Germany’s Oktoberfest is going on even as we speak- millions of people from all over the world gathering together to celebrate their love for a cold, frosty brew. Sounds great, doesn’t it? If you feel like you’re in your element in the midst of a large crowd of very drunk people, sure. However, as Matador Travel’s Karyn Johnson discovered, the reality of Oktoberfest is often far less glamorous and far more vomit-filled than the hype. She says:

“This is great if you love meeting people from all over the world, but if you’re looking to mingle with Germans while experiencing a bit of the local culture, you might want to look at any of the smaller Oktoberfest celebrations going on throughout Deutschland. They’re every bit as festive and the beer flows just as much, but they’re less tourist-clogged.”

So, where are these smaller, saner Oktoberfest alternatives? Everywhere, really, but here are some of the most notable:

Cannstatter Volksfest

Canstatter Volksfest lasts three weeks, from late September to early October. Held in Stuttgart, Germany, the festival has much more to offer than beer: carnival rides. local foods, and games beckon as well. The Cannstatter Volksfest was originally an agricultural festival and was founded by the “farmer king,” King Wilhelm I, in 1818, but very little of the original “4-H” vibe remains.

Hamburger Dom Winter Festival

The Hamburger Dom Winter Festival celebrates more than just beer. It attracts locals and tourists alike to the city of Hamburg with carnival rides, games and more. This year’s Winter Dom takes place on the weekend of November 11.

“Auer Dult” Festival

Held in Munich, the Auer Dult is like Oktoberfest’s quieter, more laid-back sibling. A combination of a street market and a carnival, it features beer tents along with carnival rides and the largest ceramics market in Europe. This year, it takes place from October 15th to October 23.

Oktoberfest Hanover

The Oktoberfest in Hanover is the second-largest Oktoberfest in the world. Still, with “only” a million attendees, it’s much more manageable than Munich.

Kulmbacher Beer

Located in northern Bavaria, this beer festival takes place in August, so you’re out of luck this year. It might be worth marking on your calendar for next year, though- the brew is supposed to be a secret traditional recipe served nowhere else and at no other time!

If you’d like to attend a fall beer festival in Europe this year, you’ll need to expedite your passport. Regular processing takes at least six weeks, so it’s really too late for that. If you expedite your passport application via the Department of State, you’re still looking at around three weeks before you’ll have your passport in hand. For faster service, you’ll need to make an appointment at one of the country’s 24 regional passport agency offices, or use a private expediting company like RushMyPasssport for convenient processing in as little as 24 hours.

Expedite your passport with us today!