Do you like to go to concerts, watch fireworks or learn about other cultures? Germany's event calendar has something for everyone. Here are some events that are worth planning your vacation or business trip around.
Jazz comes to Stuttgart every year
May - September, 2008: Rhine in Flames
Rhine in Flames is a festive fireworks show that takes place throughout the summer in various cities along the Rhine River, beginning in Bonn on May 3 and concluding in St. Goar on Sept. 20.
June - July 2008: Munich Opera Festival
The curtain has just come down on the 60 events featured in the 2007 program. As for 2008, details haven't been announced yet but it is sure to be just as spectacular. Mail order ticket sales generally open in February.
June - August, 2008: Heidelberg Castle Festival
Go back in time to the age of knights and dragons at the Heidelberg Castle Festival.
July 11 - 19, 2008: Stuttgart Jazz Festival
The Stuttgart Jazz Festival attracts top performers and jazz lovers from across Europe and beyond.
It can take years to get tickets to the Wagner Festival in Bayreuth
The Rhine River goes up in flames every year
July 17, 2008: Love Parade
What started out as a demonstration has become a massive dance party of mythical proportions. Though the Love Parade has traditionally taken place in Berlin, in 2007 it made its debut in Essen because the German capital decided not to host the event. The Love Parade is set to rock Dortmund in 2008.
July 25 - August 28, 2008: Richard Wagner Festival
Bayreuth's annual Richard Wagner Festival, run by descendents of the composer, is legendary in the world of opera. If you want to attend you'll have to plan ahead -- the waiting list for tickets can last for several years! However, it is sometimes possible to purchase returned tickets on the evening of the performance.
August - September
Wine festivals take place throughout Germany’s wine regions in late summer and early fall. Visitors can sample new wines and rare vintages from nearby vineyards, as well as specialties like onion cake (Zwiebelkuchen). Don't miss the crowning of the local wine queen!
Aug. 24 - Sept. 23, 2008: Beethoven Festival
Bonn's annual Beethoven Festival doesn't limit itself to music by the city's favorite son -- it includes a wide variety of musical highlights.
After years in Berlin, the Love Parade has moved to the Ruhr region
Wine season is a chance to sample local specialties
Sept. 20 - Oct. 5, 2008: Oktoberfest
Germany's largest beer festival, held every year in Munich, is known the world over. Visitors make their way to the Bavarian capital for the liter-sized glasses of beer, the stuffy tents and the low-cut dirndls.
Sept. 28 - Oct. 14, 2008: Stuttgart Beer Festival
If Oktoberfest is just a bit too much for you, you might try Germany’s second largest beer festival, held annually in Stuttgart.
Oct. 8 - 10, 2008: Popkomm
Berlin's Popkomm music fair is one of the largest in the industry. Though only industry insiders are allowed into the exhibition hall, visitors can enjoy one of many concerts open to the public.
Oct. 15 - 19, 2008: Frankfurt Book Fair
Representatives from every branch of the book industry gather each year in Frankfurt. The Catalonians are this year's guest culture.
Nov. 11: St. Martin's Festival
When the sun goes down on Nov. 11 every year, the children in the Rhineland and Bavaria are ready with their handmade lanterns. Armed with their glowing works of art, they parade through the streets in honor of St. Martin, who, legend has it, once gave half his cloak to a poor beggar.
Nearly every German city and village sets up a Christmas market during the Advent season. Visitors can buy handmade trinkets, enjoy the holiday atmosphere and -- most importantly -- drink lots of spiced mulled wine.
Feb. 5 - 10, 2009: International Toy Fair
Are you a kid at heart? Then Nuremberg's International Toy Fair is the place for you.
Feb. 19 - 24, 2009: Carnival
Pull out your wig! In Germany, Carnival is serious business. From the Thursday through Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, clowns take over the city -- particularly in Cologne, Munich, Düsseldorf and Mainz. The revelling starts well before noon. Hint: It's easier to catch the masses of candy thrown down from the parade floats with less than 10 beers.
Feb. 5 - 15, 2009: Berlinale
The annual Berlinale international film festival in Berlin is Germany's largest film festival. In 2009, it will celebrate its 59th year.
The International Toy Fair attracts 80,000 visitors from over 100 nations
The red carpet is rolled out each year at Berlin's Berlinale
March 12 - 15, 2009: Leipzig Book Fair
The Leipzig Book Fair aims to create more publicity for the book as a medium.
April 1 - 4, 2009: Frankfurt Music Fair
With some 1,600 exhibitors displaying everything from hand-crafted violins to the latest MIDI synthesizers, there's something for every music lover at the annual music fair in Frankfurt.
April 22 - 26, 2009: Artcologne
Now in its 42nd year, the Artcologne art festival in Cologne offers a comprehensive overview of art from the 20th and 21st centuries.
May 2009: Carnival of Cultures
Carnival of Cultures is a four-day street festival in Berlin that celebrates folklore and diversity.
June 5 - 7, 2009: Rock am Ring
“Rock am Ring” is an open-air rock music festival held on the Formula 1 Nürburgring race track.
June 11 - 21, 2009: Leipzig Bachfest
Enjoy 10 days of concerts in the city where J.S. Bach spent most of his career. The works of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy und Max Reger will highlight the 2009 program.
June 26 - July 4, 2009: Munich Film Festival
Established in 1983, the annual Munich Film Festival is Germany's second largest film festival next to the Berlinale.