Munich's Oktoberfest is an event to behold. The largest beer festival in the world, it draws over 6 million visitors each year making it the biggest event in Germany. With that kind of draw, it takes planning to make your Oktoberfest visit a success.
Already buzzing from the beers dancing in your head, you read about what to eat, essential German vocab, and where to buy your Lederhosen. Then comes the much more difficult question of where to stay.
The fact is, deals during this highly desirable time are non-existent while prices skyrocket and availability plummets. But you still have options. Follow the complete guide of where to stay for oktoberfest to find the best accommodations for you.
When to Book Accommodations for Oktoberfest
Everyone tells you to book a hotel in Munich as soon as possible. And that really is the best advice. Where to book and how exact your request is will determine how early that search should be.
The recommendation for booking a table at the Oktoberfest tents is to try to reserve the November to February/March before the event. Though you can visit the tents (most days) without a reservation, a reservation will help you determine the dates of your stay. From there you can reserve accommodations. So about a year before will allow you to have the widest options in where to stay for Oktoberfest.
Opening weekend is one of the most popular times to go, so hotels book out quickly. Try to book during the second week, or during any weekdays to give you more options.
That said, take note that a lot can change in a year. While many reservations require a non-refundable deposit, there will be cancellations throughout the year. If you have your heart set on a particular location, put your name on a waiting list and check in occasionally to see if anything has opened up. Also realize that prices keep going up the closer it is to the festival.
Best Hotels for Oktoberfest
Munich is full of good hotel options throughout the city and in the surrounding areas. The Altstadt (old town) has many charming options within walking distance to the wiesn (fairgrounds). This is also the most popular area with reservations going quick at top prices. . For within the city, expect to pay at least €250 per night, with prices in the best spots hitting €500.
Other areas of Munich, like the neighborhood of Glockenbach, are a little more off the beaten path with plenty of cool places to eat, shop, and stay. The city offers excellent public transport so reaching other parts of the city and Oktoberfest is no problem. In the outskirts prices are more in the €150-€200 range.
The closer you are to the Wiesn, the more expensive the accommodations and the quicker they get booked. So if you are trying to save money or find an Oktoberfest place last-minute, look outside the city limits. Dachau isn't just a memorial site, it is also a nearby town with much more reasonable prices for Oktoberfest. 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.
To find your best hotel options in Munich for Oktoberfest, consult our list of best hotels in Munich. These include:
- Hotel Laimer Hof
- Maximilian Munich
- Hotel Mirabell Munich
- Bayerischer Hof Hotel
- Pension am Jakobsplatz
Best Hostels for Oktoberfest
While hostels in Munich are also at a premium during Oktoberfest, prices are usually much lower than hotels and standards are often quite high. While dorm rooms are the cheapest option, many offer private and family rooms as well as extras like breakfast.
Dorm beds generally start at €55-70 (and can be as much as €160), while rooms may fetch similar prices to hotels. If you do stay in a dorm, know that many of your temporary roommates will also be enjoying Oktoberfest. This leads to a festive environment in the common areas, and the chance for a lot of sleepless nights.
Hostels to consider for 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.
Look Outside of Traditional Hotel Options for Where to Stay During Oktoberfest
Have any friends in the area? Are you sure? Spread the word on social media and word-of-mouth and see if anyone has a space. You would be surprised at the amount of times you know someone who knows someone.
Even if you don't have a friend, some generous souls allow complete strangers to crash with them for free. Couchsurfing often involves roughing it on a couch or even the floor and spaces get booked up months in advance.
AirBnb (and similar sites) are also an option. Residents of Munich can make good money renting out their entire flat, extra room, or even their couch during Oktoberfest. Do your best to be a good guest and - again - be prepared to pay some serious cash. But access to your own kitchen and private space may save some money and your sanity. Read the reviews carefully and be wary of anywhere that looks unverified. Expect to pay at least €200 per night for a private bedroom and around €400 per night for a private apartment.
Camping for Oktoberfest is another money saving option. Commune with nature on one of the many campsites or RV parks located on on the outskirts of Munich. Public transport can connect you with the grounds. There are also all-inclusive camping options if you don't have the gear. They charge more than just the camp spot, but still offer savings. Some camp sites even offer unlimited beer and a party environment. Again, reservations are usually made months in advance but it may be worth making some last-minute calls.
Camp spots usually start at €40 with extra services for €60 - 100 per night.
Where to Camp for Oktoberfest:
- Campingplatz München-Thalkirchen - This popular campsite offers some of the best access to Oktoberfest.
- 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.
- Campingplatz München Obermenzing
- Campingplatz Nord-West
- Campingplatz Nord-West - Camping complete with lake access.
- Messe Riem - Located next to the Riem fairgrounds, there is room for 1,000 motor homes.
- Siegenburger Strasse - This is another space fit for about 250 motor homes. It is quite close to the fest and fills up quickly.
Last-Minute Oktoberfest Accommodations
I've covered some tips earlier in the article on how to make last-minute Oktoberfest accommodations work like being persistent and looking for cancellations, staying outside the city, and just being prepared to pay a lot of money.
Cost saving options include forgoing the need for accommodations altogether. Some people choose to simply sleep on the train. When you calculate that the train from Munich to Berlin is 4.5 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.
You might also 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.