It’s the time of year when millions of people from around the world descend on the German city of Munich for the annual Oktoberfest celebrations.

Don’t be confused by the name, as the festival actually begins on Saturday 17th September, and ends on Monday October 4rd. The event is one of the biggest in Germany and a fantastic way for locals and visitors to let their hair down and have a drink (or six).

Find out more by taking a peek at our quick guide to Oktoberfest below.

What is it?

One huge 16-day party to celebrate beer. What could be better than that? Around six million people attend the event every year, making it the world’s largest fair with 14 huge beer tents and various smaller tents to choose from. In German it’s known as ‘die Wiesn’ – the colloquial name for the fairgrounds themselves, and visitors will be able to enjoy music, parades, fairground rides, food and of course as much beer as they can handle.

Where did it come from?

Oktoberfest has been held since 1810 after the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. Munich residents were invited to attend the celebrations, which helped to begin the tradition of the festival. Since then, Oktoberfest has included traditions including an agricultural show (now held every four years), horse racing (up until 1960), several parades and a 12-gun salute.

What beer is available?

Don’t embarrass yourself by heading to the bar and asking for a pint of Carling or Fosters – you’ll be laughed out of the city! Only beer that conforms to the ‘Reinheitsgebot’ – or the German Beer Purity Law – can be served here, meaning all beer must have been brewed within the city limits of Munich using only water, hops and barley. Drinks are served in large litre mugs known as Maß – the equivalent of 1.88 UK pints.

Where can you celebrate?

The festivities in Germany take place on Theresienwiese in the centre of Munich, but there are now many other versions around the world meaning you can put on your finest lederhosen and enjoy the Oktoberfest experience in cities such as Shanghai, Mexico City and London.

Off to Oktoberfest? Leave your top beer tips below…


Image by Club Transatlantico