Festivals in Germany in October

What's Happening in Germany in October

Oktoberfest by night

Armin Hofen / Getty Images

October is an ideal time to travel in Germany as the weather is usually cooperative, prices and crowds are going down as fall approaches, and there are still plenty of top festivals and attractions

For example, world-famous Oktoberfest continues through the first week. There are also massive pumpkin boat races, the biggest book fair in Germany, and the festival of lights in Berlin...just to name a few highlights.

Check out our list of the best German festivals, events, and holidays in October.

01 of 08

Oktoberfest in Munich

Oktoberfest 2017 - Costume and Riflemen's Procession
Joerg Koch / Getty Images

Oktoberfest in Munich is the highlight of Germany's festival calendar. Every September and October, over 6.4 million visitors from around the world mingle with locals to celebrate Bavarian culture, cuisine, and - of course - beer. Editor's note: Because of extraordinary circumstances, Oktoberfest will not take place in 2020.

During Oktoberfest, everyone is a bit German. Sing the beloved beer hall songs, ride the riesenrad (Ferris Wheel), dress in tracht, and dance on the tables.

Where: Theresienwiese (fairgrounds) in Munich

02 of 08

Tag der deutschen Einheit

Brandenburg Gate at sunset
RICOWde / Getty Images

October 3 is Tag der deutschen Einheit (Day of German Unity) and celebrates the country's reunification in 1990.

This is a national holiday that almost every German city celebrates, but the best open-air festivities are held in a different German city each year. Note that as it is a holiday, banks, grocery stores, and many businesses will be closed.

Where: Throughout Germany

03 of 08

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival

Sculpture of a bird made out of pumpkins

Courtesy of Kürbisausstellung Ludwigsburg 

Germany has the largest pumpkin festival in the world. There are 450,000 pumpkins on display, plus chainsaw carving competitions, pumpkins on the menu, and giant pumpkins getting weighed and smashed. The highlight of the event is when people in hollowed out pumpkins take to the water in a wild boat race. All of this with the backdrop of an elegant palace and a Märchengarten (Fairy Tale Garden).

Where: Ludwigsburg Castle

04 of 08

Cannstatter Wasen in Stuttgart

Stuttgart Spring Festival
Niedermüller, in.Stuttgart GmbH

The Cannstatter Wasen started as an autumn fair in 1818 and quickly became one of the leading beer festivals in Germany.

Celebrate the season with satisfying Swabian food, beer and wine, and bring the family for Oompah bands, roller coasters, and the world’s largest mobile Ferris wheel. The highlight is the opening street parade with horse-drawn wagons and citizens in local dress.

Where: Bad Cannstatt in Stuttgart

Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08

Deutsches Weinlesefest

Staufenberg Castle in the Black Forest of the Freiburg region
GettyImages / Marco Bottigelli 

The German Wine Route has many wine festivals throughout the year with Deutsches Weinlesefest (German Wine Harvesting Festival) in October. This is the site of Germany's largest wine festival parade with more than 100,000 visitors. It is also the second largest wine festival in the world, after the nearby Dürkheimer Wurstmarkt.

A wine queen and princess are crowned and visitors drink out of goblets known as dubbeglas, regional 50 cl glasses suited for wines of the Palatinate region.

Where: Neustadt an der Weinstraße

06 of 08

Festival of Lights in Berlin

Berlin Dom Festival of lights
Jan Barstorf / Getty Images

During the Festival of Lights, more than 45 of Berlin's most iconic landmarks and historic buildings are illuminated from 7 p.m. until 1 a.m. every night.

The festival features laser light shows and projections that transform sites like the Berlin TV Tower, Museum Island, the Brandenburg Gate, and many more of the city's top sites into mystical visions. Special "lightseeing tours" are offered by bus, boat, or bicycle.

Where: Berlin

07 of 08

Frankfurt Book Fair

Frankfurt Book Fair
GettyImages / Hannelore Foerster

Frankfurter Buchmesse is the world's largest trade fair for books. It is the place to be for book lovers, publishers, translators, and authors.

Each year, the book fair sees close to 300,000 visitors from 100 countries peruse over 400,000 books.

During the week, the book fair is only open to accredited trade-visitors, but come on the last weekend of the fair, when everybody can take a peek into the international world of media. Enjoy readings, exhibitions, concerts, and films alongside the presentation of books.

Where: Trade Fairgrounds in Frankfurt

08 of 08

Reformation Day

Castle Church door in Wittenberg
GettyImages / Matthias Graber

On October 31, Germans do not traditionally celebrate Halloween; they commemorate the religious holiday of Reformationstag ("Day of Reformation").

Reformation Day dates back to 1517 when Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the Wittenberg Castle Church door. This action brought forth the Protestant Reformation and massive changes in the church and society.

Events on Reformation Day are subdued, but the recent 500-year-anniversary was cause for celebration and most of Germany enjoyed the public holiday.

Where: Official holiday in five states: Brandenburg, Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Thuringia, and Saxony-Anhalt