Hello All. I have been reading Rick Steves' 2011 guide to Germany, as meine Frau und Ich are heading to Germany next September for a vacation. The number one thing on our list is to attend Oktoberfest in Munich. However, there is very limited information in the guidebook and even online about how to acquire tickets, what are the best days to attend, how do some days differ from the rest, how much entrance fees are, etc. I read somewhere it is best to contact the tent organizer for a direct ticket, but I don't know if that is neccessary. Please anyone who has been to this event before give me some guidance. A website where I can purchase tickets perhaps? I want to obtain tickets for guarenteed admission well ahead of time before the event sells out and we miss our chance. Thanks.
You should research this site. There have been extensive strings on this subject. Entrance into the Oktoberfest is free as well as entrance into the tents. Reservation are only accepted for groups of 10 or more. When we were there in 2010 we were able to sit and eat/drink until about 3:00 pm when the reservations start. You can stay at a table until the group with the reservation shows up. Here is a link to the official Oktoberfest web site. http://www.oktoberfest.de/en/article/About+the+Oktoberfest/About+the+Oktoberfest/Dates+and+General+FAQs/751/ You'll have a great time!
We went in 2010, on a weekday. I can't remember if it was a Wednesday or Thursday. Anyway, we arrived around 2:00 p.m. and after checking for a table in a few tents we finally found an empty one. We could only sit there until 5:00, as it was reserved for the evening. In the evening I think the best you can hope for is to find a table that isn't full and ask if you can join them. Prices for lodging get pretty high in Munich during Oktoberfest. We stayed out of town and took the train into town.
Thanks for the quick responses. I did search this forum for my topic, "Oktoberfest 2013", before starting a new thread, but the results came back with none. Can I ask what city and hotel did everyone stay in when attending Oktoberfest that was outside of Munich? I know there are a lot but it would be awesome to narrow it down to places that people on here have been to and enjoyed. I am also hesistant to go through a travel agent. For a trip around the country like this it will be nice to have someone plan and organize it, but i feel maybe I could find better deals on our own
Paul, search on "Oktoberfest" (without the "2013") and you will find loads of links to discussions and articles here on the site. The recent threads were, of course, about this year, but the information doesn't change much from year to year, and the recommendations are recent.
If you want to stay out of town, I would suggest some place close to an S-bahn station so you can zip right into town. The "Wiesen" has its own subway stop not far from the main station (Hbf). We stayed at Pension Locarno, which is across from the Hbf. During Oktoberfest their rates go from 60 euro to 150 euro per night, and this is an RS type of place with the bathroom down the hall. The best thing about OF is its very easy to make friends when everyone is loaded. So brush up on that Deutsch, its ice breaker. You can walk up and talk to just about anybody, so when you get kicked off the reserved table, just find a new table with two empty seats and make friends.
This far in advance I wouldn't discount staying in the city, rates will be higher but the last thing you want after drinking all day is a long commute back to the hotel. I'd splurge for a hotel in walking distance and skimp on accommodations elsewhere in your trip. The area around the train station is littered with cheap decent hotels. It's not the most scenic area in the world, but you have very easy access to the inner city AND most importantly, the fest grounds from there. Less than a 20 minute walk. I think it's more fun to go with a group with reservations (at least to the very similar fest in Stuttgart), so I would consider going on the Toytown Munich board or other english-language Munich boards and seeing if you can meet some expats who are doing a large group reservation. The Stuttgart English-speaking Expat community does this for the big fests here, and it's quite the experience. While I'm sure the tents are fun all day, things get especially crazy in the evening. Actually, now that I think about it, I'm going to be getting a reservation for a group for 2013...if you're interested in drinking too much beer with 8 crazy expats (mid 20s to 30s) feel free to PM me.
Short of buying a block of tickets, your options are to find a tour operator and buy from them, or chance it as many do. Tables are reserved for specific time blocks, these are posted on the tables, you can wander around and look at the reservations, if it is open for the time, look for the serving lady and motion to the table...she will either motion to sit or shoo you away. The drawback maybe is that the best times for this are the weekday afternoons, weekends and evenings will be much more difficult. There is no admission to the fest grounds, and no admission to enter the tents, or to sit at a table with no reservations. It is definitely worth visiting as many tents as you can, each are wonders in themselves. If you absolutely have your heart set on being in the crowd in one of the major tents on opening weekend...then I would look for a ticket re-seller or tour company. It will not be cheap, but it would be fun.
Why do you want to stay outside of town? In most cases where I have seen that recommended, it was because it was close to the date and the reasonable places in Munich were already booked. That is not the case right now. Hotel Uhland, which is very close to the fairgrounds (as in walking distance), has double rooms available most nights, for 214 euros. If that is too high, try one of the Motel One places, like Sendlinger Tor or Deutsches Museum (which is farther away but near an S-Bahn). Their rate for a double room during Oktoberfest is 154 euros (without breakfast), 169 with.
Here's a very informative article on Oktoberfest: http://www.oktoberfest-insider.com/oktoberfest-faq.htm Lots of informaton on best days to attend, etc.
This is all very helpful, I am taking note of everyone's advice. Only thing I really need to decide is if I am going to go through a travel agency to plan the whole Germany trip (probably 12 days, touring Munich, Berlin, Bavaria, etc), or if we should try and do it on our own, which I think I can get better deals but may be in jeopardy of screwing up arrangments since we will be taking so much transportation and staying in so many hotels.
And by the way Lola that is a fantastic article you posted, thanks!
You are very welcome! We will be in Germany next year at about the same time, visiting Berlin and Munich before heading to Italy. If you are willing to spend some time doing the research, I think you will end up with a much better trip than one planned for you by a travel agent. I like to pick hotels myself, and cannot imagine leaving that to an agent who may not know my taste and preferences. And for trains, in you book them yourself in advance,myou can take advantage of some great discounts offered for advance purchase. People here will give you a lot of help with this. What do wish to see besides Berlin, Munich/Oktoberfest and more of Bavaria?
Paul - I would plan the trip yourself if you're willing to invest the time to do some research. Germany is very easy to travel in, maybe the easiest country I've visited. Gotta love German organization! English is widely spoken, particularly in the cities, the train system is efficent and well-organized. One way to really simplify an independent trip taken by train is to buy a German Rail Pass. It's not necessarily going to be cheaper than buying point to point tickets online in advance (which is also very easy to do) but you will be able to hop on any kind of train so you won't be at the mercy of trying to make sure you get on the specific train you booked with a point to point ticket for a discount. It takes a lot of stress out of the equation. You can also get more value out of a Railpass by scheduling your trip to take advantage of your "train days" - as in, say you buy a Railpass with 6 travel days. Leaving say, Berlin, you could train early in the morning to Nurnberg, spend a half day seeing the city, and then get on a train to Munich arriving in the evening. Going from Munich to wherever, you could get up early, get on a train to Salzburg (one of the several international cities included in the German Railpass) see the city during the day, then get on an evening train to wherever you're going next. A little tiring and maybe not doing full justice to all the locations, but it's an efficient and cost-effective way to get a taste of some of these places.
We got back from Munich on October 15th. Hotel Uhland is only a block from the Oktoberfest. We don't like big crowds, so we planned our trip to miss the festival but many of the tents were still up.
Had our 4th trip to Oktoberfest this year...great as always. Sarah had some good advice on planning the trip yourself. Planning the trips (for me) is almost as fun as taking the trip. My tips would be reserve a room in Munich ASAP. Try the Muechener Kindl. Pretty reasonable and near the Marienplatz. Only 2-3 subway stops to the fest grounds. Try to go on a weekday, the earlier the better, also either stay or go back a night. I like to see everything lit up at night (think of a Bavarian Vegas).
Be prepared to have fun and make friends...there are several we keep meeting with from past years. Prost!
If you're there for the opening weekend, don't miss the great parade in Munich on the first Sunday morning of Oktoberfest. Several hours long. People from the little surrounding villages in native costumes, with music and animals. Really fun to watch.
Everyone had terrific information. Danke! We just booked our hotel, and flights too. Staying right near the S-Bahn so getting to the tents should be really easy. If anyone will be there next year around Sep 23-30th let me know.
Lots of posters have given you great info! I don't see that anyone rented an apartment though. I went with a group of 5 in 2011 and we booked an apt in March. Things fill up well in advance so you are right to plan early. Check AirBnB and things like that if it interests you. For what it's worth I wouldn't go through a travel agency, you save money if you put the time in to plan it yourself. Also, German transportation is pretty much the best in the world (my opinion) so efficient, friendly, clean...can't complain and I've been on a lot of trains in a lot of places. Also, we went to Armbrustschutzenzelt (crossbow) tent on a Wed. and skipped the big names like Paulaner etc. We didn't have enough for a 10 person reservation so we got there early after the lunch crowd left and took our chances. We got there at 2:30 and stayed until closing without a reservation (there are open seating areas first come/first served) and it was a blast! Our table was full of Germans and not tourists so that was a bonus, so friendly. Have fun!!