World ? Europe ? Germany ? Munich


Clap your hands if you want more beer - dancing at Munich's Oktoberfest at the HofbrȨuhaus ũ Kiedrowski, Rainer, courtesy of the German National Tourist Board

19 Sep - 4 Oct 2009 (annual)
Hours: Drinking hours: Mon-Fri 10am-10.30pm; Sat-Sun 9am-10.30pm
Link: Oktoberfest Website
An ultimate celebration for fans of beer, Theresienwiese's Oktoberfest is known by locals as the "Wies'n" after the meadow where it is held. It's the biggest festival in the world and you really have to be there to believe it!
Each year, some six million visitors fill the Munich breweries' festival tents, downing roughly six million litres of beer and devouring 300,000 pork sausages, 600,000 roast chickens and 80 oxen. Try to find a tent which suits your style, as the individual tents' styles and audiences vary widely. The Anglo-Australian-American backpacker hordes and Japanese tour groups make a beeline for the HofbrȨu tent, which tends to be the most raucous.

Seekers of the lively but more refined pleasures of the Bavarians (many decked out in full folk costume) should check out the Augustiner, Ochsenbraterei (ox-roasting) or Fischer-Vroni tents. The KȨfer enclosure, catered by Munich's smartest delicatessen, has an exclusive feel, as does the Wine and Champagne Tent. Perhaps more importantly, their drinking hours extend to 1am.

Oktoberfest offers much more than a gigantic beer bust. It begins on Saturday with a parade of the tent concessionaires, riding in brewery wagons pulled by magnificent draught horses. That evening, Folklore International presents costumed musical groups from many regions and lands, while on Sunday morning more folk groups parade through the streets of the city in traditional costume, complete with brass bands.

An agricultural show also takes place in conjunction with the festival. A full-blown midway with carousels, Ferris wheels and rollercoasters provides fun for kids as well as their parents, and indeed the beauty of Munich beer-garden culture is that families are as welcome (and as common) as single adults. Tuesdays are family days, with reduced admission prices.

If you need to meet up with friends, there's no better place than the steps leading up to the Bavaria statue, where you can look out on the whole colourful scene.
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