Germany's Best Summer Festivals

There's no better way to enjoy Germany's summer months and (usually) fabulous weather than by hitting one of its many festivals. They happen all over the country, often outdoors, and range from music to art to celebrations of cultures.

Here is an introduction to some of the best summer festivals in Germany. Get ready to party this summer.

01 of 11

Carnival of Cultures

Women bellydancing at the Carnival of Cultures in Berlin
Tibor Bognar / Photononsto/ Getty Images

Berlin celebrates its own unique carnival in summer during the colorful Carnival of Cultures. More than 1.5 million visitors pay tribute to the multicultural spirit of Germany’s capital with this four-day street festival.

Enjoy exotic food and drinks, concerts, and parties. The highlight of the festival is the street parade on Sunday with elaborately decorated floats, singers, and dancers from over 70 different countries.

02 of 11

Rhine in Flames

Fireworks over the river for the Rhein in Flames Festival in Koblenz
Peter Stehlik / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

This festival invites you to see the Rhine's natural beauty in a whole new light. Thousands of Bengal lights, stunning fireworks, and illuminated steam boats glide down the Rhine, bathing the river banks, vineyards, and castles in a magical glow. Watch from the shores or board one of the boats for an enchanting journey.

03 of 11

Fusion Festival

Wide view of the Fusion Festival grounds on a sunny day
 André Stiebitz / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Fusion Festival is the Burning Man of Germany.

Held in a former Russian military airport in Neustrelitz, Mecklenburg, the eclectic program of this 4 day open-air festival follows the motto “anything goes”. It fuses electronic music with film, theater, and art. Up to 55,000 free spirits come here every year to camp, party, and dance, dance, dance.

04 of 11

Bach Fest Leipzig

Bach Festival in Leipzig  

This peerless classical music festival in Leipzig commemorates the life and work of the city's most famous resident, Johann Sebastian Bach. Renowned artists from all over the world perform Bach's masterpieces in historical venues like the Thomaskirche (Thomas Church), where Bach worked as a cantor for 27 years.

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05 of 11

Berlin's Christopher Street Day

Berlin CSD leather costume
GettyImages / holgs  

Berlin's Gay Pride events are a highlight of the city's summer season. Known by the more common name in Europe of Christopher Street Day (or simply CSD), there are serious debates (Germans love endless discussion), concerts and after-parties.

Don't miss the largest CSD Parade in Berlin which attracts some of the largest crowds on the continent. Over 500,000 people gather to march from Kurfürstendamm in Charlottenburg to the gay symbol of the city, the Siegessäule. Bring your fetish gear, elaborate costumes, or prepare to wear nothing at all.

06 of 11

Germany's Hafenfest

Kiel Week

wogo24220 / Flickr

Hafenfests throughout Germany bring the party to the water each summer. "Kiel Week" (Kieler Woche) is billed as the largest sailing event in the world. It attracts 5,000 sailors, 2,000 ships, and more than three million visitors every year.

The event dates back to 1882 and offers regattas, historic ship parades, and a cultural program that transforms the city center of Kiel into the largest summer festival stage in Northern Europe.

07 of 11

Hamburg SommerDOM

Hamburg DOM
GettyImages / Roy Jankowski  

Since the 14th century, Hamburg has celebrated the DOM, one of the largest open-air fun fairs in the North of Germany. Held three times a year, the summer festival is your best chance to have fun in the sun.

Bring the whole family for classic Ferris Wheels and carousels, thrilling roller coasters and live concerts. Schedule a visit for every Friday night when fireworks light up the night around 10:30. Best of all, visiting the DOM is free.

08 of 11

Rock am Ring

A view of the massive crowd at the Rock am Ring festival
Marc Pfitzenreuter / Redferns

More than 150,000 rock music fans gather each summer at the racetrack of the Nürburgring for Germany's largest open-air music festival. The star-studded lineup of international rock bands have included the likes of Black Sabbath, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Volbeat. Whatever the music, this festival keeps fans dancing for three days.

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09 of 11

Traumzeit Music Festival in Duisburg

Los Placebos at Traumzeit
Von Krd 

The setting of this music festival is in a former smelting works at Landschaftspark Duisburg Nord in Duisburg. Massive blast furnaces, gas tanks, kettles, pipes, and chimneys create a unique backdrop for concerts, light shows, and visual projections. The music ranges from classic, pop, jazz, to electronic.

10 of 11

Berlin's International Beer Festival

A woman serves beer at the Berlin Beer Festival
Erin Porter

The Internationales Berliner Bierfestival includes a "Mile of Beer" along Karl-Marx-Allee. Showcasing local and international favorites, it also is the place to step outside the box and enjoy craft beers that aren't afraid to serve something different. 

11 of 11

Elbjazz Festival in Hamburg

Hamburg Harbor
GettyImages / RudyBalasko  

The famous harbor of Hamburg, the second busiest port in Europe, turns into a stage during the international jazz festival “Elbjazz.

More than 50 concerts take place at Hamburg's waterfront and you can dance at the docks, on cargo ships or in the fascinating harbor museum. A free ferry shuttle connects the different venues and offers a great view of Hamburg’s cityscape from the water.