Filled with gemütlichkeit and already buzzing from the beers dancing in your head, you read about what not to do, what to eat, what to drink and what to wear. Then comes the much more difficult question of where to stay. Everyone tells you to book a hotel in Munich as soon as possible and deals are practically non-existent.
But don't let that deter you from the party of the year! If you are willing to rough it, pay or just get lucky, last-minute Oktoberfest accommodations can be yours.
Even if your first-choice hotel is booked when you call the first time, cancellations happen. Follow-up with your top choices or see if there is any kind of last-minute waiting list. If you have any flexibility in your timeline, try mid-week and avoid the big events like opening day. In any case, be ready to pay big.
Reach out to your contacts
Have any friends in the area? Are you sure? Spread the word on social media and word-of-mouth and see if anyone is willing to put you up. You would be surprised at the amount of times you know someone who knows someone.
Some generous souls allow visitors to crash with them for free for this monster festival. Most Couchsurfing hosts are filled to capacity months before the party goes down and may note right on their profile that they don't appreciate last-minute requests.
If not, plead your case and pray to the Oktoberfest gods.
AirBnb (and the like) hosts are not quite as generous, but are another way to find last-minute Oktoberfest accommodations. Residents of Munich can make good money renting out their entire flat, extra room, or even their couch. Do your best to be a good guest and - again - be prepared to pony up some cash.
Try Mega Hostels
Beds in Munich hostels are not immune to the price spike of Oktoberfest. Expect to pay 40 euros minimum for a bed in a dorm and as much as a hotel for a private room. While the negatives are obvious (not family-friendly, filled with tipsy Oktoberfest-goers, no frills), there can be an energized party atmosphere that continues from the tents. Plus - they might be the only places to have "affordable" accommodations.
Hostels to consider for last-minute Oktoberfest accommodations:
- The Tent - This hostel is exactly like it sounds. A truly massive tent is just outside of the city with easy public access and rock-bottom prices. I can attest that it is indeed bare bones accommodation, but the crowd is generally young, very friendly - if boisterous and more than a wee bit drunk.
- Meininger - Conveniently located in the city center, beds here are considerably more expensive than your usual hostel this time of year but may be available last-minute.
- Hostival - This mobile hostel has been called the "hangover hospital" and follows the party - you know what you are getting into when you stay here. But it is located close to the Wiesn and can accommodate up to 500 guests.
Staying closer to nature is another option.
Though parking for cars and RVs is not really an option near the grounds, there are plenty of places that allow you to connect with the festivities through public transport. Again, reservations are usually made months in advance but it may be worth making some last-minute calls. For example,
- Campingplatz München-Thalkirchen - This campsite offers some of the best access to Oktoberfest. Thus, it is very popular.
- Munich All Inclusive Camping - All you need to bring is yourself to this campsite. They offer a tent, mat, sleeping bag, hot breakfast plus a grilled dinner. In addition, a private bus is to the center is included in the price.
- Messe Riem - Located next to the Riem fairgrounds, there is room for 1,000 motor homes.
More options at www.oktoberfest.de.
Stay Outside of Town
The closer you are to the Wiesn, the more expensive the accommodations and the quicker they get booked.
So if you are trying to make something happen last-minute, look outside the city limits.
Dachau isn't just a historical site, it is also a nearby town with much more reasonable prices. Other options include: Nuremberg, Bamberg, Augsburg, Rothenburg ob der Tauber or even Salzburg. Just plan on getting up early and taking the train into Munich.
Sleep on the Train
Some people forgo the need for accommodations altogether and just sleep on the train. When you calculate that the train from Munich to Berlin is 6 hours that doesn't sound like such a bad plan.
However, beware that the trains will be crowded so it is best to have a seat reservation so you can actually sleep. Also be aware of transfers. In an inebriated state this may be more complicated than usual.
Sleep at the Train Station
Not glamorous, not comfortable and certainly not family-friendly - but it has been done before and will be done again. While this may be the worst case scenario, Germany's generally very safe and you will have an epic Oktoberfest story of your very own.