Oktoberfest is the biggest beer market/festival worldwide. If your idea of a good time includes liters of beer, drunken Bavarians, and catchy regional tunes, then it is the place for you. The festival is expected to gather around 7 million people in Munich’s city center until the 6th of October.
Are you going to miss it this year? Do not weep! Germany has plenty of less known festivals throughout the year. These options are the locals’ pick. Some of them are a little less chaotic than this touristic hub,but they are guaranteed fun. Pick your festival, choose a nice hotel and have fun!
‘The Wassen’ for the locals is Stuttgarters’ version of Oktoberfest, but in addition to litters of bottled fun, you can enjoy a typical German autumnal fair. Smell of burned almonds, “Göckele” (roasted chicken) and stockfish affects all your senses. Above the noise you can hear the bandmaster shouting out typical slogans like “die Krüge hoch”. It gathers around 4 million people a year and it gives you a few days to arrange your trip, as it is open until the 10th of October.
Bremen also knows how to throw a good party! The 978 year-old market is anything but boring. The event goes from a beer festival to a 200,000 people carnival parade, and over more than 320 different attractions. If the party gets too wild for you, try the little Freimarkt in market square. At the market, you can enjoy all of the tasty fried pastries, roasted almonds and liquorice sweets. The best part is that the festival starts from the 18th of October until the 3rd of November.
During the 750-year-old Lindenkirchweih festivities, a dance floor is erected around the village’s 1,000-year-old lime tree. Expect men in top hats, sheep garlanded with flowers and nine-pin bowling.
It is an unconventional light fest, which the highlight is in young men chasing girls with a mixture of beer, whipped cream and a razor! The festival is from the 17th until the 20th of September.
The annual Horseradish market is held each year in the city of Baiersdorf in Bavaria. The Meerrettich museum, considered the spiciest museum in the world is located in the center of town. Every year, they choose the horseradish queen and find excuses to drink buckets of beer.
The always hip Berlin offers a beer festival which is a big competitor to Oktoberfest. While other festivals offer the local brews, the ‘Berliner Bierfest’ offers over 2,000 beers from all over the world, from the mainstream to micro brews and craft beers. Locals call it the ‘Biermeile’, (or beer mile) as beers flow for over 2 kilometers. It is held from the 2nd to the 4th of August. It is definitely worth a visit if you like cheesy German songs, costumes, and drunk people dancing around tables.
It is a smaller scale and more authentic beer festival in the city of Erlangen. The festival attract over 1 million people each year ( 10 times the number of residents). The Berg has a vast history as it was established in 1755, around the time when the brewers used to store their beer in cellars under the hill. The festival has a few similarities with Oktoberfest including locals clad in dirndls and lederhosen, Brezel ( A large and tasty pretzel) and the delicious Lebkuchenherz ( gingerbread heart cookies). While Erlangen is a smaller town, it is very well located given its close proximity to Nuremburg and easy access to Frankfurt and Munich. The 2013 Erlangen Bergkirchwein runs from the 16th until the 27th of May.