If you’re planning an Oktoberfest vacation for the 188th annual event on the Theresienwiese in Munich, fasten your dirndls and lederhosen, gear up for feasting on brezn (fresh pretzels), and mark your calendars for Sept. 16 through Oct. 3, 2023.
As soon as Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter taps the first beer barrel and exclaims “O’zapft is!” (“It is tapped!”), he officially kicks off the 18 full days of laughter, music, singing, dancing, games, and merriment known as Oktoberfest (die Wiesn).
Whether it’s your first Oktoberfest vacation or you’ve attended dozens of times before, today we’re running through 10 ways you can prepare for your trip and make the most of every minute in Munich.
1. Install a Germany eSIM for low-cost data while you’re in Munich.
If you’re planning an Oktoberfest vacation, you should have a solid plan for how to use your phone internationally. The cheapest option is almost always installing a Germany eSIM (digital SIM card for Germany) so you can connect to local networks.
For just $5 a week, you can have prepaid data to pull up directions, make reservations, message with friends, or share pics on social. Just install the eSIM on any compatible device, and activate your data package when you want to use it.
2. Pick out a few outfits for your Oktoberfest vacation.
While you don’t have to dress up in German finery for Oktoberest, it’s a big part of the fun. Many people decide to order a special Oktoberfest outfit (or several), like a white blouse under a traditional Bavarian dirndl (bodice and skirt), or a button-up shirt paired with leather Lederhosen shorts and suspenders. No matter what you pack, though, make sure it’s going to be comfortable. You won’t enjoy pretzels, beer, and other goodies if you’re squeezed into something that’s too tight or impractical.
3. Think about which shoes will be best for walking around.
You can’t go wrong with sneakers if you want to be comfortable walking around Oktoberfest, but depending on your outfit, you may want something that “completes the look.” (We were impressed with this guide specifically on what shoes to wear with your Oktoberfest duds.)
4. Plan out which events you want to attend.
Eighteen days is a long time, and you want to make sure you plan your trip accordingly so you don’t miss any of the events you really want to see. Check out the Oktoberfest schedule on the official site to review what’s happening. You don’t need a firm itinerary if that’s not your thing, but even a loose plan is helpful.
5. Make reservations now (to avoid an end-of-the-table scoot).
Oktoberfest reservations can be tricky because many of the tents run on old-fashioned systems and don’t accept online reservations. If you’re planning an Oktoberfest vacation for six or more people, you’ll need to be mindful of finding room for everyone well in advance. Otherwise you may end up needing to divide into pairs or singles and scoot in at the ends of different tables, wherever there’s a free seat.
6. If you’re bringing children, research Oktoberfest’s family activities and perks (like free cotton candy)
Oktoberfest isn’t just about drinking beer … honest! While the average beer consumption during Oktoberfest is about 2 million gallons (for everyone attending, not just that tipsy guy winking at you in the corner of the tent), the event is also lots of fun for families with little kids since it’s packed with rides, live entertainment, guided tours, puppet shows, and treats galore!
Check out the family-friendly Oktoberfest events and make a list of what your children would enjoy. Many of the vendors cater to families, like Doris and Stefan Grill (Schaustellerstraße 554) who give out free cotton candy to littles during Family Days from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
7. Write a bucket list of what else you want to explore in Germany.
Even if you’re specifically planning an Oktoberfest vacation, there are probably dozens of other sites and attractions in Munich you’d like to explore. Take some time to poke around the internet for fun things to do in Munich, since you’re already there … and who knows when you’ll be back?
8. Learn a few German phrases for fun.
When in Germany, speak a little German. While it’s useful to know how to ask for the location of the nearest bathroom, if you’re going to Oktoberfest, might we suggest learning the official “cheers” that you’ll be hearing a lot? “Oans, zwoa, g’suffa!” means “One, two, drink!” and it gets more fun to say each time.
9. Plan your transportation so you’re not scrambling during Oktoberfest.
One of the easiest ways to get around Munich during Oktoberfest is public transit, and we think you’ll be very impressed by the speed and cleanliness. Do a little research on how to get from your hotel to all the fun events, and then you’ll be ready for your Oktoberfest vacation. Look for underground stations called “Theresienwiese,” “Goetheplatz,” and “Schwanthalerhöhe,” and the nearest S-Bahn (rail/train) station is called “Hackerbrücke.”
10. Make sure your phone is set to avoid roaming charges during your Oktoberfest vacation.
If you’re travelling into Germany from another country, decide ahead of time if you want to temporarily toggle off your primary SIM (which is much safer than removing it entirely) or if you just want to toggle off Data Roaming. Remember, it’s easy and cheap to get prepaid data that works all over the country with a downloadable Germany eSIM starting at $5/week. (It goes great with beer and pretzels.)