Festivals and Events in Germany in May

May is a wonderful month to travel to Germany: The weather is warm and sunny, the summer crowds haven't arrived yet, and you can take part in many German festivals, events, and holidays.
  • 01 of 08
    View of people raising a maypole, Unterbrunn, Starnberg District, Upper Bavaria, Germany
    ••• altrendo images/Altrendo/Getty Images

    May 1st is "Tag der Arbeit", or Labor Day, is a public holiday in Germany. Many families use this day-off for a picnic in the park, while whole villages in Bavaria come together to raise a traditional "Maibaum" (Maypole) with colorful ribbons and carved figures to celebrate the warm season. In Berlin and Hamburg these celebrations have a more anarchist background that government organizations are doing their best to turn into neighborhood wide festivals.

    When: May 1
    Where: Everywhere in Germany 

  • 02 of 08
    ••• Erin Porter

    Just 30 minutes away from the capital, most of Berlin descends on Werder (Havel) in the first week of May. Baumblütenfest (“Tree Blossom Festival”) is the ideal kick-off to summer as the largest fruit wine festival in the country.

    When: April 30th - May 8th, 2016
    Where: Werder (Havel)  

  • 03 of 08
    Rhein in Flames in Koblenz
    ••• Rhein in Flames in Koblenz. Peter Stehlik - https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16133615

    During this 5- city festival, the stunning landscape of the Rhine valley is illuminated by firework displays and thousands of Bengal fires bathe river, banks, and medieval castles in magic colors. You can watch the first spectacle along the Rhine promenade in Bonn in May or catch the festival in other locations (like the largest in Koblenz in July) til September. To get the best view, book your spot aboard one of the illuminated Rhine ships that parade down the river.

    When: May 7th, 2016 
    Where: Bonn (plus events through September)

  • 04 of 08
    Hamburg's Harbor City
    ••• GNTB/Rainer Kiedrowski

    Every May, the Hamburg harbor, one of the biggest working harbors in the world, celebrates its anniversary with a three-day festival. Hamburg's Port Anniversary festivities includes a parade of historic ships, dragon boat races, and the tugboat ballet.

    For other harbor festivals throughout the season, refer to our article on Germany's Hafenfests.

    When: May 5-11, 2016
    Where: Hamburg harbor (St. Pauli Landungsbruecken)

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    The "Autostadt" (car city) in Wolfsburg is not only the place where the Volkswagen is built, but also the location for an annual contemporary art festival. The Movimentos Art Weeks offer a interesting array of events, ranging from modern dance performances, and jazz concerts, to readings, and discussions.

    When: April 2 - May 10, 2016
    Where: Autostadt Wolfsburg

  • 06 of 08
    ••• German Spargel. Erin Porter

    Spargelzeit (white asparagus season) is a serious obsession in Germany. The "King of Vegetables" appears on every menu, grocery store and German's palate. For true devotees, buying it in the stores is not enough. Spargel-lovers must go to the source.

    The states of Baden-Württemberg and Lower Saxony are two of the most important asparagus growing regions, with the city of Beelitz claiming the north-eastern title. Each region claims to grow the best Spargel, but the only way to know for sure is to tour them all. Popular routes allow visitors to buy straight from the farms and go to the many festivals devoted to the veggie. 

    When: May
    Where: Baden-Württemberg, Lower Saxony and the city of Beelitz

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    maennertag beer bike.JPG
    ••• Beer Bike. Erin Porter

    Ascension Day (Christi Himmelfahrt) is held on a Thursday in May. It is a national holiday around the country and the Friday following is usually also a day off making for an ideal excuse to vacation or just enjoy the first warm weather days with family and friends.

    For many of the country's men, however, the day is better known as Vatertag (Father's Day) or Männertag / Herrentag (Men's Day). It is a day for men to be boys, ride bikes, get out in nature and drink beer. Lots of it.

    When: May 25th, 2017
    Where: everywhere in Germany

  • 08 of 08

    Floating Holidays

    Watch out for floating holidays like Karneval der Kulturen (Carnival of Cultures) which can make an early appearance (like in 2016) from its usual happening in June.

    More than 1.5 million visitors flock to Kreuzberg once again to celebrate the multicultural spirit of Germany’s capital. A four-day open-air festival with exotic food and drinks, concerts, performances and parties, the culmination is a massive parade of cultural floats filled with the diverse communities that make up the city.

    When: May 13 - 16, 2016
    Where: Kreuzberg, Berlin