Alternatives to Oktoberfest: 6 celebrations worth travelling for this autumn
By Samantha Shillabeer
Not heading to Munich this year? Catch a flight to one of these alternative Oktoberfest celebrations instead. Search for flights on KAYAK and you’ll be celebrating before you know it.
Every September, more than six million people descend on Munich for a celebration of Bavarian drink, food and culture. If you’re not travelling to Munich for the big event, or if you’re looking for a less expensive, more chilled out alternative, KAYAK has you covered.
Check out these other great celebrations and start planning an Oktoberfest of your own by searching for flights on KAYAK.co.uk.
Part beer festival, part fun fair, Stuttgart’s riverside Cannstatter Volksfest has been going strong for almost 200 years. You can work your way through nine drink tents, which showcase unique beers from all over Germany. There’s also a traders’ market, with more than 50 stalls selling clothes, homeware, jewellery and art. When it comes to rides, you’ve got all sorts of options that’ll fling you up, down and around as fast as you like. The two-week festival closes with a bang on Sunday, 14 October, with a fireworks display hosted by multiple pyrotechnics world champion Joachim Berner. Expect a ten-minute extravaganza of light, sound and colour.
New York, New York, United States
21 September-14 October
Snap up a cheap last-minute flight to New York and you could be celebrating Oktoberfest on the other side of the Atlantic. The festivities take place over four consecutive weekends and include giant pretzels, stein-holding competitions and some seriously impressive costumes. Everything takes place in a 3,500 square foot venue by Pier 15 in Manhattan, which boasts amazing views of the Brooklyn Bridge and New York skyline.
4-14 October & 18-31 October
There’s double the debauchery on offer in London this year as the city plays host to not one but two Oktoberfest events. The first takes place in Canary Wharf’s Millwall Park. Expect a giant beer tent with iconic long tables, traditional blue and white decorations and waiters and waitresses dressed for the occasion in dirndl and lederhosen.
The second event takes place over Halloween weekend in Finsbury Park. Get a costume sorted (or rent one on the day for £29), and join 3,000 other revellers for drinking and dancing on tables. The beer is transported in giant tanks from Bavaria and freshly tapped on site, and there’s a decent selection of ciders and wines for non-beer lovers.
Now in its fourth year, Paris Oktoberfest is set to welcome more than 10,000 beer fans this October. The 10-day celebration takes place in the Paris Event Center, with a proper Bavarian tent hosting the festivities. The beer menu features loads of speciality drinks, including the Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier, which is brewed exclusively for Oktoberfest. You can tuck into all the same sorts of foods you’d get in Munich too, from Bavarian sausages to apple strudel. The festival’s soundtrack comes courtesy of a brass band, who’ll keep the party going late into the night with an eclectic mix of rock, polka and traditional German tunes.
Held just a stone’s throw from the beach, Barcelona’s take on Oktoberfest injects a bit of Catalan spirit into the festivities. The 11-day event is a pretty laid-back affair and, better yet, entrance is completely free (though you need to book a table to advance to guarantee entry). There are five main beers to work your way through, including the popular Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier, which has been brewed in Munich since 1818. Live music and DJ sets keep things lively from am to pm, while cultural activities include a costume competition and a beer-barrel-opening ceremony.
31 October-4 November
Scots know how to throw a party, and Edinburgh Oktoberfest is no exception. West Princes Street Gardens, in the city centre, will be transformed into a complete and authentic Oktoberfest experience for the sixth year in a row. A big Bavarian tent will host up to 1,500 people, who can enjoy five days of German food, beer and entertainment. While you’re there, sample popular delicacies like bratwurst, schnitzel and roast pork, and drink a pint of beer that’s been specially shipped over from the Bavaria Festbeer Brewery.