Places of Germany Tips: The most beautiful folk festivals in Germany

Places of Germany Tips: The most beautiful folk festivals in Germany

There are many folk festivals in Germany, especially in summer and autumn. From the North Sea and Baltic Sea coasts to the Alps, residents and visitors regularly meet at street festivals, funfairs or wine markets. Our absolute Places of Germany insider tip is the Backnang street festival with lots of music, fairground rides and culinary delights. But the other city festivals in Germany also have a lot to offer.

Tradition for more than 50 years: Backnang Street Festival

A lively combination of music, culinary delights and fun attracts over 200,000 visitors to the streets of Backnang every year

Since 1970, the people of Backnang have always celebrated their popular street festival for four days on the last weekend in June. More than 200,000 visitors fill the streets and alleys of the city centre. It starts on Friday with the tapping of the barrel on the market square and the traditional fireworks from the city tower. Until Monday evening, more than 70 bands play on a total of 6 stages. There is something for every musical taste – from pop, rap and techno to metal and traditional bands. The more than 130 food stalls offer international delicacies such as enchiladas, gyros, churros, tarte flambée or Belgian chocolate waffles. The amusement park with Ferris wheel and many rides on the Bleichwiese on the Murr River attracts especially many children.

A tip for the Backnang 2024 street festival: As it is always very crowded, especially on Saturday evenings, Friday and Monday are considered the best evenings to go out. The taps on the market square on Monday evening at 23:00 mark the end of the declared favourite event of the people of Backnang every year.

In the rest of Germany, too, there are many outdoor celebrations, especially in summer and autumn. There are more than 4,000 street, folk and wine festivals of all types and sizes in the Federal Republic of Germany - among them certainly street festivals near you. Places of Germany has compiled a list of some of the largest and most original:

World-famous visitor magnet Oktoberfest Munich

History, tradition and tips for the largest folk festival in the world

Who doesn’t know it – the Munich Oktoberfest? Every year at the end of September, more than 6 million visitors from all over the world celebrate the world’s largest and most famous folk festival for two and a half weeks. Since 1810, the “Wiesn” has been held in the tradition of many folk festivals in Bavaria on the Theresienwiese in large marquees. Here, you can get the famous 1-litre “Maß” in large mugs.

Tip: If you want to go into one of the tents, you should definitely reserve a place in advance.

Swabian Highlights: Cannstatter Wasen and Spring Festival

From the legendary Wiesn alternative to the springtime Volksfest highlight

The Stuttgart counterpart of the Oktoberfest is the Cannstatter Wasen. The Cannstatter Volksfest has been held from the end of September to the beginning of October since 1818. More than 3 million visitors come to Stuttgart Bad Cannstatt every year during the 17 days to celebrate in the festival tents with mood music or to try out the numerous rides on the fairground.

Besides the classic Wasn, there is another highlight among the festivals in Baden-Württemberg: the Stuttgart Spring Festival. For more than 80 years, the popular folk festival with around 1.4 million visitors has been held at the Cannstatter Wasen for three weeks at the end of April.

Origins in the Middle Ages - Bremen's open-air market and Easter meadow

A journey through time to Germany's oldest folk festivals

The Bremen Freimarkt has an even longer tradition, with roots going back to the Middle Ages, or more precisely to the year 1035. As one of the oldest folk festivals in Germany, the Bremen Freimarkt in mid-October attracts around 4 million visitors every year to the atmospheric marquees and the amusement park on the Bürgerweide in the heart of Bremen.

Around Easter, the Bremen Easter Meadow takes place at the same location. Around 1 million people come here every year to celebrate.

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Düsseldorf Rhine funfair on the riverbank

A summer highlight on the riverbank with exciting rides and breathtaking fireworks displays

The largest funfair on the Rhine has been held in Düsseldorf since 1901. The funfair town with its tents and numerous rides is set up on the banks of the Rhine in mid-July. More than 4 million visitors enjoy the special flair of the Düsseldorf funfair along the river bank every year.

Extra tip: The half-hour fireworks display with a brilliant finale and great view over the Rhine is one of the biggest attractions. It’s worth getting there early to secure a good spot.

Largest folk festival in northern Germany: Hamburg DOM

From summer to winter - A long-standing tradition with unforgettable moments on the Heiliggeistfeld

The Hamburg DOM is, of course, one of the most popular festivals in Germany. As one of the best-known funfairs in Germany, the Hamburg Sommerdom is celebrated for four weeks from mid-July on the Heiliggeistfeld. In addition to numerous culinary delights, there is also a large amusement park. And there is not only something going on here in summer. In November the “Winter Dome” takes place for four weeks and in March the “Spring Dome“. With more than 5 million visitors a year, the DOM festivals are the largest folk festivals in northern Germany.

Sailing spectacle at Kiel Week

A spectacular event with regattas, a windjammer parade and impressive closing fireworks.

Kiel Week is not only the world’s largest sailing event, but also a colourful folk festival. A total of 4,000 sailors from 47 countries take part in regattas in various boat classes. An absolute highlight every year is the Windjammer Parade, when more than 100 traditional steam and sailing ships sail into the Kiel Fjord. This spectacle always attracts several 100,000 onlookers. The so-called Kiwo lasts a total of nine days and delights the more than 3.5 million visitors with its maritime flair.

Places of Germany tip: Don’t miss the closing fireworks on the last day at 23:00. The laser and drone show is particularly impressive.

Celebrate in style at the Cranger Kirmes

A diverse spectacle with rides, stalls and cosy beer gardens

As one of the largest public festivals in North Rhine-Westphalia, the Cranger Kirmes in Herne is something very special. In addition to the approximately 500 stalls and rides on the main square in the Crange district of Herne, numerous taverns and cosy beer gardens in backyards invite visitors to linger and celebrate. The festival always starts on the first Friday in August for a fortnight and attracts about 4 million visitors.

Celebrate in spring & autumn: Nürnberg Folk Festival

A traditional celebration in honour of King Ludwig I with millions of visitors every year

After the Oktoberfest, the folk festival in Nürnberg is the second largest festival in Bavaria. It was first held in 1826 in honour of the Bavarian King Ludwig I and lasts 16 days. Today it takes place twice a year. About 1.9 million visitors come to the spring festival in Nuremberg in April and about 1.6 million to the Nuremberg Folk Festival in autumn. So if you’re looking for activities nearby at this time of year, you can meet up for a cosy get-together in the festival tent or to explore the rides at the Dutzendteil.

The No. 1 worldwide: Schützenfest Hannover

An impressive parade and ten days of festivities attract millions of visitors to shooting fair Hannover

For almost 500 years, Hanover has hosted the world’s largest shooting fair at the end of June. At the Schützenausmarsch, a total of 130 groups and 10 floats start their procession in front of numerous onlookers at the New Town Hall after the starting signal “Im Doubliertritt, Marsch”. On the Schützenplatz, almost 1 million visitors celebrate the popular Schützenfest Hannover for ten days in tents and beer gardens and with numerous rides and activities.

Pure romance at Rhine in Flames

Experience the most extraordinary series of events in the picturesque Middle Rhine Valley

An absolute highlight among the folk festivals in Germany is Rhine in Flames. The event series in the picturesque Middle Rhine Valley takes place every year between May and September and is one of the most unusual and romantic events on the Rhine. You can cruise along the Rhine in beautifully illuminated ships: From the start in Bonn via Bingen and Rüdesheim, Koblenz, Oberwesel to St. Goar and St. Goarshausen. In the towns, there are exuberant festivals and impressive fireworks displays over the Rhine.

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