Last weekend we decided to get in the Fall spirit and head to Ludwigsburg, Germany for the largest pumpkin festival… in the world! Just like every red-blooded American woman, I get overly excited about Fall. Boots, sweaters, hats, pumpkins, hot drinks; I’m all for it.
We rented a car and loaded up the pups for a quick drive from Heidelberg to Hotel Ibis in Ludwigsburg. The weather was exceptional, clear skies and cool temperatures, a perfect day to go see 1,000s of pumpkins.
Below you can find a map of all the places discussed in this post:
Here are 21 reasons to visit the festival:
1. Not only are there more than 400,000 pumpkins, it’s held on the stunning castle grounds of Blühendes Barock at the Residenz Palace.
2. The festival is always themed, this year’s theme was the “Circus” (or Zirkus in German) so there were giant pumpkin sculptures of animals like elephants, tigers, a clown, and horses.
3. There are 1,000s of different kinds of pumpkins on display, all showing where they hail from.
4. The biggest pumpkins you will EVER see. Seriously. These pumpkins weigh 1200 kilos (more than a small car!).
5. See a pumpkin you like? You can buy them!
6. Seriously cool pumpkin carving. You can also watch the artist do their work!
7. You can tour the incredible palace if you want to take a break from the pumpkins. Which you should, it’s designed in the baroque style by King Ludwig (of course) and King Frederich. All the rooms are ornately decorated and feature the coolest sculptures, silk wall paper, and furniture that has lasted the test of time, and possibly the most expensive “mirror” room in the world.
8. The pumpkin flavored food is divine. We had our fill of pumpkinness: pumpkin seed bratwurst, pumpkin soup, meat and pumpkin pasta, pumpkin streusel, and pumpkin ice cream.
9. Wash it all down with pumpkin flavored drinks. There are spritzers, beer, and my favorite: wine. It was so delicious, we brought a bottle home.
10. It will 100% feel like Fall. The leaves are changing, the air is crisp (but not too cold), and it’s the perfect temperature to break out your sweaters and boots.
11. The castle grounds are a picture paradise.
12. Just across the street is the Favorite Palace (the actual name!)
13. You can take a walk from the Favorite Palace through the beautiful grounds. There are deer right along the path!
Someone mentioned this on Snapchat (@helenesula) and I had to share. Doesn’t it look like Snape’s patronus?!
14. There is lots to see and do in Ludwigsburg, and it’s all in walking distance. The main square, or Marktplatz is just near the grounds of the palace. This is a great place to take in the scene and grab a bite to eat.
15. When you’re there, you can see the beautiful pink church, Stadtkirche.
16. You can also check out yet another castle, Montrepos! Walk along the banks of the river or take in the view in a paddle boat.
17. Once you’ve seen the city, head back to the pumpkin patch and take a look at some more pumpkin art!
18. Find your way through the maze in the park.
19. Check out the “Fairy-tale garden”. If you like Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretal, Little Red Riding Hood, and many more, you can see them reenacted with life size puppets that come to life.
20. Walk through the luscious rose gardens and structured bushes on the grounds of the palace.
21. Grab your last view of the pumpkins and scenery at dusk.
Bottom line, the festival and Ludwigsburg are totally incredible and a place you need to add to your list!