The coronavirus pandemic has significantly disrupted Germany’s events calendar this year, with staple celebrations such as Oktoberfest being cancelled due to safety concerns.
But despite restrictions, organisers have adapted to the circumstances and put together corona-safe events that can be enjoyed by all (albeit at a safe distance).
Here are some of the most exciting events to look out for in October:
German Unity Day Exhibition: September 5th – October 4th
The commemorative exhibition is running over thirty days to allow social distancing to be maintained. Photo: DPA
The Tag der Deutschen Einheit (German Unity Day) is one of the nine nationwide public holidays in Germany and takes place on October 3rd every year.
It commemorates the formal completion of the reunification process between the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) after decades of division.
It is normally celebrated with open air concerts and attractions in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, but due to coronavirus things will look slightly different this year.
A special anniversary celebration on October 3rd at Potsdam’s Metropolis will be attended by only 240 guests, six times fewer than originally planned.
The event, which includes performances from musicians and interviews, will be broadcast for people to watch on television.
There’s also no need to miss out on celebrating entirely – a special open air exhibition is running in Potsdam, the capital of Brandenburg, until October 4th.
The exhibition has been extended to last thirty days to ensure that a safe distance can be maintained amongst visitors.
Berlin Leuchtet Illuminations: September 25th – October 4th
The light show at the Brandenburg Gate this year celebrates 30 years of German unity. Photo: DPA
It’s not too late to catch the tail end of Berlin’s spectacular illumination festival. As the darker evenings draw in, many of the city’s landmarks are being lit up with colourful projections, videos and laser shows.
The illuminated buildings are scattered all over the city, with some highlights including Gendarmenmarkt, the Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column in Tiergarten.
It is asked that visitors maintain 1.5 metres distance and the wearing of face masks is recommended.
Halloween Horror Festival at Movie Park Germany: October 1st – November 8th
Be warned: this event is most definitely not for the faint hearted! Head to Bottrop on North-Rhine Westphalia to test your wits in the horror mazes at Germany’s most popular Halloween Festival.
Various spooky attractions including gut-churning rides, live entertainment and haunted houses await those brave enough to visit, although most are only suited for those above the age of 16.
The park is open every Thursday to Sunday in October, as well as on November 1st and November 6th – 8th.
Advance booking is essential due to strict capacity limits, and no costumes are allowed – the only masks permitted this year are the mouth-nose coverings that prevent the spread of the virus!
European Month of Photography: October 1st – October 31st
The European Month of Photography has something to offer for everyone. Photo: DPA
This October sees Germany’s largest photography festival return to Berlin. The event has taken place every other year since 2004, and offers a wide range of exhibitions for photography enthusiasts to enjoy.
For the whole month of October, 100 galleries, photography schools, museums and other cultural institutions will offer the public a chance to see incredible work from 500 artists across Europe.
Exhibitions can be found all across the capital and also in the nearby city of Potsdam.
Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival: August 28th – December 6th
The festival boasts impressive pumpkin displays and fun-filled activities. Photo: DPA
A trip to Ludwigsburg is an essential for all those in awe of autumn, and makes for a fun day out for the whole family.
This year’s theme is music, with various impressive pumpkin displays paying tribute to famous artists ranging from Elvis to the Rolling Stones.
The programme also boasts an array of other activities: try your hand at pumpkin carving, sample pumpkin flavoured specialties or visit the pumpkin Santa Claus tent to get in the festive mood!
German Mozart Festival Augsburg: October 9th – October 31st
Classical music fans won’t want to miss this celebration of the two of the greatest composers of all time, Beethoven and Mozart.
The German town of Augsburg, birthplace of Leopold Mozart (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s father), is hosting various concerts to celebrate the life and work of these two classical titans.
Events range from lower-key chamber music recitals to large-scale renditions of their most impressive symphonies, and includes performances from renowned soloists and orchestras.
Games Week Berlin: October 28th – October 30th
The gaming conference may be online this year, but there is still lots on offer. Photo: DPA
This year’s Games Week won’t be held in Berlin’s Kulturbrauerei as normal, but game lovers need not fear – an extensive online programme is available for everyone to enjoy.
The festival’s three strands – “Play Experience”, “Pro Experience” and “Art Experience” – offer something for everyone, from gaming enthusiasts to industry creatives.
Live ‘let’s plays’, multiplayer tournaments, interviews with gaming influencers and game development conferences are just some of the events available to those who purchase an online ticket.
Wine tasting along the Deutsche Weinstraße – Various dates in October
Despite cancellations, there are still plenty of chances to try some German wine. Photo: DPA
September and October marks grape harvesting season in Germany, meaning it is the perfect time to taste some of the best wines the country has to offer.
Sadly, many of the wine festivals that usually take place along the German Wine Route have been cancelled this year, but there are still ample opportunities that are too good to miss.
Take a weekend trip to the Bacchus Wine Festival in the town of Bad Dürkheim in Rhineland-Palatinate, where you’ll find live music, delicious food and plenty of wine.
Similar delights await visitors in the nearby Weisenheim am Sand, albeit at reduced capacity. The company BottleStops also offers group and private tours to visitors who want to get a taste of local wineries, a majority which are currently open.