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5 Of The Best Festivals In Germany

festival mediaval

How To Make Your Trip To Germany Even Better

While it is unknown because of Covid restrictions on when exactly festivals in Germany are allowed to continue again this blog should give you some ideas on festivals that you should try and hit if they coincide with a future visit. Some are still scheduled for this year while others have been canceled.

There is no surprise that festivals are so popular in Germany since the country has a long history of folk celebrations and a rich tapestry of cultural and religious influences. The roots of many festivals celebrated today date back centuries, and little to no change has happened to the way they are observed.

There’s nothing quite like a great festival in Germany to ensure fun and games, to take in some local culture and parties and these 5 festivals are sure to liven up your next trip to Germany!

Weimar Onion Market

Weimar Onion Festival


Farmers’ markets fans should not miss this festival. With its rich history of over 300 years and 500 market stands, Weimar’s onion market has become a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. The festival is so popular, in fact, that it draws nearly 350 000 visitors each year! The onion festival was established in 1653. 

The festival reminds me a lot of a festival from where I grew up in California called the Imperial Sweet Onion Festival but the scale of the fests are nothing alike even if the love of Onions are the theme of both festivals. The festival in California actually provided me with one of my best memories of my Dad as I remember him entering an onion eating contest in which he had to scarf down a giant platter of onions.

Initially founded as a “market for beasts and onions”, this festival is an extravagant celebration of beloved Weimar onions — visitors can marvel (and even wear!) onion garlands, attend the “Queen of the Onion Market” beauty pageant, or feast on onion-inspired dishes such as onion casserole, onion cake, and even onion ice cream!

It is scheduled for early October.

Festival Mediaval

festival mediaval

Europe’s largest medieval music festival, Festival Mediaval hosts mediaeval music acts from all over the world for four days of merry singing and historical re-enactment. As you enter the grounds of Festival Mediaval, you’re transported to an era when knights fought against bards and kings reigned. In this picturesque atmosphere, roaming performers reprise familiar characters from medieval times, a theatre performs daring performances, and a bustling market advertises the products of the time.

Festival-Mediaval’s many learning workshops offer an exclusive glimpse into different aspects of mediaeval life to those with a historical bent. You might prefer to spend some time on the archery range if mediaeval history isn’t exactly your cup of tea.

It is scheduled for early September. It is located in the village of Selb in Bavaria on the Czech border northeast of Nuremberg.

For Information:

Cologne Karneval

Cologne karneval

In predominantly Catholic parts of Germany, a village party, held before the fasting period of Lent began, gradually evolved into the pompous Karneval (called Fasching in southern German regions) that Germans enjoy so much today. Although no two Karnevals are the same, most include floats, costumes, and lots of clowning around. As at Germany’s many Karnevals, kings are turned into jesters, and the common man is pampered like a prince.

Germany celebrates Karnevals throughout the country, but Cologne’s is the biggest and most renowned, I would say it is on par with Venice in Italy and even perhaps New Orleans but behind Rio de Janeiro.  The festival is celebrated openly on the streets of the city, and pubs and bars stay open during the entire event. The march of the Cologne Triumvirate – the prince, peasant, and maiden – marks the highlight of the Fair, complete with high-quality costumes, traditional masks, and elaborate costumes for the Rosenmontag procession.

For information:

Pro-tip- Hotels fill up fast. Staying in Dusseldorf is a great option which is about 30 minutes away by the local S-Bahn (train).

Cologne Carnival

Berlin International Film Festival

berlin International film festival

Known as the Berlinale, The Berlin International Film Festival is one of Europe’s largest and most prestigious film festivals. Ten days will be dedicated to the presentation of world-class films, competing for one of the highest filmmaking honors – the Golden Bear Award.

The festival was created in 1951, at the beginning of the Cold War, as a “showcase of the free world”. Shaped by the post-war period and the unique situation of a divided city, the Berlinale has developed into a place of intercultural exchange and a platform for the critical cinematic exploration of social issues. It is considered the most political of all the major film festivals still.

Films spanning multiple genres and eras are the highlights of this festival, which celebrates cinema from different perspectives. Visitors can expect to see a variety of film’s latest offerings or timeless movie classics, as well as interact with the casts and crews of some of the best artistic films.

This year the festival was broken u into two parts with the awards done in March while the main event began June 9th and is scheduled to last until June 20th.

Further Information:

Munich Oktoberfest

Munich Oktoberfest

While it has been canceled for the second year in a row it is still worth talking about just for future bucket list travels. Aside from being the undisputed king of German festivals, Oktoberfest is also the largest folk festival in the world. This festival, which started as a marriage celebration in 1810, is mostly remembered today for the sheer amount of beer and meat consumed in large beer tents that can accommodate nearly 10,000 people each.

An event of this scale must be big on food and fun. This festival attracts 7.2 million visitors annually, who consume approximately 7.5 million liters of beer each year.

Drindl in Bavaria

Aside from eating and drinking, Oktoberfest highlights include the tapping of the first keg of beer (signaling the start of delicious beer for all), the costumes parade and rifleman’s parade, and the cannon salute, known as a Böllerschießen. During the opening day of Oktoberfest, a flamboyant procession of carriages, floats, marching bands and costumed performers parade through the streets of Munich, while open-air concerts keep the spirit high for the remainder of the festival. To me, this is the best day to go. The sheer amount of lederhosen and dirndl will astound you and

Official Information Here:

Pro-Tip-Book your hotel at the earliest possible date as some sell out a year in advance. Some of my favorite Oktoberfest hotels are Hotel Uhland and Hotel Am Markt. Both are small and intimate and are in stellar locations. 

munich oktoberfest

In Conclusion

The festival season in Germany runs from spring to fall, so you’re sure to have a good time no matter where you land. Germany’s festivals offer something for everyone all year long, whether you’re at Weimar’s onion market or taking in the annual Oktoberfest. Are you ready to get started? Germany offers many festivals today that will make you live it up and let loose!

Before planning a trip around a festival, verify the festival dates on the festival’s website or with a local tourist information office.

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5 of the best festivals in Germany
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5 of the best festivals in Germany
The festival season in Germany runs from spring to fall, so you're sure to have a good time no matter where you land. Germany's festivals offer something for everyone all year long, whether you're at Weimar's onion market or taking in the annual Oktoberfest.
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European Travel Blog
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