Oktoberfest: How and where to celebrate the traditional way
You can sense a hint of sadness throughout Europe as Oktoberfest comes to an end for another year, with many hoping to beat the blues by making plans for next year's celebrations.
The famous ‘Oktoberfest’ festivities began back in 1810 in Munich, the capital of the German state of Bavaria. The celebration was first held to commemorate a royal wedding in the state and has since become one of the biggest parties in the world.
Although Oktoberfest was typically a Bavarian tradition, its popularity quickly spread throughout Germany and the rest of the world as millions upon millions of people began joining in on the festivities. Traditionally, Oktoberfest is celebrated throughout the last few weeks of September and the beginning of October. However, the date of festivities can vary depending on the city they are held in.
If you’re planning on participating in the celebrations next year, but are unsure of where to do so, look no further! We’ve created a list of the best places in Europe to celebrate Oktoberfest in true Bavarian style.
Let’s start where it all began, and delve into the roots of the Oktoberfest celebration. Munich’s Oktoberfest is attended by around 6 million people annually, many of whom are international visitors who come to take in the festival's unrivalled atmosphere and copious amounts of Bavarian beer.
There is a strong commitment to tradition at Oktoberfest in Munich. Similar to how it all started 200 years ago in the state’s capital, on the first day of the event, the mayor of Munich must tap the first keg before any beer can be consumed. The festivities last for around two weeks and host fairs, rides, live music, and beer tents upon beer tents.
It should come as no surprise that Munich is the Oktoberfest hotspot given that it is where the celebrations originated. Oktoberfest 2024 will be held between Saturday 21st of September and Sunday the 6th of October in the city.
Another popular German destination for Oktoberfest is Berlin. You can get a taste of the Bavarian way of life in the nation's capital thanks to the famed 'Hofbrau Berlin' venue, which is renowned for its captivating atmosphere and serves traditional freshly brewed Bavarian beer in enormous steins.
Berlin is an incredible city to visit at any time of year, but the Oktoberfest celebrations are especially worthwhile because they go all out to imitate Munich, complete with authentic Bavarian specialities and original Paulaner tents to enjoy.
In the capital, you can anticipate a fun and friendly atmosphere with lots of music, dancing, games, rides, and of course, beer. Just like Munich, the celebrations will begin on Saturday 21st of September and run until Sunday 6th of October.
Moving away from Germany, Oktoberfest celebrations have earned popularity throughout Europe. England’s capital city, London, has been involved in the festivities since 2004 hosting parties that hone in on traditional German celebrations all across the city.
Although a much smaller event than the likes of Munich and Berlin, if you're looking for a beerhall, German musicians, rowdy table dancing, and authentic Bavarian beers, you can appreciate Oktoberfest in its traditional form in London.
In the capital city this October, in true German fashion, you can enjoy ordering a stein from waiters and waitresses dressed up in their dirndls and lederhosen. To make the experience even more genuine, they import both specially prepared Oktoberfest beer and Bavarian craft beer directly from the state!
The dates of 2024 Oktoberfest have yet to be announced but are expected to run from late September until the middle of October.
If you’re after some Autumn sun, Spain’s capital is the perfect place for you to celebrate the festivities. Barcelona's Oktoberfest is a must-attend event where you can soak up the sunlight and relax with a German beer of your choice.
At the renowned Plaça de l'Univers at Fira Montjuïc, you can enjoy twelve days of fun taking in live music, DJ sets, delicious Bavarian cuisine, and beer!
They even host a costume contest, where participants can dress up in their best ‘dirndl’ or ‘lederhosen’ outfits, with the prize being an eight-person VIP table and a sample of traditional Bavarian food.
The date of Barcelona Oktoberfest 2024 is still yet to be announced and is expected to run in early October.
Denmark's capital city, Copenhagen, is another popular choice for the Oktoberfest celebrations. During the largest Bavarian celebration of the year, you can find Danish locals dancing on benches and indulging in traditional German beer while fully decked up in authentic Bavarian attire.
The setting of Copenhagen's Oktoberfest makes it unique from other festivals. It’s held each year in the beach-side area of Femøren. It’s one of the most anticipated festivals in Scandinavia, as guests enjoy the atmosphere inside the 2800-person tent which features sing-along music, traditional food, and Bavarian clothing for partygoers.
The Copenhagen 2024 Oktoberfest celebrations are yet to be confirmed and usually run across two weekends, one being in August and the other in September.
Although still relatively new, the German city of Cologne’s Oktoberfest held on the river Rhine has become increasingly popular over the past 10 years. It doesn’t tend to be as busy as the festivities in Munich and Berlin, making it a better option for visitors seeking a less crowded setting to experience the Bavarian traditions.
If you want to eat traditional German sausages, drink authentic German beer, and listen to original Bavarian folk music, then Cologne could be the perfect spot for you to indulge in the celebrations.
Similar to the majority of German cities, Cologne’s Oktoberfest 2024 will start on Saturday 21st of September and run to Sunday 6th of October.
If you’re looking to participate in next year's Oktoberfest celebrations at any of the amazing locations we have mentioned, we can help you celebrate Oktoberfest the traditional way by planning a city break that takes in all of the festival’s attractions in a city of your choice.
Our friendly, professional travel specialists are on hand to find you the best offers for the best locations. Find your nearest store and get in touch with us today.