Christmas is always a festive time of year, and Europeans take this
holiday spirit to the max. All over the continent, numerous
markets sprout up in city centers selling all sorts of treats and
crafts. Read our guide to these unique holiday festivities.
Germany's northern latitude (as compared to the US)
makes its winters long, cold, and dark. After this long period
of short winter days and long winter nights, the Germans are ready for
the ground to thaw and for spring to begin. Each town around the
country celebrates spring in its own special way, but the biggest two
spring festivals, or Frühlingsfests
are in Stuttgart and in Munich
in late April/early May.
This granddaddy of all beer festivals begins every September in
Munich. This 3 week celebration first occurred in October 1810.
In subsequent years, the festival was repeated, but moved up to
September to allow for better weather conditions. This festival
draws millions of tourists from around the world and you don't want to
miss out on all the fun!
The Canstatter Volksfest in Stuttgart is the second largest beer
festival in Germany. This festival began in 1818 as a present
from Queen Katharina of Württemburg. Starting in September and
running for 3 weeks, this celebration is starts and ends one week
later than its Munich cousin. If you're looking for the beer and
rides of Oktoberfest, but want to avoid the mass of tourists, visit