It’s almost that time of year: Oktoberfest, one Germany’s most recognizable holidays. The celebration has become so popular that cities around the world take part in the multi-weekend celebration in September and October. But for an authentic experience, the original Munich Oktoberfest is the place to be.
But how did this festival of beer and food begin? According to legend, King Ludwig I threw a celebration in honor of his marriage to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen in October of 1810. The people of Munich loved the festival so much, it became an annual tradition.
This year’s event is taking place September 16 through October 3. While beer is certainly the main event (with 14 big tents and more than 20 smaller ones) there’s still plenty to do for kids and non-drinkers, including carnival rides, food stands, and parades.
But for those who want the big tent experience, getting in isn’t always as easy as just showing up. Because of the number of attendees, most people will need reservations to get in, especially on weekends.
Perhaps the best way to get a seat is by booking an Oktoberfest package, which usually includes accommodations within walking distance to the site (or at least transport) and a reserved seat for a few hours. Many packages even offer seats at otherwise sold out tents.
Here’s our roundup of the best Oktoberfest offers still available. Cheers!
Oktoberfesttours has a variety of packages to choose from. Tour options include: opening weekend, closing weekend, and weekday and midweek.
All tours include hotel accommodations within walking distance to the grounds, roundtrip airport transfers, daily breakfast at the hotel, beer tent reservations including two large beers and meal, bike tour of Munch, guided tour of Neuschwanstein Castle with transportation, and a Bavarian dinner reservation. Opening weekend includes everything above except the Neuschwanstein Castle tour. Opening and closing weekend include an Oktoberfest T-shirt and stein.
Three-star hotel packages start at $1,495 per person and four-star hotel options begin at $1,645 per person.
For those who want to book their hotel separately, Viatour has an Oktoberfest tour available. The package includes a guided walking tour of the festival grounds with a local guide, a trip on the Ferris wheel to see Oktoberfest from above, and a reservation at the Hofbräu-Festzelt tent with a roast chicken dinner and two liters of beer.
The Hofbräu-Festzelt tent is the largest and can hold up to 10,000 people. Tables are reserved for five hours. Festival-goers can expect a day of music, dancing, and toasts to a good time.
Tours begin at around $157 per person.
Avanti Destinations has a four-day Oktoberfest package available. Included in the price is a three-night stay in Munich, a tent reservation with meal and two liters of beer, and daily breakfast.
The first two days of the package are free days, great for site-seeing around the city. Tent reservations are for the third day of the package.
The package can be booked by calling 1 (800) 422 5053.
If the other tours aren’t enough, then this seven-day package might do the trick. The package includes three days of reservations at beer tents and unlimited Bavarian Oktoberfest food and beer, served in a Maß, or stein, as well as transportation to and from the festival on all three days. A Bavarian tour guide will be available at all times to show guests traditional Oktoberfest customs, traditions, and games.
Travelers stay in three-star accommodations just outside of Munich. They are picked up from the airport and are welcomed with a dinner featuring plenty of beer and a lesson on beer making.
The package also includes a private tour of Neuschwanstein Castle, a visit to the village of Oberammergau, the Ettal Monastery, a tour of Germany's tallest mountain the Zugspitze and a short walking tour of downtown Munich with stops at Hofbrauhaus, Augustiner Keller, and Der Pschorr.
Groups are limited to no more than 12 people. Rates begin at €4,920, or around $5,900.
Five-star luxury Hotel München Palace is offering a special package for the celebration. Their Oktoberfest package includes a one-night stay in a double room, breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant, Bavarian greeting upon arrival, and a reservation in the Kufflers Weinzelt tent, including vouchers for food and beverage. (€40,- for Lunch reservation & €80,- for Afternoon or Dinner reservation).
There is a minimum of eight people per reservation and reservations must be made through the reservation department at +49.89.41971-817.
Hotel Alfa is within walking distance to the festival and is offering a three-night minimum package complete with tent seats of the guests’ choice.
The 75-room family-run hotel is just 200 meters from Hauptbahnhof, the main train station. Breakfast buffets are included in the stay and there is also a hotel bar (in case there wasn’t enough drinking at Oktoberfest.) All rooms are pretty standard and there isn’t any fancy fitness center or spa, but for clients who want to be able to walk from their hotel to the grounds Hotel Alfa is a great fit.
To book the Oktoberfest package call +49 (0)89 545 953 0 or email [email protected].
Or there's the Courtyard Munich City Center Marriott, also located close to the festival grounds. While the booking does not include a table reservation, it does include one night’s stay in a deluxe room and a hangover breakfast for two that includes two Bavarian veal sausages with a pretzel and sweet mustard and a half liter of beer per person.
Prices range from €337 - €545 ($402- $650) per night.