Oktoberfest returns after a two-year break: Here’s how to make the most of the German beer festival

After a forced two-year break, the Oktoberfest returns to Munich this weekend.

Known by locals as “Die Wiesn” – or “die Felder” – the giant German Beer festival occupies a huge area in Munich called Theresienwiese and has become a magnet for revelers around the world.

As anyone who has been to Oktoberfest knows, it’s not just about that Drink local beer brewed with Munich groundwater. Dozens of rides – from the carousel to the drop tower – as well as shooting galleries and countless Bavarian food stands attract the whole family.

How will COVID-19 affect Oktoberfest 2023?

For the last two years Oktoberfest was canceled due to COVID-19. Now it’s back, it will be without restrictions – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences of the pandemic.

This year’s set up began three weeks earlier than usual to repair any wear and tear or damage to tents or infrastructure that may have occurred during the break.

Munich’s Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter also admitted last week that the lack of staff in the hotel and catering industry is also affecting the planning of the festival and that many positions remain vacant.

However, a cancellation is not in sight. The organizers assured Euronews: “The Oktoberfest will be set up as planned. A cancellation by the organizer is out of the question.”

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How will Oktoberfest 2022 be different?

As always, this year’s Oktoberfest begins in September on the 42-hectare Theresienwiese in the west of the Bavarian capital.

The keg tapping will take place on Saturday 17 September at 12 noon. The last day is October 3rd, the Day of German Unity and therefore a public holiday, making the festival one day longer than usual.

On the last evening, the end of the Wiesn is celebrated in certain tents with candlelight and swaying music – a real goose bumps moment for some visitors.

Despite the two-year break, visitors can be expected to be comparable to 2019, according to Susanne Mühlbauer, tourism spokeswoman for the state capital of Munich.

Nevertheless, the city council’s economic committee has decided to extend the opening times of rides and beer tents at the “Oide Wiesn”. The Devil’s Wheel, Flea Circus, Roller Coaster, Ferris Wheel and other rides open at 9:00 a.m. – an hour earlier than in previous years – and close at 11:30 p.m. Marquees open at 10am on weekdays and 9am on weekends, except on the first day when they open at 12pm. They close at 11:30pm.

On the first Sunday of the festival, the traditional costume and riflemen’s parade takes place through the old town to the Theresienwiese. It will be broadcast live on television.

Almost its own attraction, a brand new tent, will be celebrating at Oktoberfest 2023.

The Bräurosl tent, organized by restaurateur Peter Reichert, will be 15 meters higher than all other tents and offers space for a total of 8,250 people indoors and outdoors.

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What is the Oide Wiesn?

Anyone who thought the Oktoberfest was traditional, with brass bands playing, visitors in lederhosen and dirndls nibbling on pork knuckles, has never been to the Oide Wiesn – the “old Oktoberfest”.

Located south of the Theresienwiese next to the Ferris wheel, this part of the festival costs 3 euros to enter, but you get a lot in return. The beer gardens and three marquees are particularly cozy here – and usually not so crowded.

The historic rides, some of which are over 100 years old, are affordable: For €1 you can enjoy a round of the swing boat, chain carousel or roller coaster. And those who want to find out more about the history of the Oktoberfest will get their money’s worth in the museum tent.

How expensive is the beer at the Oktoberfest?

The locals eagerly await – and shake their heads – the price for the 1-liter beer mug at the Oktoberfest.

Prices are announced for this year and range from €12.60 to €13.80. That is an average of 15.77 percent more than in 2019.

The waiters and waitresses at the festival will surely be disappointed with the price increase as it affects their tips as most customers round up when paying.

Oktoberfest. Tips: From eating to booking

Most Munich residents know that the best time to enjoy Wiesn delicacies is during the weekday lunchtime, when it’s easier to find a table. The main courses are between €8.90 and €14.50, depending on the tent.

Even if traditional Bavarian dishes are relatively meat-heavy, all tents now also offer vegetarian – and sometimes even vegan – dishes.

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When entering the festival area, bags are checked for size and content. Anything with a volume of more than three liters can be handed in at various luggage storage locations – for a small fee.

Strollers are not allowed after 6pm on weekends and weekdays.

Even if some tables are kept free for spontaneous visitors, a reservation is recommended, especially on weekends. You can book on the respective websites of the festival tents.

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