Oktoberfest is one of those quintessential travel experiences for anyone who enjoys a beer or ten. It is such a fun event that attracts partiers from around the globe who all descend to Munich each year.
Yet this huge demand for Oktoberfest accommodation, beer, transportation, pretzels, and traditional Bavarian outfits all helps to significantly drive up all of those Oktoberfest costs which can make it an expensive celebration to attend. But it doesn’t have to be costly if you plan carefully. There are plenty of ways to cut costs and enjoy Oktoberfest on a budget for those who are taking a backpacking Oktoberfest trip, traveling long-term, or anyone who just wants to not blow all their travel money on this single event.
We advocate splurging at Oktoberfest itself. Sure, the beers may seem a little pricey but they’re huge liters and each delicious ounce of those brews are worth every cent. This is what you came to Oktoberfest for. Drink up, make new friends, and sing along to the oompah band!
Instead of being cheap at Oktoberfest with your beer consumption, you’ll make a much larger dent in your Oktoberfest budget by implementing some big adjustments to what you wear, how you get there, and finding cheap Oktoberfest accommodations.
If you’re considering going to the big fest in 2017, this Oktoberfest Munich Travel Guide will show you how to have an awesome time, yet be able to do so on a budget.
Table of Contents:
- Sample Oktoberfest Budget
- Drinking at Oktoberfest on a Budget
- Eating at Oktoberfest on a Budget
- Budget-Friendly Souvenirs
- How to Dress at Oktoberfest on the Cheap
- Local Transportation in Munich to Get to Oktoberfest
- Munich Sightseeing & Inexpensive Tours during Oktoberfest
- Finding Cheap Oktoberfest Accommodation in Munich
- Transportation to Munich during Oktoberfest
Sample Oktoberfest Budget
During a typical three days at Oktoberfest you could easily spend well over €1,000 per person. Yet by applying these cheap Oktoberfest tips you can be guzzling beer during Munich’s biggest bash all for about €100 per day including your accommodation. And we even discovered a way to get unlimited free beer during Oktoberfest, which will really help to minimize your costs!
How Much Does Oktoberfest Cost?
Oktoberfest itself is free to attend. But there are a lot of other expenses. Math can be a pain. So let us help break it all down for you.
The table above is an example for staying in Munich for 3 nights during Oktoberfest 2017. Accommodation prices reflect double occupancy. This demonstrates two scenarios of how much Oktoberfest costs. You’ll see a budget-friendly Oktoberfest 2017 on the left and what it could cost if you’re not careful, on the right. Obviously we recommend the the cheap Oktoberfest 2017 budget on the left side of the chart.
Drinking at Oktoberfest on a Budget
Each of the beer halls at Oktoberfest are completely free to enter. There’s no entrance fee to get into Oktoberfest. Just show up, go to a beer hall, and find a seat!
Expect to pay the beer server €11 for each beer but these are huge beers. Beers are served in those signature liter glasses called a “Maß” (pronounced: “mass”). Each liter contains a bit more than two pints! So consider that you’re getting two pints of delicious Bavarian brewed beer in possibly one of the most fun drinking settings in the world for a mere €11 (with tip). It is actually great value. This is what you came all the way to Oktoberfest for. Don’t worry too much about your budget here. Just, drink up and have a blast!
And with most Oktoberfest beers clocking in around 6% alcohol, it only takes a few of these enormous beers to get you feeling tipsy.
That said, there are a few things you can be aware of to help minimize your costs at Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest Beer Prices Vary by Beer Hall
Beer prices at Oktoberfest 2016 were between €10.40 – €10.70, which varied pending where you’re stopping to have a liter. (Note: we will update this with Oktoberfest 2017 beer prices, once they’re released, if there is a change.) With a price difference coming down to €0.30, we recommend not letting that sway where you go to get your drink on. You’re going to be rounding up for a tip anyways, so it doesn’t really matter.
That said, the cheapest place to buy a beer at Oktoberfest is the Augustiner-Festhalle, for €10.40, which was among about a half-dozen other smaller places that also sold liters at the same price point.
But Augustiner-Festhalle is the least expensive of the main beer halls to have €10.40 priced liters. At most of the other major Oktoberfest beer halls, liters are priced at €10.60. Yet you may find the best bang for your buck at Hofbräuhaus-Festzelt, as the €10.60 liters of Hofbräu beer have the highest alcohol content, clocking in at 6.3%.
But again, it’s really not worth planning your Oktoberfest drinking by the prices. Just go to whatever beer halls you want to go to, or more importantly, go wherever you can find a seat!
Keep Change Handy for Tipping at Oktoberfest
You should tip the beer servers who are schlepping those heavy steins by the handful through an insanely crowded beer hall. Don’t be cheap here. A €1 per liter tip is a good rule of thumb, although consider more if the server is very attentive, fun, and/or you want to build rapport with them to ensure good service. With beer prices at €10.40-€10.70, at the very least you should give the server an even €11 per beer, allowing the server to keep the change. Although, giving €11.50 or €12 per beer, allowing the server to keep the change, would be very appreciated.
That said, be sure to bring small denominations so you can tip accordingly. Servers may not always have change at the ready, which could force you into an awkward situation of greatly over-tipping or under-tipping. Let’s say you buy a liter for €10.60 and you only have a €20 to pay with. Now that beer server has to find a handful of small change for you unless you want to leave a huge tip. You will also have to drunkenly fumble through all of those coins the server has handed back to you and figure out an appropriate tip. Instead, try to be prepared with €11, or €22 if ordering as a couple, tipping more if desired. Doing this may help to prolong your Oktoberfest budget.
The loud, busy, and drunken atmosphere doesn’t help this Oktoberfest tipping situation either. But having a pocket full of one and two euro pieces most certainly will.
Drink for Cheap (or free) Before You Go
You’ll definitely want to kick back at least two or three liters while at Oktoberfest, possibly more. Being that these are beers with roughly 6% alcohol content, you’ll likely be fairly drunk after downing a few. So there’s really no reason to show up to the Theresienwiese already plastered.
Yet if you have a high tolerance and you’re looking for ways to stretch your Oktoberfest budget, you can consider drinking a few brews before or on the way to the big event.
Beers from convenience stores are cheap in Munich. You can find half liters for less than €1. Additionally, it’s perfectly acceptable to drink in public with an open container in Munich as long as you’re behaving. So if you want to warm-up for the big event, go ahead and have a few pre-game beers to get you started, which will be a fraction of the cost of those €11 liters once you’re inside Oktoberfest. You’ll see plenty of people sitting in the grass on the outskirts of Oktoberfest doing just that.
And if you take our Oktoberfest accommodation recommendation of Stoke Travel, you’ll have unlimited free beer there to get your party started (more on that in the Where to Stay section). So go ahead and drink up a bit beforehand, then pace yourself while at the beer halls.
Half-Liter Beers Are Half the Cost
If you are inside one of Oktoberfest’s main beer halls, don’t even think about ordering a half-liter. You order liters only in the main beer halls. Nothing else is acceptable nor is served.
But there are more places to drink at Oktoberfest than just the beer halls. You can find beer gardens and tables that are set up outside of the halls, which sometimes aren’t very busy at all. It can be perfectly suitable to get a half-liter of beer in these places. They’re called “Halben Liters.” If you happen to stumble across one of the places serving hefe-weizen (wheat beer), those are actually traditionally served in half-liter hefe-weizen glasses anyways. So there’s absolutely no shame there.
These half liters cost between €5-€6. So there really isn’t any savings. Ounce for ounce, you’re still paying about the same, or perhaps slightly more.
But there are occasions when the option of a half-liter does make sense. For example, let’s say that while you’re on your way out of Oktoberfest, you find a cozy nook to enjoy one final beer. If you’re not ready to commit to yet another entire huge liter, then the half-liter option can be a nice way to go out and help stretch your Oktoberfest budget.
Eating at Oktoberfest on a Budget
It definitely is worth it to eat at Oktoberfest, as there is lots of great traditional German food. It’s also important to go to Oktoberfest with a solid base in your belly. You certainly don’t want to be downing liter after liter on an empty stomach. Thankfully, there are some great ways to eat at Oktoberfest on a budget.
You simply can’t bypass getting a giant brez’n (pretzel). But where you get them will make a big difference. We saw pretzels being sold in the beer halls for outrageous mark-ups of €5-€10. Meanwhile those same pretzels were priced at a little more than a €1 right outside the beer hall doors. So at Oktoberfest 2017, be sure to get your pretzels outside the beer halls, not inside. You’ll stand to save about €5 for each pretzel.
Expect to pay €15-€20 (or more) for a decent meal while sitting in an Oktoberfest beer hall. But you don’t have to. Instead you can find a huge variety of traditional German food options outside the halls, throughout the Oktoberfest fairgrounds. These sandwiches, snacks, sausages, baked goods, and meats, tend to be closer to €5 each. Don’t think twice about devouring a delicious schnitzel sandwich! They’re so good and seem to go down perfectly after a few liters of Oktoberfest beer.
Yet at least once during Oktoberfest you should consider ordering “Wiesn-Hendl,” a traditional German grilled chicken. A full meal runs around €15-€20 but you’ll get an entire half chicken with sides. So for a budget-friendly Oktoberfest move, consider splitting this huge chicken meal with a friend so that you can leave room in your stomach for more beer and extra cash in your wallet to buy that beer.
Souvenirs at Oktoberfest on a Budget
There are a number of souvenirs to consider buying at Oktoberfest and you’ll certainly want to budget for that. Why not grab a few keepsakes to remember this once-in-a-lifetime party?
A good yet cheap Oktoberfest souvenir recommendation is to buy a traditional liter Maß stein. You can find them throughout the festival for about €10 per liter stein. Don’t even think about stealing one from a beer hall, as you’ll get a hefty fine in addition to an unpleasant run-in with security. Also, if you’re buying a few of these and you’re flying out of Munich, be sure to take note of your baggage weight allowance. Those steins are heavy and may cause you to pay for an overweight bag if you’re not careful.
What shouldn’t you buy at Oktoberfest? It’s our opinion to not bother with the novelty felt hats. Only tourists wear them, so you’ll just be spending money to stick out. And don’t buy a cuckoo clock. This is not a good drunk purchase to make. Authentic ones will set you back hundreds (even thousands) of euro. Such fine craftsmanship is the last thing you’ll want to be carrying around millions of drunk people. You can find cheaper clocks being sold but those are all made in China, so beware. If you buy one of these clocks during Oktoberfest, you’ll be the cuckoo!
How to Dress for Oktoberfest on a Budget
Buying a nice complete set of authentic lederhosen or dirndl can cost well into the €200 price range. Wearing the traditional outfit can be a lot of fun and something you should most definitely consider splurging on. But if you’re really trying to do Oktoberfest on a budget, then buying this lederhosen and dirndl can be a great place to cut costs. Here are some suggestions on what you can wear and how you can find authentic yet cheap Oktoberfest outfits.
Don’t Buy Cheap Costumes for Oktoberfest in Munich
You can buy cheap costume-type dirndl and lederhosen but we absolutely recommend against it. No one wears that. If you do, you may get laughed out of Oktoberfest 2017. It’s okay for your Halloween costume but not at Oktoberfest. Just don’t.
You either have to spend on the real authentic dirndl and lederhosen or come to terms with not wearing any at all.
How to Dress for Oktoberfest Without Dirndl and Lederhosen
If you don’t want to splurge on an authentic outfit that you’ll probably only wear once in your life, just know that it can be perfectly acceptable not wear the traditional German dirndl or lederhosen at Oktoberfest. Still, there are ways you can spruce up your style to help get in the spirit.
For guys, wear a blue-checkered shirt. You’ll fit right in with the signature Bavarian colors. Yet, unlike lederhosen, it’s a shirt you can wear again for any occasion.
For the ladies, perhaps consider giving yourself a Bavarian hairstyle and tossing a blue bow in your hair. It’s fun to wear the dirndl but that extra €100 you’re saving will buy you a lot of liters during Oktoberfest.
Yet if you’re single and wanting to find a nice German guy to gift you a gingerbread heart necklace, you’ll need to splurge for the dirndl! The suggestions below offer a few ways to get good yet cheap Oktoberfest outfits.
Rent Dirndl and Lederhosen for Oktoberfest
There are companies in Munich who provide daily rentals of both dirndl for women and complete lederhosen outfits for men. These Oktoberfest outfit rentals cost €40-€50 per day for high quality authentic clothing. This may be an okay solution to avoid spending on an expensive get-up, but these rentals have their drawbacks too.
You do have to go through the hassle of picking up and returning the clothing. You’ll need to be extra careful while your drunk not to spill things like beer or mustard on your rental outfit. Otherwise you may be forced to buy it. Also know that these outfits get reserved well in advance, so your particular size may be sold out on the dates you’re looking to attend Oktoberfest 2017.
Despite this forethought, you may find Oktoberfest clothing rentals to be a good alternative to buying a pricey get-up. If so, Bavarian Outfitters seems to be a reputable organization in Munich who offers this clothing rental service.
Where to Buy Inexpensive Dirndl and Lederhosen for Oktoberfest
While walking around Munich during Oktoberfest, the least expensive we ever saw any decent dirndl was in the low €100+ range. A good lederhosen outfit will cost even more. Most of the department stores around Munich do sell a wide variety of different authentic Oktoberfest clothing options but most are not cheap at all (both in terms of quality and cost).
Instead of buying this clothing new, we recommend trying to find secondhand dirndl or lederhosen. Try checking on eBay prior to Oktoberfest 2017 in attempts to find a used outfit at a cost savings.
If you’re staying with Stoke Travel (see: Cheap Oktoberfest Accommodation section), they sell dirndl for €70 and complete lederhosen sets for €90. It’s actually the least expensive we saw around Munich.
Local Transportation to Get to Theresienwiese
Oktoberfest is located at the Theresienwiese, the Oktoberfest fairgrounds. Most accommodation within walking distance of Theresienwiese is expensive, so you’ll likely need to figure out how to get to Oktoberfest on your own. Your options are:
- Public Transit
- Horse and beer carriage (no, not really)
Using Public Transportation to Get to Oktoberfest on a Budget
German public transportation is notoriously efficient and the only difference during Oktoberfest is that it’s a bit more crowded. You can purchase 3-day tickets which are good for all of Munich’s public transportation system (U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams, and busses).
A 3-day ticket for a single person costs €16 while a group pass that’s good for up to 5 people is priced at €28.20. So even if there is just two of you, it is more economical to buy the group pass than it is to buy two single tickets. If you can find four friends to ride the rails with you, you can split the cost of the group ticket 5-ways which will give you all three days of access to Munich’s public transport for only €5.64 per person. That’s only €1.88 per person, per day!
The prices listed above are for the Inner District. If you are staying on the outskirts of Munich, you’ll need to purchase either a Munich XXL ticket or an Entire Network ticket (€55.90). So although you may be saving a few bucks staying somewhere further afield, you may end up paying for it in terms of a higher public transit pass. The Munich Traffic & Tariff department has this helpful pdf which provides info in English about full information and fares for all the different ticket combination.
Munich’s public transport system works on the honor system. You buy a ticket and get on. Supposedly ticket-checkers come by to ensure you’re not stealing a free ride, but we’ve never seen them. Still, we wouldn’t recommend risking a hefty fine if you were to get caught on the public transport without a ticket.
Consider Taking Uber in Munich during Oktoberfest
Munich does have Uber, which will be significantly cheaper than a traditional taxi, but it likely won’t be as economical as using public transport. You also have to take into consideration that the roadways will likely be congested with traffic as you near Oktoberfest. There’s no word if Uber does surge pricing during Oktoberfest as has been an annoying practice during large events in the US. See the Uber Munich site to get fare estimates.
Don’t Use a Taxi to Get to Oktoberfest
Taking a taxi in Munich is not a budget-friendly Oktoberfest means of transportation. Use it as a last resort to get to Oktoberfest. Expect to pay nearly twice as much as an Uber and far more than a ticket to use the public transit.
Budget-Friendly Sightseeing While in Munich During Oktoberfest
If you’re in Munich for a few days, you should take at least one day to walk around and sightsee in this wonderful city. Thankfully, there are plenty of things to do in Munich on a budget.
Free Things to Do in Munich During Oktoberfest
If you don’t do anything else in Munich, we highly recommend taking the free walking tour. These tip-based tours will take you around all the main sights in the historic city center as you nurture your hangover with interesting facts about Munich. Meet at the Marienplatz in front of the large column at 10:45 and 2:00. More info here: Munich Free Walking Tour.
There are tons of free sight and attractions in Munich’s city centre. Be sure to check out the famous Rathaus-Glockenspiel. While you’re there, go just a few blocks around the corner to Frauenkirche Cathedral where you can see the devil’s footprint. The walking tour goes to both but you can also go there on your own.
We also recommend a visit to Englischer Garten, a vast park in the city center. Here you can visit one of Munich’s most famous beer gardens for lunch or a beer. The Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower) can be a great alternative place to have a beer if Oktoberfest is packed. And with 7,000 seats, you may actually have an easy time finding somewhere to sit (unlike Oktoberfest). If it’s a sunny day in Englischer Garten, you’ll also to see the interesting site of a bunch of old naked men strutting around the park grounds or sunning themselves. Another highlight to do within the park is watching the many people surfing on the stationary wave in the Eisbach River.
And no beer-centric trip to Munich is complete without an obligatory visit to the Hofbrauhaus. Drop in for a liter.
Tip to Avoid Oktoberfest Crowds: Saturdays at Oktoberfest draw the biggest crowds and it becomes the most difficult in finding a seat at any of the beerhalls. So if you’ll be in Munich for a few days, consider NOT going to Oktoberfest on Saturday and instead checking out the Hofbrauhaus and to the aforementioned beer gardens. Use Saturday to sightsee since Saturdays can get so crowded at Oktoberfest. Escape the Oktoberfest crowds and enjoy your beer in these pleasant settings instead.
Inexpensive Tours in Munich During Oktoberfest
Another great consideration to take you further afield around Munich is a bike tour. If you take our accommodation recommendation to stay with Stoke Travel (see Where to Stay), they provide a bike tour all around Munich for €21 each day, which is the least expensive we’ve seen anywhere in Munich.
Stoke also runs a daily tour to Neuschwanstein Castle for €49, giving you a chance to see the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. (This is also great Saturday options in Munich to avoid the heavier weekend crowds.)
Here are a few other reasonably priced tours and excursions. You can book these in advance on Viator, which you definitely should, as tours all book up very quickly during Oktoberfest:
- Dachau Memorial Site – take a somber break from Oktoberfest to tour the former concentration camp (€24).
- Munich Bavarian Food Walking Tour – A perfect introduction to Bavarian cuisine to fill your belly with before heading to the beer halls (€25).
- Bavarian Beer and Food Evening Tour – What better time and place to learn all about Bavarian beer and food (€29.50).
- Brewery & Beer Tour Plus Express Hop-on Hop-off Tour – Great introduction to both Munich and the delicious beer that this city has become famous for (€35).
How to Find Cheap Accommodation for Oktoberfest in Munich 2017
If you’re looking for cheap places to stay in Oktoberfest, here’s what you have to work with:
- All-inclusive camping w/ meals & free beer (our pick)
- Apartment rentals
- Hotel (expensive)
If you’ve got money to burn (or hotel points), then you’ll definitely be most comfortable in a hotel room. But there are far better budget-friendly Oktoberfest options to crash in after a full day of drinking. Securing cheap Oktoberfest accomodation is one of the easiest ways to save on overall expenses.
When looking for a cheap place to stay at Oktoberfest last year, we found Stoke Travel to be the best option for its cost. That is exactly what we opted and we highly recommend this “experience.” €60 per night gets you a tent that is set-up with air mattress & sleeping bag, breakfast, dinner, a festival within the campground, and …all the free beer you can drink (no joke!)
More on that in a minute, but let’s take a closer look at each of these cheap Oktoberfest accomodation options (and expensive ones too). We’ll start with the most budget-friendly and work our way up.
Self-Camping at Oktoberfest
There are campgrounds within Munich where you can pitch your own tent for €35 per night. This can be a cheap place to stay at Oktoberfest if you already have your own camping gear, you have a car to drive, and/or you happen to live in or around Germany.
If that doesn’t apply to you, the expenses involved with self-camping may end up actually costing even more than the all-inclusive camping option. If you have to buy camping gear, then this option isn’t worth bothering with at all.
Even with your own gear, you’ll have to consider the possible costs involved in transporting it all. If you are flying into Munich, you may end up spending hundreds of euro in baggage fees alone, just to get your tent and sleeping bag to the campground.
All-Inclusive Camping (with Unlimited Free Beer)
Stoke Travel does an all-inclusive camping package that we experienced first-hand at Oktoberfest. It was such a blast and we recommend it as the best option for value at Oktoberfest.
Stoke Travel Oktoberfest Reviews
It is camping after all. Don’t expect the Ritz. But it’s comfortable, crazy good fun, and you’ll definitely get your money’s worth. Have a good time with it. Tents, sleeping bags, and air mattresses are all provided and set-up for you. Just show up and grab a welcome beer. Then a Stoke staff member will show you to your tent.
Equipment was mostly of good quality. Sleeping bags were clean and warm. Tents completely kept the rain out during the one day that it rained on us. There were some air mattresses that didn’t seem to hold air well, but if you find that yours leaks just exchange it for a good one. It’s a nice campground with clean bathrooms, food & drink options, wifi near the front, and Stoke has a charging station for your phones and other small electronics.
Hot breakfasts and big dinners are actually included in the price. The camp food was good and filling. Sometimes the meal lines got long, but there was never any wait to get a free beer. Priorities! Oh, so you want to know about the free beer?
How to Get Unlimited FREE BEER during Oktoberfest
Stoke Travel offers a package that includes unlimited beer & sangria from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm every single day. Say goodbye to those expensive liters and drink as much as you want at the Stoke Travel camp instead.
The unlimited beer & sangria is normally an extra cost of €10 per day. But we contacted Stoke Travel to see if they would offer our readers any discounts. They actually decided to give you the unlimited beer & sangria package for free! Just use this link and enter ROAMING at checkout and you’ll have unlimited beer to drink at the Stoke Travel campsite throughout all of Oktoberfest. Winning!
Stoketoberfest – A Festival Within a Festival
Doing the all-inclusive camping with Stoke Travel is so much more than just a cheap place to stay at Oktoberfest. There are thousands of people who stay with Stoke to have fun at the festival they throw at camp each day. They called it Stoketoberfest. At the campground there’s a big stage with a DJ and other live performances, and it doesn’t take long in the morning to get everybody dancing. The MCs and all the Stoke crew keep the good party vibes going all day long.
Yet, thankfully, it’s all quieted down by around 10:00 or 11:00, enabling you to get a good night sleep to get ready and start the party all over again the next day.
What makes for a great experience here is the 65 different nationalities who all came together at this campground in Munich to get fueled up on the free beer before and after going to Oktoberfest. It’s a beautiful thing. And with enough beer, you can only imagine the hilarious conversations and situations that play out within this awesomely multicultural enclave of everybody looking to have great time.
Arguably, most fun was the infamous wheel of misfortune. What is this you ask? You’ll have to go to Stoketoberfest and give it a spin to find out! Expect lots of laughs, beer, and possibly some nakedness!
The Best Oktoberfest Value in Munich?
It really is an all-inclusive experience. The only other thing you’ll need to spend money on at the Stoke campgrounds are the hot showers which run an extra €1 extra per shower. All other expenses are accounted for within the €60 per night price. The inclusion of your breakfasts, dinners, and the Stoketoberfest party with unlimited free beer makes the modest price point what we think is the best value in all of Munich. If you’re looking for cheap accommodation at Oktoberfest 2017, this is it.
Overall our Stoke Travel Oktoberfest review is definitely a good one! You can definitely find nicer places in Munich to stay at during Oktoberfest. But this is, by far, the best value and the most fun. We were actually explaining to some German guys at last year’s Oktoberfest how much fun we were having for our €60, and they were almost ready to ditch their hotel room to join the party back at the Stoke Travel campgrounds. We kept in touch with them after Oktoberfest and they emailed us to let us know they were already making their plans to stay with Stoke this year!
How to Maximize Your Time & Money if Staying at Stoke All-Inclusive Camping
Getting from the campgrounds to Oktoberfest using public transportation was easy. It is located within the Inner District, so the cheapest public transit ticket will cover you from here to Oktoberfest. There are Stoke Travel “guides” that can show you the way. Yet you don’t really have to get any directions. Just follow a drunken guy in lederhosen. He knows.
To maximize your value and time, we’d recommend eating breakfast at camp and start drinking there. Beers will be free for you at camp, so go ahead and take advantage of that before you’re paying €11 per beer at Oktoberfest.
But don’t linger too long. Oktoberfest is what you came to Munich for, so go start making your way over there for a day session and lunch. After your fill of liters in the Oktoberfest beer halls, come back to the campsite in time for the included dinner. If you can still see straight, go ahead and have a few more of those unlimited free beers and take a spin at the wheel of misfortune.
Check out Stoke’s Oktoberfest page – Stoke Travel Oktoberfest Package – for full details and online booking. And don’t forget to get yourselves free beer by entering ROAMING at checkout. The campsite does tend to fill up too, so be sure to make your reservations in advance.
Hostels During Oktoberfest
Hostels are a logical choice to find cheap Oktoberfest accommodation. But you may be deceived. If you book super early, you might be able to find hostel beds starting at €70 per night for a bed in a mixed dorm. But even if you’re lucky enough to find one, you have to consider the fact that you’ll be sharing a room with 10 drunken strangers. Just pray that the big guy in the top bunk doesn’t get sick.
You’ll find other hostels price gouging even further with rates at €120+ per night for a bunk bed in a shared room. We’ve even seen hostels charging over €300 per night just for a bed in a shared dorm. Ridiculous!
If you’re looking for a private room in a hostel, rates start at about €150 per night, per person based on two people (so that’s €300 for the room). At that price, you may be able to find hotel rooms that are less expensive. In our opinion it’s definitely not worth it to stay in a hostel for Oktoberfest with all of this price gouging going on.
You can take a look at hostelworld.com to see if any affordable beds may be available during your travel dates to Munich, but we suggest looking at other options that offer better value.
Apartment Rentals and Airbnb at Oktoberfest
If you book early enough, you may be able to find a decent Airbnb room during Oktoberfest. It’ll be a step up above camping, but you’ll likely have to start splashing the cash for anything decent. At time of writing, the average price for a bedroom was €124 per night and private apartments were averaging €220 per night.
Those are the current price averages, so you’ll find some crash pads that are lower (and higher) than this. But be careful. All the best places were the first to be booked up, leaving some questionable and/or overpriced rooms left. We found many hosts listing their rooms for over €300 and €400 per night. And that’s just for a room, not the entire apartment. See the listings below for example. They look like super nice places to stay, but ouch, way too much for crashing in someone’s spare bedroom!
If using Airbnb, be sure to check for three things:
- a track record of good reviews,
- a good location relative to public transportation in which you can easily get to Oktoberfest, and
- read the complete description if there is one.
Some of the cheaper apartments are not within walking distance to a metro or bus route, which can become very problematic. Factor in expensive taxi fares. And rooms without any reviews or a lack of description can be a total gamble, even if they look pretty in the pictures. Trust us on that!
But if you are going to splurge on an Airbnb during Oktoberfest, be sure to read the fine print to know exactly what you’re getting into. We were considering using Airbnb for Oktoberfest and found a nice looking inexpensive room to stay in. But after reading the listing more closely, we noticed it was actually just a room with a hard couch and you’re required to bring your own sleeping bag, blankets, and pillows. At that point, for our euro, we figured the all-inclusive camping was a better option.
Finding Cheap Oktoberfest Hotels in Munich
Hotels tend not to be a good cheap place to stay at Oktoberfest. There are some ways you can attempt to cut costs, but you’ll still have to pay a premium.
If you’re want to book a cheap hotel for Oktoberfest in Munich, the best strategy is redeeming hotel points that you may have accumulated from prior hotel stays or by using a credit card linked to a hotel group (such as Starwood Amex card). Hotels hike up their prices during Oktoberfest but most hotel loyalty programs have no blackout rates or price increases during special events. So if you’ve built loyalty with any hotel group, Oktoberfest most definitely is the time to redeem those points for a free room.
With no hotel loyalty points, be prepared to spend.
Consider these strategies to help lessen the financial hit:
- Book super early (one-year if possible)
- Book a hotel on the outskirts of town (although ensure there are public transit options)
- Avoid the first week of Oktoberfest
- Avoid weekends
You’ll need to book a room early to find any rates that are halfway reasonable. Booking one year in advance is best but you should definitely lock something in before summer.
If you’re looking for a hotel anywhere near Munich City Center during Oktoberfest 2017, you’ll likely be shelling out at least €240 Euro per night although rates soar well into €500 and beyond. If you’re okay with staying further away, if you’re lucky and book early, you may be able to find a few places in the €150-€200 range per night. Again, be sure to check that there are public transport options from the hotel to Oktoberfest. Also, the further out you stay, the more your public transit ticket will cost, so build that into your Oktoberfest budget too.
Hotels during the first week of Oktoberfest tend to sell-out more quickly, so consider going one of the latter weeks. Also try to book during the week days if possible. You not only might find lower rates, but you’ll also have a less crowded experience at Oktoberfest.
But no matter what, a hotel in Munich during Oktoberfest 2017 is going to cost you a lot. You can take an up-to-date look at all the inflated room rates using the hotelscombined.com widget below, which searches all of the top booking sites (Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, Agoda, etc.) to find the lowest rates that are still left in Munich.
Transportation to Oktoberfest on a Budget
To have some money left to spend on beer, you’ll need to find an affordable way to get to Oktoberfest 2017. Luckily if you’re already in Europe or the British Isles, there are plenty of cheap ways to get to Oktoberfest. If you’re coming from another continent, don’t worry, you may still be able to score a cheap flight to Oktoberfest too.
Getting from Elsewhere in Europe or UK to Oktoberfest on a Budget
Your main options include: Bus, train, or flying.
Bus Travel to Oktoberfest is Usually the Best Way
You can arrive from virtually anywhere in Europe and get to Munich during Oktoberfest cheaply by bus. You can find bus tickets from many European destinations to Munich as low as €15-€50 Euro each way. We find bus travel throughout Europe to be a great travel bargain and an underrated way to buzz around the continent. Here’s four bussing options to consider to get to Oktoberfest on a budget:
- Mienfernbus connects Munich throughout Germany and also to Switzerland, Austria, and Netherlands.
- Megabus connects Munich to France, Belgium and Netherlands.
- Eurolines connects Munich to basically everywhere in Europe.
- Stoke Travel Oktoberfest bus package: If you do the all-inclusive camping with Stoke Travel, they have bus (and now train) packages that go from Barcelona, Amsterdam, London, Prague, Budapest, and Italy directly to/from the campsite. Prices vary depending on which city you’re coming from but prices run from €210-€350 which includes round-trip transportation AND the all-inclusive camping experience with free beer (when you enter: ROAMING at checkout). The 12-hour train they just added (2017) from London to Oktoberfest looks like a particularly awesome way to roll over to Oktoberfest.
Train Travel to Oktoberfest Can Get Costly
Train travel to Oktoberfest can get pricey. You can find reasonable rates from nearby Austria and within Germany. If coming Oktoberfest from further afield, you’ll likely be much better off using a bus to keep expenses low. If considering train travel to Munich, use the Bahn website to find timetables.
For more complicated routes, consult the Munich page from the Man in Seat 61.
You can also try searching rome2rio which will give you some good ideas and estimates across planes, trains, and automobiles.
For Flights: Book Budget Airlines Early to Get to Oktoberfest
Book far enough in advance and you may be able to snag a seat on a budget airlines into Munich within €100 each way. If you search early enough, you can actually find sub-€100 tickets from Paris and other cities within Germany to Munich. A handful of other European locations also have sub-€200 tickets each way. But you’ll only find those low fares to Oktoberfest if you search very early. Realistically, you can expect to pay at least €400+ for roundtrip tickets into Munich during Oktoberfest time.
How to Get from the US to Oktoberfest on a Budget
You can find surprisingly cheap flights from the US to Oktoberfest if you
- book far enough in advance,
- are flexible with your departure/arrival cities, and
- can be flexible with your dates of travel.
Flight prices change constantly and it would be a nearly impossible task to keep track of all the different routes and prices.
You can currently find round-trip flights from Miami, Boston, and New York City to Munich for about $700 per person, which is extremely reasonable for an Oktoberfest flight from the US.
If you really want to save some cash, have some extra time, and are willing to go through some extra hassle, then you can often find even cheaper flights into Dublin, London, Paris, Amsterdam, and other cities within Germany. Fly to one of those cities and then use one of the methods discussed above to get to Munich. Doing this will add time to your trip but you stand to save hundreds of dollars and will get an opportunity to explore another city before or after your Oktoberfest trip. Dublin can often be the cheapest point of entry from the US, so why not go have a few pints of Guinness as a prelude to the big show in Munich. Or consider a flight to Frankfurt or Berlin, which have closer and easy connections to Munich.
Some of the best rates directly into Munich are with Air Berlin, Norwegian, and Aer Lingus. But search across all airlines and sites to find your best price. We’ve found some of the best airfare prices to Munich during Oktoberfest on Skyscanner. Other sites we like using to search are Google Flights, Kayak, and Momondo. Get creative with your searches and score a deal to Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest Alternative: Go in the Spring Instead!
One way you can have a fun Oktoberfest experience but avoid the crowds and high costs is to go in the springtime instead. Fruehlingsfest (or Springfest) runs from April 21-May 7 2017 at the Oktoberfest fairgrounds (Theresienwiese) in many of the same beer halls that Oktoberfest is held in. It’s nicknamed “Oktoberfest’s Little Sister,” and is more of a locals celebration with less tourists traveling to Munich for the event. Hence transportation and accommodation prices in Munich are significantly less during Springfest.
Much of the same delicious German food can be found around the beer halls. The rides are operating, bands are playing and the same Oktoberfest atmosphere is in the air. Yet instead of liters of marzan beer, you’ll be quaffing equally delicious maibock. Sure, it may not be quite the same as the big Oktoberfest celebration, but this is certainly worth considering to get a taste for what it’s all like, with less travel expenses.
Stoke sets up a campground for Springfest too. You can get all the details for that at the link below, and the unlimited free beer they’ve offered Roaming Around the World readers is good for Springfest too! Just use this link and enter ROAMING at checkout.
Oktoberfest on a Budget Recap
We hope this article was helpful to planning your epic yet cheap Oktoberfest trip. Maybe we’ll see you at Oktoberfest 2017! 😉 If this post was helpful or if you have your own Oktoberfest budgeting tips, let us know in the comments. Or if you have any questions, give us a shout!
Whatever method you use to get to Oktoberfest and wherever you stay, be sure to go and experience this awesome centuries-old Bavarian tradition! Don’t let your budget hold you back. If you can scrounge up three or four hundred euros, you’ll be a great shape to have an incredible three-day trip to Oktoberfest. Prost!
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