One of the best times to visit Munich is in the autumn, as this is when the world-famous Oktoberfest is held. While the event is replicated across the globe, taking part in the original is an experience you will not forget. So, what’s it all about?
Oktoberfest celebrates Bavarian culture and this year is pencilled in for September 22nd until October 7th. The schedule is so jam packed that you will not want to miss a moment. Hire a car at Munich Airport and the 24-mile journey to the city centre will likely be a lot quicker than if you were to take public transport, or a group transfer coach.
Here are some of the things you can expect to enjoy when attending Oktoberfest.
A slice of history
Oktoberfest has been running for generations – indeed, the 2012 event will be the 179th one. Its origins date all the way back to 1810, when Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. Munich’s residents were allowed to take part in the royal celebrations, which included horse races. The following year, the horse races were held again, while an agricultural show was also launched. Every three years, an agricultural event is hosted in the southern end of Oktoberfest’s grounds. Additional features were added over the years, including the first beer tents in 1896.
A wonderful atmosphere
Where there is good food and drink you will find happy people. Oktoberfest attracts around six million visitors from around the world every year, making it the biggest festival on the planet. As you can imagine, this certainly creates a fun atmosphere, as people of all ages and backgrounds come together to enjoy the programme.
Merriment is no doubt helped by the beer tents hosted by Munich’s most traditional and biggest breweries. Beer is available in litre tankards, which will help to wash down the giant sausages and 15 inch pretzels! There are 14 main beer tents to choose from, as well as lots of smaller ones too that dish up pastries, cheese, roasted duck and chicken, to name just a handful of the treats. As you wander around deciding what to eat and drink next, you can enjoy live traditional music and dancing.
A packed programme
Although eating and drinking play a big part of Oktoberfest, there is more to the festival than just these two things. The whole event kicks off on the morning of September 22nd, when the grand entry of the breweries and landlords is made. The families of the landlords even take part and ride on decorated carriages as the beer tent bands play a taster of what is to come.
The next day is even bigger. At around 10:00 local time, approximately 8,000 individuals travel 7 km during a spectacular event that lasts around two hours. This procession showcases Bavarian customs and costumes and includes oxen, goats, cows, thoroughbred horses, matching bands, troops and riflemen.
Oktoberfest also boasts several traditional fairground rides that should not just be reserved for youngsters only. The large ferris wheel is a great experience and will provide you with amazing views across the grounds. With millions flocking here every year, it will really put in perspective just how busy it is. There are also carousels, ghost trains and rollercoasters, so if you decide to come with children, there is plenty to keep them amused.