MUNICH — Oktoberfest in Munich begins September 17 and ends October 2. Looking at the calendar, that’s a little over two weeks until the tapping of the first keg! Despite what you may be thinking, it’s still not too late to make the decision to finally “do” Oktoberfest this year.
During the festival, the city’s Theresienwiese event grounds (or simply “Wiesn” for short) will be teeming with tens of thousands of revelers daily, traveling from beer tent to champagne tent, to schnapps booth. Champagne tent?! Schnapps booth?! Yes, there are special zones and kiosks for all traditional German alcohols, but beer is the chief interest and, as such, the big-name beer tents fill up early in the day.
There are 15 tents at the 2016 Oktoberfest from which to chose, but the big six—Augustiner, Hofbräu, Schottenhamel, Hacker-Pschorr, Spatenbräu, Löwenbräu—are home to the liveliest and largest crowds, with the tightest table reservations.
Reservations for beer tent tables begin nearly a year in advance (or more, if you’re a local or long-time regular), and are only accepted by contacting the tent’s proprietors and pre-paying for food/drink vouchers. For example, visiting the reservations page for this year’s Hofbräu tent show it is fully booked every day, from open to close, despite being the largest tent of all.
Not securing a table is no reason to skip Oktoberfest; you’ll still be able to sit and drink, wear a gingerbread heart necklace, ride the rides, and sing your heart out to “Ein Prosit.” We’d venture that the great majority of visitors come without table reservations, and it’s totally okay.
Even airfares from the USA to Europe are looking good (sub $700) for the next couple months; we advise checking the latest low fare finds on Expedia before searching booking sites.
The one thing you should secure right now is accommodation. Hotels, hostels, Airbnbs, whatever…book it. We’ve seen too many Oktoberfest travellers joining the bums on benches in the Hauptbahnhof (main train station) over the years to think that last-minute rooms are easy to come by. Good luck/Viel Glück!