Welcome to Munich, Germany’s Springfest, AKA Frühlingsfest, AKA Oktoberfest’s Little Sister, AKA No We Can’t Wait Until September Every Year, Are You Crazy?
Yes, it’s true! Halfway between Oktoberfests each year is Springfest, known in Munich as Frühlingsfest, a miniature version of the world’s largest beer festival. Gotta keep that momentum going! Can’t. Stop. Drinking.
It’s a smaller (but no less toned down) version of Oktoberfest with a more local crowd. Interested yet? Get all the details here:
- Springfest : The Essentials
- Springfest Beer
- Springfest Food
- Springfest Events
- Springfest: What to wear
- Springfest: How to get there
- Springfest Music
- Springfest History
Where is Springfest?
Well, for starters it takes place in Munich, Germany. (I don’t know how much you’ve had to drink already, maybe you needed to know that.)
And just like its big Oktoberfest brother, Springfest (Frühlingsfest) takes place on the Theresienwiese, known locally as the Wiesn. The Wiesn is the huge open “meadow” near the center of town famous for festivals and the place that made oom-pah-pah cool again.
But unlike Oktoberfest where the party takes place inside 16 enormous beer tents (and just as many smaller ones), Springfest takes place in just two. So though Springfest may seem much smaller, it’s just as lively and exciting as the big boy.
Frühlingsfest offers the same rides, vendors, good times, and what-did-I-do-last-nights.
Springfest beer tents
Unlike the huge collection of beer tents at Oktoberfest, Springfest takes place in just two (still really big) beer tents: Festhalle Bayernland and the Hippodrom.
Festhalle Bayernland is the oldest tent at Frühlingsfest and serves Augustiner beer (the roaring favorite among locals). They also serve delicious Bavarian meals and a healthy helping of great Bavarian gemütlichkeit.
The Hippodrom tent is a little bit smaller, with seating for just 2,000 people. (We’re willing to bet that’s still the biggest party you’ve been to in a while.) This tent is known for their great food and atmosphere–business by day, party by night–and serves up Spaten beer.
When is Springfest?
Munich Springfest takes place annually for two weeks with dates that go from the end of April to the beginning of May.
The next Frühlingsfest will take place: April 22 – May 11, 2021.
Tickets & reservations
Just like Oktoberfest, there is no admission fee to Munich Springfest, nor will you have to pay to get into the beer tents. There are no “tickets” required to attend Frühlingsfest and don’t let that guy on the street corner convince you otherwise.
There’s also not a huge need to make beer tent reservations for Frühlingsfest, but we’re not going to stop you if you so choose!
Springfest beer tent reservations can be made only for full 10-person tables and you must do so directly with the beer tent owners. (Hope you speak German!) You can find the proper people to proposition here for Festhalle Bayernland and here for the Hippodrom.
Since Springfest has just two beer tents, you can only find two of the six major Munich breweries there: Augustiner and Spaten. However, at other times and places during the festival you can expect all six:
As you’d expect (if you’ve done Germany before, that is), Springfest beer tents serve up big menus of big Bavarian meals. Hot, cold, huge, delicious. Some typical offerings would be:
- roasted half chicken (hendl)
- pork knuckle (schweinshaxe)
- wiener schnitzel (yeah, there’s just one way to say that)
- käsespätzle (think: German mac ‘n’ cheese)
- and brats, obatzda, and pretzels galore!
The offerings at Festhalle Bayernland tend to be more on the traditional side, while the Hippodrom caters to a “fancier,” chutney-loving palate. Their tables have tablescloths for crying out loud.
In addition to the beer tents, you can also grab a huge variety of Frühlingsfest foods outside the beer tents from many stalls and vendors. Out here you can grab:
- sausage sandwiches
- roasted nuts
- and many other food items that don’t require knife/fork/tablecloth
Though two weeks of drinking and revelry should be enough, they didn’t stop there. There’s actually much more to Munich Frühlingsfest, including:
- The opening parade (featuring FREE BEER from all six Munich breweries – this is not a drill!)
- The Frühlingsfest Flea Market: an absolutely massive flea market on the Wiesn held on the first Saturday of the festival
- A classic car show: on the first Sunday of the festival, held on the Wiesn
- Fireworks! The Springfest fireworks shows happen each Friday night of the festival at 10 PM.
What to wear to Springfest?
As with any of the great German beer festivals, tourists aren’t necessarily expected to don the traditional garb, but… should you? Oh hell yes!
Dressing up in traditional tracht is such a fun way to experience Springfest, tourist or not. It really helps you to become one with the festival instead of just an outside observer.
For guys that means: a pair of leather lederhosen, a white or checked shirt, some traditional socks, and a pair of comfortable shoes (that you’re still totally fine with spilling beer on). And don’t forget about your be-feathered Alpine hat either!
For ladies, you’ll want to wear: a dirndl (Bavarian dress + apron + white blouse), socks, comfortable shoes, maybe a light sweater, a few accessories, and a killer braid.
However, know that there’s a lot that goes into dressing for Frühlingsfest and you should be aware of it all. Check out this full guide to traditional German beer festival attire for all the details!
How to get to Frühlingsfest
Because Springfest takes place in Munich, Germany, you’ll have no trouble getting there. (Getting back to your hotel afterwards is a different story.) Munich is a major European city that’s accessible from almost anywhere.
How to get to Munich for Springfest
Arriving by air
If you plan to arrive by air, be familiar with Munich’s two airports:
- Flughafen München, better known as Munich International Airport — Munich’s main airport
- Allgäu-Airport Memmingen — the smaller airport that’s further outside the city
If you arrive at Munich’s main airport, the S1 and S8 S-Bahn trains will take you directly into downtown Munich every 20 minutes. This trip takes about 45 minutes and costs less than 15 euros.
If you arrive at Allgäu-Airport Memmingen, they offer shuttles to Munich’s main train station (Hauptbahnhof) several times a day. Since it’s a little further out, this trip takes almost an hour and a half.
Arriving by train, car, or bus
If you plan to arrive via land, know that Munich is easily accessible by train, bus, and your very own (or rented) vehicle by white-knuckling it on the Autobahn.
When booking train travel from elsewhere in Europe, look for routes ending at Munich’s Hauptbahnhof, right in the center of the city. For arriving by bus, you’ll want to end at Munich’s main bus station, the ZOB.
Traveling Within Munich
Is it any surprise that a city famous for its beer festivals has some of the easiest to use public transportation around? While in Munich, don’t bother renting a car (beer festivals and driving don’t mix anyway). Even after a few litres, getting around in this town will be a cinch!
In Munich you can use:
- the U-Bahn (the underground trains),
- the S-Bahn (the trains that go out to the suburbs),
- and the trams (the above ground trams–call it the T-Bahn if you wish)
Additionally, where there are thirsty beer festival-goers there will be hungry cab drivers waiting to pick you up. If figuring out which Bahn to get on becomes an impossible task, you can always opt for a taxi.
At Springfest, like at other Munich beer festivals, the music you can expect will be a mixture of old and new.
During the day, expect to hear traditional Bavarian tunes of the oom-pah-pah style coming from the live bands inside the tents. Complete with all the Ein Prosit you can handle!
After dark, the scene livens up and the bands switch to a more “party” atmosphere with more modern, sing-along-able jams.
Not only is Springfest Oktoberfest’s smaller sibling, it’s also the much, much younger one.
While Oktoberfest started way back in 1810, Frühlingsfest started in what seems like just yesterday *sigh* 1965.
And while its older brother began as a royal wedding reception, Springfest, we can only imagine, began as a filler for those who simply couldn’t wait for Oktoberfest. A wise decision indeed!