If you’re thinking of heading over to Europe for your next break then it’s more than likely that you’re heading to one of the big names; London, with its history and culture, Paris and all the romantic connotations associated with it, or perhaps somewhere in Spain with its huge expanse of beaches and wonderful architecture. There’s a good chance that many of you didn’t even consider Germany, but there are many reasons why you should.
Even though it isn’t well renowned for its buildings, history or culture, Germany is full of vibrant cities and amazing natural lakes and forests. It also likes to party, and there are many festivals that take place around the country throughout the year that you may like to check out before you book your flight. Here are just a few to whet your appetite.
International Green Week
International Green Week (or Greune Woche in the native tongue) is held every January at the Messe Berlin Exhibition Halls. This isn’t some small gathering for those who are concerned about the environment (though that is one of the main aims) but a huge, sprawling exhibition showcasing all of the best food and drink and much more that not only Germany, but the world has to offer with a large focus on Fairtrade produce. As well as stocking up and feeding your face with everything on offer, there is the obvious serious side too with many of the stands. Renewable energy is obviously a hot topic right now and you’ll be able to find out more on this and many other environmental concerns during your visit – just make sure you’ve left enough room for the food and drink!
International Film Festival
Also in Berlin the following month is the International Film Festival. The second largest of its kind in the world, you’ll find many actors and directors from the silver screen descending onto the city with the aim of showing the lucky attendees previews and premieres of their latest blockbusters. The festival also caters for the smaller independently run studios so if you’re a fan of film of any kind, make sure you’re in town for this one.
Rhein In Flammen
For something a little different, there is a spectacular festival entitled ‘Rhein In Flammen’ where the country’s longest river is the home of amazing lazer and firework displays. This event happens over the course of the summer – May to September and can be viewed in many cities that the river Rhine flows through. Be sure to get your video cameras at the ready for what always promises to be a breathtaking show. Check online to see when it will reach the cities, as the dates change each year.
Beer is something very much associated with Germany and it takes it very seriously too. There is a smaller beer festival held in Berlin in the early weeks of August but the daddy of them all is of course the Oktoberfest in Munich. Despite its name, over six million people arrive in the city in September (it starts sooner in the hope of better weather, fact fans!) to sample thousands of different beers from all around the world. Not only that but you’re sure to get a flavour of authentic German food, which you’ll probably need to stay on your feet. If you hand over a 10 Euro note, don’t expect much change but do expect a huge stein that will keep you going for some time.
There are many other festivals to look out for to make your visit to Germany a little extra special. Check out Berlin’s Carnival of Cultures in May each year, and if you’re planning a little Christmas visit then many cities around the country hold special Christmas markets with a wide range of produce, arts and crafts to suit all of your needs.
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