Down your share of six million litres of the finest Bavarian beer, tuck into local delicacies and party like there's no tomorrow at Munich's Oktoberfest. It's known by locals as the "Wies'n" after the meadow where it is held - Theresienwiese.
Each year, some six million visitors wash down their beer with approximately 300,000 pork sausages, 600,000 roast chickens and 80 oxen. The Oktoberfest still clings to tradition, only allowing beer from Munich's six select breweries to be sold in the 14 large tents, each with its own unique feel, crowd and history. These breweries produce beer according to the German Purity Law decreed in 1516, so revellers can safely knock back their litre of 'healthy' beer without fear of chemical additives and preservatives.
Try to find a tent to suit your style. The Anglo-Australian-American backpacker hordes and Japanese tour groups make a beeline for the Hofbräu tent, which tends to be the most raucous. Seekers of the lively but more refined pleasures of the Bavarians (many decked out in full folk costume) should check out the Augustiner, Ochsenbraterei (ox-roasting) or Fischer-Vroni tents.
The Oktoberfest offers much more than a gigantic beer bonanza. Remember to make time for traditional German amusements such as the quaint flea circus and crossbow competitions, and note that Tuesday is Family Day, with fairground ride discounts. See regional costumes, marching bands and traditional riflemen in the grand Costume & Riflemen's Parade on the first Sunday of the festival.
The Oktoberfest has bloomed in size and popularity since it began in 1810, born from the public wedding celebrations of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. If you need to meet up with friends, there's no better place than the steps leading up to the Bavaria statue, where you can look out over the whole colourful scene.
BEER SERVING HOURS:
Monday to Friday - 10am to 10.30pm
Saturday and Sunday - 9am to 10.30pm - Tents clkose at 11.30pm
BEST OF ALL - FREE ENTRY FOR ALL - HELD MID SEPTEMBER TO EARLY OCTOBER EVERY YEAR