Why Springfest is better than Oktoberfest
Having been to both, I feel uniquely suited to give a hot take answer on this one, so here it comes: Springfest in Munich is WAY better than Oktoberfest.
And here's why.....
oktoberfest is awesome....but
First, some background.....Munich, Germany is home to the biggest beer drinking festival in the world, Oktoberfest, but it's long storied traditions of celebrating King Ludwig the First's marriage to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen have come along way....the very first Oktoberfest happened on the year 1810, where after the King's marriage, citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy royal event! Thus, Oktoberfest was born.
The fields (named Theresienwiese or, 'Theresa's Fields) in honor of the Princess Theresa have traditionally been used to host the Royal Horse races for the royalty in Munich, and were then used to house and host all the citizens of Munich for the 'festival before the harvest' or, Oktoberfest as we've come to know it. The citizens had so much fun in 1810, they decided to host the annual gathering the year after in 1811, giving rise to the tradition to host it annually every year after that.
And today, Munich's Oktoberfest is indeed, 'The Largest Fair In The World,' with hundreds of thousands of tourists flocking to Munich for a chance to drink at one of Munich's famous beer tents.
And while the bucket list item that going to Oktoberfest is, it can be a wee bit crowded....
Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world congregate in Munich in the fall for the three weeks during Oktoberfest, and it truly can be a madhouse. From the 14 or 15 tents Munich has on the fairgrounds (all of which hold 10,000 people each) you still need to get in line at the tents (which do not open until 9 AM) before 7 AM. And even then, you'll be pretty far from the entrance.
And once you do enter the tents, get ready to not leave them all day. Yes, if you find yourself outside of a tent at Oktoberfest, well.....good luck. You'll be on the outside looking in all day. Actually, scratch that, the tents don't have windows. You'll just be able to 'hear' how much fun everyone is having from inside.
But, alas....there are several beer gardens, rides and outdoor drinking spaces you can frolic in. Just mind the weather. With Munich being rather cold and rainy during the fall, temperatures at Oktoberfest can fall well below freezing, and plain and simple, you just won't want to be outside too much during Oktoberfest. Better suck it up, get ready early, and plan not to leave wherever you plan on going for a while....if you can get in in the first place.
Legend also has it that after King Ludwig's wedding in the fall of 1810, many of the German citizens who had such a blast attending that affair regrouped after the winter in April and had their own festival to celebrate the town and coming summer. Though officially not dubbed 'Springfest' or 'Fruhlingsfest' until 1964, it is very much considered the 'Little Bro' of Oktoberfest, and that is purely do to its smaller size. And for some reason or another, it hasn't caught on to the international community like Oktoberfest has, and I am not sure why....the weather is SO MUCH BETTER!
But that's not the only reason to go to Springfest over Oktoberfest....
Listen, I am not here to say, "Oktoberfest sucks," and be elitist in saying Springfest is better, but in terms of the crowds, prices and weather, Springfest is a much better deal. Plus, you'll probably find yourself drinking next to real Bavarians, instead of the mostly American tourist table you'll probably be at in Oktoberfest.
Plus, Munich can get absolutely packed during Oktoberfest every year....with hundreds of thousands of people flocking to the city to celebrate Oktoberfest (and Munich itself) Munich in September seems to have been pushed to the absolute brink of what it can handle in terms of tourists. It's an awesome time to be there, but if you also want to see Munich and explore beyond what just Oktoberfest has to offer, it can be a damn nightmare trying to get around, or finding a place to eat. Did I mention the weather's better, too?
Which is plain and simple one of the first reasons why I personally think Oktoberfest's cousin, Springfest, or Fuhlingsfest, is a much better festival and affair to attend.
Watch this video to recap what Oktoberfest is like during it's first few days. Pure mayhem. Internet bloggers, Go Pro's, DSLR's and American accents everywhere you go. Thank god for unlimited beer.
Then, we'll get to a final recap of the reasons WHY Springfest is a much better festival to attend if you are thinking about planning a trip to Munich :)
reasons to go to springfest over oktoberfest
1) You are there to celebrate, and of course, PROST!
The biggest thing about being in Munich for a beer festival, is to PROST! Prost'ing is simply the 'cheers-ing' of glasses together. And part of what makes Munich such a special place is meeting new people and sharing incredible memories. There's a reason why they have 10,000 person tents, 100 foot long tables, and an ever-flowing amount of beer, and that's because they want you to have a good time and celebrate with those around you.
2) Munich is actually an awesome city
If you go to Munich during Oktoberfest season, you'll find packed shops, restaurants, bars, attractions, tents, and plain and simple, people everywhere...add in the fact that the weather is usually pretty cold and rainy during the fall, you may not find a whole lot of outdoor spaces to explore.
Compare that to the Spring, and the fact that Munich is Germany's sunniest city annually, you'll have a plethora of places to explore such as the, 'Englisch Garden,' which is bigger than London's Hyde Park and Central Park in New York.
Plus, there's a river you can surf in. Not bad, eh? #FunFact
3) FC Bayern is playing during Springfest
IF you're lucky, you can jet over to one of FC Bayern's home games at Allianz Arena and you can witness one of the best football teams in Europe play under the lights.
Just another amazing reason to drink a few steins at Springfest...Bundesliga anyone?
4) Typical Bavarian dress is way easier to rock in the spring
Dirndl's, lederhosen - you name it. No matter what beer festival you end up going to first, you're going to want to look the part, for sure. Save up and purchase the right outfit BEFORE you go to Germany (otherwise you'll pay through the nose for one) but no matter, after three steins, everyone' going to look good.
Anyways, you'll need an alpine-style hat, with some pheasant feathers, a blue, green, or red checkered shirt and of course those knee high wool socks complete with a matching lederhosen.
Got some leather boots? Even better. Grab some pins, and other attire and get to the party STAT. Ladies, it is ok for you to either wear lederhosen, or the dirndl. Either way, the weather will be warmer, so you're in luck. Did we mention drinking in German attire is way better, too?
5) you can actually get into the tents at springfest
Oktoberfest has a whopping 14 tents, all of which hold somewhere between 5,000 and 11,000 people each, with an additional 20 smaller tents (less than 2,000 people each) all combining to equal about 100,000 seats at Oktoberfest. But with over 7.2 million people having attended last year's three week festival, those 100,000 seats can be damn tough to get.
Compare that with Springfest, and there are about 7 major tents, with 10 smaller ones, the actual amount of attendees is much less. With only about 50,000 seats to spare throughout the fairgrounds (not including the grassy knolls) there are only about 1.6 million tourists who attend Springfest, making it a much easier festival to manage for the city, and for you to find a seat at.
6) the food and beer are actually better at springfest
Don't just take our word for it, go and live it! With the amount of food that needs to be produced at Oktoberfest, I would swear on my life that the food is better at Springfest.
Here are some fun facts from the last years Oktoberfest:
- 6,900,000 litres of beer drank
- 549,899 whole chickens devoured
- 140,225 sausage pairs
- 44,320 whole fish eaten
- 75,456 pork shanks eaten
- 116 whole oxen
- 57 calves consumed
- 111,000 foiled attempts of stolen Oktoberfest mugs
Want to know all the Oktoberfest facts from last years festival? Read this post here.
Now....I can't actually prove it, but going through Instagram photos from last year's Springfest, I would swear that they have more options of food in the spring...I just can't quite recall, but this Instagram photo proves it!
And yes, the food in Munich is ALWAYS good, but it seems to me that Fruhlingsfest has brought out something a few added stops when it comes to creating more of an exotic menu for attendees.
However, I'll always says yes to a big-ass pretzel with a beer, though!
For more info on the Bavarian foods you ought to try while you're in Munich, read this article.
7) There is a ton of stuff to do outside of the beer festivals
I know we already tapped into how awesome of a city Munich is, but seriously! They have the Hofbraus Haus (open 365 days a year), the Augustiner-Keller, Rathaus and so many other awesome beerhalls, restaurants, parks, Olympic stadiums, football stadiums, BMW Headquarters, Mini Cooper factories, major castles, historic sights, beer walking tours and so much more that make Munich a DREAM city to travel to.
Did I mention it was the sunniest city in all of Germany?
The point is this:
The weather is better and there are WAY fewer lines to wait in if you go to Munich for 'Springfest.' All of which just make Munich SO much more enjoyable in the Spring, as opposed to the fall, where there are ten times as many people, and actually far less traditional culture going on....I think most Bavarians actually enjoy Springfest more, as it's less tourists and more focused on the weather, culture, and community.
But, regardless of what beer festival you end up going to, you are going to have a great time in Munich. Granted, I think you might have a better time if you do in the Spring for 'Fruhlingsfest,' but that's just me. Those Bavarians will treat you proper, as long as you treat them with respect, dignity, and kindness.
A please and a thank you go a long way in Munich, especially for these kinds of festivals. And trust me, you do not want to get on the Germans bad side....but I think that goes without saying. Just don't be one of these guys....
Enjoy the video above, and remember to pace yourself if you ever find yourself at a German beer festival. And if you want to know more about the tents at both festivals, read this Business Insider article here.