5 Reasons to Visit Germany in Autumn
Autumn is a wonderful time to visit Germany. The weather is usually still warm and sunny, but there are hints of winter in the air. As temperatures drop and leaves start falling from trees, Germany becomes an especially beautiful place to visit.
There are plenty of reasons why you should consider exploring Germany during the autumn, not least the fact that it’s much less crowded than in high season and there are far fewer tourists. You can also find some incredibly good deals in the country this time of year (outside of the busy Oktoberfest dates).
Speaking of the world-famous beer festival, the sheer wealth of exciting German celebrations make it a must-visit in the autumn. It’s also the time of year when Germany’s forests are ablaze with reds and yellows, making for some incredible photo opportunities.
Below we’ve outlined 5 of the best reasons why you should consider visiting Germany in the autumn, from the obvious to the offbeat. Just be aware that if you’re visiting from 2023 you may need to complete the ETIAS Germany application process before you travel!
Probably the best-known beer festival in the world, Oktoberfest takes place annually in the German city of Munich over the last 2 weeks of September and the first few days of October. It draws as many as 6.4 million visitors each year.
While it’s got a bit of a reputation for being an excuse for drinking excessive amounts of beer, it’s actually much more of a Bavarian cultural celebration (although of course, lots of beer drinking does go on!).
However, even if you’re not a fan of alcohol, you’ll be able to sample delicious Bavarian cuisine, enjoy a variety of fairground rides, and witness traditional songs and dancing. While it’s not obligatory to wear traditional clothing of the lederhosen or the dirndl, most locals opt to, and you can rent these traditional outfits near the venue to join in the fun!
While the sheer amount of attendees at Oktoberfest can be overwhelming, there are some tricks you can use to beat the crowds. Try to go on weekdays and in the mornings rather than weekend evenings, and avoid rainy days – these are when the tents are the most packed!
Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival
Although Halloween is not that big a deal in Germany and not traditionally celebrated, the Germans still have plenty of time for one of the emblems of the holiday – the pumpkin! Specifically the town of Ludwigsburg, which hosts a charming annual Pumpkin Festival, the largest in the world.
The annual event usually sees the involvement of over 45,000 pumpkins and is packed to the gills with pumpkin-themed and activities, including a chainsaw carving competition. There’s also a unique boat race where participants take to the water in giant carved pumpkins!
Additionally, the Pumpkin Festival is just one of many harvest festivities which take place throughout Germany in September. These culminate in the celebration of “Erntedankfest” (Harvest Thanksgiving) on the first Sunday of October.
Wine Harvesting Festival
Germany’s vast number of vineyards make it an excellent place to take a wine tour in any season of the year, but the best time to hit the German Wine Route is in September or October to coincide with the many wine festivals held throughout the country.
Two of the biggest are the Deutsches Weinlesefest, held in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, and Dürkheimer Wurstmarkt in Bad Dürkheim. Both take place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany’s most famous wine-producing region.
The latter festival is one of the oldest such events in Germany, with the first edition taking place over 600 years ago. Aside from being able to sample a range of the region’s best wines, you’ll also find a wide range of fairground rides and food stalls offering local delicacies such as Bratwurst.
The Festival of Lights in Berlin
While a large number of European cities become decked out in elaborate winter illuminations in the run-up to Christmas, The Festival of Lights in Berlin gets the season started a little earlier with an impressive spectacle throughout September and October.
The event sees over 45 of the most iconic landmarks and historic buildings in the German capital outfitted with dazzling light displays and illuminated between 7pm to 1am each night.
During this time, you can take a ‘lightseeing tour’ by either bike, boat, or bus to experience some of the most impressive displays at sites like Brandenburg Gate and Museum Island.
The Autumn Foliage
Autumn is the time of year when the German countryside is at its most beautiful. The trees turn a variety of colors, and the result is a beautiful, almost magical autumn landscape to rival that of Japan or the Northeastern United States.
Some of the best places to enjoy the autumn colours in Germany include:
- Berlin’s Tiergarten
- Jasmund National Park
- Lake Constance
- Moselle Valley
- Naturpark Lüneburger Heide
- Neuschwanstein Castle
- Spreewald forest
- The Black Forest
Nevertheless, if you visit any of Germany’s over 100 natural parks during the autumn, you’ll be treated to a cornucopia of vibrant reds, oranges and yellows. Just make sure you come prepared with wet weather gear to combat unforeseen weather changes!