Oktoberfest by Train: Everything You Need to Know

So there’s this little event coming up at the end of September that you may or may not have heard of… Oktoberfest! Germany is already a popular stop for train travelers in Europe, but Oktoberfest brings in a ton more travelers every fall (about 6 million people each year!).

And this year we’ve got a whole new round of fun and useful sightseeing products that will help you make the most of your trip to the world’s favorite beer festival — not to mention a few updates to some of our popular pre-existing products, like the German Rail Pass.

oktoberfest 2015
Welcome to Oktoberfest!

First Things First: Basic Oktoberfest Schedule & Facts:

  • Dates: The fest starts at noon on Saturday September 19 and lasts until Sunday October 4
  • Popular tents
    • Hofbrau: The tent seats over 9000 people (!) but you don’t even have to have a seat in order to be served beer. This is known as one of the rowdiest tents
    • Lowenbrau: This is the tent for fans of Munich’s football club
    • Hackerbrau: This tent has a revolving stage in the middle and seats over 9000 people as well
    • Augustiner: This is the only tent where you can still find beer being served from wooden barrels (as opposed to the steel ones that are more often used now)
  • “Midday Oktoberfest” is from 10am-3pm on weekdays — during this time, when you see the sign “Mittagswien,” it means there are discounts on admission or attraction prices
  • On the weekends, beer tents are often filled almost to capacity by noon, so get there early!
Oktoberfest beer tent
Oktoberfest Beer Tent

Oktoberfest by Train: What You Need to Know

1. German Rail Pass. So let’s start with the big one first — the rail pass that covers train travel in all of Germany — and beyond! This is a great option if you want to make the most of your trip to Germany and hit up a few stops beyond Munich/Oktoberfest. If taking a train to Munich is your only trip, then this probably isn’t the product for you, but for anyone planning to take 3-4 or more trips by train, here are some of the pass’s most useful benefits:

  • Choice of 12 or 19 consecutive days of travel (OR 12 days of travel within a 1 month period, consecutively or not)
  • Discounts for travelers under 26 years of age, for 2 people traveling together, and (NEW in 2015!) up to 2 children (ages 6-11) ride free with each adult traveler
  • At the time of this post’s publication (and through September 29, 2015) you can get 2-4 free days of travel with certain German Rail Passes, plus 20% off any Germany sightseeing tour/activity when you book a German Rail Pass! Full details on the Rail Europe website.
Germany train
Traveling by train in Germany is the most scenic way! Photo c/o DB AG

2. Getting there: train stations and logistics. Because when you’re going to Oktoberfest, it’s probably helpful to know how to actually find Oktoberfest.

  • Munich Hauptbahnhof (the central train station) is the main hub for travelers taking the train to Oktoberfest. It’s one of the largest stations in Germany, with connections from pretty much every major German city and several nearby international cities (Vienna, Salzburg, and Zurich, to name a few).
    • Pro Tip: At this train station you can catch the local S-bahn lines 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 27 to travel within Munich — and the S-Bahn is covered by a rail pass!
      • To get to Oktoberfest via the SBahn, you can take S1 – S8 to Hackerbrücke
        S7, S20 and S27 to Heimeranplatz, and then U4 or U5 to station Theresienwiese or Schwanthalerhöhe
    • You can also take the bus to get to Oktoberfest once arriving in the Munich city center by train:
      • MetroBus-Line 53 to Schwanthalerhöhe
        MetroBus-Line 58 to Georg-Hirth-Platz or Goetheplatz
        StadtBus-Line 131 or 132 to Hans-Fischer-Straße
        StadtBus-Line 134 to Schwanthalerhöhe
  • Travel time from other popular German cities (for those who may not be starting off in Munich)
beer tent oktoberfest
Inside the beer tent; ©Deutsche Zentrale für Tourismus e.V

3. Sightseeing Tours/City Passes. To make the most of your time in Germany — before, during, and after the Oktoberfest festivities.

  • For people who love beer AND the history of it: Bavarian Beer and Food Evening Tour in Munich. On this 3.5 hour tour (starting at 6pm), you’ll learn about German beer brewing and what makes it stand out so much from the rest of the world, and you’ll also learn about the traditional Bavarian foods that are associated with beer (and why those foods in particular). You’ll also get a tour of the new Beer and Oktoberfest Museum, and then you’ll finish the evening at the world-famous Hofbrauhaus.
  •  For night owls who want to explore a bit after the day’s festivities: Munich by Night Tour. After you’ve spent the morning and early afternoon enjoying all that Oktoberfest has to offer, and then spent the late afternoon taking a nap to recover from all of that, why not walk it off with a night tour of Munich? You’ll wander the artistic quarter Schwabing before enjoying views of the city from the Olympic Tower, and then the tour will finish with a drink (what else?) at a local nightclub playing live music.
  • For anyone who needs a break from beer for just a second: Royal Castles of Neuschwanstein and Linderhof Day Tour from Munich. Beer is of course the main event at Oktoberfest, but if you’re heading all the way over to Germany, you might as well make the most of your visit and try to see something outside the beer tent. Castles are always a good option, and this tour will take you to two of Germany’s most famous: the fairytale Neuschwanstein, and the smaller but equally stunning Linderhof.

About the Author

Jackie

Jackie is a freelance writer from Los Angeles currently living in Brooklyn. She worked as a travel consultant at Rail Europe for two years before switching over to Marketing & Community Manager (focusing on social media) in June 2014. In her free time Jackie travels whenever possible & maintains a personal travel blog at www.jackietravels.com.

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