Original page contents below kept for historical context...
In 2003, Oktoberfest runs from Sep 20 (Sat) to Oct 5 (Sun)
So, the first thing we need to decide is when to go... I'm thinking that it might be best to catch the beginning of the fest rather than the end, but I don't know if we should go before the fest, or do any other travelling after a couple days there...
I have up to 11 or 12 days of vacation (which leaves 6 or 7 days for Christmas) to take; I'm tempted to say I'd take off the weeks of Sep 8th and Sep 15th, meaning I'd be able to leave Sep 5 (Fri) at night, and return on or before Sep 22 (Mon), though that wouldn't leave much Oktoberfest time. It might be better to take off the weeks of the 15th and 22nd and have more time for Oktoberfest if it's fun.
There are a couple main things I want to do in Germany:
Some other ideas of things to see:
Others have suggested:
Some links to research
Other biergartens that sound good:
From: maple70 (email@example.com): A brewery worth visiting for its excellent beer is in the Village of Aying. I believe Aying is a stop on the light rail system. A classic Bavarian village whose main industry is the Ayingerbraueri. I don't know about tours, but the beer is superb; beats any of the major Munich breweries!
From: "Lew Bryson" (firstname.lastname@example.org): Everything is in easy walking distance from the train: the brewery (which is just what you'd think when you get off the train and look around: it's the big building across the playing fields about half a km away) is easy to get to; the brewery hotel is expensive but well worth it; likewise the restaurant in the hotel; and don't miss the beer garden across the street from the hotel. You find the hotel by looking for the biggest Maypole in town, it's about a 6 minute walk from the brewery. It was all great. Wonderful place, wonderful people.
From: email@example.com (bruce phipps): Cheapest place is the camp site at Thalkirchen. Full of noisy Aussies & Kiwis, though. But I usually went straight off to sleep after several steins... The temperature is OK, but it *always* seems to rain at Oktoberfest time. I never had stuff stolen, but you can't lock a tent up! We used to dump our passports and important stuff in the left luggage at the central station and just leave a load of smelly old clothes and sleeping bag in the tent. Last time we went (10 years ago) we camped for 3 nights, then got cheap digs in the Turkish area. Then went over to Salzburg for a couple of nights.
From: "Steve Jackson" (firstname.lastname@example.org): Lot of Turkish immigrants in Germany, period. Their biggest neighborhood in Munich is immediately south of the main train station (Hauptbahnhof), and immediately north of the Theresienwiese, which is where the fest is held. Parts of it can be kinda sketchy by German standards, which isn't all that sketchy by American standards.
From: "Steve Jackson" (email@example.com): Didn't do any brewery tours while I was there (and I suspect they'd be in German, anyway) but definitely worth stopping at the Augustiner beer hall on Kaufingerstrasse, which is the main shopping street in central Munich. Also well worth a visit is the Kloster Andechs brewery southwest of Munich [accessible via the S-Bahn Herrsching, then a quick cab/bus ride].
From: "Steve Jackson" (firstname.lastname@example.org): Several nice churches within the city. The touristy but worth it (more for its environs than its interior) castle Neuschwanstein is about a 2 or 2.5 hour drive to the SW. Within Munich, Schloss Nymphemburg is worth visiting. And the hilltop fortress (Festung Hohensalzburg) in Salzburg (only about 1.5 hours away) is well worth a visit. In fact, you really should plan on going to Salzburg even if you don't do the Festung.
From: "Steve Jackson" (email@example.com): Lodging in Munich during Oktoberfest is not cheap. However, one doesn't have to go too far out of town to find cheap lodging. Augsburg is 30 minutes away by train; Towns like Freising and Erding (where there are good breweries as well) are similar distances by S-Bahn (local commuter rail). I'd highly suggest picking up a copy of Lonely Planet's Munich or Germany book. Plenty of info in there about good, cheap hotels, etc.
From: "Steve Jackson" (firstname.lastname@example.org): [is Schloss Nymphemburg the castle on the island?] Nein, das ist Herrenchimsee, about an hour southwest of Munich on the way to Salzburg. Nymphemburg is a castle on the west end of the city, the former summer palace of the Wittelsbachs, the Bavarian royal family. The place is enormous - the case is about a kilometer wide, with a half circle of buildings surrounding it. The real feature are the gardens in behind. It's now a city park, and stunning.
From: "Steve Jackson" (email@example.com): Depending on how much time you have, you might want to head up toward Bamberg for that sort of experience. As beer-happy as the Munich area is, they've got nothing on the folks in Franconia (northern Bavaria). Bamberg is beautiful, and drinking half liters of painfully fresh rauchbier at the Schlenkerla pub is worth a visit in and of itself.
From: "Steve Jackson" (firstname.lastname@example.org): Towns within reach of the S-Bahn, which doesn't run any further than about 40 km outside of Munich, don't fill up during the fest. Salzburg would be a long way to go for lodging, though. About a 90-minute to two-hour train or car ride from Munich. You'd be better off with S-Bahn towns like Freising or Erding, or over in Augsburg, which is about a half hour via Deutsche Bahn railway.
From: "Steve Jackson" (email@example.com): [is there such a thing as too SOON to try to get reservations to places?] Well, other than the fact that hotels typically don't take reservations further than about 330 days in advance, not really. Advance reservation isn't really going to affect price, since the hotels are all well aware of when the fest occurs and set their rates accordingly. If you're sold on staying in Munich, I'd book probably no later than this time of year. [Jan]
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (J2jurado): I've had three Oktoberfests when I had very limited funds, and spent great nights at the venerable Hotel Bayrische Hof in the heart of Freising. Ask for a room with no bath, and all yoiu have to do is pop around a corner for a shower and a dump. I've had three Oktoberfests in much 'securer' fiscal circumstances, and one was spent at the same fine hotel ( a value...many German brewers stay there too!). The S1 zips to the Hauptbahnhof in 20 minutes. One was spent in Dachau, with the fine Dachauer brewery-hotel as convenient base, and that was fast too. That was when I learned that the locals in the bar explained that "Munich beer is OK, but we prefer Dachauer beer." This past Oktoberfest, I stayed in a nice village just North of the city, near the Messe, international exhibition center. The village has a fine pub, The Fliegander and makes a fine weizenbier in house. Public transport to Oktoberfest on the U-bahn was incredibly fast. Nicholas and I satyed at a 4-Star hotel, but the village has a fine 2-Star pension ("Zur Zonne" where we stayed at a few years ago on a family ski trip to Garmisch). when snow conditions kept us locked-in for two days longer. As I was working in the UK, I had ample vac days avail to extend our trip! Steve's absolutely right...enjoy the suburbs. And you save $$$ while enjoy fine local brew, and meet some locals. Bavarians are just incredibly thoughtful, charming, helpful. That's my experience.
From: "M.Berger" (email@example.com): There are also innumerable small beer events held in German towns over the course of the year. For example, the Brauerei Hölzel in Neudrossenfeld holds its annual festival on the third Sunday in September.
From: "M.Berger" (firstname.lastname@example.org): While Germany remains one of the last brewing countries in Europe to form a beer consumers group (as, for example, Camra, OBP and PINT), some of the other European beer groups (the three I mentioned above, for example) have beer festival schedules on their web sites. You might want to also look there.
From: email@example.com (J2jurado): My vote is take the little Thomas-the-tank-ENgine train to Tegernsee, and hop the wassertaxi, the steamdriven wooden ferry, and enjoy the fresh Helles, Weizen and Pils from the castle brewery at this alpine lake ski resort.
From: dSHOVEYOUR@LOUSYSPAM.net (Oh, Guess): Pfungstadter Bierbrauerei is located in the town of Pfungstadt, a southern suburb of Darmstadt, south of Frankfurt, Germany. It's a regional brewery, so you don't usually find their beers very far from their home town. By the way, Pfungstadt is also known for a world-famous beer shop, Maruhns Groesste Biermarkt der Welt, with a selection of something like 1400 beers. A must-visit if you're in the area during the shop's opening hours.
Guido Frank wrote: But maybe is my hometown [Ruhpolding] the right one for you? It's a famous small town in a nice valley in the bavarian alps and it's not far from the most famous points for what you are looking for... Munich 1 hour, Salzburg 30 Min., Innsbruck 1 and 1/2 hour, Berchtesgaden / Königsee 45 Min., Lake Chiemsee 20 Min. (with a nice castle on a Island), Neuschwanstein around 2 - 3 hours., Vienna 3-4 hours, Italy / Lake Garda 3-4 hours. And we have also a Homepage, it's: www.Ruhpolding.de (see above). You found there a lot of "Gästehaus" and small Hotels and informations.
From: Bieling@t-online.de (Hans-Heinz Bieling): Contact the local "Fremdenverkehrsbüro" in Munich.