike.
- Recommended if... You like beer, popular festivals and you will visit Munich between September and October.
How much do Oktoberfest tickets cost?
During the Oktoberfest, the entrance to the Theresienwiese is free of charge, i.e. you don't need to buy a ticket to enjoy the festival. You also don't need tickets to enter the tents that are located inside the field, so you only pay for what you consume. All the information for the festival can be found on their official website.
In the southern part of Theresienwiese there is a parallel festival called Old Oktoberfest, with typical celebrations of the early years, which began to be held after the ducentésima edition.
The entrance fee to this festival is approximately three euros and may include an entrance fee to each tent of one euro.
Beer is not sold in small or medium sizes, only in one liter glasses and prices start at ten euros. Prices for typical foods such as sausages start at seven euros.
- Price... The entrance to the field for the main festival is free and the entrance for the Old Oktoberfest costs three euros. Beer starts at ten euros and sausages start at seven euros.
- Hours... Generally the field is open from 10.00 am to 10.30 pm on weekdays and from 9.00 am to 11.30 pm on weekends. Opening times may change with each edition.
- Location... The course is located west of Munich's city center, at Theresienwiese 1.
What types of tickets are available for the Oktoberfest? Are there skip-the-line tickets?
For the main Oktoberfest grounds there is a single entrance ticket with no entrance fee. For the Old Oktoberfest festival, which is held in the southern sector of Theresienwiesen, there is a single ticket with a cost of three euros, although some tents then charge an entrance fee of one euro.
During the days of the festival, some Munich tours end their tour at the festival grounds.
There are no tickets without queues because all participants must pass through a security sector at the entrance of the field, so the delay in that entry will depend on the number of visitors who are waiting. As this is a free entrance, I recommend that you arrive early at Theresienwiesen.
Entrance to the tents in the main sector is also free of charge, but you can reserve a place to eat and drink there in advance. Admission to the tents is usually not delayed, but in some cases you may have to wait if the capacity of visitors is exceeded.
Are Oktoberfest tickets included in any city sightseeing pass?
Oktoberfest tickets are free, so they do not need to be included in any city sightseeing passes. The Theresienwiese field, where the festival is held, has only one entrance and does not offer the possibility to enter without queuing because all visitors go through the security circuit.
Anyway, some tourist passes like the Munich City Pass or the Munich Card include nearby attractions and excursions, bicycle tours around Munich, hop on-hop off bus transportation services and other alternatives that are not unrelated to the festival, so if you buy one of these tourist passes it will also be useful to enjoy the Oktoberfest.
You should keep in mind that if you buy a tourist pass because you are going to be a few days in the city and you want to include a visit to the Oktoberfest, the ideal is to enter early in the Theresienwiese field to avoid waiting. Here is a guide so you can get to know Munich in a two-day visit.
- Price... The Munich City Pass costs from 48 euros, while the Munich Card offers versions from 14 euros.
- Validity of the tourist pass... You can opt for passes for a certain number of days or number of attractions.
Are there tickets that include a guided tour of the Oktoberfest - is it worth it?
There are some tour services that offer guided tours of the Oktoberfest museum and include an escort into the festival and a table reservation in some of the tents in the main field.
This tour could be useful if you are interested in the history of the festival and also want to have a table secured in a tent, but it is not essential to have the assistance of a local guide to enjoy the tour.
The Oktoberfest is a festival that each visitor lives in his own way, the entrance is free and the access to the tents does not usually generate so many delays, so you can enjoy it without inconveniences. Besides, without a table in a specific tent, you will be able to visit all of them and choose the one you like the most.
If you are on a tight budget, I recommend that you get to know Theresienwiese at your own pace and leave the guided assistance for excursions around Munich or other visits that require an expert local guide, such as when you visit Neuschwanstein Castle or the Viktualienmarkt.
Are there special Oktoberfest tickets for children?
Tickets to the Theresienwiese are the same for adults and children and are free of charge. The Oktoberfest is not only a beer festival but a popular celebration with attractions such as roller coasters, local music, costume and masquerade costume parades and many more activities that are suitable for the whole family.
In addition, every Tuesday is Family Days, which includes discounts on rides and on food and non-alcoholic beverages for children between 12 noon and 6 p.m.
A good time for children to visit the Oktoberfest is during the week before 5 pm. In addition, children under the age of fourteen do not pay admission to the Old Oktoberfest.
There are many activities to do with children in Munich, but without a doubt the Oktoberfest is one of the most interesting because it can be interesting for the whole family.
Oktoberfest opening hours
The opening hours may vary in each edition of the Oktoberfest, but as a general rule the field remains open between 10.00 am and 10.30 pm on weekdays and between 9.00 am and 11.30 pm on weekends. During this time the tents are also open.
Please note that some of the busier tents stop selling beer one hour before closing time and also suspend shows and food service.
They may also remain closed if the occupancy level is very high, so I advise you to check the capacity of each tent on the official Oktoberfest app.
- Opening hours... The field is open from 10:00 am to 10:30 pm during weekdays and from 9:00 am to 11:30 pm during weekends. Opening times may change for each edition.
How much time do you need to visit the Oktoberfest?
There is no fixed length of stay for the Oktoberfest, as that will depend on your travel plan and the waits to enter the field and the tents.
You can enter early and stay all day or go directly for lunch or dinner time. You can also visit the camp at a specific time, such as the opening ceremony, closing ceremony or traditional costume parades.
Therewiesen is a 46-hectare field and if you want to walk the entire field and visit most of the tents it could take three to four hours. You should take this into account if your stay in Munich is only for a few days.
When is the best time to visit the Oktoberfest?
The answer will depend on what stage of the Oktoberfest you are interested in learning about. The festival has an opening ceremony that takes place when the mayor of the city arrives at Theresienwiese.
Behind him enter the representatives of the breweries escorted by horses with carriages containing the barrels of beer. When the mayor opens the first barrel and drinks the first liter of beer, the Oktoberfest is officially inaugurated while twelve cannon shots are fired around the field. This event is one of the most visited of the festival.
There are also parades of traditional costumes, prizes for the best costume and concerts of German folk music. Tradition dictates that visitors should wear traditional clothes and during the parades you can see the best costumes.
This event is one of the most valued by children, along with the Family Days that take place every Tuesday of the festival.
The best time to enter the field without reservation in any of the tents is before 5 p.m., after that the influx increases significantly, especially during the weekends.
How to get to the Theresienwiese for the Oktoberfest?
The Theresienwiese is located west of the center of Munich and there are many ways to get there by public transport.
By subway you can choose to take lines U4 and U5 to Theresienwiese station or lines U3 and U6 to Goetheplatz and Poccistrasse stations.
You can also take the S1-S8 train to Hackerbrücke, Munich's main station, which is about eight blocks from the Oktoberfest venue.
By bus you can get there with lines 53, 58, 131, 132 and 134. Also the hop on-hop off tourist buses include stops in the Theresienwiese areas and reinforce the frequency of their routes during the months of September and October to assist visitors to the Oktoberfest.
By private transport you can opt for a cab, although it will be difficult to find a free one during the days of the festival, or in a rented car, although the roads are usually congested and there are very few parking spaces in the Theresienwiese area.
- By Metro... You can get there on lines U4 and U5 to Theresienwiese station or on lines U3 and U6 to Goetheplatz and Poccistrasse stations. During Oktoberfest services run until 1.00 during the week and until 2.00 on weekends.
- By bus... You can take bus lines 53, 58, 131, 132 and 134.
- By train... You can take the S1-S8 service to Hackerbrücke.
What you can't miss at the Oktoberfest
The festival lasts between sixteen and eighteen days, between the end of September and the first week of October and has different stages.
- The opening, which is attended by the mayor, is one of the most important moments of the Oktoberfest and the most crowded. There, the ruler opens the first barrel and the event is inaugurated for everyone.
- The traditional costume parades are also central events of the festival.
- Beer tasting in the larger tents is a must.
- The brewing process is fundamental. In each of the tents of the six participating breweries you can learn in depth about the brewing process of each beer, which to be admitted to the Oktoberfest must meet rigorous procedures and be natural. Brewed only with hops, water and barley, which guarantees the quality of the beverages.
- The Family Days, held every Tuesday, are very interesting dates to visit Theresienwiese with children, and the closing ceremony is one of the most emotional moments of the Oktoberfest.
Tips for visiting the Oktoberfest
The Theresienwiese grounds are free of charge and, precisely for this reason, there are a number of tips you should take into account before attending:
- The crowds are usually high and there are no possibilities to buy tickets in advance or to book queue-free passes. Therefore, to get the most out of your visit, I advise you to visit the Oktoberfest during the early hours, from the opening at 10 am until 5 pm, when visitors start arriving for dinner in the main tents.
- The best way to get there without delay is by public transport. By subway you have several options that will drop you off at Theresienwiese station, which is opposite the main entrance to the field.
- Hop on-hop off tour buses also have services that include stops in that area. Going by car can leave you stuck in traffic and getting a cab during Oktoberfest days can be a complicated mission.
- If your stay in Munich is only a few days, I recommend that you book a table in advance in the main Oktoberfest tents, especially if you want to visit at night. This way you will save time and be able to optimize your time at the festival.
And you, are you ready to enjoy one of the most crowded events in the world?