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Must Visit Festivals in Germany

Germany, with its rich history and vibrant cultural tapestry, offers a year-round calendar of festivals that beckon visitors from around the globe. Whether you're drawn by the allure of traditional music, the arts, or the hedonistic pleasure of good food and drink, there's a German festival that caters to every taste and interest. Here’s your guide to some of the must-visit festivals in Germany, each offering a unique glimpse into the country's diverse cultural landscape.

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Oktoberfest  Munich

No list of German festivals would be complete without mentioning Oktoberfest, Munich’s legendary beer festival. Starting in late September and running until the first weekend in October, this festival is not just about beer; it's a folk festival with rides, traditional foods, and live music. Originally celebrated in 1810 in honor of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig's marriage, Oktoberfest has grown into a global phenomenon attracting millions of visitors each year. The festival is famed for its huge beer tents, delicious Bavarian treats like pretzels and sausages, and the lively atmosphere of lederhosen and dirndl-clad attendees. 

Karneval  Cologne

Also known as the "Fifth Season," Karneval is a time of colorful parades, costumes, and revelry. Cologne’s Karneval is particularly renowned, starting each year on November 11th at 11:11 am, but the real festivities kick off in earnest in February and last until Ash Wednesday. Highlights include the Rosenmontag (Rose Monday) parade, featuring elaborate floats that satirize political themes, and the Weiberfastnacht, where women symbolically take over city halls across the Rhineland and snip off men’s ties. 

Berlin Film Festival

For film enthusiasts, the Berlin Film Festival, or Berlinale, is a must. Held annually in February, this prestigious international film festival is one of the world’s leading cinema events. It showcases an eclectic mix of films from around the globe and is attended by many of the movie industry's biggest stars. Apart from film screenings, the festival includes workshops, panel discussions, and a highly competitive awards segment, with the coveted Golden Bear award.


Rock am Ring and Rock im Park

Music lovers should not miss Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, two simultaneous rock music festivals held usually in early June. Rock am Ring takes place at the Nürburgring race track in Nürburg while Rock im Park is held in Nuremberg. These festivals are known for featuring a roster of famous bands and artists from across different genres, drawing enormous crowds every year. They share the same lineups, so attendees at either festival can expect the same thrilling musical experience. 

Dresden Music Festival

Spanning from mid-May to June, the Dresden Music Festival is one of the most prestigious classical music festivals in Europe. The festival features performances by renowned orchestras, choirs, and soloists from around the world, filling the baroque city of Dresden with music. Performances take place in various beautiful venues throughout the city including the famous Semperoper Opera House and the River Elbe palaces.


Wacken Open Air

Held in the small village of Wacken in Schleswig-Holstein, Wacken Open Air is the largest heavy metal festival in the world. Since its inception in 1990, it has grown to host around 75,000 visitors annually. The festival not only features performances by metal bands from across the globe but also showcases other aspects of metal culture through cinema, art, and comedy performances, making it a comprehensive celebration of the genre.


Documenta  Kassel

For art lovers, Documenta in Kassel is not to be missed. Held every five years, this contemporary art exhibition runs for 100 days and is considered one of the most important events in the art world. It features works from some of the most innovative contemporary artists, ranging from paintings and sculptures to impressive installations and performances. 

Germany’s festivals are as diverse as they are numerous, offering something for everyone, whether you are a beer enthusiast, a film buff, a music lover, or an art aficionado, exploring Germany's festive scene will not just entertain but also enrich your understanding of its culture and traditions. Whether it's sipping Glühwein beneath the twinkling lights of a Christmas market, rocking out to world-class bands, or immersing yourself in the art and film of tomorrow, Germany's festivals are experiences that you'll carry with you long after the party ends. So pack your bags and prepare for an exhilarating cultural journey across one of Europe’s most festive nations!

To continue discovering more hidden gems and captivating destinations, stay tuned for more articles on our website. In case you are traveling to Portugal or Poland in the future, you should try out our tours in Porto, Lisbon, and Warsaw. Remember to follow us @thewalkingparrot to be continuously updated on the new releases. We will be back soon with a new article !

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