German city of Munich is simply flooded by tourists and beer lovers these days. As every year since 1810, visitors are lured to the world known beer festival, to the Oktoberfest taking place from 20th September to 5th October.
Do not be mistaken by the name, the festival did originally take place in October. The very first Oktoberfest took place in October 1810. It was a celebration of the marriage of prince Ludwig and princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. It began on October 12 and ended on October 17 with a horse race.
Since then the festival has become very popular and the Germans made it into an annual event. Nevertheless, they have moved the date to September because the weather is better than in October. The festival has been canceled only 24 times during its long history and now it celebrates its 175th anniversary.
People from all over the world come these days to the Bavarian capital to be part of this unique event. In 2007 some 6.2 million people came to visit the city during the festival and they drank 6.7 million liters of beer. The event is so popular that it has more than 3000 imitators world wide.
The beer festival is undoubtedly a unique and jolly event. However, a responsible tourist needs to be prepared for possible problems. First of all, there are some 6 million people coming to the city, which means transportation will get problematic. It is highly recommended not to go by car to Munich during the festival. It is better to rely on public transport. If you really want to get in the tents you should book a table in advance.
Everything is changing and the Oktoberfest is no exception. The organizers now have a more green approach than they used to few years ago. Solar panels and low-energy light bulbs have been installed and they have also banned disposable plates and cups. Perhaps in future, drinking beer at Oktoberfest will become a looked for eco tourism experience.