People are putting on their party pants (aka lederhosen) for the 185th Oktoberfest in Munich. This is the world's largest folk festival with over 6 million visitors drinking well over 7 million liters of beer.
This year will include the usual beers, brats and an overload of Bavarian culture. Our Guide to 2018 Oktoberfest gives you all the information you need to know about important dates, security updates and changes to the Fest this year.
Beer Prices Reach a Record High
2014 was the first time a maß (liter of beer) cost over 10 euro, but 2018 has all beers over the 11 euro mark. Expect to pay between €11.10 to 11.50 at the main beer tents (the smaller tents offer slight discounts). Care for something less alcoholic? Try one of these 8 non-alcoholic German drinks.
Oktoberfest by App
Last year an Oktoberfest App was launched to help people navigate the fairgrounds and the many events on offer. Use it for the detailed map and info.
In fact, there was a terrorist attack at Oktoberfest in 1980. A dozen people were killed and over 200 injured by a bomb from far-right radicals. The attack was the most severe act of terrorism in post-war West Germany. This year revealed a plaque commemorating the victims.
Though the threat is relatively minor, the city of Munich has created increased security measures in recent years. Visitors now need to pass through security to enter Oktoberfest complete with bag checks. Note that large bags and backpacks are prohibited, as well as baby strollers on Saturdays. Prohibited items include: glass bottles, pressurized cans, weapons, and the like.
There will be a visible police presence, as well as many plain-clothed, and bomb-sniffing dogs. Carry your passport/ID for checks.
On the positive side, these crowd control measures have meant lines into the tents are down, seats are more plentiful than ever and the atmosphere inside is more relaxed. To find low-attendance days, use the Oktoberfest crowd barometer.
Besides the possible terrorist threats, remember to use common sense at Oktoberfest. Where most people are there to party and enjoy the good vibes, you should leave valuables at home, not engage with aggravated drunk people, and avoid becoming overly intoxicated. The English-language site, sicherewiesn.de, provides great safety tips. If you are in trouble, call 112, the Europe-wide number for emergencies.
Visitor Information for the 2018 Oktoberfest
Dates: Saturday, September 22 to Tuesday, October 7th, 2018.
Highlights of 2018 Oktoberfest:
- Saturday, September 22nd at 11:00 - Parade through Munich ending at the tents.
- Saturday September 22nd at 12:00 - Tapping of the first Oktoberfest keg by the mayor in the Schottenhamel Tent.
- Sunday, September 23rd starting at 10:00 - Oktoberfest Costume and Riflemen’s Parade
- Sunday, September 23rd starting at 10:00 - Gay Sunday
- Tuesday, September 25th until 19:00 - Family day; all rides and performances are offered at a discount. Family Days every Tuesday
- Thursday, September 27th at 10:00 - Religious Oktoberfest mass
- Sunday, September 30th at 11:00 - Traditional concert of the Oktoberfest brass-bands
- Sunday, October 7th at 12:00 - Gun-salute on the steps of the Bavaria monument to end the festival
Directions: Oktoberfest is located at Thereisienwiese (usually just called the Wiesn by locals), a 34.5 hectare fairgrounds in the Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt quarter of Munich (about 20 minutes from the city center). It is easily reachable by public transport or by driving.
If driving, enter "Bavariaring, München" in the GPS and look for the impressive "Bavaria statue". However, note that parking is hard to find near the grounds and either staying nearby or taking public transport is best.
Entry to Grounds: Admission is free (except to the “Historical Wies'n”) and regulated through nine entrances.
Serving Times: Beer will be sold in the tents from 12 noon til 22:30 on Opening day; 10:00 to 22:30 on weekdays; 9:00 to 22:30 on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. The festival will close at 23:30 on October 3rd. The only exception to this is the Käfer tent which closes at 13:00 (last orders at 12:15).
2018 Design: This year's Oktoberfest design will be prominently displayed on merchandise throughout the grounds. Purchase a stein (stone mug) to take home with the new design of blue skies, the Riesenrad (Ferris wheel) and two mass mid "prost" (cheers).
Where to Stay: The city is well-prepared for the massive influx each year. That said, prices on accommodation skyrocket during the festival and go even higher for last-minute reservations. Demand is slightly less on weekdays and during the second full-week versus the first week or ending weekend.
Read our full guide on where to stay for Oktoberfest in Munich.