Oktoberfest – Bavaria’s favourite shindig taking place in… September – is a yearly celebration of South German tradition that welcomed over 6 million visitors last year, and saw over 7 million liters of beer consumed. Run-of-the-mill county fair, this ain’t.
It’s a one-of-a-kind atmosphere that brings together beer-lovers from all corners of the world and families out to enjoy the food, fun and festivities of one of the greatest fairs on earth. However, it would also be considered a fool’s errand to try and do Oktoberfest ‘on the cheap’. That said, we at SANDEMANs can help you cut prices without cutting corners. How, you ask? Read on!
1. Think outside the tent
Everyone knows that Oktoberfest’s pure, golden elixir is the true calling of the festival. But as a Volksfest (a ‘people’s festival’), there’s so much more to see and do! Volksfest are travelling funfairs with carnival attractions, shows, stands and more! So if you can feel your pockets empty whilst sipping on that amber brew, you might want to consider spending at least one day enjoying everything outside the tents! You’ll have to see a traditional folk music show at Zur Schönheitskönigin or ascend the thrilling Jules Verne Tower! A few euros spent on entering the charmingly traditional Oide Wiesn fairground will save you from the temptation of buying another round, and you can soak up history instead.
2. …and outside the fairground
Prices within the fairgrounds for anything and everything are inflated. The median price of beer, not counting the customary €1-2 tip? €11.70. You can’t escape splurging at least once, but it starts to add up after a few visits. So, if you want to save a bit of cash whilst still soaking up some of the famous festival atmosphere, take Oktoberfest with you wherever you go – visit Munich’s local restaurants to chow on traditional grub for a fraction of the fairground price. Need a tipple before/afterwards? Half a litre of beer at a mini-markt can set you back less than a euro. The point is: Wiesn is wherever you make it (and where the law allows…).
3. Book early with SANDEMANs
Planning for Oktoberfest usually starts… a year before Oktoberfest. Tables in the biggest tents may be reserved as early as January, and the total booking allowance can be gone by February! Some walk-ins are allowed, but our Munich Oktoberfest Experience guarantees a table at the iconic Löwenbrau tent. There’s plenty of sumptuous food and beer to get you started too, and with a walking tour of the grounds guided by one of our charismatic local experts, you won’t want for anything at this party.
Until July 31st, you can benefit from a special €85 early bird price for our Munich Oktoberfest Experience! After that, it will still only cost €115, but don’t wait too long as this experience sells out early!
4. Hitchhike without the hitches
Trusting ride-sharing services like blablacar or Fahrgemeinschaft (within Germany) can be a super thrifty – if you’re willing to take a risk. With only a handful of people maximum to a car, and the potential to negotiate a ride directly to your digs in Munich, a ride-share can beat low-cost coaches and even the train for price and comfort. The catch? You’ll need to wait closer to the time to book. Drivers regularly post journeys only a few weeks (or even days) before they intend to make them. So if you can’t find a journey, you’ll need to shell out for more conventional means to get there. If you do manage to get a lift, though, you could end up with a few new friends, and a satisfyingly weighty wallet on arrival.
5. Have a little help from (our) friends…
So, we’re sorted for an amazing, hassle-free introduction to Oktoberfest, but what about accommodation? Hotels, hostels and apartments are never cheap this time of year, but we can recommend three great options to suit all tastes:
👉 Aside from having some of the comfiest dorms you’ll find in anywhere in Europe, Jaeger’s Hostel serves a fill-your-boots breakfast buffet, which will go a long way in helping you save on the eye-watering food bills at the Wiesn (Oktoberfest) ground. The venue’s chic bar and heavenly en-suite showers are just icing on the cake. You’ll need to book quickly to snap up the last few places here!
👉 The Euro Youth Hotel has a range of budget accommodation, from private rooms to delightful dorms under the magical €100 mark. Plus, the famously lively Euro Bar runs four hours of happy hour every evening, and the reviews speak for themselves – it’s indisputably one of Munich’s best venues all year round.
👉 For a real festival experience, nothing beats Stoke Travel’s offering. Cosy camping with breakfast and dinner included for just €65/night isn’t even the best part: Stoketoberfest – the campsite’s all-day party with live entertainment that runs into the early hours – is made all the sweeter with the open bar offering unlimited beer and sangria for just €10/day. If you book with the code “SANDEMANS”, you’re drinking here for free. Who needs Oktoberfest?
6. Party up and roll out
As we said, our friends at Jaeger’s and Euro Youth Hotel are comfortably within walking distance of both the Wiesn and the city centre. If you decide to stay a little further afield or at the Stoke campground, you’ll do well to use Munich’s public transport. Pro tip: our local guides recommend making a party of 5 and splitting a 3-day group ticket. Unlimited trips within the city for less than €6 per person for 3 days? A single traveller would have to pay €16.80. That bargain is weltklasse, plus, we all know that public transport is greener than hailing a cab.
7. Dress to impress
You don’t have to wear trachten – the wonderful traditional Bavarian dress that includes mens’ Lederhosen and womens’ Dirndlen – but doing so is half the fun! Quality goatskin/deerskin trachten are used by locals to attend events all across Germany for a long while, and these will set you back several hundred euros. Don’t waste a few dozen quid on an imitation party outfit, either – it’s almost disrespectful! Our guides recommend either buying your tracht secondhand online, in one of Munich’s department stores, or renting (though this option can get costly after a few days…).
Stoke Travel also sell authentic trachten for men and women on site or during booking! They think of everything, don’t they.
8. Enjoy Munich another time?
You can’t umm and ahh about Oktoberfest. If you’ve not decided, late planning won’t save you stress or money. If your main motivation is to see Munich, and Oktoberfest is just a happy by-product, consider going at another time. The city will be cheaper, the crowds will be less, and you can still get your beer and bratwurst fix at the Hofbräuhaus (or one of the city’s numerous other festivals!). We even run our own beer tasting tour four days a week, and we’d love to see you there!