What’s on in Germany: August 12 – 18

This Week's Highlights: Horse racing in the Rhineland, classical music at the Hamburg zoo and fireworks over the Bodensee.

What's on in Germany: August 12 - 18




We’ve all seen fisherman joust, right? No? Well then the Sandkerwa Festival in Bamberg is the place to experience this unique event in person. The festival, originally a celebration of the consecration of St. Elisabeth Church, is folk festival that offers something for everybody. Enjoy local beer while taking in a duck race, or just sit back and watch the fireworks display that ends the festival on August 24.

Price: Free

Location: Various locations

Times: August 18 – 24

More Information: Sandkerwa Festival Website



Gay & Lesbian Park Festival

Open-air parties are commonplace in Berlin, but the 13th annual Gay and Lesbian Park Festival in Volkspark Friedrichshain is a very special occasion. In addition to sets by some of Berlin’s best DJs, festival-goers can learn more about the fight against gay and lesbian discrimination. A greeting by Mayor Klaus Wowereit kicks off the festivities, with music being played until 10pm.

Price: Free

Location: Volkspark Friedrichshain

Times: August 14, 3pm – 10pm

More Information: Gay & Lesbian Parkfest Website

Open Air Festival

Techno got you down? Prenzlauer Berg’s Kulturbrauerei hosts world-class classical music this week at its Open Air Festival. Each of the five nights of orchestra concerts end with fireworks displays in the outdoor courtyard. Whether you’re a life-long classical music fan or just a newcomer looking for something different, this could be a perfect way to spend a summer evening in Berlin.

Price: €30 – 40

Location: Kulturbrauerei, Schönhauser Allee 36

Times: August 18 – 22, 7:30pm

More Information: Classic Open-Air Website




Enjoy horse racing but don’t have time to fly to Kentucky? Check out the Rheinland-Pokal, one of Germany’s biggest horse races. Established in 1957, the Rheinland-Pokal brings out racing fans from throughout Germany and Europe and features some of the top horses and riders in the world.

Price: €5 – 12

Location: Galopprennbahn Cologne-Weidenpesch

Times: August 15, 1:45pm

Phone: (0) 221 9 74 50 50

More Information: Rheinland-Pokal Website




Visitors from all over Germany head south this week to celebrate the annual Seenachtfest at Lake Constance (the Bodensee). Enjoy live music, street performers, family events, delicious food, and of course, beer as you watch the sun set over Germany’s largest lake. After the sun goes down, experience one of Europe’s largest firework displays.

Price: €11; free for kids under 12

Location: Lake Constance

Times: August 15, all day (fireworks begin at 10:15pm)

Phone: (0) 711 90234 13

More Information: Seenachtfest Website



Light Festival

Every year, 15,000 visitors come to Egapark in Erfurt for the Light Festival. Celebrating its 44th year in 2010, the festival features live music, performances, and thousands of lights that illuminate trees and buildings throughout the park. Don’t miss the “Flames of Water” show at the park’s 25 metre high fountain. The evening is capped off by a tremendous fireworks display.

Price: Free

Location: Egapark

Times: August 14, all day (fireworks begin at 10:50pm)

More Information: Light Festival Website



Romantic Nights

The zoo in Hagenbeck is not only home to animals from around the world. Every August, classical musicians take the stage for a night of beautiful music under the stars. There’s something for everybody: wildlife for children and a relaxing night of music for parents.

Price: €1.50 (zoo entry fee)

Location: Hagenbeck Zoo

Times: August 14, 5pm

More Information: Romantic Nights Website



Cycling fans will not be disappointed by the 15th Cyclassics race in Hamburg. Featuring both professional and amateur races, it is the largest cycling race in Europe. All races begin and end in the city centre, so spectators don’t have to travel far to enjoy this world-class event.

Price: Free

Location: Various locations

Times: August 15, 7:45am

More Information: Cyclassics Website



Rhine in Flames

The gorgeous Rhine River valley, overlooked by castles and some of the most beautiful houses in Germany, is a fantastic destination in itself. Add fireworks and Europe’s largest procession of ships, and you have an unforgettable day. The Rhine in Flames event is a yearly tradition in Koblenz. Join the locals in amazement as you enjoy this day-long festival free of charge.

Price: Free (see website for more information about boat tickets)

Location: Upper Middle Rhine Valley

Times: August 14, all day

More Information: More Information: Rhine in Flames Website



Gäuboden Folk Festival

The Gäuboden Folk Festival could be described as a low-key version of Munich’s Oktoberfest. With over 120 stalls, seven large beer tents and a host of rides and attractions, the 11-day festival attracts more than 1.2 million guests annually who come to enjoy traditional Bavarian food, beer and atmosphere as the summer winds down. Experience the procession through the old town of Straubing that kicks off the festival on August 13.

Price: Free (see website for details about table reservations)

Location: Festplatz am Hagen

Times: August 13 – 23, 11:30am – 12:30am

More Information: Gäuboden Folk Festival Website



Rheingau Wine Week

Though known around the world as the land of beer, Germany features some of the best wines in Europe. Those wishing to sample some of the country’s finest should head to Wiesbaden for Rheingau Wine Week. Home to Germany’s famous Riesling wine variety, the Rheingau region also produces a variety of Pinot Noirs and sparkling wines. While you’re in the neighbourhood, head to some of the nearby vineyards and see first-hand how the wine is made.

Price: Free

Location: Schloßplatz, in front of the Marktkirche and on the Dern’sche Gelände

Times: August 13 -22

More Information: Rheingau Wine Week Website


Four injured as WWII bomb explodes near Munich train station

Four people were injured, one of them seriously, when a World War II bomb exploded at a building site near Munich's main train station on Wednesday, emergency services said.

Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich.
Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Privat

Construction workers had been drilling into the ground when the bomb exploded, a spokesman for the fire department said in a statement.

The blast was heard several kilometres away and scattered debris hundreds of metres, according to local media reports.

Images showed a plume of smoke rising directly next to the train tracks.

Bavaria interior minister Joachim Herrmann told Bild that the whole area was being searched.

Deutsche Bahn suspended its services on the affected lines in the afternoon.

Although trains started up again from 3pm, the rail operator said there would still be delays and cancellations to long-distance and local travel in the Munich area until evening. 

According to the fire service, the explosion happened near a bridge that must be passed by all trains travelling to or from the station.

The exact cause of the explosion is unclear, police said. So far, there are no indications of a criminal act.

WWII bombs are common in Germany

Some 75 years after the war, Germany remains littered with unexploded ordnance, often uncovered during construction work.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

However, most bombs are defused by experts before they explode.

Last year, seven World War II bombs were found on the future location of Tesla’s first European factory, just outside Berlin.

Sizeable bombs were also defused in Cologne and Dortmund last year.

In 2017, the discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in Frankfurt prompted the evacuation of 65,000 people — the largest such operation since the end of the war in Europe in 1945.