Fall is my favorite time of year. The leaves are falling, the pumpkin spice lattes are steaming, and the festivals are all around. Before moving to Germany I was worried: how could I recreate my love of The State Fair of Texas!? Luckily, I had absolutely nothing to worry about. The festivals are plentiful; almost every small town to big city boasts a fest this time of year. Each one has it's own spin on food, drinks, and fun. I've collected the best Fall festivals in Germany you need to attend.
The Best Fall Festivals in Germany
1. Oktoberfest, Munich
You can't think of Germany without Oktoberfest. Bavaria's crazy, over-crowded tents filled with people singing and drinking beer. What surprised me most about Oktoberfest is just how beautiful it is. Ornately decorated tents that differ in decor and size boasting delicious beer and food. You can also walk around the ground (for free!), ride on the Ferris wheel, play carnival games, and watch the horses pulling the kegs full of beer. It's the perfect excuse to dress up in lederhosen or a dirndl and feel like a Bavarian. See my ultimate guide to Oktoberfest right here.
When is Oktoberfest?
2017 dates: Saturday September 16- Tuesday, October 3rd
2018 Dates: Saturday, September 22 – Tuesday, October 7
2. Herbstfest, Heidelberg
This is a lovely little festival that takes place in my current residence, Heidelberg, Germany. You'll find stalls filled with crafts, food, and my personal favorite “neu wine”. Neu wine is the product of fermented freshly pressed grape juice which is alcoholic and tasty. Watch the opening day procession of our town mascot, Perkeo (the court jester who literally only drank wine) make his way down the lovely main street. At night there are concerts and plenty of trinkets to buy.
When is Herbstfest? The last Saturday in September.
See my full guide to Heidelberg.
3. Pumpkin Festival, Ludwigsburg
Pumpkins make me inexplicably happy. Pumpkin flavored things are some of my all time favorite foods. Combine that with the largest pumpkin festival in the world and I'm over the moon. Truly, the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival is one of the best. The largest and most interesting pumpkins from around the world along with all you can dream of pumpkin flavored food makes for a memorable time. Oh, it also takes place at a castle.
When is the pumpkin festival? September 1 to November 5, 2017.
See the full guide to the pumpkin festival.
4. Beer Festival, Stuttgart (Cannstatter Volksfest)
You don't have to go to Munich to get the Oktoberfest experience. You can also go to Stuttgart! This is the second largest beer festival in the world. The Stuttgart Beer Festival takes places every year for about 14 to 16 days at the Cannstatter Wasen in Bad Cannstatt. This festival dates all the way back to 1818 when King Wilhelm I sponsored the festival after years of hunger to celebrate the harvest. You'll find live music, food, and of course, beer.
When is the Beer Festival in Stuttgart? There are two options, spring and fall. Spring: April 17 – May 7, 2017 Fall: Sept. 22 – Oct. 8, 2017.
5. Gäubodenvolksfest, Straubing
The Gäubodenvolksfest might seem similar to Oktoberfest or Beer Festival in Stuttgart but it has it's own story. It just seems to me that Germans enjoy beer and celebrating its history. This festival was founded in 1812 by Maximilian I Joseph, King of Bavaria as a way to bring together the people of the Danube region together. And what better way to do it than beer and food?!
When is Gäubodenvolksfest? August 11-21st.
6. Wurstmarkt, Bad Dürkheim
Have you had enough of beer? I sure have. Let's go to the oldest, largest (and best, in my opinion) wine festival in the whole world. That's at Wurstmarkt Weinfest in Bad Dürkheim. It's held just outside the vineyards in this picturesque town and 600,000 people come a year. This past September (2017) was the 600th anniversary of the festival! So you can say it's been around for quite a while. While I loved trying all the delicious wines (150 varieties), the food was some of the best I've ever had at a fair. Truly, if you haven't been to Wurstmarkt this is a festival to put on your list.
When is Wurstmarkt? It's held every year on the second and third weekend in September.
Those are my favorite festival in Germany. I haven't been to them all but I hope to go to as many as possible. Do you have a favorite festival? Let me know in the comments below!