At the end of September, when summer is over, one of Europe's biggest festivals takes place in Munich. We're talking about Oktoberfest, the most important festival in Germany, which every year gathers millions of people who have one thing in common: a love of beer!
Why is it so popular? What should you do there? Here are a few of the most important aspects of this busy event, just to make your mouth water...
- Bavarian tradition
The festival in Munich began in 1810 as a royal celebration, when Ludwig I of Bavaria married Therese of Saxony. Since then, the festival has taken place every year, except during the war. The festival kicks off when the Wiesnwirte, the owners of the Munich breweries, arrive at the fairground escorted by horses and chariots loaded with barrels of beer.
The mayor must open the first barrel and then the beer starts to flow!
- Parades and floats
The tradition of the parade was established in 1835, but it didn't become an annual celebration until the 1950s. It's one of the most famous events during the Oktoberfest. You can see up to 8,000 people wearing the typical Bavarian costume in a parade that goes from the Maximilianeum palace to the Theresienwiese, the epicentre of the festival.
- Tourism around Munich
You'll obviously be travelling to Munich with Oktoberfest in mind, but if you have enough time you should have a look around as this is one of Germany's most beautiful cities. We recommend going to Marienplatz, a square that is in the heart of Munich, and Odeonsplatz, another impressive square surrounding by stunning buildings.
And if you want to travel outside the city, a few miles away you'll find the spectacular Neuschwanstein Castle, set in beautiful surroundings.
- And lots and lots of beer!
You'll naturally end up drinking lots of beer at Oktoberfest, whilst listening to live music and enjoying a multitude of events. Only beer crafted in the city of Munich is served, and it must comply with a Purity Law established back in 1516, known as the Reinheitsgebot.
You'll be joining over six million visitors who drink almost 7 million litres of beer combined over this 12-day festival.
These are all our tips. Find your cheap flight to Munich and start to learn a few basic German words now! Mehr Bier, Bitte!