From the National Geographic book Four Seasons of Travel
Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Expect an authentic taste of Germany from a city that was named Berlin until 1916. Be transported by the merriment pouring from Kitchener’s festival halls and filling steins, plates, and dance floors. Family-friendly events include blunt-tipped archery showdowns, a fashion show, and art gallery romps downtown before the Canadian Thanksgiving parade.
Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio
Lederhosen-clad locals, thirsty visitors, and even costumed racing dachshund pups raid six blocks of downtown “Zinzinnati” for one of America’s most popular Oktoberfests—nearly 500,000 attendees strong. But the fairgrounds in Ohio’s capital city of Columbus can’t be overlooked, and you’ll want to save room here for a half-pound cream puff from Schmidt’s Restaurant und Sausage Haus.
A Bavarian-style village in the foothills of the northern Cascade mountains brings in millions of thirsty visitors during the first three weekends of October. Don’t miss the traditional keg-tapping ceremony by the small town’s mayor kicking off each weekend.
Colonia Tovar, Venezuela
Called the “Germany of the Caribbean,” this northern Venezuelan community an hour west of Caracas surprises with its unlikely Bavarian architecture and pride. The authentic culture lasts in the wake of immigrants from Germany’s Black Forest who founded the town in 1843. Watch the trunk-sawing competition and enjoy a Tovar beer at one of the tables imported from Germany for the fest.
Why not southern Brazil for Oktoberfest? This city is as authentic as many—it was founded in the mid-19th century by a small band of German immigrants. Try beers from local craft breweries such as Das Bier at Latin America’s largest Oktoberfest celebration. Cut straight for the biergarten among the pavilions of Blumenau’s expansive German Village Park reminiscent of Munich’s own 14-tent grounds, or snag a freebie from the bierwagen parading the town.
Leading Indian brewery Kingfisher throws an annual multistage music festival at the striking Jayamahal Palace in the heart of the southern Indian city. The musicians are bound to steal your attention, but the flea market is a highlight, too, complete with craft vendors and food stalls. More than 20,000 people attend the festivities each year.
Hong Kong, China
Not to be missed, this bustling Chinese island is home to a rollicking annual bierfest at the Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel. Listen to traditional oompah bands and sample the roasted pork knuckle from your open-air perch over Victoria Harbour at this German/Asian tradition that’s been going strong for more than 20 years. Get there early for one of the 200 pints of the exclusive Löwenbräu Oktoberfestbier served each night.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
It’s actually hard to miss Dubai’s October salutes to old Bavaria with so many glittering venues around the city bedecked in German tinsel. A daylong bash is held in the Dubai Sports City complex, while area resorts such as the five-star Jumeirah Beach Hotel host their own. If you miss the October festivities, you can get a taste of Bavaria year-round at the Jumeira Rotana hotel’s Brauhaus German Restaurant.
Aussies get a balmy Oktoberfest experience on Queensland’s east coast, where temperatures average 70°F (21°C) for this dual-weekend salute to Bavaria. And boasting a spread of entertainment from a Bavarian Strongman Competition and cowbell ringing to music, dancing, and a yodeler named Heidi, the event deserves a prost for still being family-organized. And don’t forget the beer: The festival imports its handcrafted brews from the old Tucher Brewery in Bavaria.
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
The German Club of Port Elizabeth might have a members-only beer garden, but it opens up its turf to the rest of Nelson Mandela Bay for one celebratory October weekend. The band Viva Bavaria plays classics from the Alps, as well as classic rock and modern hits.