February is a surprisingly great month to travel in Germany. This can be a quiet month with fewer tourists and lower prices, but there are still several events worth checking out from the biggest international film festival to the citywide parties for Carnival.
Because it is low season, your travel dollar may go father, especially for hotels, It is also deep winter so pack appropriately for snow or just chilly winds. If you are planning on hitting Germany's legendary ski slopes or ice rinks, add another layer.
Find out what annual events and festivals take place during your vacation in Germany.
Berlin's Transmediale Festival has a few decades under its belt and is still on the cutting edge of contemporary art and digital culture in Berlin. It hosts a large number of exhibitions, panel discussions, performances, and video screenings.
Fitting for the exhibitions inside, it takes place in the futuristic building of the House of World Cultures.
The lavish Semper Opera in Dresden opens its doors to 2,500 guests every year for one of the most prestigious balls in Germany.
Guests arrive decked out in their finest gowns and tuxedos for an extraordinary night of music, live performances, and dancing. The opening act is the presentation of 100 debutantes from all over Germany.
This luxurious evening has its price, but offers the chance to join thousands of locals and waltz under the stars at the free open-air ball. It takes place on the historic square right outside the Opera building with the events inside broadcast to the freeloading revelers.
- When: February 7, 2020
- Where: Semper Opera (Theaterplatz 2, 01067 Dresden)
For 10 days, the red carpet is rolled out at the cinema at Potsdamer Platz and neighboring theatres. World-famous stars step and repeat before entering the theatres for international premieres. Over 500,000 attendees are also welcome to buy tickets and be some of the first in the world to see the movies everyone is going to be talking about for the next year.
This is also a chance to peek behind the curtain with director and cast often available for Q&As after the screening. And even after the credits roll there is more to do. The biggest screenings are followed by the hottest parties in the nightlife capital of Germany.
- When: February 20 - March 1, 2020
- Where: Potsdamer Platz (Potsdamer Straße 5, 10785 Berlin) among various locations
Though Valentine’s Day was once unheard of in Germany, it has become increasingly popular each passing year.
Exchanging cards (Valentinskarte), sweets, small gifts and/or flowers have all become accepted practice on this day. Germans are great lovers of romance and some segments of the population embrace the gift giving and special dinner out. Practice German sayings like “Ich liebe dich” (I love you).
Unlike places like the USA, this is not a holiday for children so don't expect Valentines to be handed out at school.
- When: February 14
- Where: Germany
No matter whether you call it Karneval or Fasching, for most of the country this festival is a big deal. Join the colorful costumed celebrations, street parades, and costume balls in many German cities.
The last big party before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, everyone has the chance to dress up as a jecken (clown) and go a little wild. This is the time for excess, drinking kölsch and eating krapfen (doughnuts).
Carnival season actually starts with the planning that begins on November 11th (11/11) by the Council of Eleven, but the bulk of the partying takes place during Weiberfastnacht (Women's Carnival Day) with its ritualistic tie cutting, Rosenmontag (Rose Monday) which is parade day and Aschermittwoch (Ash Wednesday) when things finally settle down.
Cologne is the capital of Karneval with the whole city participating in the party. Over €2 million is spent on the celebrations including over 700,000 chocolates and 300,000 flowers that are handed out to the crowds at the parade.
If you miss the live events, many of the festivities are shared on national TV.
- When: February 20th - 26, 2020
- Where: Most German cities including major celebrations in Cologne, Münster, Düsseldorf, Aachen, and Mainz