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Oktoberfest: stops in Munich, Stuttgart and Bremen

For beer lovers, this could be the trip of a lifetime. Destination: Bavaria – towards Munich, to be on the great lawn of Theresienwiese (‘Wiesn’ for Müncheners) on September 22nd at noon, waiting for the Mayor to tap the first keg to kick off the most famous Oktoberfest in Germany. On September 28th, then, a quick shift to Stuttgart to attend the Cannstatter Volksfest, which lasts until Oct. 14th. At this point, five days for an easy trip to Bremen (750 km to the north) to attend the inauguration of Bremen Beer Festival, from October 19th to November 4th.

Between September and October – with a preview at the end of August with Herbstfest, beer festival in Rosenheim – in Germany it’s time for Oktoberfest. The most famous is that of Munich (September 22-October 7), the most traditional is that of Stuttgart, the Cannstatter Volksfest (September 28-October 14), the oldest is that of Bremen, Bremen Beer Festival (October 19 – November 4).

Munich’s Oktoberfest, a must for beer lovers

Munich’s Oktoberfest is the Bavarian festival par excellence, with 6.5 million visitors and over 7 million liters of beer tapped by the famous and provocative waitresses in costume. Every year since 1810, the Theresienwiese meadow turns into a huge beer garden full of Festhalle, the covered pavillions managed by the most famous brands of beer, where it is also possible to eat: every year, thousands of stakes, 300 thousand sausages and more than 500 thousand chickens are served up onto the tables of thousands of visitors.

Munich Oktoberfest is an important showcase for many famous German breweries, including Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Lowenbrau, Paulaner and Spaten. On the weekend, the Spatenbraeu-Festhalle puts up the craziest party with rock music and thousands of people who drink, sing and dance. Hacker-Pschorr’s Beer Tent is the most popular with Germans and citizens of Munich. The more aristocratic and quiet Festhalle is usually Paulaner’s.

Important note: Tuesday is the Family Day, with discounted prices on entrance at the Festhalle and rides at the great fun fair of the Oktoberfest.

Cannstatter Volksfest, the traditional beer festival in Stuttgart

The beer festival in Stuttgart, Cannstatter Volksfest, dates back to 1818: from being a simple country fair into a great popular festival, which gathers over four million visitors. Stuttgart Oktoberfest, as the sister-event in Munich, is pervaded by the original German spirit, but with a more traditional and less chaotic atmosphere. As it happens in the Bavarian City, also here in Baden-Wurttemberg customs and traditional songs dominate the scene throughout the festival.

Stuttgart Bierfest starts off with a parade of decorated floats made by regional breweries, and thousands of people in traditional costume who walk along the banks of the Neckar River bordering the city. The symbols of the festival are mainly two: ‘Fruchtsaeule’, the 26 mt high fruit column, and the great Ferris wheel.

Important note: Wednesday is considered as family day at this festival, with discounts for children. At many stands of the local breweries proposing food specialties, are served even small portions for children.

Bremen Beer Festival, craft beers and local specialties

In the city of Bremen, the second major port in Germany after Hamburg, between October 19 and November 4 the traditional Bremen Beer Festival takes place. This is one of the oldest festivals in Germany, along with Freimarket, the free market festival, held just before the local Oktoberfest.

More than 4 million people arriving from the city and the whole region get together to give rise to two weeks of fun, with lots of music and folklore shows on the lawns of Bürgerweide, near the city centre. Bremen’s beer festival is one of the main events taking place in northern Germany, especially renowned for the original and always new attractions available at the fun fair set up on the occasion.

During the days of the festival, every evening after 8pm, visitors can attend great live rock music shows, while enjoying craft beers and local specialties. The Bremen Beer Festival has nothing to envy to the best-known beer festivals in Munich and Stuttgart, and in fact it is very popular with Germans, perhaps a little less with tourists.

Important note: the best time to visit Bremen Beer Festival with family and children is on Wednesday, when the stands and also the fun fair offer discounts and promotions for family groups.

Photo by digital cat

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