How to Plan the Perfect Oktoberfest Trip (Step by Step!)

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So you’ve decided to plan a trip to Oktoberfest in Munich?

Great choice – it’s just about the best party on Earth.

But before we cue the dreamy harp and cut to shots of you guzzling beer by the litre and dancing on tables, we need to do some of the… less sexy stuff. Namely, sweet, sweet logistics.

Don’t worry, we can hold your hand if you want us to. In this step by step guide to planning your own Oktoberfest trip, we’ll run you through everything you need to do to plan a flawless trip to the world’s largest beer festival.

… We promise it’s worth every bit of stress and effort!

Step One: Decide When to Go to Oktoberfest

If you’ve read our article about when Oktoberfest takes place, you’ll know that it takes place over 2.5 weeks, from the end of September to the beginning of October.

And while a lot of people assume that weekends are THE best time to go, we’d actually caution against going on a weekend unless you (and your limited time off) require it.

Honestly, Oktoberfest is such an unhinged party that even going on a weeknight is sufficiently messy. Weekends at Oktoberfest mean crowds, higher prices, and an overall sense chaos.

… Which can be fun, don’t get us wrong, but we’d definitely recommend planning your Oktoberfest trip for weekdays if possible.

Pros of visiting Oktoberfest on weekdays:

  • Cheaper hotel rates
  • Easier to get a table
  • Chiller atmosphere
  • Not as many crowds
  • Discounted Family Days on Tuesdays
  • Unique church service in the Marstall tent on the 1st Thursday
  • Less Hunger Games-y

Cons of visiting Oktoberfest on weekdays:

  • Probably a higher density of tourists

If you do happen to plan your trip for a weekend however, let it be known that not all weekends are created equal.

The first weekend has a lot of fun events: there’s the opening day keg tapping at the Schottenhammel tent, where the mayor comes and taps the first keg of the festival. It’s a whole thing, but the flipside is that beer isn’t served until noon on the first day (until the mayor taps that first keg). This means there’s a few “dry” hours before the party can really start, which comes as a shock to many first-timers, so beware of that. There’s also usually a costume and hunters’ parade on the first Sunday that’s quite fun to watch.

The second weekend is known locally as “the Italian weekend”, during which literal busloads of Italian people drive up to Munich, get absolutely obliterated, and then get back on the bus to Italy, without so much as spending the night. We have no idea how this became a thing, but it undoubtedly is, and visiting during the 2nd weekend is a sure recipe for meeting many drunk Italian people, which is either a huge pro, or con depending on your perspective. There’s also usually bands performing on the stairs on the second Sunday, with special guests like the mayor who conduct.

The third weekend is usually lot of fun, although there aren’t too many special events that take place until the final day, during which there is a Bavarian gun salute at noon, and if you can make it into the Hacker-Festzelt for the last day, they light sparklers and sing a song at the very end of the festival, which is extremely sentimental.

So, with all that information in mind, be sure to pick the best Oktoberfest dates for you (and your vacation days, if that’s a factor).

Step Two: Book Your Flights to Oktoberfest

Alright, with your Oktoberfest dates in mind, it’s time to book your flights!

Flights should be booked well in advance for your Oktoberfest trip, given that they’re likely to be among the biggest expense for your entire trip… and well, if you can’t physically get there, then those giant pretzels and beers will have to be chomped down by someone else.

For those needing more thorough guidance on how to book the cheapest flights to Oktoberfest, we’ve written a full step by step guide.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Step Three: Book Your Oktoberfest Accommodation

After your flights to Oktoberfest have been secured, it’s time to make sure you have a place to rest your weary, incoherent head after a marathon of drinking oversized beers.

When it comes to Oktoberfest planning, probably the most crucial thing is that you book your accommodation well in advance. The glory of Oktoberfest is certainly no secret, and each year it seems to get more popular. The most affordable hotels are known to book out months, even a year in advance, so it’s important to plan accordingly.

If you need more help making an informed decision, we’ve written several articles that help narrow down the options. For instance…

If you just want some quick answers though, here is a table summarizing the best rated hotels within walking distance to the festival grounds:

HotelRatingTypeWalking DistanceAdditional NotesAvailability
Hotel Metropol9.0Deluxe11 min24h Bar
Free internet corner
Check reviews & availability
Marc München9.0Deluxe13 minBreakfast Included
Stylish decor
Check reviews & availability
Bavaria Boutique Hotel8.9Deluxe4 minBreakfast Included
In-house bar
Check reviews & availability
Aloft München8.9Deluxe14 min24h Fitness Centre
Free WiFi
Self-service pantry kitchen
Stylish design
Check reviews & availability
Hotel Brack8.8Mid-Range5 minAmerican Breakfast IncludedCheck reviews & availability
25hours Hotel The Royal Bavarian8.8Deluxe16 minSauna
Stylish design
Check reviews & availability
Hotel Kraft8.7Mid-Range12 minBreakfast IncludedCheck reviews & availability
VI VADI HOTEL BAYER 89 8.7Deluxe6 minBar
Check reviews & availability
Motel One München-Westend8.7Deluxe16 min24h food and drink service
Stylish design
Check reviews & availability
Bayer's Boardinghouse und Hotel8.6Budget11 minApartment
Fully-equipped kitchen
Free hot drinks & bottled water
Check reviews & availability
Hotel Mirabell8.5Mid-Range10 minFree WiFi
24h Bar
Check reviews & availability
Hotel Meier City München8.5Mid-Range18 minBreakfast IncludedCheck reviews & availability
Roomers Munich, Autograph Collection8.5Luxury15 minIn-room hot tub
Spa and fitness center
Garden and terrace
In-house restaurant
Check reviews & availability
Bavaria Boarding House8.5Deluxe5 minApartment
Self-catered; toaster and stovetop in every room
Check reviews & availability
Fleming's Hotel München-City8.5Deluxe12 minBreakfast Included
Saunas & gym
In-house restaurant
Check reviews & availability
Eurostars Grand Central8.5Deluxe15 minIndoor pool
Sauna and gym
Stylish design
In-house restaurant
Check reviews & availability
Hampton By Hilton Munich City West8.5Deluxe19 minBreakfast Included
Business Centre
Check reviews & availability
Acanthushotel8.5Budget17 minLibraryCheck reviews & availability
Hotel Jedermann8.4Mid-Range6 minBreakfast Included
Check reviews & availability
Krone Hotel München8.4Deluxe3 minBreakfast Included
Check reviews & availability
HOTEL ISARBLU8.4Deluxe5 minRooftop Terrace
On-site Bar
Check reviews & availability
Sheraton München Westpark Hotel8.4Deluxe17 min24h Fitness Centre
Free WiFi
Check reviews & availability
Hotel Ambiente Garni8.4Budget14 minBreakfast Included
Free WiFi
Check reviews & availability
Eurostars Book Hotel8.3Deluxe10 minLiterary themed rooms available
Lobby bar
Check reviews & availability
Hotel Uhland8.2Mid-Range7 minBreakfast Buffet IncludedCheck reviews & availability
Aparthotel Adagio Muenchen City8.2Mid-Range9 minFully-equipped kitchen
Laundry Room
Fitness Center
Check reviews & availability
Hotel Exquisit8.2Mid-Range15 minBreakfast Included
Check reviews & availability
KN Kahtan Boarding House8.2Deluxe7 minApartment
Unlimited coffee, water and soft drinks included
Check reviews & availability
Hotel Bayernland8.2Deluxe8 minBreakfast IncludedCheck reviews & availability
relexa hotel München8.2Deluxe10 minSoundproofed windows
Locally sourced breakfast available
Check reviews & availability
Pension Belo Sono8.2Budget8 minShared BathroomsCheck reviews & availability
Hotel Andra München8.2Budget10 minTerraceCheck reviews & availability
carathotel München City8.2Budget12 minBreakfast Included
Bar and terrace
Check reviews & availability
Maritim Hotel München8.1Mid-Range13 minLarge indoor pool
Piano bar
Check reviews & availability
Leonardo Hotel München City Center8.1Mid-Range14 minLounge/BarCheck reviews & availability
Hotel Senator8.1Deluxe4 minLobby Bar
Breakfast Included
Check reviews & availability
Hotel GIO8.1Deluxe7 minNewly renovated
Rainfall showers
Check reviews & availability
Hotel Condor8.1Budget16 minBar/Courtyard Terrace
Free Newspapers

Check reviews & availability
Hotel Cristal8.0Mid-Range12 minÀ la carte dining availableCheck reviews & availability
City Aparthotel München 8.0Mid-Range15 minFully-equipped kitchenettes
Laundry machines
Check reviews & availability
Hotel Pension Haydn8.0Budget5 minBreakfast IncludedCheck reviews & availability
Brunnenhof City Center8.0Budget12 minBreakfast Included
Check reviews & availability
Superior Hotel Präsident8.0Budget14 minBreakfast Included
Check reviews & availability

Step Four: Make Oktoberfest Table Reservations (If Needed)

Do you need to make a table reservation for Oktoberfest?

If you are a big group of 6-10, then this would be advised (assuming you want to all sit together).

If you are a smaller group of 6 or less, then you could probably get away with not reserving a table, and simply arriving early and (if needed) splitting up to join the ends of others’ tables. In every tent, there are always sections of tables set aside for ‘walk-ins’, so as long as you get there early (ready to run at opening time, for weekends), you will probably end up finding a table.

But even if you’ve decided “yeah, I’d like to reserve a table!”, it’s really not as easy as just phoning up and requesting one.

Every tent has its own reservation system, and some of them are really stuck in the Stone Age (although faxes are slowly being phased out, thank goodness).

Check out our guide on how to get Oktoberfest reservations for more details on how to reserve for each tent.

NOTE: The complicated thing about Oktoberfest reservations is that returning customers often have first dibs, and over the years, this has decreased the number of available reservations for newbies… to the point where some of the most popular tents among locals aren’t even taking any new reservations at all (like the Augustiner tent).

Of course, most tents still have reservation slots for newbies, but they are usually restricted to only afternoon slots. This can be fine if you don’t mind leaving early, but often it’s a bit of a buzzkill to be forced out of your table when the party is just getting started.

So – to reserve or not to reserve? That is the question.

Step Five: Decide What Else You’ll Do In Munich

Munich is an amazing city, with plenty more to do than just Oktoberfest.

So, the next step of the planning process is figuring out how to spend your rest days/free days in the city.

Here are some articles that can help:

Step Six: Enjoy Oktoberfest!

Alright, with all the tough planning out of the way, you should feel a huge weight off your shoulders.

Now, all there’s left to do is familiarize yourself with where Oktoberfest is in Munich, plan all the best foods to try while you’re there, and figure out which tents you want to hit up.

… We hope you have an amazing time!

We hope you enjoyed this step by step Oktoberfest Planning Guide!

Let us know in the comments if you have any other questions about planning your dream trip to Oktoberfest in Munich.

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