Oktoberfest might even be better-known than Munich itself. The largest national festival in the world is held annually in the last two weeks of September. Attention: prices at the event are strongly inflated: over €10 for a litre of beer and expensive accommodation. Check out our selection ‘Munich Events’ .
The Bavarian drinking-bout Oktoberfest is held annually at the Theresienwiese event grounds close to the centre of Munich, and lasts for sixteen days. The concept: Fasten your lederhosen or dirndl – traditional Bavarian attire – nestle down at one of the wooden tables, drink copious amounts of beer (from steins), and sing along with ‘ein prosit, der Gemütlichkeit’. Make sure to book your seats in one of the tents in advance, as there’s a staggering turnout at the festival. In 2014 beer prices exceeded the previous €10 limit (10,10 euro per liter Maß). What is more, hotels and hostels are usually fully booked months in advance, and prices sometimes double. Campsites also up their prices during Oktoberfest, however, they remain cheaper than hotels or hostels. From Munich’s inner city, U-Bahn 4 or 5 is the cheapest option to get to the Theresienwiese event grounds.
Munich’s alternative for Oktoberfest is Frühlingsfest Spring festival. Also organised at the Theresienwiese, from mid-April until the start of May, and applies the same formula as its big brother: tents, long tables and beer. Outside it strongly resembles a theme park with numerous rides, attractions and food vendors. The Spring Festival attracts thousands, instead of millions, of visitors. What’s more, a night in a hotel isn’t as pricy as during the last two weeks of September, while there’s ample opportunity to discover true Bavarian folk culture.
Yearly, Münchners celebrate Fasching, the carnival season which runs from the start of January till mid-February. Scattered across cafés, restaurants and beer halls around Munich, well over 800 carnival celebrations are organised. On Fasching Sonntag (carnival Sunday) the festival reaches its apotheosis: Marienplatz in the heart of Munich transforms into a music festival (free entrance) filled with costumed, rumbustious party-goers.
From late November until the turn of the year Munich organises several Christmas markets. These so-called Christkindlmarkts are an age-old tradition. At Marienplatz, over 150 stands present their goods. Glühwein (warm, spiced red wine), Christmas decorations, Lebkuchen (German gingerbread), topped off with live music. The cherry on the Christmas cake is without a doubt the 30 meter tall pine tree, brilliantly decorated with thousands of glimmering lights.