For members


Everything you need to know about Germany’s Oktoberfest

Munich is gearing up to host Oktoberfest after a two-year pandemic break. We look at some facts about the world-famous celebration, how much beer will cost and why it's expected to attract a record amount of Americans this year.

A server carries beer to punters at Oktoberfest 2019.
A server carries beer to punters at Oktoberfest 2019. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Tobias Hase

Whats happening?

Germany’s world famous Oktoberfest, which attracts millions of visitors from all over the world, was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But it’s returning this Saturday, September 17th, and will run until October 3rd. 

How long has Oktoberfest been celebrated?

The first Wiesn took place in 1810. At that time, the festivities began on October 17th. However, the festival was moved to September in 1872 due to weather conditions and, since then, Oktoberfest always starts on the Saturday after September 15th.

The event started out as a celebration of Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, who married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The people of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the royal event. The fields were named Theresienwiese (“Theresa’s fields”) in honour of the Crown Princess, although locals have since abbreviated the name to the Wiesn.

The following year, the Bavarian Agricultural Association decided to continue holding the festival. It subsequently became an established part of the annual calendar. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s Oktoberfest to return in 2022

How many visitors go to Oktoberfest?

In 1985, over seven million people attended the event, securing a record at the Theresienwiese. The average number of visitors is just over six million. At the last Wiesn in 2019, 6.3 million people came, drank beer and ate hearty food. 

People drink beer at Oktoberfest in Munich in 2019.

People ‘Prost’ with their beer at Oktoberfest in Munich in 2019. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Matthias Balk

Where do guests come from?

Although there are plenty of smaller regional folk festivals that take place, Oktoberfest is enjoyed by people from all over Germany – especially Bavaria.

And due to its sheer size and popularity, tourists flock from all over the world to the Bavarian capital. 

READ ALSO: Why Oktoberfest is one of Germany’s worst beer festivals 

According to travel agency Expedia, in 2019 the top cities of origin for foreign Oktoberfest visitors included London, Rome and Amsterdam. 

However, Expedia expects a significant shift in markets this year, according to a new analysis.

A particularly large number of guests from the United States are expected at Wiesn 2022 – mainly due to the strong US dollar, which makes travel worthwhile for US residents.

“Even before the pandemic, many US Americans travelled to Munich on the occasion of Oktoberfest,” explained Expedia spokeswoman Susanne Dopp.

“This year, however, they are not only coming from cities on the east coast – also many west coasters are seizing the opportunity.

“The strong dollar makes the trip to Europe affordable.”

According to a study, many visitors to Oktoberfest this year are expected from Los Angeles, Chicago and Newark. 

How important is Oktoberfest to the local economy?

Very. Visitors spend a lot. In 2019, they splashed out more than €1.11 billion, boosting Munich’s economy significantly. 

There are around 13,000 jobs at Oktoberfest. You need to be strong – waiters and waitresses carry up to 18-litre glasses at a time – the equivalent of more than 40 kilograms.

Across Germany – including in Munich – there is a staff shortage in the catering industry following the pandemic. However, Oktoberfest boss Clemens Baumgärtner said there is “no staff shortage” at the Wiesn itself. 

Revellers clink glasses for a scaled-back Oktoberfest celebration in Munich in October 2021.

Revellers enjoy a scaled-back Oktoberfest celebration in Munich in October 2021. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Felix Hörhager

How much beer is consumed?

In 2019, guests guzzled down 7.3 million litres of local German beer, according to breweries. 

When it comes to food, visitors ate 124 oxen and 29 calves (for veal). In addition, around 435,000 roast chickens and 120,000 pork sausages were sold at the Wiesn 2019.

However, reflecting the general trend in Germany, there is also lots of vegetarian and vegan food – and it’s gaining in popularity.

How much will beer cost this year?

Due to rising inflation, many people may be concerned about their budget. 

So here’s a look at the cost of a litre of beer (known as a Maß) at Oktoberfest 2022: the price will range from €12.60 to €13.80 – an average of 15.77 percent more than in 2019.

Drink costs are not set by the City of Munich. However, as the organiser of Oktoberfest, the city reviews the prices to ensure that they are reasonable. 

Almost 40 tents are set up for the event, with a total of around 120,000 seats. There are also lots of stands, booths and rides.

What are the outfits that people wear?

If you really want to get into the spirit of the Wiesn, you can don a traditional Bavarian costume, known as die Tracht in German. Women usually wear a Dirndl and men wear Lederhosen shorts. Lots of people like to get dressed up for the event but you won’t be refused entry if you decide to wear your regular clothes. 

READ ALSO: IN PICTURES – Germany hosts G7 with Bavarian twist

Two men wear traditional costumes in Munich in 2020.

Two men wear traditional costumes in Munich in 2020. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Peter Kneffel

Are there any rules to be aware of?

At the festival site, there are no requirements to wear face masks or show proof of Covid vaccination, recovery or a negative test (known as the 3G rules in Germany). However, you’ll have to wear a mask when travelling on public transport. 

When it comes to the energy crisis, there are also no restrictions. 

Keep in mind that there are some general rules for attending Oktoberfest though, including that backpacks are large bags are generally not allowed. 

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For members


7 unmissable events taking place across Germany in April

Spring is in the air and April is packed with events to celebrate the end of winter in Germany. Here are some of our top picks.

7 unmissable events taking place across Germany in April

1. March 31st – April 23rd: Dippemess, Frankfurt am Main

Frankfurt’s largest and oldest folk festival takes place twice a year in the festival square on Ratsweg. This year’s spring edition of the festival kicks off on the last day of March. 

The Dippemess is a tradition which dates back to the 14th century, when the “Maamess”, as it was called back then, was a medieval market for household goods. Potters from the surrounding regions would come to sell their ceramic bowls and containers – known as “Dippe” – which gave the event its name.

Over the years, the ceramic sellers were joined by a wider variety of stalls and popular amusements and, in the 1960s, the Dippemess eventually moved from the city centre to the fairground on Ratsweg.

Today, visitors to the Dippemess can expect a mix of modern amusements – such as fairground rides and sweet stands – and traditional offerings, such as stalls selling Apfelwein (apple wine) and typical sausage delicacies. 

2. April 2nd – 10th: Festival Days at the State Opera, Berlin

The Berlin State Opera’s annual classical music festival is one of Germany’s cultural highlights in April. It’s been running since 1996 and offers a varied programme of musical theatre and concerts with international stars at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden and the Philharmonie Berlin.

Former conductor of the Berlin State Opera and founder of Berlin’s Festival Days at the State Opera, Daniel Barenboim, at a performance at Carnegie Hall in New York. Photo: picture alliance / Benjamin Petit/dpa | Benjamin Petit

This year’s festival will be dedicated to the 19th-century German composer Richard Wagner and the programme features some of his most famous operas – including ‘The Valkyrie’ and ‘The Rhinegold’.

3. April 8th – 23rd: Nuremberg Folk Festival

Bavaria’s second-largest folk festival kicks off over the Easter Weekend and runs for two weeks. On Easter Saturday, Sunday and Monday, a troupe of easter bunnies will deliver sweets to children to celebrate the holiday. 

As well as the rides and confectionary stands which will be up for the duration of the festival, there will also be plenty of fun events, such as a Spanish-themed evening to celebrate Nuremberg’s twin city Cordoba in Spain and a light show on ‘Magic Friday’. 

4. April 18th – 23rd: International Women’s Film Festival Dortmund+Cologne, Dortmund 

The International Women’s Film Festival Dortmund+Cologne is Germany’s largest forum for women in the film industry and presents outstanding films by women spanning all genres and styles.

For almost 40 years the festival has been promoting the influence of women in all fields of the cinema industry, mainly as directors, but also as cinematographers, producers, scriptwriters, composers, songwriters and actors.

The Spring edition of the festival will be taking place in Dortmund and the programme has a special focus on films for children and young people.

5. April 21st – May 7th: Spring Festival, Munich

The spring festival, sometimes called ‘little Oktoberfest’, could not be more jam-packed with events and activities.

Over 100 stalls, 2 beer tents with daily live music, an all-weather beer garden, a beer carousel from Hofbräu and the Hacker-Weissbieralm await visitors on the Theresienweise in April 2023.

Visitors to the spring festival walk over the Theresienwiese in Munich, 2022. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Matthias Balk

Some of the events put on by external organisers – such as the flea market of the BRK or the classic car meeting of the ACM – are particularly worth a visit.

6. April 22nd to May 14th: Spring Festival, Stuttgart

Europe’s largest spring festival is always worth a visit, especially for families.

What began over 200 years ago as an agricultural festival with horse races and prize-winning livestock is now a huge event which attracts around 1.2 million guests each year over 3.5 kilometres along the Neckar river.

Balloons fly about in front of the Ferris wheel during the 82nd Stuttgart Spring Festival at the Cannstatter Wasen. in 2022. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Schmidt

There’s fun on offer for the whole family, with a wide variety of gastronomic delights, fast-paced rides and nostalgic stalls. In the middle of it all and not to be missed is the Königsalm – a traditional wooden alpine hut made of centuries-old wood – where visitors can dine on local specialities and try fruit brandies.

7. April 28th – 30th: Gallery Weekend, Berlin

Describing itself as one of “the leading events for contemporary art in Germany”, Berlin’s Gallery Weekend features open exhibitions from young and established artists in 55 galleries across the city.

Highlights include a joint exhibition by Anna Boghiguian and Alice Creischer at KOW Gallery and David Claerbout’s exhibition ‘Hemispheres’ at the Esther Schipper Gallery.

A full list of participating galleries can be found here.