Essential Tips for First-Time Visitors to Oktoberfest in Munich

Oktoberfest, the world’s largest folk festival held annually in Munich, Germany, is a must-visit for enthusiasts of Bratwurst, Bavarian beer and traditional German music. This 16-day extravaganza drawing millions of people from around the globe can appear daunting, particularly to first-timers. Therefore, to aid your initiation into this wonderful tradition, we have prepared a comprehensive list of tips for first-time Oktoberfest visitors.

Understanding Oktoberfest

Originating in the celebration of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage in October 1810, Oktoberfest has evolved into a big event on the global calendar. Oktoberfest, oddly enough, starts in September and ends on the first Sunday of October. It’s not only about beer but about camaraderie, traditional Bavarian music, traditional costumes (Tracht), and delicious German fare.

Getting There

Munich is a city that is well-connected by flight, train, and road, so getting there should pose no significant difficulties. Oktoberfest occurs at Theresienwiese, which is simply a few minutes’ walk from Munich’s main train station (Hauptbahnhof München). Munich’s efficient public transport system means that reaching Oktoberfest from anywhere in the city is straightforward. Remember to buy group tickets if you are traveling in a group of 3 to 5 people to save costs.

Booking Accommodation

As Munich welcomes millions of visitors during Oktoberfest, booking accommodation well in advance is highly recommended to secure the best options and avoid last-minute stress. Prices for hotels, hostels, and Airbnb rentals can become quite steep if arrangements aren’t made in time, reflecting the high demand during this festive period. Opting for a place close to the Oktoberfest grounds or the city center can be particularly beneficial, offering convenience and easy access to the event and other attractions. However, if accommodations within the city are fully booked or excessively priced, consider staying in nearby towns and commuting to Munich, which can be a cost-effective and practical alternative.

Selecting a Beer Tent

With 14 large and 20 smaller tents, each offering a unique ambiance and varying types of beer from Munich’s six major breweries, picking a tent can be challenging. All have the same price ranges and operate under the same Oktoberfest regulations, so the choice really depends on personal preference.


The Hofbräu-Festzelt tent is popular with international visitors, while locals prefer the Augustiner-Festhalle tent. Many tents offer reservations, which are advisable, especially on weekends.

Dressing for Oktoberfest

Despite not being a requirement, wearing a traditional Bavarian outfit significantly enhances the festive spirit of Oktoberfest, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the cultural experience. The traditional attire, known as Dirndl for women and Lederhosen for men, can be found in a wide range of prices in Munich, catering to various budgets. While choosing your outfit, it’s important to prioritize comfort, as the festival involves long hours of walking, standing, and dancing. Additionally, consider the unpredictable weather conditions, opting for layers or weather-appropriate accessories to ensure you remain comfortable throughout the day.

Enjoying the Event Safely

Respect for traditions, staff, fellow revellers, and most importantly, alcohol, is critical at Oktoberfest. Intoxication, irresponsible behaviour, and aggression are not tolerated. There is plenty of security personnel present in and around the beer tents to ensure everyone’s safety. Remember to eat adequately and drink water in between beers to moderate your consumption. It’s essential to familiarise yourself with the comprehensive guide of tips for first-time Oktoberfest visitors to make sure your Oktoberfest experience is a pleasant one.

Sampling Bavarian Cuisines

Oktoberfest is not only about beer; it also presents a wonderful opportunity to indulge in authentic Bavarian cuisine, offering a rich culinary experience. Beyond the iconic pretzels and Bratwurst, you can savor a variety of traditional dishes such as crispy roast chicken (Hendl) and succulent pork knuckles (Schweinshaxe). The festival also features an array of regional sausages, comforting cheese noodles (Käsespätzle), and a delightful selection of traditional Bavarian pastries. This diverse food offering allows visitors to explore and appreciate the hearty flavors and culinary traditions of Bavaria.

Discovering More Than Just Oktoberfest

Finally, the culturally rich city of Munich offers several other attractions. Art lovers must not miss the renowned museums Alte Pinakothek, Neue Pinakothek, and Pinakothek der Moderne. Football fans can visit the Allianz Arena, home to FC Bayern Munich. A leisurely stroll in the English Garden, one of the world’s largest urban public parks, can be quite refreshing.

To sum up, Oktoberfest is a remarkable experience that seamlessly blends tradition, entertainment, and conviviality into one unforgettable celebration.


This festival offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Bavarian culture, with its lively atmosphere, traditional music, and vibrant parades. By following these tips for first-time Oktoberfest visitors, you can navigate the festivities with ease, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience. Embrace the rich traditions, drink responsibly to fully savor the exceptional brews, make new friends among the welcoming crowds, and most importantly, revel in the joyous spirit and fun that defines Oktoberfest.