9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October

If you're in the mood for giant pumpkin carving, onion festivals or spending the night at Frankenstein's castle, then Germany certainly has what you're looking for this October.

9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
A little girl in Marburg looks at a carved pumpkin. Photo: DPA.


Berlin Festival of Lights, September 30th – October 16th


A photo posted by Max Krach (@maximnoise) on Oct 3, 2016 at 9:57am PDT

This October you get not one but two light festivals during Berlin's 17-day celebration of illumination: The Festival of Lights and “Berlin illuminated” (Berlin leuchtet). Berlin illuminated already kicked off on September 30th, but the Festival of Lights starts on October 7th. Most importantly, they're both free.

During this time, Berlin's most famous landmarks will be lit up with bright artworks and animations by renowned light artists.

This year's festival revolves around the message “Light connects”, promoting cultural tolerance within the city.

Hamburg Film Festival, September 29th – October 8th

Ewan McGregor and Jennifer Connelly at the festival opening. Photo: DPA.

Fancy going to the movies and getting away for the weekend? Why not combine the two and catch the last few days of the Hamburg Film Festival.

The festival screens around 140 feature and documentary films, both national and international, in different venues around the harbour city, and attracts a plethora of stars including Clint Eastwood, Jodie Foster and Ewan McGregor.

For information on the schedule and tickets, click here.

Frankfurt Book Fair, October 19th – 23rd

A previous Frankfurt Book Fair in 2012. Photo: DPA.

The world's largest trade fair for books takes place every October in Frankfurt. The Buchmesse dates back to the 15th century when Johannes Gutenberg developed mechanical movable type in Frankfurt and sparked the Printing Revolution in Europe.

Notable prizes at the book fair include the award for the oddest book title of the year.

The first three days are only open to trade visitors, but on the weekend regular visitors can join the more than 270,000 people who visit every year.


Stuttgart's Cannstatter Volksfest, September 23rd – October 9th

Photo: Martin Naujocks/Wikimedia Commons.

This is Germany's second largest folk festival behind the more world famous Oktoberfest in Munich, and this year it actually brought in twice as many people in its first weekend as Munich's fest did.

Another of Germany's many beer celebrations, which started in 1818 as a harvest thanksgiving celebration, has become one of the world's largest fests.

The festival centers around a special emblem, a 26-metre high “fruit column”.

Each of its giant marquees serves beer from a variety of regional brewers, and can sit up to 5,000 guests, while children are welcome too and can make the most of its Ferris wheel.

Weimar Onion Festival (Zwiebelmarkt), October 7th – 9th

Photo: DPA 

For a city with a population of just 65,000, it’s pretty impressive that around 350,000 people normally visit Weimar's onion festival, which takes place annually on the second weekend of October (this year the 7th-9th).

What started as an agricultural market “for beasts and onions” in 1653 has now become a much bigger affair, celebrating local culture, beer, and music, but the onions certainly take center stage.

Many of the stalls are elaborately decorated with garlands of onions, and some of the tear-jerking vegetables are even made into little dolls.

There’s shallot to do, and it will certainly put a spring in your step! 

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival, Baden-Württemberg, September 2nd – November 6th

Don't step on Elvis' orange suede shoes. Photo: DPA

The world's largest pumpkin festival is ready to get you in the mood for Halloween, where more than 800 different kinds and over 450,000 pumpkins are on display.

Notable events include the pumpkin regatta, European pumpkin championship and giant pumpkin carving.

Munich's Auer Dalt, October 15th – 23rd

Photo: DPA

For those already keen to start Christmas shopping, Munich's “Auer Dult” takes place this month.

This traditional style market which dates back to the Middle Ages only takes place three times a year in the city's Mariahilf Square and offers handmade goods to its visitors, and even a merry-go-round for the kids.

Berlin Oktoberfest, September 23rd – October 16th

Photo: DPA

If you missed out on Munich's Oktoberfest, then why not head to the capital city's own version.

There is still plenty of time to drink draft beer, don Lederhosen and eat pretzels and pork knuckles at Berlin's own lively beer festival, which runs until the middle of October.

And there's even another Oktoberfest in Berlin that goes on until October 22nd.


Halloween in Frankenstein's castle, near Darmstadt in Hesse, October 21st – November 6th

Where better to spend Halloween than in the castle that allegedly inspired Mary Shelley when writing her 1818 Gothic classic Frankenstein.

Over the coming weekends, this haunting space overlooking Darmstadt will play host to a variety of monsters. Germany's so-called “oldest Halloween extravaganza” promises to “make your nightmares come true”, for children and adults alike.

“Safety not guaranteed.”

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