This post was most recently updated on September 13th, 2019

Munich tends to get all of the attention for its colossal Oktoberfest, one you often need to plan your visit a year in advance if you want a good seat at a beer tent or just any seat for that matter. The three-week festival draws millions looking to slap on their lederhosen and dirndls and feast on schnitzel and sausages and glug down steins of beer. However, around the same time of year, other cities in Germany host comparable Oktoberfests, ones perhaps without the title and hoopla of Munich’s famous festival, but with just as much oompah music and fun.

Nuremberg’s Altstadtfest

Old town of nürnberg

Set up appropriately in the old town center, Nuremberg’s Altstadtfest takes place around the same time as Munich’s Oktoberfest, but with decidedly fewer crowds. Spread across two weeks in mid-September, the event claims to be Germany’s largest old town festival. Celebrating regional cuisine, beer, and wine, Altstadtfest also features loads of free events like the very unique fishermen’s joust in which you can watch water jousting on the Pegnitz River. Altstadtfest opens with a tapping of the first keg of beer and includes a large parade with dancing and traditional costumes. Best of all, it’s free to join in on all of the fun.

Freising’s Volksfest

Held in early September, Freising’s Volksfest provides a small-town feel for its Oktoberfest-style event. Just 25-minutes from Munich, Freising is the oldest city in all of Bavaria. Its Volksfest hasn’t been around quite as long, just 90 years. Still a bit of an old-timer, Volksfest packs in the punch with rides, a full music program and plenty of local beer for under 10 Euros.

Bremen’s Freimarkt

Bremen

For an Oktoberfes that meets an amusement park kind of vibe, you’ll want to grab flights to Germany and head to Bremen in late October. For over two weeks at the end of the month, the city celebrates Freimarkt, otherwise “free market”. The fair brings in around 4 million people with its Ferris Wheel, games, rides, beer tents and parade. Freimarkt has been around perhaps longer than any other German fair with documentation of its occurrence in 1035 as a trading market in the city.

Oktoberfest Berlin at Kurt-Schumacher-Damm

Munich isn’t the only big German city with a large Oktoberfest celebration. Berlin actually offers several Oktoberfests throughout the fall, but the largest folk festival is the one at Kurt-Schumacher-Damm. Held from late September through October, the event brings Bavaria to Berlin with a massive Bavarian-style beer tent. You can also sample typical Bavarian cuisine. A tradition since 1949, Oktoberfest Berlin also includes rides for families like merry-go-rounds and bumper cars.

Stuttgart’s Cannstatter Volksfest

Stuttgart’s Cannstatter Volksfest

A tradition for nearly 200 years, Stuttgart gives Munich a run for its money with its Cannstatter Volksfest. Held in late September through early October, the fair welcomes around 4 million people to the state capital of Baden Württemberg. They all come for the rides, a traders’ market, a parade, and the lively beer tents. There’s no admission fee, including for the beer tents. You just might want to make a reservation for a spot to park your lederhosen since this is one of Germany’s largest festivals.

Bad Dürkheim’s Wurstmarkt

If you don’t like beer, you don’t have to stay home and skip every German Oktoberfest. In the spa town of Bad Dürkheim, you will find what is arguably the wine festival equivalent of Munich’s Oktoberfest for beer lovers. The name is a bit deceiving. Despite literally translating as “sausage market”, Wurstmarkt pays homage to all things wine. Said to be the world’s largest wine festival, the event ushers in some 600,000 people, largely wine aficionados, to sample hundreds of wines. Held in September across two weekends, Wurstmarkt offers music, fireworks, and rides. However, most come to drink a Riesling or two in one of the festival’s wine tents.

Have you been to an Oktoberfest in Germany besides Munich? Share your experience with us in the comments below.

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About The Author

Suzy Guese

Suzy Guese is a travel writer from Denver, Colorado. She caught the travel bug after taking her very first flight at just three months old—she was headed for Disney World—and has been a total travel junkie ever since. From family car trips across North America to stints abroad in Europe, Suzy travels the globe with her redheaded temperament in search of sarcasm, stories, and travel tips to share with anyone willing to listen. She blogs about her travels at http://suzyguese.com.