What’s on in Germany in the month of October? World-famous Oktoberfest continues through the first week, pumpkin boat races, the biggest book fair in Germany, and a 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.
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 Bavarianculture, cuisine, and – of course – beer.
During Oktoberfest, everyone is a bit German. Sing the beloved beer hallsongs, ride the riesenrad (Ferris Wheel) and dance on the tables.
Germany has the largest pumpkin festival in the world. There are 450,000 pumpkins on display, plus chainsaw carving competitions, pumpkin boats races, pumpkins on the menu, and giant pumpkins getting smashed – all with the backdrop of an elegant palace.
The Cannstatter Wasen started as an autumn fair in 1818 and quickly became one of the leading beer festivals in Germany. Celebrate autumn with Swabian food, beer and wine, and bring the family for Oompah bands, parades, roller coasters, and the world’s largest mobile Ferris wheel.
The German Wine Route has many wine festivals throughout the year with Deutsches Weinlesefest (German Wine Harvesting Festival) happening 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.
October 3rd is Tag der deutschen Einheit (Day of German Unity) and celebrates the country’s reunification in 1990.
This is a national holiday and almost every German city celebrates October 3rd, but the best open-air festivities are held in a different German city each year. The party in 2018 will be held at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, the national symbol of Germany.
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.
Frankfurter Buchmesse is the world’s largest trade fair for books. It is the place to be for book lovers, publishers, translators, and authors.
This year marks its 70th anniversary and they expect 286,000 visitors to peruse over 400,000 books from 100 countries.
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.
On October 31st, 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.