Move Over Oktoberfest: Drinking Beer at Cannstatter Wasen!

I’ve been to Oktoberfest twice; once in 2011 and the second time in 2012. I love, love, love Oktoberfest, but this year I found myself at a different German beer festival; the 168th Cannstatter Volksfest just outside of Stuttgart.

Cannstatter Volksfest

The Cannstatter Wasen is a 35-hectare area on the banks of the Neckar River and each year it plays host to the three-week Cannstatter Wasen beer festival, which usually starts around a week after Oktoberfest in late September/early October.

A gentleman from the Deutsche Bahn informed me it’s not wise to mention Oktoberfest- the rival festival- when you’re sipping beers in the Cannstatter Wasen, but I couldn’t help but compare the two. After all, Cannstatter Volksfest is considered to be the second largest beer festival after the one in Munich. Founded in 1818 by by King Wilhelm 1 of Wurttemberg and his wife Katharina, the festival now attracts around 3.5 million people annually. The centerpiece of this harvest festival is something called the “Fruchtsäule”, which literally translates as “fruit column”.

Germans wearing Lederhosen and Dirndl

The fairground is a lot bigger than at Oktoberfest, with tons of stomach churning rides that made me feel sick just looking at them. To be honest I’m a big scaredy cat and I’m not good with rides, so I was entrusted with the bags while my fellow bloggers braved it!

Star Flyer Cannstatter Wasen

Cannstatter Wasen Stuttgart

Just like at Oktoberfest there are also lots of food stalls serving foods like Bratwurst, roasted chicken, pizza and enormous heart-shaped cookies. We were given some chocolate covered strawberries and chillis to try- naturally I went straight for the chilli.

When I first bit into the chilli I thought it wasn’t hot at all, but as I got further in I discovered the seeds and soon my mouth was BURNING, although not as much as when I tried the world’s hottest pepper extract at Tears of Joy in Austin.

Bratwurst Cannstatter Wasen

I skipped the ‘Star Flyer’ and the dodgems, but I did psyche myself up to go on the big ferris wheel for some spectacular views over the entire Festival.

Cannstatter Wasen Stuttgart Beer Festival

Afterwards we made our way to our beer table in the Alpine Village, which our guide told us was ‘a special place with individual cabins’. To be honest this doesn’t have the same atmosphere as the big beer tents and reminded me of a retirement village as it was much quieter. I even spotted a mobility scooter or two which demonstrates the average age of the clientele in this area. But as the beers started flowing and we satisfied our hungry bellies with roasted chicken, even this could be a good party.  We all relaxed and eventually we were dancing on the tables to a mixture of traditional German songs and various other pop songs from my childhood.

It was time to step it up a notch, so at 9pm we piled into one of the big tents, which I believe was called Grandls Hofbrauzelt, although my memory is a bit hazy. This was just like my memories of Oktoberfest- thousands of people dancing on tables and singing songs, drinking beer out of glasses bigger than their heads. We drank, we danced, and with each ‘maß’ the photos got more and more blurry.

Grandls Hofbrauzelt Cannstatter Wasen

Beer Festival Stuttgart

So would I recommend Cannstatter Wasen? Absolutely. If you can’t make it to Oktoberfest then this is a great option and has just the same atmosphere, with an even bigger fairground. Less people are dressed up in the Lederhosen and Dirndls here, but it’s still a fantastic beer festival. Accommodation in Munich gets SO expensive and is always fully booked around Oktoberfest. Stuttgart is also very busy around this time but I am told it is a little bit easier.

Noch ein Bier, bitte! (Another beer please!)

6 thoughts on “Move Over Oktoberfest: Drinking Beer at Cannstatter Wasen!”

  1. Awesome that you liked the Cannstatter Wasen! I wrote a blog article about it last year:

    Love your blog! A shame I just found out about it now, after you were in Stuttgart. I would have loved to point out some fun places to you. Next time! 🙂

    Enjoy the rest of your trip through Germany. I am curious to find out where you’re going to next. Maybe you’ll find some inspiration on

    Best wishes

  2. Hi Victoria! Thank you for all the information 🙂

    A group of friends and I are thinking about going to the Cannstatter Volksfest and I would like to ask you a question: is it possible or even recommendable to try to make a reservation for coming into a tent? I’ve heard that it is possible and a good idea in Münich but a don’t know if in Stuttgart will be the same.

    Maybe you can recommend me a couple of tents as well 😉

    Thank you and congrat for your blog, it is awesome!

    All best,

    1. Hey sara. It’s quite hard to get into a tent after 5pm without reservation! So either get there early or get a reservation.

      Cannstatter Wasen also has one advantage over Oktoberfest: It happens twice a year! (in spring and fall)

  3. Many helpful tips Sara .I have just come back from Munich Oktoberfest and am thinking of going to this one 2 in a couple of weeks and this has helped me decide to go..many thanks

  4. I lived in southern Germany for four years but I haven’t yet visited this festival. I’ve hear great things about if from friends based in and near Stuttgart and it’s something I’m looking to experience.

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