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What's on: 11 unmissable events around Germany this July

Imogen Goodman
Imogen Goodman - [email protected]
What's on: 11 unmissable events around Germany this July
Onlookers watch the Rhine in Flames fireworks from the Niederwald Memorial in Rüdesheim, Hesse. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Andreas Arnold

July kicks off the summer festival season in Germany - and there are plenty of excuses to enjoy the sunny weather. From elegant wine festivals to wild street parties, here are 11 events you definitely shouldn't miss out on.

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July 1st - 4th: Berlin Fashion Week 

The month of July kicks off with a calendar highlight for the fashionistas - Fashion Week - and there's no better place for it than trendy and innovative Berlin. As always, the event will showcase the most up-and-coming contemporary designers, with Avenir, Ewa Herzog and Rianna and Nina among those presenting their new styles this year. 

Alongside the usual list of VIP catwalk events, there are also several events that are open to the public, including an exhibition on the politics of fashion at Das Minsk Kunsthaus in Potsdam and a celebration of Tokyo and Berlin fashion at the Japanese-German Centre in Berlin. 

Of course, those who are well-connected in the fashion world may also be able to blag an invite to some star-studded red carpet events and parties through the week. 

July 4th - 9th:  Freiburg Wine Festival

Anyone who fancies a refreshing tipple from one of Germany's most famous wine-growing regions should be sure to visit this year's wine festival in Freiburg im Breisgau.

Set against a backdrop of Freiburg Münster in the heart of the picturesque Altstadt, the festival will feature the best creations from local wineries and vineyards, along with a packed roster of music and entertainment.

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As is customary, the five-day event will be opened by the local Weinkönigin, or wine queen, and her train of wine princesses, and Freiburg's top culinary talent will be serving regional delicacies like Kasespätzel and Wurstsalat.

July 6th:  Rhine in Flames, Bingen & Rüdesheim 

If you've ever wanted to see the Rhine ablaze with the colours and lights of a spectacular fireworks display, then Rhine in Flames should be high up on your bucket list.  

Rhine in Flames events happen at intervals throughout the year, but this July it'll be taking place not too far from Frankfurt, Wiesbaden and Mainz on a stretch of the river that is bookended by two pretty towns: Bingen and Rüdesheim. 

Music and refreshments are available at the best viewing spots, but if you really want a spectacular view of the Rhine set alight by dazzling fireworks, travelling by boat can be a truly other-worldly experience. 

July 12th - 21st: Kinderzeche, Dinkelsbühl 

Located along Germany's Romantic Road, the idyllic town of Dinkelsbühl is worth a visit at any time of year, but the Kinderzeche folk festival is when the town and its residents truly come alive.

Translated as "Children's Feast", the Kinderzeche dates way back to the 30 Years' War in the 17th Century, when children apparently saved the historic city from siege by pleading with a Swedish colonel for mercy.

Kinderzeche in Dinkelsbühl

Children perform during the Kinderzeche festival in the Bavarian town of Dinkelsbühl. Photo: picture alliance / Ingrid Wenzel/Touristik Service Dinkelsbühl/dpa-tmn | Ingrid Wenzel

These days, children of all ages still perform reenactments of the event on Sundays and Mondays throughout July, while adults wear traditional dress and carry flowers to celebrate their city's heritage.  

READ ALSO: Travel in Germany - Discovering the fairytale trail of Kassel

July 12th - 21st: Rheinkirmes, Düsseldorf 

Set on the banks of the River Rhine in bustling Düsseldorf, the Rhinekirmes is basically a big funfair and folk festival rolled into one, complete with fairground rides, beer tents, street food and firework displays. 

This year, visitors at the Kirmes can look forward to pulse-racing rollercoasters like the Alpina Bahn and Eurocoaster, not to mention the giant Bellevue ferris wheel and a new virtual reality attraction called Dr. Archibald: Master of Time.

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The legendary Pink Monday, which is reserved for the LGBTQ+ community, will take place on July 15th, while the show-stopping fireworks will kick off on Friday, July 19th at 10:30pm. 

July 14th: Euro 2024 Final, Berlin

Set in football stadiums across Germany, the nail-biting Euro 2024 tournament has been an incredible journey so far, and excitement is already building for the final match on July 14th.

At this stage, it's still hard to say which teams could go all the way, though Germany, France, Spain and Portugal are currently among the favourites. Whoever makes it through, it'll all kick off at Berlin's Olympiastadion at 9pm on Sunday, July 14th.

Weekends July 12th - 28th: Kaltenberg Knights' Tournament 

If you're a fan of all thing's medieval, you'll adore the pomp and pageantry on offer at this year's Knight's Tournament, or Rittertournier, in the Upper Bavarian town of Kaltenberg.

In the atmospheric setting of Kaltenberg Castle, surrounded by rolling hills, visitors can step into the shoes of medieval royalty and enjoy music, juggling and a thrilling jousting show that will test the mettle of many a courageous knight. 

Knights compete in a jousting tournament in Kaltenberg

Knights compete in a jousting tournament at the medieval festival in Kaltenberg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Karl-Josef Hildenbrand

The tournaments will take place on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays over three weekends in July, and visitors can also enjoy beer halls, food stalls and family entertainment throughout the grounds of the castle. 

READ ALSO: Five haunted castles in Germany that will creep you out

July 19th - July 21st:  Cologne Pride Street Festival

Cologne has one of the largest and most vibrant LGBTQ+ communities in the country, and the city's love of carnivals and street parties makes Pride an event worth travelling to.

A huge and colourful street festival kicks off at Heumarkt, Alter Markt, Gürzenichstraße und Elogiusplatz on July 19th at 4pm and runs throughout the weekend until Sunday night. You can find three open-air stages in these areas, as well as a podcast stage featuring queer podcasts, a beach chillout zone with laidback Ibiza sounds, and plenty of places to buy food and drinks. 

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On Sunday, the CSD parade will see an estimated 1.4 people pass through the centre of Cologne, complete with exuberant costumes and colourful floats blasting the best pop hits. 

July 21st:  Klassik Open Air, Nuremberg 

Every summer, the serene setting of Luitpoldhain park in Nuremberg plays host to one of Europe’s biggest classical music events.

On balmy evenings, families and friends bring blankets and picnics to watch some of the world's most talented musicians in a laid-back atmosphere - and best of all, for free.

This year, the Nuremberg Philharmonic Orchestra will perform a family concert titled 'Große Gefühle', or 'Big Emotions', at 11am on Sunday, July 21st, while Roland Böer, the director of the orchestra, will make his debut showcasing both well-known and new works inspired by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet at 8pm.

READ ALSO: 10 unmissable events taking place in Germany in 2024

July 28th: Christopher Street Day, Berlin

Though Pride and CSD events take place all around Germany in July, Berlin's bombastic and irreverent street party is a celebration not to be missed.

Alongside dancing and techno music in the streets, there's also a demonstration that starts on Leipziger Straße in Kreuzberg and heads towards the Brandenburg Gate and Straße der 17. June via Schöneberg.

CSD Parade Berlin

Demonstrators gather at the legendary Christopher Street Day (CSD) Parade on Straße der 17. Juni in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Hannes P Albert

This year the motto is "Only strong together - for democracy and diversity" and organisers hope to emphasise the dangers of far-right parties attacking queer rights.

READ ALSO: Meet the Berlin Pride co-founder continuing the fight for LGBTQ+ rights

They will also focus on discrimination and violence against gay people and the trans community, as well as calling for better education around queer visibility and dating platforms as well as calling for more inclusion in society in general. 

July 28th - August 11th: Sommerwerft Theatre Festival, Frankfurt 

If you're yearning for a bit of culture over the holidays, look no further than the Sommerweft Theatre Festival in Frankfurt, which brings together an eclectic mix of experimental theatre, contemporary dance, live music, and film screenings, all set against the banks of the River Rhine and Frankfurt's iconic skyline.

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With its focus on diversity, creativity and togetherness, the festival features renowned local and international artists and a daily roster of interactive workshops, alongside street food stalls and open-air bars.

Whether simply strolling along the banks of the Rhine and soaking up the atmosphere, enjoying groundbreaking performance art or trying your hand at something new, Sommerwelt is the perfect hang-out spot on a long summer evening. 

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