Here we show you 10 fun festivals in Germany that’ll leave you all electrified.
There is something undeniably artistic in the way Germany’s festivals are celebrated with a lot of pomp and splendour. Be it Spring, Summer, Autumn, or Winter, this Western European country is bound to make your holiday memorable, enjoyable and definitely worth it. So here is the German festival’s list to add to your list.
01. The Oktoberfest
The Oktoberfest is the world’s largest Volksfest, featuring a beer festival and a travelling carnival. It is held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It is a 16- to 18-day folk festival running from mid- or late-September to around the first Sunday in October, with more than six million international and national visitors attending the event. Locally, it is called d’Wiesn, after the colloquial name for the fairgrounds, Theresienwiese. The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture, having been held since the year 1810. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations that are modeled after the original Munich event.
During the event, large quantities of Oktoberfest Beer are consumed. For example, during the 16-day festival in 2014, 7.7 million litres were served, making it the year where the most beer was consumed at the Oktoberfest. Visitors also enjoy numerous attractions, such as amusement rides, sidestalls, and games. There is also a wide variety of traditional foods available.
The Munich Oktoberfest originally took place in the 16-day period leading up to the first Sunday in October. In 1994, this longstanding schedule was modified in response to German reunification. As a result, if the first Sunday in October falls on the 1st or the 2nd, then the festival would run until 3 October (German Unity Day). Thus, the festival now runs for 17 days when the first Sunday is 2 October and 18 days when it is 1 October. In 2010, the festival lasted until the first Monday in October (4 October), to mark the event’s bicentennial.
02. Reeperbahn Festival
This eponymous festival bursting with 360+ concerts, movie screenings, cracking bands playing music from Indie to hip-hop and jazz is an ideal place to be for every music lover. This is Europe’s biggest club festival and one of the most visited German music festivals. Apart from offering an unimaginable level of entertainment, the Reeperbahn Festival focuses on promoting the emerging talents of every musical genre.
In 2019, the Reeperbahn Festival was attended by 53,000 visitors and over 5000+ professional guests from around the globe. Around 425 international new bands and artists participated in this fest. This 4-day music fest also aims at encouraging gender equality in the music industry.
03. Berlin International Film Festival
The Berlin International Film Festival, usually called the Berlinale, is a major international film festival held annually in Berlin, Germany. Founded in 1951 and originally run in June, the festival has been held every February since 1978 and is one of the “Big Three” alongside the Venice Film Festival in Italy and the Cannes Film Festival in France. Tens of thousands of visitors attend each year.
About 400 films are shown at multiple venues across Berlin, mostly in and around Potsdamer Platz. They are screened in nine sections across cinematic genres, with around twenty films competing for the festival’s top awards in the Competition section. The major awards, called the Golden Bear and Silver Bears, are decided on by the international jury, chaired by an internationally recognisable cinema personality. This jury and other specialised Berlinale juries also give many other awards, and in addition there are other awards given by independent juries and organisations.
The European Film Market (EFM), a film trade fair held simultaneously to the Berlinale, is a major industry meeting for the international film circuit. The trade fair serves distributors, film buyers, producers, financiers and co-production agents. The Berlinale Talents, a week-long series of lectures and workshops, is a gathering of young filmmakers held in partnership with the festival.
04. Cologne Carnival
Situated on the mighty Rhine River, Cologne is one of Germany’s oldest cities. It houses the UNESCO-listed Cathedral (Kölner Dom) of Cologne, an incredible example of Gothic architecture. Karneval in Cologne is one of the biggest street German festivals, with over a million people out on the streets to watch the colorful parade and marching bands.
Crazy costumes, amazing events and over 70+ floating boats are surely the major highlights of this Karneval. There are parties in every corner of the city, right from pubs to public squares and restaurants. So, if you are searching for a fun-filled vacation, then do visit the Karneval.
05. Munich Opera Festival
The Munich Opera Festival takes place yearly in the Bavarian capital from late June to late July. Preceding on the calendar the two nearby festivals of Bayreuth and Salzburg, which both start in late July, the festival summarizes the concluding main season’s work of the Bavarian State Opera, which administers it, and offers premieres of new stage productions by the company, Germany’s largest.
Venues used include the Nationaltheater, the Prinzregententheater, the Cuvilliés-Theater and the Allerheiligen-Hofkirche. Besides opera, concerts of chamber music are given to showcase the work of members of the Bavarian State Orchestra, which serves in the pit for all opera performances. The festival is formally opened each year with a choral concert performed as part of a full Roman Catholic church service at Michaelskirche; this is led by the Archbishop of Munich and Freising, with the opera company’s music director overseeing the work of the musicians in the organ loft. A festival highlight is Opera for All, the live transmission of a full-length production from the theater to an outdoor audience seated in Max-Joseph-Platz.
06. Cannstatter Volksfest
The Cannstatter Volksfest is an annual three-week Volksfest (beer festival and travelling funfair) in Stuttgart, Germany. It is sometimes also referred to by foreign visitors as the Stuttgart Beer Festival, although it is actually more of an autumnal fair.
The festival takes place at the Cannstatter Wasen from late September to early October, spanning a period over three weekends, ending the second Sunday in October. The extensive Wasen area is in the Stuttgart city district of Bad Cannstatt, near the river Neckar. A smaller variant of the Stuttgart festival, the Stuttgart Spring Festival, is also held each year in Wasen.
07. Rhein in Flammen
Rhein in Flammen (English: “Rhine in Flames”) is the name of five different firework displays along the river Rhine in Germany. The displays take place annually, at various locations along the river. On the five different dates, brightly illuminated ships sail the river in an evening convoy for their passengers to see the full firework display at each location of the river. The firework displays are started when the ships arrive. During the firework displays in St. Goar and St. Goarshausen, the convoy waits statically between the two castles Burg Maus and Burg Rheinfels. On the river banks wine festivals take place that attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
On the first Saturday in May, the event is held in Bonn, in July in the Rüdesheim-Bingen area. The biggest “Rhein in Flammen” event takes place in Koblenz on the second Saturday in August. In early September, an event is held at Oberwesel. In mid-September, fireworks are in the middle of the Rhine between Sankt Goar and Sankt Goarshausen.
The Beethovenfest (Beethoven Festival) is a festival of classical music in Bonn, Germany, dedicated mostly to the music of Ludwig van Beethoven who was born there. It dates back to 1845, when the composer’s 75th anniversary of birth was celebrated with unveiling his monument and performing major works.
First held irregularly, it is now an annual event, presenting around 70 concerts of international orchestras, ensembles and soloists in more than 20 venues in the town and the region.
09. Störtebeker Festival
The Störtebeker Festival (German: Störtebeker-Festspiele) is an yearly open-air theatre festival in Germany. It is based on stories around the medieval German privateer Klaus Störtebeker and his Victual Brothers, who later turned to pirates.
Founded in 1959 as part of an East German cultural initiative, the festival has become Germany’s most successful open-air theatre event, and is broadcast by public television network NDR. It is held in the small town of Ralswiek on the isle of Rügen.
10. Hurricane Festival
The Hurricane Festival, also just Hurricane, is a music festival that has taken place at the Eichenring, a speedway race track, in Scheeßel, Germany, since 1997. With more than 80,000 attendees (2022) it is one of the largest music festivals in Germany.Southside Festival, often referred to as Hurricane’s “sister” festival, takes place on the same three days and has largely the same line-up.
Alongside Southside Festival, Hurricane festival is organised by FKP Konzertproduktionen, MCT Agentur and KoKo Konstanz and takes place every June. Like many other large festivals Hurricane Festival plays a mix of rock, alternative, pop and electro music from established as well as emerging artists. Arrival begins at midday on the Thursday.