What began in Bavaria in 1810 to celebrate Crown Prince Ludwig’s royal wedding, has exploded into the annual gala of pretzels and steins, beloved by modern-day revellers the world over.
Celebrations kick off in September, so pull on your lederhosen, don a dirndl and join in the festivities for some of our favourite Oktoberfest events.
The original and the best, each year more than six million people flock to celebrate Oktoberfest in Munich. As is to be expected, after 180 years hosting the festival, Munich has got it down to an art.
An abundance of beer halls scatter the grounds, with a range of experiences to choose from based on your desired ambiance, musical styling and choice of beverage.
Reserve a table in advance to ensure the best seat in the house, or make your pick of the day, pull up a wooden bench, and indulge in delectable German fare. Fuel up on Würstl (sausages), Knödel (dumplings), Sauerkraut, and Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes) for long days of stein-swigging, yodelling and polka-dancing.
- Flights to Munich: Together with partner airlines Etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia operates flights to Munich via Abu Dhabi and Singapore respectively, from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
Smaller than its Munich equivalent, but equally as merry, Oktoberfest Dublin is popular with locals and visitors alike, attracting more than 120, 000 people to last year’s 18-day affair.
Held under a marquee in the Docklands, the free event boasts performances by traditional Bavarian musicians, Die Alpen-show, plus a maze of markets. Stein-swillers are served by authentic German barmaids, while food-loving festival-goers are treated to a range of mouth-watering German delicacies like Burgundian ham, Schweinshaxe (knuckle of pork), Brathendl (roast chicken), crepes, pretzels and pastries.
Feeling adventurous? Partake in the Bavarian Games and try your hand at challenges like Schuhplattlern (traditional folk dance), nailing, stein-lifting, Fliegerlied dancing, and the yodel contest.
- Flights to Dublin: Together with partner airline Etihad Airways, Virgin Australia operates flights to Dublin via Abu Dhabi, from Brisbane and Sydney.
What began in 1969, when two Denver café owners honoured their favourite tradition by tapping a keg and serving pretzels, now attracts more than 350, 000 people each year.
An annual six-day celebration, Denver Oktoberfest keeps crowds entertained with all the usual German festival trappings, plus some slightly unusual customs of its own – the most quirky of which, The Sausage Dog Derby, pits dachshund against dachshund for the honour of top dog.
Test your strength and endurance at The Annual Stein Hoisting National Championships. Pay tribute to the legendary David Hasselhoff in the downtown Denver Dashustlehof race. Warm up your stein-arm with a round of Keg Bowling. Or challenge yourself gastronomically with the Bratwurst Eating Contest.
- Flights to Denver: Together with partner Delta Air Lines, Virgin Australia operates flights to Denver via Los Angeles, from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
While it may seem like an unlikely location for a German festival, Vietnam embraces a strong beer-drinking culture, and this year celebrates the 21st annual Oktoberfest Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City.
Supported by the German Embassy in Vietnam and the German General Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City, the city’s Windsor Plaza Hotel conjures a traditional Bavarian beer-garden atmosphere, with fresh-brewed beer, comforting German cuisine and festive folk music.
Hosting around 15, 000 visitors each year, Vietnam’s Oktoberfest is a much smaller-scale production than its Munich relative, but meets the celebration’s expectations with authentic entertainment flown in from Germany, and traditional games, dancing, singing and beer-mug swinging.
- Flights to Ho Chi Minh City: Together with partner Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia operates flights to Ho Chi Minh City via Singapore, from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
The best of Bavaria comes to Brisbane’s RNA Showgrounds for two weekends in October. Run by two Australian-German families, Oktoberfest Brisbane transforms the fair grounds into a German village, attracting more than 35, 000 guests each year.
Outside, the biergarten’s traditional food stalls offer an endless array of scrumptious savouries and sweets. Try a schnitzel burger, tuck into a Schweinshaxe (pork knuckle) with traditional Bavarian crackling and sauerkraut, visit the German Sausage Hut for a wurst or frankfurter, and sample German pastries, strudels and cheesecakes from the King of Cakes.
After a feast fit for Crown Prince Ludwig himself, head inside to the main tent to sit back and enjoy entertainment by traditional Alpenrosen dancers, cow bell ringers, yodellers, and a Bavarian Oktoberfest Band (pictured) flown in from Germany. When the Hat Dance starts to play, it’s time to work off the wurst! If you pride yourself on your physical prowess, join the Miss Oktoberfest Competition or the Bavarian Strongman Competition – where contests include nailing, keg rolling and a prize for ‘best dressed’.