Skip to main content
Welcome to
super saver spring
offer ends april 20
save over $140
save over 85%
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks
Welcome to
super saver spring
$0.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //
travel

Tour the world with tankard in hand

Oktoberfest, the annual Bavarian celebration, can be found in some unlikely places – including Hong Kong and southern Brazil

Revelers celebrate during the final Oktoberfest parade of the year in Blumenau, Brazil in 2015.

In 1810, Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen married Prince Ludwig I of Bavaria. While the couple's nuptials might qualify as only a relatively minor footnote in history, it is highly unlikely that any other wedding, royal or otherwise, has inspired so much enthusiastic drinking.

This is because the Munich wedding was the spark that led to the creation of Bavaria's famed Oktoberfest, which has not only been held every year since, save for a handful of wartime or cholera-related cancellations, but has spread all across the globe.

So for beer lovers the world over, there are plenty of festival options.

Story continues below advertisement


Munich, Germany

Sept. 16 to Oct. 3, oktoberfest.de

A visitor drinks beer during the opening day of the 183rd Oktoberfest in Munich Sept. 17, 2016.

The Oktoberfest that started it all is actually as much a Bavarian cultural fair as it is a massive beer blast, albeit more the former during the day and the latter at night. In addition to the 14 big beer tents, the festival features 20 smaller, food-themed tents, a midway, daily parades and an "Oide Weisn" area devoted to the history and tradition of Oktoberfest.

Insider tip: To avoid overpaying for a city-centre hotel room – if you can even find one! – consider lodgings in nearby Augsburg and travel the half-hour or so to and from Munich by rail.


Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont.

Oct. 6 to 14, oktoberfest.ca

The Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., region’s Oktoberfest is the largest one in North America, and features more than 40 events from a five kilometre ‘Fun Run’ to the ‘Stein & Dine’ beer pairing dinner.

North America's largest Oktoberfest celebration is spread out across the Kitchener-Waterloo region, with a dozen Festhallen scattered across town and as far afield as Cambridge and Elmira. While the nightly celebrations are central to the K-W Oktoberfest experience, though, they also act as bookends to more than 40 events from a five kilometre "Fun Run" to the "Stein & Dine" beer pairing dinner.

Insider tip: To enjoy beers beyond those of sponsor Molson, consider a visit to the parallel Craftoberfest, running Oct. 6 and 7 in downtown Kitchener (kwcraftoberfest.com).


Blumenau, Brazil

Oct. 4 to 22, oktoberfestblumenau.com.br

Story continues below advertisement

Oktoberfest in Blumenau, Brazil, which was founded by German immigrants in 1850, is half beer festival, half rollicking civic party.

Held in a southern Brazilian town founded by German immigrants in 1850, this hugely popular Oktoberfest sees the local Parque Vila Germanica, or German Village Park, done up in fine fashion with large music halls, outdoor biergartens for when the weather co-operates and plenty of local beer from breweries large and small. Half beer festival and half rollicking civic party, it presents an excellent excuse for exploring a fascinating and undertravelled part of South America.

Insider tip: While it is not uncommon for Brazilians to speak a second language, it's as likely that language will be Spanish or, in this part of Brazil, German, rather than English. Pack a phrase book.


La Crosse, Wis.

Sept. 28 to Oct. 1, oktoberfestusa.com

La Crosse, Wis. has been holding its Oktoberfest celebration for 57 years.

Pin an official Oktoberfest USA button on your lapel for easy entrance to all non-ticketed events at this jam-packed, 57-year-old fest. Among the featured activities are parades, a "Dachshund Dash," a gala Festmaster's Ball, the highly popular Craft Beer Night and dozens of musical performances, oom-pah-pah and otherwise.

Insider tip: Plan your Oktoberfest USA experience and buy your button and tickets well in advance using the event's user-friendly website.


Hong Kong, China

Oct. 20 to Nov. 11, gbfhk.com

Story continues below advertisement

Now in its 20th year, Hong Kong’s Bavarian festival is Asia’s largest Oktoberfest event, drawing more than 50,000 visitors annually.

Said to draw in excess of 50,000 visitors, Asia's largest Bavarian festival is the Marco Polo German Bierfest, now in its 26th year. A massive tent is erected on the viewing platform at the Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel and the Notenhobler Band presides over 23 days and nights of Bavarian-style celebrations, complete with dancing, Erdinger beer from Germany and, of course, lots of roasted pork knuckle and sausages.

Insider tip: Follow the Bierfest on Facebook or Instagram to qualify for a free ticket.

Stephen Beaumont is co-author with Tim Webb of Best Beers, a global beer guide appearing this November.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Latest Videos

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies