Germany’s Top 10 Festivals

Germany’s most popular festivals and celebrations

The most effective way to feel better the spirit of the country and learn more about its culture is to visit a folk festival or folklore festival. Apart from the well-known Oktoberfest all over Germany there are plenty of fairs, parades, races, competitions and other interesting events.

During the mass festivals tourists have the opportunity to get acquainted with national cuisine, see traditional costumes, listen to folk songs and in general – more deeply penetrated into the atmosphere of the country, which is invaluable for the formation of a proper view. The largest number of holiday events is in summer, but also a lot of activities are carried out in the fall and spring.

The biggest festivals in Germany


Perhaps the most famous and grandiose festival in Germany, annually gathering millions of tourists from all over the world – connoisseurs of quality German beer and folklore traditions. It takes place in Munich in the second half of September and early October. On the Theresienwiese meadow there are pavilions of breweries (only Munich breweries), which make a foamy drink in accordance with the laws of the XV-XVI centuries.


Kranger Kirmes

Yarmarovsky festival, which takes place in the city of Hern. It begins on the last Friday in August and lasts for a whole week. It is a merry extravaganza with carousels, music and rides. In terms of events the event is second only to the famous Oktoberfest. It is believed that the Kranger Kirmes emerged in the 15th century, when illusionists, jugglers, street performers and magicians began to perform at the local market selling wild horses.


Cannstatter Volksfest.

Another beer festival in Germany, but already in Stuttgart. Its history began in the 19th century. At first beer was not the main “character”, but gradually the accent was displaced and today visitors can taste the foam drinks of hundreds of companies, which stake out their stalls on the area of 16 hectares, and have a snack with schnitzels, roast beef and other delicacies. The Cannstatter Volksfest takes place in September and October and lasts 16 days.


Great Rhine Trade Fair

Held for 10 days in July, this large-scale festival in Düsseldorf draws about 4 million people every year. Events are organized on a large meadow in the Oberkassel district. Market stalls and attractions are set up in the middle of old buildings, which become a natural backdrop to the fair. Traditionally, the festival is organized by the Society of St. Sebastian’s Riflemen. Sebastian, which has a 700-year history.

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Kiel Week

Folk festival that combines traditional festivities, carnival processions and a sailing regatta. It takes place on the grounds of the port of Kiel in June and lasts a little over a week. The first boat race took place in the 19th century under Kaiser Wilhelm II. The main events can be seen on the waterfront: musicians, circus performers and comedians entertain visitors on specially constructed stages.


Festival of St. Liborius in Paderborn

The holiday is dedicated to St. Liborius, the patron saint of the city. It is held in the last days of July. The festivities begin with the ringing of the cathedral bells and a procession with the relics of the saint. After the official ceremony, fairs, concerts and colorful shows open in the center of Paderborn. The events end with a large-scale fireworks display.


Cologne Carnival

Carnival takes place in February before the beginning of Lent (such traditions exist in many European countries). At this time the city turns into a theatrical site: thousands of residents in bright costumes, balls, carnival meetings, festive dinners and mass processions – all this accompanies the holiday. For a few days, life in the official institutions comes to a standstill.


Cologne Gay Pride

Gay Pride in Cologne is considered one of the largest in Europe, it annually gathers up to a million spectators and tens of thousands of participants. The main event is a carnival parade during which members of the LGBT community on special platforms follow the streets of the city. The main theme of the Gay Pride parade (as of all similar events) is the struggle for the rights of sexual minorities and promotion of social tolerance.


Hanseatic Regatta

International competition in the port city of Rostock, which attracts competitors from all over Europe. Spectators of the regatta have the opportunity to admire a wide variety of sailing vessels, stylized as ancient ships. Some captains even allow tourists to climb aboard or go out to sea for a short walk after the race. The regatta is held in August and lasts only 3 days.

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Berlin Marathon.

Massive race, first officially launched in 1974. Since then, the number of participants only increases, sometimes the organizers even have to reject applications because of the large number of applicants. In addition to the classic distance, you can join the marathon on roller skates and children’s competitions. Several world records have been set during the event.



This is a vernissage devoted to contemporary art that has been held in Kassel since 1955. The first exhibition featured works by Picasso, Kandinsky and others from the genre. “Documenta” succeeded a tradition interrupted in 1937, when the Nazi regime banned the display of “degenerate art.” The vernissage is held once every five years.


“Bochum Total.”

Music festival, which takes place in the city of Bochum in early summer. As a rule, it lasts for several days. It features bands playing in different genres from jazz to heavy rock, so the event is attended by a very diverse audience. The festival was first held in 1986 in two small venues; today city clubs, pubs, streets and parks are used as stages.


Hamburg harbor birthday

A maritime festival of breathtaking proportions: the venues for the mass events stretch for many kilometers along Hamburg’s waterfront. The festival begins on the first Friday in May and goes on for several days. The opening and closing ceremonies are accompanied by a colorful parade. Included in the program are parades, fireworks, ceremonial passage of ships on the river and rowing competitions.


“Cologne Lights.

The summer fireworks festival in Cologne, which is famous for its colorful shows. Numerous tourists watch the fireworks from the banks, ship decks, bridges, and rooftops, which offer the best view. You’ll have to arrive hours in advance to get the right position. “Cologne Lights” is a one-day festival and ends with a grand light show.


Festival of Lights in Berlin

During this festival, the sights of Berlin are decorated with incredible light installations. The Cathedral, Brandenburg Gate, Pergamon, government residences are transformed into an arena for a fabulous game of spotlights, creating vivid and memorable images. Watching the facades of the buildings, you can watch an entire light show created by skilled directors. The festival has been taking place since 2005 in November and lasts about two weeks.

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Rock am Ring Festival

One of the key rock festivals held at the Nürburgring, the Formula 1 racetrack since 1985 (at the beginning of June). Since 1987 it has been held in the open-air format. Over the years it has hosted such major artists as Eric Clapton, AC/DC, the Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Scorpions, and Van Halen. Tickets to the festival are sold along with camping spots, where visitors will have to stay for three days.


Wurstmarkt Wine Festival

Germany produces more than just great beer. German wine is also of excellent quality and tastes great. A festival dedicated to this drink is traditionally held in Dürkheim (Bavarian Palatinate). During the festival, visitors can taste dozens of varieties, appreciate the local wine culture and enjoy the special atmosphere of the event.


“Lights of the Rhine.”

The events of the festival span several cities along the Rhine. They start in Bonn in May and end in Bingen in September. “Rhine Lights” is a celebration of colorful fireworks, light installations accompanied by music, jousting tournaments in castles, ship parades and concerts. It is the longest in time, for almost 4 months it manages to take part almost all the population of the cities on the river and many tourists.


Berlin Film Festival

The first film festival was held in Berlin in 1951. Since then it has become one of the most prestigious and important events in the world of cinema. It is particularly important that the jury is presented with films by directors from all over the world, not just from Europe and America. For many aspiring filmmakers, the Berlinale marks their debut and then begins a successful career. The festival takes place in February.


Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival

Classical music festival in Schleswig-Holstein. It brings together the leading symphony orchestras and internationally renowned artists to perform against the stone vaults of ancient cathedrals and castles, illuminated embankments, parks and workshops of old factories. The festival organizes about 200 concerts in dozens of venues.

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Germany’s top 10: Festivals

Top 10 German Festivals

Germany’s cultural life is so rich that everyone can find a fascinating event for themselves. It is difficult to describe and list all the festivals and holidays in Germany. Here are 10 of the brightest of them.

1. Berlinale Film Festival

Top 10 German Festivals


The Berlinale International Film Festival, which usually sells about 300,000 tickets, has been held every February since 1951. Films from all over the world are presented at the festival, with a special role for political films. The main prize of the film festival is the Golden Bear, the symbol of Berlin.

2 Oktoberfest

Top 10 German Festivals


The world-famous German festival. It was first held in 1810 in honor of the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig, and has been held every year since. The festival has only been canceled in years when cholera raged in the country or war broke out.

Every year at Oktoberfest in Munich about 6 million guests arrive, this is six times the population of Munich itself. During the festival, guests drink about 7 million liters of beer and eat hundreds of thousands of pounds of sausage, fried chicken and sausages.

3. Fasching

Top 10 German Festivals


Before the start of Lent, perhaps Germany’s most colorful festival takes place, where you can feel like a kid dressed up in a simple outfit and take part in a festive procession. According to custom, parade participants sing, shout greetings and throw candy, trinkets and confetti. For children, Fasching is a particularly memorable and fun event.

4. Dixieland

Top 10 German Festivals


Jazz, jazz and only jazz! Dresden, in early May, hosts Europe’s oldest jazz festival, Dixieland, which first started in 1971. This festival is attended by jazz and blues music lovers of absolutely all ages: from kindergarten to retired jazz musicians. Jazz is played everywhere – in squares and quiet alleyways, cafes, clubs, parks and squares. Even for children there is an educational jazz program “ABC of Dixieland”.

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5. Wave-Gotik-Treffen

Top 10 German Festivals


Every year in May and June about 30,000 people come to the largest gothic music and art festival. Music, extravagant black people, staged medieval fairs, concerts, workshops, theater productions, and even guided tours of the old cemeteries take place in Leipzig.

6. Waken Open Air

Top 10 German Festivals


Since 1991, the small town of Waken, near Hamburg, hosts the largest annual open-air rock festival in August. Here you can see and hear the world stars of heavy rock. At the epicenter of the event gathers about 70,000 people. Preparations for the festival are always thorough: scenes, tents, camping and even, more recently, an underground pipeline system for beer, several kilometers long, is built on 280 hectares of land.

7. European Month of Photography

Top 10 German Festivals


This festival takes place every two years in Berlin. About 100 organizations take part in it. The most famous masters of photography present their art at various venues in the city: museums, galleries, embassies and educational institutions.

8. Festival of Light in Berlin

Top 10 German Festivals


Every year since 2005, for two weeks at night, the fall Berlin lights up billions of lights. Incredibly spectacular light shows, laser shows and fireworks projected on buildings turn the city into a fairytale, attracting millions of tourists. About 70 architectural monuments take part in a mesmerizing light show.

9. Beethoven Festival

Top 10 German Festivals


Another music festival that brings lovers of academic music together in Bonn. The beginning of this festival dates back to 1845, in honor of Beethoven’s 75th birthday. Since 1999, the festival is held annually with the support of the city government and the Deutsche Welle radio station. The award of the festival is the Beethoven Ring.

10. Fressgass Street Festival (Fressgass)

Top 10 German Festivals


There are many street festivals in Germany, but Frankfurt’s Fressgass is considered one of the first street festivals, first held in 1974. National cuisine, wine tasting and concerts accompany the festival’s recreation.

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