Your guide to experiencing Oktoberfest and its historical roots, one stein at a time
Oktoberfest is celebrated around the world, but only in Germany can you return to the original source of the world’s largest Volkfest. You’ve travelled for the live music, traditional costumes, parades and sheer joy of festival revelers. But after the Oktoberfest festival running from September 16 – October 3, it is possible to trace the festival’s historical roots while exploring Munich, and a side-trip to majestic Berchtesgaden, where the festival is very much an important part of Bavarian culture and heritage.
Here’s an alternative guide on how to do that:
When in Munich
- Celebrate Oktoberfest in style and get into your best traditional costume. The Bavarian wear is identified as “Tracht.” For women, the Bavarian dress is known as a dirndl and for a man you can outfit yourself in a pair of lederhosen. Our recommended shop in Munich, is the Angermaier, in business for over 60 years and specializing in traditional Bavarian costumes.
- After enjoying the German Oompah at Oktoberfest in your traditional costumes, visit the Bavarian National Museum to learn about art, history, theatre and more. The museum is divided into two main groups: the art historical collection and the folklore collection.
- Travel to the southern suburbs of Munich and find the must-see beer garden, the Waldwirtschaft (a.k.a WA-WI). Here you can find an outdoor space in the jazz beer garden and traditional food stalls to enjoy.
Where to stay
- Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski Munich, centrally located in the heart of Munich, is the ideal place to stay to make the most of the vibrant city during Oktoberfest. The hotel offers guests a range of luxury room and suite types. Guests can indulge in the luxury spa, a swimming pool as well as the breathtaking view over the rooftops of Munich.
Not to be missed
- There is a saying that sausages should not be allowed to hear the chime of the church bells. The infamous Weisswurst (literally white sausage) are prepared in the morning and eaten as a snack between breakfast and lunch, a.k.a “the morning sausage.”
Oktoberfest beer facts
- Bavaria’s purity requirements, a regulation since the 16th century, decreed by Duke William IV. In 1516 deemed only water, hops and barley should be used in Bavarian beer.
- The six breweries are Paulaner, Spaten, Löwenbräu, Augustiner, Hofbräu and Hacker-Pschorr.
- The oldest Munich brewery is Augustiner, founded in 1328.
- The festival has served about 7.3 million litres of beer; that is enough to fill almost three Olympic-size pools.
- About 500-600 passports are routinely lost at the festival.
When in the Berchtesgaden
- Pack your lederhosens and leave the German Oompah behind for the Bavarian Alps. The spirit of Oktoberfest can be felt in all corners of Germany. This is the place to retreat from the crowds and experience alpine towns, stunning mountains and beautiful vistas.
- Enjoy lunch at the not-as-crowded Bier Hall, Hofbräuhaus Berchtesgaden. The Bier Hall was founded in 1645, by Fustpropst Ferdinand, Duke of Bavaria.
- The unmatched view from the Eagle’s nest, now a beer garden that was Hitler’s 50th birthday present.
Where to stay
- Kempinski Hotel Berchtesgaden. A unique blend of five-star luxury, Bavarian style, warmth and recreational activities make the property one of the most special locations in the Bavarian locations in the Bavarian Alps. Here, 1000 m high in the mountains, guests can relax, unwind and enjoy being close to nature.
Not to be missed tips from Manuel Huber, Activity Concierge at the Kempinski Hotel Berchtesgaden
- Within a few minute’s drive, guests at Kempinski Hotel Berchtesgaden can reach the crystal
clear, emerald green Königssee lake surrounded by its fairy-tale mountain scenery.
- A hiking tour from Maria Gern to the Kneifelspitze.
- The festivities centred around the Markletplatz (market square) in Berchtesgaden during Oktoberfest.