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Festivals in Germany

The number and range of festivals in Germany is huge. There are around 10,000 held annually. Some are traditional, having originated hundreds of years ago such as Munich’s Oktoberfest and the Bayreuth Festival — which celebrates the works of Richard Wagner. Many others are fairly recent and have been started to either increase tourism, or simply to give local people something to do. You can tour museums by night, watch experimental short films, or for Game of Thrones fans, how about a medieval re-enactment of a battle?

Wouldn’t it be great though, to experience some of these festivals like a local? Well even if you don’t have friends and family in Munich— it’s still possible using Withlocals. You can find people who have the inside knowledge on the best festivals, no matter what your interests.

Always remember to verify the dates of a particular festival if you want to build a tour around it, as some change year to year, and the Oktoberfest, doesn’t begin in October.

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Top 10 Festivals in Germany

  • Karneval (Various): The carnival season takes place in the period before Lent all across Germany. The celebrations typically include a street parade and street party, costumes, often a costume ball, along with much food and drink consumption.
  • The Day of German Unity Festival (Berlin): This festival is held around the Brandenburger Tor to celebrate Germany’s national holiday. Music, food, theatre performances as well as many family friendly activates make up this 3 day festival.
  • The Carnival of Cultures (Berlin): Celebrating Berlin’s multi-cultural identity and Carnival of Cultures culminates in a colourful street parade. It takes place in Kreuzberg and features market stalls offering food from many different countries, world music, entertainment, arts and crafts and more.
  • The Berlin Film Festival (Berlin): This is internationally one of the most important dates in the movie world’s calendar. It represents exposure for both established and up-and-coming film-makers — an award equals immediate credibility. There’s a lot of new films for cinema-lovers to enjoy.
  • Oktoberfest (Munich): is the big one and mainly consists of beer drinking in huge tents, but there is also a much more family-friendly side to it. It’s a folk festival as well and has a fun-fair, and many non-drinking activities, like eating!
  • Leipzig Book Fair (Leipzig): This is Europe’s biggest festival celebrating literature. It features over 2000 events, speakers, and readings, held at more than 250 locations.
  • Rhein in Flammen (The Rhine): A series of fireworks displays make up The Rhine in Flames, held in various locations from Bonn to Rüdesheim along the famous river. There are also fairgrounds which pop up where you can eat, drink and listen to music.
  • Euro Dance Festival (Rust): Held in Europa-Park this festival celebrates a huge range of dance styles including (but not limited to) ballroom, swing, tango and hip-hop. The venue has 14 ballrooms.
  • Wurstmarkt (Bad Dürkheim): While the astute will point out the name of this festival is “sausage market” it was established in Palatinate — the heart of Germany’s wine region —wine quickly took over and it became the World's Largest Wine Festival! Has sausages too.
  • World Beard Championship (Höfen/Enz): Looking for the more offbeat? Then try this one celebrating the art of facial hair. There are different categories such as "musketeer chin beard,” and "Kaiser-esque moustache,” but the most adventurous are “freestyle.”

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3 great music festivals Germany

  • Bayreuth Festival (Bayreuth): 1876 was the first Bayreuth Festival — which plays and promotes the work of Richard Wagner. To give an indication just how popular this event is worldwide, the average waiting time for tickets is between 5 and 10 years.
  • Fusion (Lärz): Feel like a 4 day dance party? Fusion is one of the most famous dance festivals in Europe and it’s held on an old military base 150 km from Berlin. To get a ticket you have to enter an online lottery and hope you’re one of the lucky ones!
  • Tollwood (Munich): These summer and winter festivals (yes, there’s two), aim to tie together various music and theatre performances, and art projects with an environmental theme. Brings in many big name international performers and artists each year. Everyone likes ecology!