Oktoberfest Germany Cover

The Ultimate Guide To Oktoberfest Germany

Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer festival and traveling funfair a “Volksfest.” It occurs annually in Munich, Bavaria. It is held from mid-September through the first Sunday in October for a total of sixteen days.

The festival has been held since 1810 and attracts more than six million people annually. It is the world’s largest celebration of Bavarian culture. The event centers on beer consumption and traditional German food in beer tents. Millions of liters of beer are consumed at the event. In addition to beer drinking, there are fairground activities, including amusement rides.

Oktoberfest Germany

The original festival was a part of the celebration of the Bavarian crown prince Ludwig’s wedding.

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2023 Oktoberfest Germany Dates

Oktoberfest 2023 will begin on Saturday, September 16, 2023, and end on Tuesday, Oct 3, 2023.

Where is Oktoberfest Germany Located?

Oktoberfest is located at the Theresienwiese, the Oktoberfest fairgrounds.

Address: Theresienwiese, Bavariaring, 80336 München, Germany

Getting Tickets to Oktoberfest

The single biggest misconception on the internet is that you need a ticket to attend Oktoberfest.

You do not need a ticket. Entry is free to all, and there is no such thing as a ticket.

You may want to consider a tent reservation so you are guaranteed a seat at a table. However, it’s not required.

Tours For Oktoberfest

Where to Stay During Oktoberfest

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Munich – Unterhaching, and we took the train to the festival, which is really easy to do. We loved this hotel! Most of the rooms have two stories, so you have a separate living space and an upstairs bedroom. We used points for the stay!

Hotels in Munich

Beer Tent Reservations for Oktoberfest Germany

The real challenge starts here for those looking for a guaranteed seat at a table. The reservation process is cumbersome and confusing, to say the least.

  • Any reservation is for inside the tent, not the beer gardens.
  • Reservations are typically for four-hour blocks.
  • You will need to reserve an entire table, which is 6-10 people, and it varies by the tent.
  • When you make a reservation, you pre-pay for at least two beers and food. It will cost you approximately 30 euros per person. So, unless you have a large group, you will need to split the reservation with others. It is possible, and I will explain.
  • Reservations can only be made directly through each tent.
  • You have to be on time for your Oktoberfest reservations.  If you don’t arrive 15 minutes before the reservation, you may lose the table.
  • If you are a first-time attendee getting a table reservation is close to impossible. Preference is given to prior attendees, and the tent will validate your attendance ask for your prior year’s customer number.
  • The only tent that does not require a  minimum consumption with a reservation is the Festzelt Tradition tent.

Reselling Is Prohibited!

It is prohibited to buy a table reservation and re-sell it. This being said, tons of people do it and some companies specialize in this. I have friends who purchased theirs through a third party and had no issues at all. Just know that’s it’s frowned upon and you run the risk of being scammed!

If you are a first-time attendee, ask for a reservation throughout the week and the day. This will enhance your chances of getting a beer tent reservation.

To make a reservation read on, you have to reserve with each tent individually below:

Beer Tents of Oktoberfest Germany

There are 14 big and 21 small tents in Oktoberfest, Germany.

  • Entrance to the festival and all tents is always FREE.
  • You do not have to purchase anything to enter.


Home of the crossbow competition since 1895, this is one of the most popular tents. This tent is also considered family-friendly, adding to its popularity. A tent many recognize from the bright green and white stripes that dress the roof. This tent is one of the most open to and even encourages new customers. In past years they have offered weekend and evening reservations at the last minute.

To request a reservation: Fax the reservation form to +49 89 237 037 05.


This tent is considered one of the most beautiful and cozy tents. It is also gay-friendly and hosts the popular “Gay Sunday” on the first Wiesn Sunday – aka the first Sunday of the festival.

In 2021, this tent will change hands, and a new building will replace what was. It’s not clear yet who will take over and what the reservation process will be.

To request a reservation:  Currently, you can not request a reservation.

Festzelt Tradition

One of the largest of all the tents is 5,000 inside and another 2,800 in the beer garden. In a family-friendly tent, sprogs under twelve can pour lemonade from a lemonade fountain in the beer garden.  And, sprog size toilets are provided.

To request a reservation:

Fischer Vroni 

This tent sets itself apart by offering a fish dish as the primary offering. If you don’t fancy pork or don’t eat pork, this is a good choice!

Fischer Vroni 

This is the tent we spent most of our time in!  It is a comfortable tent to get into, and it has a standing section making this the ideal choice if you don’t have a reservation.

To request a reservation:

  • Tel: +49 (0) 89 66 10 42
  • Fax: +49 (0) 89 65 25 34


A trendy tent. This tent is famous for the blue sky and white clouds, often used in promotional photos. Weather permitting, the tent ceiling can be opened. This tent holds open seats that are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Approximately 1700 seats open daily Monday-Friday and 4000 open on the weekend.

To request a reservation:

  • Tel: 08170/7303
  • Fax: 08170/7385


By far, the most popular tent for non-locals. Americans, in particular, tend to flock to this tent. This tent does have 2000 open first-come, first-serve seats each day.

Hofbräu Tent

To request a reservation:

Käfer’s Wies’n-Schänke 

The highfalutin tent is where Munich’s high society party. A favorite for locals and internationals alike is often the party place due to its late-night ending.

To request a reservation:


You may have seen pictures of this tent; it’s the one with the giant lion at the entrance. Typically, this tent caters to a more mature crowd, known as the favorite of local football players.

To request a reservation:


One of the newest tents, this tent holds 3,000 people. Given its newness, it attracts a younger crowd. It’s also a tad more modern than some of the other tents.

Marstall Beer Tent

To request a reservation:


This tent has been around since 1881 and has a yodeler. It’s famous for the ox dishes it prepares and its big brass band.

Ochsenbraterei Tent

To request a reservation:


Formally “Winzerer Fähndl” is a huge tent! It’s the largest and perhaps most recognizable. There is a gigantic rotating beer glass at the top of the tent – it can’t be missed.

To request a reservation:

Note: This tent only accepts online reservations.


The oldest and largest, this is a classic tent that is very popular with the locals.

To request a reservation:


This tent is an excellent place to start; it is not located on the main drag, which means you can beat the crowds if you head here first.

To request a reservation:


A family-friendly choice, this is the least traditional of all the tents. Here you can order seafood and Thai food!

To request a reservation:

Beer Tent Reservation Alarm

There is a site dedicated to all things Oktoberfest. They can’t secure your reservation for you, but they can email you when reservations open up. Sign up for Beer Tent Alarm here.

When Can I Reserve a Table for Oktoberfest 2023?

As mentioned above, all reservations are managed by each tent. All of the tents release their table reservations at different times. Here is a summary of when each tent is expected to release reservations for 2023.

  • Augustiner-Festhalle – Expected only for regulars
  • Armbrustschützenzelt – Expected March
  • Bräurosl – Not expected before June
  • Fischer-Vroni – Expected May
  • Hacker-Festzelt – Expected May
  • Hofbräu-Festzelt – Expected March
  • Käfer Wiesn-Schänke – April 1st
  • Löwenbräu-Festzelt – March 6th
  • Marstall – January
  • Ochsenbraterei – Expected May
  • Paulaner-Festzelt – Expected April
  • Schottenhamel-Festhalle – October
  • Schützenfestzelt September 1st
  • Weinzelt – Expected January

Oktoberfest Germany

Alternatives To Enjoy Beer Tents if You Don’t Have A Reservation.

Don’t panic if you don’t score a table reservation! You have plenty of options to take advantage of all the fun!

Before we dive into ways to score a table without a reservation, here are some general tips that will increase your chances:

  • Stick to weekdays! All of the locals are off during the weekend. As you can imagine, Saturdays and Sundays are packed. Sunday, in particular, is a hectic day.
  • Go early! The earlier you arrive, the better your chances are. Many tables are reserved after 4 pm, so you can enjoy the seats until the reserved people arrive.

Walk up and enter!

Munich’s city requires beer tent owners to keep one-third of the seats in the central aisle “unreserved” during weekdays and all of them on weekends. We walked into many tents; however, we were restricted to standing areas as most if not all seats were taken. If your strategy is the walk-in, you might want to consider getting there really early to ensure a table.

Lastly, if you use the walk-in strategy, you can always ask people at tables if there is a spare seat or two. You may have to ask a few tables, but this has worked for many tourists.

Connect up with others that have purchased a table reservation and split it with them.

So long as you do this individually and not through a ticket scalper, you will be fine.

Woo a local and ask them to get you in.

Many people at our hotel used this strategy and gained many beer gardens and tables in various tents.

Butter up and befriend a waitress.

If you are kind, most will assist you if there are seats available. And, if someone helps you, hook them up! Don’t be cheap and tip them generously.

Indulge in the Beer Gardens & Small Tents.

Sure the atmosphere might be smaller in scale, but it’s still an authentic experience.

What to Expect at Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is probably the craziest event you’ll ever attend. Approximately seven million people visit every year. And, it’s estimated that 85% of attendees are Germans. People are falling all over by noon, there are hour-long lines for the restrooms, and it’s often cold and/or raining. Piles of barf litter the street, and the smell of urine are unforgettable. However, these are common trades off’s for any large festival.

People are ecstatic! If there wasn’t a big band playing traditional music in almost all tents, you might think you have arrived at a rave. People climb the tables to sing and dance along. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Oktoberfest Germany Hours

  1. Day one starts at noon after the Lord Mayor of Munich taps the first keg.
  2. Day one runs from 12:00pm to 10:30pm

Beer Tent Opening Hours

  • Monday through Friday: 10:00am to 10:30pm
  • Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays: 09:00am to 10:30pm
  • Closing Hour: 11:30 pm – daily.

The “Käfer Wiesn-Schänke” and the “Weinzelt” are open until 1:00am. Last call is at 12:15am.

Food & Drink at Oktoberfest

If you had told me that I’d fallen in love with German food a year ago, I would have said, “you are crazy.” The reality is it’s hard not to fall in love with the local dishes.

While each tent has its own dishes, the typical fare is Bavarian cuisine. Some typical examples are:

  • Hendl – roasted half chickens
  • Schweinshaxe – pork knuckles
  • A variety of oxen dishes
  • Bratwursts – sausages
  • Traditional sides like sauerkraut, red cabbage, potato dumplings, and potato salad
  • Bavarian soft pretzels
  • Nutella crepes

The choices are endless, and outside of Bavarian dishes, there are plenty of other cuisines available.

Women’s Attire for Oktoberfest Germany

Men’s Attire

Men traditionally wear Lederhosen, which are essentially leather breeches. Lederhosen’s can be shorts or knee-length and are attached to suspenders that connect across the chest. Lederhosen are worn over a plaid shirt and accompanied by long socks and loafers.

There are many authentic Lederhosen online, and many come with the loafers!

Men’s Attire for Oktoberfest Germany

Rent Dirndl and Lederhosen for Oktoberfest

While you can rent a dirndl or lederhosen for Oktoberfest, I DO NOT recommend it. Oktoberfest Germany is packed and messy! Even if you don’t drink, don’t barf, or wet yourself (yes, that happens here), you will likely get dirty. If you rent and anything happens to the outfits you rent, you’ll end up owning them, which in the long run is way more expensive than simply buying your own outfits.

Typical rentals cost €40-€50 per day.

If you insist on renting, a popular company is Bavarian Outfitters.

Should you tip at Oktoberfest in Munich?

Yes! It’s not technically required, but it’s customary. And, if you are planning more than one drink in a tent, it’s a must, or you will be waiting a long time for your second beer.

How Much Should you tip?

One euro per liter is a good starting point, so have any change on hand. Or, round up to the next euro.

Having change is a must. The servers may or may not have change on hand to give you.

Note: Beers start at 11 euro’s. If you do not have change you might end up paying 20 euros for one beer.

Closing Thoughts

I never set out to attend Oktoberfest Germany, and it was on Brian’s bucket list. I’m not a beer drinker, I am not a fan of lines and queues, and while I’m not claustrophobic, I am not a fan of large crowds.  Regardless, I am glad that we did it. It was a crazy experience that leads to many other wonderful experiences in Germany that I would not trade for anything.

I firmly believe that everyone should experience Oktoberfest Germany at least once in their life and for some once will not be enough!

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  1. I went to Germany in February and came to know about this famous Oktoberfest. I always missed this interesting festival but now I am thinking to plan this year. You have given lots of tips on reservation details and other useful information. As I loved Munich a lot, it would be great to visit this place again in festive times. Hopefully tourism starts again this year.

    1. Hi there,
      I love Garmany, if all goes well and it opens up for travel I will be going again this year but not to Oktoberfest, going for different reasons:) Nikki

  2. I have always had Oktoberfest on my list, even though I do not drink beer. I just want to enjoy the vibes and look at the whole way it is celebrated, Hopefully once everything settles down i will be able to plan to Munich. I will definitely take the guided tour.

    1. It was on my hubby’s list forever and ironically to dress up lol…. There are tons of things to do in the area so you can combine it with it other things. Nikki

  3. What a great guide to Oktoberfest! I am not a beer drinker but still absolutely want to experience Oktoberfest someday. And tour around in Germany in overall. I have only visited once and it was years ago. I never knew there is so much activities to choose from what comes to Oktoberfest. Great info!

  4. I’ve always wanted to attend Octoberfest in Germany! I’m actually not much of a beer drinker (I prefer wine, liquor, or cider), but I would probably have a pint or 2 just for the sake of experiencing this festival. I didn'[t know entrance was free. That’s certainly a plus. Thanks for all the tips especially the guide to what to wear :)

    1. Hi there,
      They sell both – thank goodness cause I hate beer. And, the beers are liters – it would take me hours to drink that much beer! Nikki

  5. I’m not a big beer fan. I prefer wine. But I love the atmosphere at Octoberfest. I’ve been twice, and I’d love to go again sometime. You provide a great guide for this event, so detailed and helpful in trip planning. And the photos are also fabulous.

    1. Ha ha….. I’m not a beer fan either! They do have wine and liquor in some of the tents and in many places outside the tents. Glad you enjoyed it :) Nikki

  6. Octoberfest looks like so much fun! It certainly seems packed, if I were going to go I would definitely want to reserve some seating in advance. I attended a local Oktoberfest last year and it was a ton of fun, but it was much smaller in size. I think dressing up in a dirndl would be a lot of fun. Like you, I am not a big fan of crowds or waiting in line, so I would take your advice and try to go early in the day during the week. Very helpful tips!

  7. I have heard so much about Oktoberfest. Seven million people! WOW! I didn’t know that. Would love to attend it in future for the unique experience. Even though I am not a beer person.

  8. Too bad, like everything else, Oktoberfest also had to be cancelled in 2020. Hoping situation would be better by 2021, so I can plan my trip too. Thanks for the tip and details about seat & tent reservation. Since we are only a couple, we would definitely need to find a way to split. When I learnt about the tents I imagined them smaller. Now after seeing your pics, I realize the are humongous. Its crazy that a tent is already sold out for 2021. Good to know that a third of the seats are unreserved on weekdays. That works the best for us.

    1. Totally agree it’s a bummer that it was canceled. I am wondering if 2021 will still go given the spike in cases :( And yes, the tents are massive! Nikki

  9. I would really like to visit Munich during Oktoberfest so this was so interesting. I never realised there was so much involved in getting a table to sit at, for some reason I thought it was first come, first served. I thought the different tents were very interesting with some suitable for particular groups. Going on a weekday sounds like a good idea when it’s quieter and perhaps taking a guided tour.

    1. Hi there,
      Yes – the table system is a bit of a nightmare and really difficult to reserve as a first-timer. I hope you get to go :) Nikki

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