Oktoberfest in Munich

Dancers in traditional Bavarian costume

This year is the 181st Oktoberfest, and it’s looking set to be better than ever. Last year, the festival attracted more than 6 million visitors, who consumed 6.7 million litres of beer between them. For 2014, festivities will be in full swing between 20th September and 5th October, and crowds of similar numbers, if not more, are expected to descend upon Munich. If, like me and my family, you’re planning to join in the revelries, then read on to find out more about what will be happening over Oktoberfest, where to eat, where to drink and what to do if you’re visiting with kids.

The opening weekend

On Saturday 20th September, Oktoberfest officially begins. This is marked with the traditional colourful parade through the streets of all the tent patrons, which starts at 11 o’clock in the morning. There are floats and carriages carrying people in costume to the site of the beer tents, where at 12 noon the Mayor of Munich will tap the first beer barrel, so that celebrations may commence! There is a second parade on the Sunday, the Costume and Riflemen’s parade, showing off traditional Bavarian costumes along the streets of Munich.

 One of the many tents at Oktoberfest, Munich
One of the many tents at Oktoberfest, Munich

Food and drink

All of the beer served at Oktoberfest comes from local breweries in Munich, including Augustiner, Paulaner and Spaten. Servings of beer tend to come in large one-litre glasses, also known as ein Maß, which are carried by barmaids dressed in traditional Dirndl dresses. You can also order a lighter version mixed with lemonade, called a Radler. If beer isn’t your thing, there are also tents serving local regional wines, and even a café tent with coffee and soft drinks, as well as cakes and pastries. Other food on offer includes the world-famous pretzels, served with half a roast chicken. You will also find plenty of bratwurst, pork and fish dishes, and delicious gingerbread for the kids!

Family fun

Oktoberfest is not just geared towards adults, despite predominantly being about the beer, and there are loads of fun things to do as a family. Most tents have live Bavarian music and dancing, but the star of the show – as far as your kids will be concerned – is definitely the fun fair. There are a number of different rides, including flying swings, merry-go-rounds, shooting galleries and loop-the-loop rollercoasters. And if that’s not enough to get your kids excited, why not indulge their sweet tooth at the candyfloss stands – but maybe save that one until after the loop-the-loop!

 A great day out for all the family at the funfair
A great day out for all the family at the funfair

Driving to Oktoberfest with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle

Getting to the continent is easy with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. It takes just 35 minutes, and with services operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, you’ll have no problem finding a time to travel that suits you. The drive to Munich from our Calais terminal will take you roughly nine hours, so you may want to schedule in a couple of rest stops along the way. The quickest route is to follow the European Route E40, taking you through Belgium and over the German border as far as Cologne. From here, you can pick up the Bundesautobahn 3, which will take you down to Nuremberg where you can join the Bundesautobahn 9 all the way to Munich. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself in the midst of all the fun of Oktoberfest – enjoy!

Photo Credits:
Dancers © digital cat
tents at Oktoberfest © Roman Boed
funfair © digital cat

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