This Guide to Oktoberfest on a Budget was initially written in 2016 and is now updated each year with the latest pricing and information. This post was most recently updated July 2018, in advance of Oktoberfest 2018!
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 onto Munich each year.
Yet this huge demand for Oktoberfest accommodation, beer, transportation, pretzels, and traditional Bavarian outfits all helps to significantly drive up Oktoberfest costs, making it a very expensive celebration to attend. Oktoberfest expenses can easily exceed €1,000 for a few days a beer drinking in Munich. But Oktoberfest doesn’t have to be costly if you plan carefully. There are plenty of ways to cut costs yet still enjoy Oktoberfest, for those who are trying to stretch their travel budget and not blow all their travel funds on this single event.
We do advocate spending on the Oktoberfest beer itself. Sure, those beers may seem pricey in beer halls. But those are huge liters and each delicious ounce of those brews is worth every cent. This is what you come 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. Those are the best areas where you can really cut back your expenses. Not the beers.
Oktoberfest 2018 is approaching soon. This year the three-week long event runs from September 22 thru October 7. If you’re trying to do Oktoberfest on the cheap, you can save a lot of money simply by securing reservations as early a possible. Now is the time to get your plans sorted. So if you’re considering the big fest in 2018, this Oktoberfest Munich Travel Guide will show you exactly where to book for the best value accommodation, how to dress for Oktoberfest on the cheap, free things to do at Oktoberfest, and how to get around Munich without blowing cash on taxis.
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 instead 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 (yes really), which will really help to minimize your Oktoberfest costs!
So How Much Does Oktoberfest Cost?
Oktoberfest itself is free to attend. There is no entrance fee.
But there are a lot of other expenses. Math isn’t fun. So let us help break it all down for you.
This table is an example for staying in Munich for 3 nights during Oktoberfest 2018. Accommodation prices reflect double occupancy. This demonstrates two scenarios of how much Oktoberfest costs. You’ll see a budget-friendly Oktoberfest 2018 on the left and what it could cost if you’re not careful, on the right. Obviously we recommend the the cheap Oktoberfest 2018 budget on the left side, showing how you can easily have a great time at Oktoberfest on a budget of about €300 or so.
You can see from this sample Oktoberfest budget just how easily Oktoberfest costs can exceed €1,000. Yet a little advanced research and planning will help you to save loads instead. We hope this post arms you with all the info you need to have a cheap Oktoberfest 2018.
Drinking at Oktoberfest on a Budget
Each of the beer halls at Oktoberfest are completely free to enter. There are no entrance fees, so don’t be scammed if you see something online advertising a ticket to get in. Just show up to Oktoberfest, go to a beer hall, and find a seat!
You will want to buy some Oktoberfest beers, of course. Expect to pay the beer server about €12 for each beer.But understand that these are huge beers. Oktoberfest beers are served in those signature liter glasses called a “Maß” (pronounced: “mass”). Each of these liter glasses contains more than two pints of beer!
So consider that you’re getting two pints of delicious Bavarian brewed beer in arguably the most fun drinking setting in the world for a mere €12 (including tip). When you look at it that way, this 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 those enormous beers to get you singing and dancing along to the traditional Bavarian tunes being played.
That said, there are a few things you can be aware of to help minimize your beer costs at Oktoberfest 2018.
Oktoberfest Beer Prices Vary by Beer Hall: 2018 Prices
Beer prices at Oktoberfest go up every year. For 2018 Oktoberfest beer prices, we’re seeing an additional 5% increase over 2017. At the 2018 Oktoberfest, liters of beers will now be priced at an average of €11.40 at the main beer tents.
Beer prices at Oktoberfest do vary, depending exactly which beer tent you’ll be drinking at. For 2018 Oktoberfest, beer prices will range between €11.10-€11.50 within the big main beer tents that you’re going to want to go to.
With a price difference coming down to €0.40, we recommend not letting beer prices sway where you go to get your drink on. You will be rounding up for a tip anyways. So this small difference in Oktoberfest beer prices won’t play a major role in your overall Oktoberfest budget.
That said, the least expensive of the main Oktoberfest beers halls for Oktoberfest 2018 is: the Augustiner-Festhalle, which will be pouring Augustiner liters for €11.10. At 6.3% abv, liters of Augustiner’s Oktoberfest beer will also provide you the best bang for your buck. It’s a fun tent too and Augustiner is the only one that pours their beer from traditional stags (wooden beer barrels). But with the cheapest beer and all this added appeal, this tent often gets filled to capacity quickly. Go early and on a weekday to help ensure you get a seat at the cheapest main beer tent in Oktoberfest!
The next cheapest beer tent at Oktoberfest 2018 is Ochsenbraterei, which will be pouring €11.20 liters of Spaten Oktoberfest beer (5.9% abv). After that, there’s the Fischer-Vroni with Augustiner liters for €11.35. All other major Oktoberfest beer tents will be priced at €11.40 (5 tents), €11.45 (1 tent), and €11.50 (4 tents).
Consider the Smaller Tents for the Cheapest Oktoberfest Beer
There are also small tents at Oktoberfest that tend to have lower beer prices than the big major tents. The Oktoberfest 2018 beer prices at these small tents are as low as €10.70, while €10.90 is the most common beer price at the small tents.
So where can you find the cheapest liter of beer at Oktoberfest 2018?
This year, the absolute cheapest beer within Oktoberfest can be found at the 300-seat Wirtshaus im Schichtl tent, as they’ll have liters of Spaten beer for €10.70.
But again, it’s really not worth planning your Oktoberfest drinking by the prices at each tent. Just go to whatever beer halls you want to go to. Perhaps more importantly, just go wherever you can find an open seat!
Keep Change Handy for Tipping at Oktoberfest
Tipping at Oktoberfest is not required but is customary. So you should indeed tip the beer servers who are schlepping those heavy steins by the handful through an insanely crowded beer hall. Don’t be cheap with this at Oktoberfest.
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 help ensure good service throughout a prolonged drinking session. With beer prices at €11.10-€11.50, you can simply and easily round up to €12 per beer at the very least, allowing the server to keep the change. Although, giving more, say €13 per beer, would be greatly appreciated and considered a nice tip.
That said, be sure to bring small denominations of euros so that 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 of beer for €11.40 and you only have a €20 to pay with. Now the 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 €12, or €24 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 To Oktoberfest
If you’re a seasoned drinker, you’ll definitely want to kick back at least two or three liters while at Oktoberfest, possibly much more. Being that these beers contain roughly 6% alcohol content, you’ll likely be fairly buzzed 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, perhaps consider kicking back 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.
In fact, you’ll see plenty of local German guys and broke college students sitting in the grass on the outskirts of Oktoberfest doing just that: drinking cheap cans of beer before heading inside the fair grounds. This is the poor-man’s Oktoberfest, which is fine to do for a beer, if you must. But you really need to get inside those tents and pony up the funds for a few liters.
A better way to knock down a few brews before Oktoberfest is if you take our cheap Oktoberfest accommodation recommendation of Stoke Travel. Staying with them, you’ll have unlimited free beer there to get your party started (more on that in the Where to Stay section). Stoke starts popping (free) bottles of German bier at 8:00 am in the morning! So if you stay with Stoke, 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 full liters only in the main beer halls. Nothing else is acceptable nor is served.
But there are more places to drink at Oktoberfest than only inside the main 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. When all the main beer tents get filled to capacity these less popular beer gardens can come as a relief to have a free table to sit at.
It can be perfectly suitable here to get a half-liter of beer at some of these outdoor tables. 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 to order a “halben liter” of hefeweizen. If you’re unsure, check the menu card on the table and see if halben liters are listed.
Pro tip: If you go to Oktoberfest early, hefeweizen is traditionally drank in Bavaria as a breakfast beer!
These half liters will cost around €6-€7 at Oktoberfest 2018. 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, perhaps you’re just tired of walking around trying to find a seat in a main beer hall. Then you find some open seats at an outside table, but don’t want to commit to a full liter of beer. The half-liter option can be a nice way to take a beer break 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 to devour. 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 of Oktoberfest beer 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 around €2 right outside the beer hall doors. So at Oktoberfest 2018, 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. It can be a nice splurge, 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 are priced around €5 each. Don’t think twice about chowing on a delicious schnitzel sandwich – so good! For the uninitiated, schnitzel sandwiches are deep-fried chicken cutlets in between fresh baked German bread. It is pretty much the perfect hearty snack after a few liters of Oktoberfest beer.
Yet at least once during Oktoberfest you should consider ordering the traditional Oktoberfest meal of a “Wiesn-Hendl,” a grilled chicken, while sitting in the beer halls. A Wiensen-Hendl meal, including sides, runs around €15-€20. But that can be a lot of food for one person!
So for a budget-friendly Oktoberfest move, you can consider splitting this huge chicken meal with a friend. That way you’ll leave room in your stomach for more beer and extra cash in your wallet to buy that next 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 who is specifically watching for this.
Also, if you’re buying a few of these steins 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 baggage fee 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 definitely 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 at Oktoberfest, 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 certainly consider splurging on. But if you’re really trying to do Oktoberfest on a budget, then forgoing the lederhosen and dirndl can also be a great way 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 online, but we absolutely recommend against it. No one wears that. If you do, you will get laughed out of Oktoberfest 2018. It may be okay for your Halloween costume back home, but not at Oktoberfest in Munich. 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. And that’s okay too.
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, and should, spruce up your style to help get into the Oktoberfest spirit.
What Guys Can Wear If Not Splurging on Lederhosen
For the fellas, wear a blue-checkered shirt. These are called trachten shirts. You’ll fit right in with the signature Bavarian colors of blue & white. Yet, unlike lederhosen, these blue-checkered shirts are something you can wear again for any occasion.
Amazon has nice trachten shirts for cheap, depending where you’re searching from. Check sizes and availability for this blue checkered shirt.
For the Ladies that Aren’t Buying Dirndl
Girls, consider giving yourself a Bavarian hairstyle and tossing a light blue bow in your hair. While it’s fun to wear the dirndl if you can afford it, that extra €100 you’re saving will buy you a lot of liters during Oktoberfest. But if you do forgo the dirndl, just be sure to still show you have Oktoberfest spirit. Bavarian-style braids can be fun if you have long hair.
Yet if you’re single and wanting to find a nice German guy to gift you a gingerbread heart necklace, then you’ll need to splurge for the authentic 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 then returning the clothing, which is not at the same location as Oktoberfest. You’ll also 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 2018.
Despite this forethought, you may find Oktoberfest clothing rentals to be a good alternative to buying a pricey get-up. If so, Bavarian Outfitters is 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 (for girls) was in the low €100+ range. A good lederhosen outfit (for guys) will cost even more. Sorry lads! 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 2018 in attempts to find a used outfit at a cost savings.
If you’re staying with Stoke Travel (see: Cheap Oktoberfest Accommodation section of this article), they sell dirndl for €70 and complete lederhosen sets for €90. It’s actually the least expensive dirndl and lederhosen we saw anywhere around Munich!
How To Find Cheap Accommodation for Oktoberfest in Munich 2018
If you’re looking for cheap places to stay in Oktoberfest, here’s what you have to work with:
- All-inclusive glamping or camping including 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 at Oktoberfest. But there are far more budget-friendly Oktoberfest options to crash in after a full day of drinking. Securing cheap Oktoberfest accommodation is one of the biggest and easiest ways to save on overall expenses.
When looking for a cheap place to stay at Oktoberfest, we found Stoke Travel to be the best option for its cost. That is exactly what we’ve used ourselves and we can now highly recommend this “experience.” The €60 per night not only gives you a place to crash, but it is also festival within the festival that includes …all the free beer you can drink (no joke!)
More on that free beer in a minute, but let’s take a closer look at each of these cheap Oktoberfest accommodation 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 on a budget airline, you may end up spending hundreds of euro in baggage fees alone, just to get your tent and sleeping bag to the campground.
Then you’ll have to deal with securing a site among the city’s campgrounds that get swarmed during Oktoberfest time. It ultimately may end up being more trouble than the savings our worth, depending on your individual circumstance.
All-Inclusive Oktoberfest Glamping & 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 now recommend it as the best option for value at Oktoberfest!
For as little as €60 per night, they’ll set you up at this “festival within a festival” with everything you need. These €60/night Oktoberfest packages even include hot breakfasts, dinners, and all your camping gear that is completely set up for you. If you’re not the camping type, they now have a super comfy glamping and teepee options for an added cost. Whichever option you choose, you’ll be staying right in the middle of one big awesome party that even includes unlimited free beer during your entire stay if you book using the link and info below.
Here’s all the details…
Stoke Travel Oktoberfest Reviews
When we were searching for affordable Oktoberfest accommodation, Stoke Travel seemed like a good option, but we couldn’t find many reviews. So here’s a brief Stoke Travel Oktoberfest review from our experience, which was a really fun time and we can now totally recommend. Just know what you’re getting yourself into beforehand.
It is camping after all. So don’t expect the Ritz. But we found that camping with Stoke Travel is quite comfortable, crazy good fun, and you’ll definitely get your money’s worth. 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 escort you to your tent.
The camping equipment they use was mostly of good quality. Sleeping bags were very clean (like new) and warm. Their tents completely kept the rain out during the one night we got rained on. The air mattresses were a bit leaky. But they had plenty and when we found that one of our air mattresses wasn’t holding its air, we were easily able to exchange it for a good air mattress that didn’t leak.
We found their camping set up to be comfortable for us. But they also now have a cool glamping option that are more luxurious and include a bunch of extra amenities, like an exclusive station with hot chocolate and marshmallows.
The campground Stoke uses in Munich is a really nice setting, with lots of trees. It’s still within Munich’s Inner District, yet you don’t feel like you’re in the middle of the city at all. The campground has clean bathrooms, wifi near the front, and onsite food & drink options. There are even vending machines that will make you hot fries (which is all-to-convenient after a late night) and there’s a beer vending machine too! Stoke has a charging station for phones and other small electronics, which allowed us to keep our batteries charged for when we went out to Oktoberfest.
Hot breakfasts and big dinners are actually included in the price. The camp food was surprisingly 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 of Oktoberfest. Say goodbye to those expensive liters. Instead drink as much as you want at the Stoke Travel campgrounds.
It really is unlimited. We never had to wait to get a beer and they kept it flowing all day long. Just give your cup to the friendly beertender, drink, and repeat. It’s decent German beer too.
The unlimited beer & sangria is normally an extra cost of €10 per day. That’s a bargain in itself! 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 use this link and enter ROAMING during the checkout process 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 camp 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 party vibes going strong all day long.
Yet, thankfully, it’s all quieted down by around 10:00 or 11:00 at night, enabling you to get a good 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 and such an international crowd of fun loving people, you can only imagine the hilarious conversations and situations that play out. It’s such a blast!
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?
Stoke really does provide 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 for Oktoberfest in all of Munich. If you’re looking for cheap accommodation at Oktoberfest 2018, this is it.
Overall our Stoke Travel Oktoberfest review is definitely a good one! You can certainly find nicer places in Munich to stay at during Oktoberfest. But this is, by far, the best value. And it’s probably the most fun too.
We were actually explaining to some German guys at last year’s Oktoberfest how much fun we were having back at the Stoke campgrounds. They were staying at a hotel and they were almost ready to ditch their 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!
And for added value staying with Stoke, if you’re going to stay in Munich for at least four nights anyways, then be sure to book the Ultimate Oktoberfest Adventure option. It still comes out to €60 per night, but they also throw in freebies like a free boozy bike tour of Munich, lunch vouchers for every day, and 10% off swag like traditional German outfits. (Of course, there’s the still the unlimited free beer too, when entering ROAMING during the check-out process.)
How to Maximize Your Time & Money if Staying at Stoke All-Inclusive Camping
Getting from the campgrounds to Oktoberfest using public transportation was easy. Since the Stoke campground is located within the Inner District, the cheapest public transit ticket will cover you from the campgrounds to Oktoberfest. There are Stoke Travel “guides” that can show you the way to the Oktoberfest grounds. Yet you don’t really need any directions. Just follow a drunken guy in lederhosen. He knows.
To maximize your value and time, we’d recommend eating a good breakfast at camp and start your day of beer drinking there. Beers will be free for you at camp and they start flowing early there, so go ahead and take advantage of that before you’re paying €11 per beer at Oktoberfest.
But don’t linger at the Stoke campground for 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 to check current dates and availability. And don’t forget to get yourself hooked-up with the free beer by entering ROAMING at checkout. The campsite does tend to fill up, so be sure to make your reservations in advance.
(Update July 2018: We’ve been informed that some of the dates for glamping is already sold out and camping is filling up too, particularly on the weekends. Book soon!)
Hostels During Oktoberfest
Hostels are a logical choice to find cheap Oktoberfest accommodation. But you may be deceived. If you book super early, you may be able to find hostel beds starting around €80-€100 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 €140+ 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. This is ridiculous! Don’t do it.
If you’re looking for a private room in a hostel, rates start closer to €200 per night, per person based on two people. So that comes out to about €1,200 for a three-night stay in Munich during Oktoberfest. At that price, you can likely 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 the 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 ultimately we suggest looking at other options that offer better value. Also, beware that there are many camping copycats that are now listed on hostelworld (with bad reviews too). If you’re going to do the camping thing, be sure to book directly through Stoke so you don’t get scammed with a poor experience.
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 the last update to this article (July 2018), the average price for a bedroom in central Munich was €205 per night and private apartments were averaging €408 per night.
Those are the price averages, so you will 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, unverified, and overpriced rooms left. We found many hosts even being bold enough to list their spare rooms for over €300 and €400 per night, waiting to cash in on last-minute Oktoberfest bookings. 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 into your budget. 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 a great location, very close to Oktoberfest. But after reading the listing closely, we noticed it was actually just a room with a hard, oddly-shaped couch. You were 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. It certainly was.
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 want to book a cheap hotel for Oktoberfest in Munich, the best strategy is redeeming hotel points that you may have accumulated from prior stays at popular hotel chains or by using a credit card linked to a hotel group (such as Starwood Amex card). Hotels obviously hike up their prices during Oktoberfest, but most hotel loyalty programs have no blackout rates or point increases during special events. So if you’ve built loyalty with any hotel group, Oktoberfest most definitely is the time to finally redeem those points for a free room.
But if you have no hotel loyalty points, be prepared to spend a lot on a hotel.
Consider these strategies to help lessen the financial hit of a hotel during Oktoberfest:
- 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 reasonable. Booking one year in advance is best but you should definitely lock in a reservation before summer.
If you’re looking for a hotel anywhere near Munich City Center during Oktoberfest 2018, 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 during 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 2018 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 among whatever hotels may still have available rooms left in Munich.
Local Transportation to Get to Theresienwiese
Oktoberfest is located at the Theresienwiese, the Oktoberfest fairgrounds. Most accommodation within walking distance of Theresienwiese is crazy 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 an option but you’ll see them trotting around.)
Using Public Transportation to Get to Oktoberfest on a Budget
German public transportation is notoriously efficient. The only difference during Oktoberfest is that it’s more crowded. Single tickets for short trips in Munich are priced at €2.90. But you can instead purchase discounted 3-day tickets which are good for all of Munich’s public transportation system (U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams, and busses).
Both single tickets and multi-day passes can be easily purchased at the ticket kiosks located at each station. You should just be informed in advance at which ticket to buy. Here’s all the info below to help find the cheapest ticket option for Oktoberfest 2018.
A 3-day ticket for a single person costs €16.80, which breaks down to €5.60 per day. But for additional savings, consider buying a group transit pass that’s good for up to 5 people and is priced at: €29.60.
So even if there is just two of you, it is more economical to buy this group pass for €29.60 than it is to buy two single tickets (which would total €33.60). If you can find friends to ride the rails with you, you can further 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 €5.92 per person. That’s only €1.97 per person, per day!
The prices mentioned 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. Both of those are now only available for single day tickets and would cost up to €39 per person for three days worth of public transport. It’s for this reason, that you should consider staying within the Inner District, when considering cheap accommodation in Munich for Oktoberfest, as it’ll save you both time and money.
For more information on these different public transport passes in Munich you can visit: the official Munich Traffic & Tariff department website, which provides all the fare and route information you’ll need to get around the city.
Yet of even more value than these transit passes is Munich’s City Tour Card. When buying in advance, it is the same price as the transit passes and it also includes the same transit benefits to get around using Munich’s public transit system. But it further includes loads of discounts to attractions, stores, and restaurants all around Munich. It’s nice not having to queue up at the kiosks at the train stations to buy your ticket, which is a confusing to navigate the automated system to find the exact ticket you’re trying to purchase. Instead, we suggest to simply buy the Munich City Tour Card on GetYourGuide and pick up the card once you arrive in Munich. Take a look at all the discounts it includes.
Also, know that 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 during Oktoberfest. Still, we wouldn’t recommend risking a hefty fine if you were to get caught on Munich’s 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. For example, an 8-kilometer uberX ride is estimated to be about €17. It’s not particularly cheap.
Beware: You also have to take into consideration that Munich’s roadways will likely be congested with traffic as you near the Oktoberfest grounds, which will add to the cost estimate and take longer. You must also consider Uber’s practice of surge pricing, which inflates rates during popular events such as Oktoberfest, based on the inevitable increased demand. See the Uber Munich site to get fare estimates, but know that those estimates will not account for the potential of surge pricing.
If you do use Uber during Oktoberfest 2018 and you notice that surge pricing is 2x or higher, it will likely be less expensive to take a taxi if you can find one.
Using 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 during non-surge-pricing times. And a taxi during Oktoberfest will cost way more than a ticket to use the public transit. But if you’re unable to use public transportation for some reason and if Uber has a heavy surge pricing (2x or more), then a taxi’s standard rates will be less. This page gives current fares for Munich taxis.
Budget-Friendly Sightseeing While in Munich During Oktoberfest
If you’re in Munich for a few days, you should take at least one day away from Oktoberfest 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 sights 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 inside the grand cathedral. 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 go have a beer on days when the Oktoberfest grounds are packed. And with the Chinese Tower beer garden containing 7,000 seats, you may actually have an easy time finding a table to sit at (unlike Oktoberfest). If it’s a sunny day in Englischer Garten, you’ll also see the oddly intriguing sight 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 famed Hofbrauhaus. So be sure to drop in for a liter.
Inexpensive Tours in Munich During Oktoberfest
From tours of Munich to day trips out into the Alps countryside, there are some great excursions you can take during your stay in Munich, while breaking up all the Oktoberfest fun. Taking such day trips during Oktoberfest dates is also a great idea to do on Saturday to avoid the heavier weekend crowds that will be swarming Oktoberfest. It’s a nice way to balance out a beer-filled trip by adding a bit of Bavarian culture and history into the mix. After all, when you’ve come all the way to Munich, you’ve got to consider further venturing into the Alps to see Sleeping Beauty’s Castle!
Many of the tours are quite costly, of course. So we suggest forgoing the expensive 1-hour segway tour to instead pedal your way across Munich on a 3-hour bike tour. That’ll help you work off some of those beer calories, will be way more fun, and way cheaper too!
We’ve hand-picked these well-priced tours and day trips that you can reserve in advance, before you get to Munich. And you should definitely book such tours in advance, as they tend to book up completely full during the busy Oktoberfest dates:
- Dachau Memorial Site – Take a somber break from Oktoberfest with this half-day tour of the notorious former concentration camp, including a visit to the crematorium and the gas chamber. Book on GetYour Guide for €24.
- Munich Bike Tour – This is a great option to cover much more ground in Munich than the walking tour. Take to two wheels and pedal your way across town and through Munich’s parks and beer gardens. You can book this 3-hour bike tour for only €24 on GetYourGuide. But if you stay with Stoke, they offer a similar bike tour for €21.
- Bavarian Beer and Food Evening Tour – What better time and place to learn all about Bavarian beer and food (€33). This highly rated tour that provides private access to the Oktoberfest museum, followed by generous amounts of beer and German food is a fun to learn all about the local traditions, all while enjoying the beer. No wonder it gets such great reviews. See latest reviews and check availability on Viator.
- Neuschwanstein Castle – Take a ride into the Alps to see the famed castle that became inspiration for Sleeping Beauty. This is arguable the best day trip you can take from Munich. There are many tours that go out to this scenic site, yet we found the most affordable option to be this €40 tour on GetYourGuide.
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 2018. 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:
- Flixbus connects Munich to most of Europe.
- Eurolines also connects Munich to most European countries.
- Mienfernbus connects Munich throughout Germany and also to Switzerland, Austria, and Netherlands.
- Megabus connects Munich to France, Belgium and Netherlands.
- Stoke Travel Oktoberfest bus package: If you do the all-inclusive camping with Stoke Travel, they have buses (and now a party train) packages that go from Barcelona, Amsterdam, London, Prague, and Italy directly to/from the Stoke 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 new 10-hour train 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 regional rail rates from nearby Austria and within Germany. But if coming Oktoberfest from further afield, you’ll 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 Cheap Flights to Munich for Oktoberfest: Book Early
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.
At the time of last update to this post (July 2018), we’re seeing the cheapest airfare from US to Munich is out of New York City to Munich for about $581 per person, on Aer Lingus with a short layover in Dublin. This is extremely cheap for an Oktoberfest flight from the US! This particular flight is for the final weekend of Oktoberfest and returns to the US the day after the event ends. Making small concessions, such as departing a day or two after the event ends will lend to finding more attractive airfares.
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, Eurowings, and Aer Lingus. But search across all airlines and sites to find your best price. Try search one-way flights too and mix-and-match airlines to score the cheapest rates. We’ve found some of the best airfare prices to Munich during Oktoberfest on Skyscanner.com. Get creative with your searches and score an Oktoberfest flight deal!
Oktoberfest on a Budget Recap
We hope this article is helpful to planning your epic yet cheap Oktoberfest trip. Maybe we’ll see you at Oktoberfest 2018! 😉 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 in great shape to have an incredible three-day bender at Oktoberfest on a budget. Prost!
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