Germany is well known for its abundance of festivals, from the well-known and loved Oktoberfest to Weihnachtmarkts, Germany has a festival for everybody. Here are 10 of our favourite festivals that happen in Germany!
- Berlin international film festival
This is the world’s second-largest film festival, only after Cannes. The 68th annual Berlin International Film Festival is scheduled to take place from 15 to 25 February this year and it is one of the most popular events for pro and amateur moviemakers alike. The Berlin Film Festival first occurred in 1951 and has been going ever since. More than 334,000 sold tickets, more than 21,000 professional visitors from 127 countries, including more than 3,700 journalists: art, glamour, parties and business are all inseparably linked at the Berlin Film Festival. It’s worth a visit, especially if you’re a fan of fine filmmaking.
2. Rock am Ring/Rock Im Park
Two huge rock festivals held simultaneously over three days in two different locations. This year, Rock Am Ring will begin on the 1st of June, and it ends on the 3rd of June. While Rock am Ring takes place at the Nürburgring race track, Rock im Park takes place at the Zeppelinfeld in Nuremberg. there are dozens of different performers in both festivals, but some notable ones that are there this year are Snow Patrol and the Foo Fighters. Rock am Ring and Rock im Park are great places to visit for any music fans, and it is highly recommended to visit one of these two if you are in Germany at the time.
Funnily, this does not actually happen in October. It starts on the 22nd of September and continues until the 7th of October, and it is filled with beer, traditional Bavarian foods, Oompah bands and Lederhosen. There are 30+ beer and food tents in Munich, Bavaria, where the main event is held. Each one has its own atmosphere, yodelling, families, celebrities and atmospheric music. If you’re a fan of beer, you’ll love Oktoberfest. During the 16 day festival in 2016, over 7.7 million litres of Oktoberfest Beer was served. There are also so many different attractions, such as fairground rides, side ground stalls, and games. Oktoberfest does have loads of attractions for children too, so don’t be afraid to take a child with you. (as long as you don’t bring them into the beer tent!)
4. Kaltenberg Medieval Tournament
Held in the town of Kaltenberg, it has mock battles, archery, birds of prey and everything else you might associate with medieval life. It’s Europe’s largest medieval music festival. Take your tent and chill out to modern interpretations of medieval music. The tournament is held on 7 stages, with various brilliant street shows and performers. There’s a massive medieval market, traditional handcrafted foods can all be bought here. There is also an event called Gauklernacht or Jesters’ night, and it has hundreds of different performers including jesters, acrobats and musicians. This is a great place to go for any history fans and it’s a good time for parents and children alike.
5. Leipzig Book Fair
The book fair may be the biggest date on a calendar, but Leipzig is the place to go for all things literary. You can meet your favourite authors, and find out what’s new in the world of books. Leipzig Book Fair is one of the biggest festivals of literature in Germany, and it features more than 2,600 events held at dozens of different venues. This year, the Leipzig Book Fair begins on the 15th of March, and it is held until the 18th. If you wanna find out some of Germany’s newest publications, this is where they are likely to be announced.
6. Bayreuth Festival
Bayreuth festival is a music festival showcasing the work of composer Richard Wagner. The festival occurs from 25th of July to the 29th of August. This famous festival is considered the highlight of German culture, and performances take part in a specially designed theatre named the Bayreuth Festspielhaus. Richard Wagner personally supervised the design and construction of the theatre, and it is now considered one of the finest theatres in Germany. The Festival has become a pilgrimage destination for many Wagner enthusiasts, but any person interested in fine, classical music should be going to the Bayreuth Festival.
7. Karneval or Mardi Gras
Better known as Mardi Gras, it officially starts from the 11th of November at 11.11 to the following Ash Wednesday, but the main celebrations start on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday. Traditionally, in Karneval, women can kiss a man after cutting off his tie. There are huge street parades and parties on Rose Monday, Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. The festivities of Karneval date back to the middle ages and Germans celebrate Carnival in several different regions and ways throughout Germany. During Karneval, there are normally numerous street vendors, with hundreds of different kinds of foods including Bratwurst, Krapfen and other party foods. Karneval is a great time for anybody who just wants some fun, and the parades are some of the best things that you can be part of in Germany.
8. International Dixieland Festival, Dresden.
The oldest jazz festival in Europe, it recreates the atmosphere of deep South America. International Dixieland Festival first took place in 1971. There’s music played on paddle boat streamers on the Elbe River. Brass bands parade around the streets of Old Town and perform on stages all around the city. One of the yearly highlights is the riverboat shuffle on the Elbe when the world’s oldest and largest fleet of paddle-steamers becomes a floating stage and festival-goers are invited to step aboard. The climax is the Dixieland parade through the city centre, which is one of the most enjoyable times of all the festivals.
9. Africa Festival, Wurzburg.
Every year, Wurzburg hosts the largest festival of African music and culture in Europe. There are up to 4 stages, 100s of musicians, singers and dancers from Africa, and thousands of visitors from all around the world. Come for the day, or bring a tent to stay for the whole weekend.
10. German Christmas markets (Weihnachtsmarkts).
Throughout Germany, you’ll find Christmas markets, with quaint little stalls selling gifts, foodstuffs & spiced wine. An interesting fact: There are over 70 of these in Berlin. These markets are a reason to make a trip to Germany. Famous Christmas markets are held in the cities of Augsburg, Dresden, Frankfurt, and Nuremberg. The Nuremberg and Dresden markets draw about two million people each year; The two most visited Christmas markets in Germany are to be found in Dortmund with more than three and a half million visitors of 300 stalls around a gigantic Christmas tree. Most Weihnachtsmarkts open in late November and are open until after Christmas. A great time for the entire family.