All dates and events are subject to change. Contact the German National Tourist Board (www.germany-tourism.de) for more information. The board publishes a free calendar of forthcoming events three times a year, in April, October, and January; the first two are biannual calendars and the last is a yearly preview. They give the dates of trade fairs and exhibitions, theatrical and musical performances, local folk festivals, sporting events, conferences, and congresses throughout Germany.
For an exhaustive list of events beyond those listed here, check http://events.frommers.com, where you'll find a searchable, up-to-the-minute roster of what's happening in cities all over the world.
New Year's Day International Ski Jumping, Garmisch-Partenkirchen. This is one of Europe's major winter sporting events. For more information, contact the tourist bureau on Richard-Strauss-Platz (tel. 08821/180700; www.gapa.de). January 1.
International Film Festival, Berlin (at various theaters; announced in local newspapers). Stars, would-be stars, directors, and almost anyone with a film to peddle show up at this well-attended festival. It lasts for 10 days and is a showcase for the work of international film directors as well as the latest German films. Tickets can be purchased at any box office. Contact the Berlin International Film Festival (tel. 030/259200; www.berlinale.de) for more information. Early February.
Ambiente. This is one of the principal consumer goods trade fairs of Europe. Its origins go back centuries. For information, call tel. 069/75750 (http://ambiente.messefrankfurt.com). Mid-February.
Fasching. Carnival festivals take place throughout Germany, reaching their peak on the Tuesday (Mardi Gras) before Ash Wednesday. Particularly famous carnivals take place in Bonn, Cologne, Düsseldorf, and especially Munich.
Spring Fairs. Highlights throughout Germany, especially in Augsburg, Münster, Nürnberg, Hamburg, and Stuttgart. Dates vary from year to year.
Walpurgis Festivals. Celebrated in the Harz Mountains. Festivities occur on the night of April 30.
Hamburg Summer. An entire series of cultural events, including concerts, plays, festivals, and special exhibitions throughout May, June, and July. For information, contact the Hamburg Tourist Bureau, in Hauptbahnhof (tel. 040/30051300; www.hamburg-tourism.de).
International May Theatre Festival, Wiesbaden. This city near Frankfurt hosts a premier cultural event -- a series of artistic celebrations lasting 1 month. For information, contact the Wiesbaden Tourist Office, Marktstrasse 6 (tel. 0611/1729780; www.wiesbaden.de).
Floodlighting of the Castle, Heidelberg. Fireworks enliven the display in this storied university city. For more information, contact the Heidelberg Tourist Bureau, Willy-Brandt-Platz 1 (tel. 06221/14220; www.heidelberg-marketing.de). June, July, and September.
Mozart Festival, Würzburg. Mozart fans flock to this major cultural event in the baroque city of Würzburg. For more information, contact Tourismus Zentrale, Falkenhaus am Markt Centrum (tel. 0931/372336; www.wuerzburg.de or www.mozartfest-wuerzburg.de). Early June to early July.
See Floodlighting of the Castle, Heidelberg, under June, above.
Freiburg Wine Tasting. Local residents and visitors enjoy the first vintages from grapes grown in the Black Forest district. For more information, contact the Freiburg Tourist Board, Rathausplatz 2-4 (tel. 0761/3881880; www.freiburg.de). Early July.
Richard Wagner Festival, Bayreuth. One of Europe's two or three major opera events, this festival takes place in the composer's Festspielhaus in the capital of upper Franconia. Note that opera tickets often must be booked years in advance. For information, contact Festival Administration, Bayreuther Festspiele, Kartenbüro, Postfach 100262 (tel. 0921/78780; www.bayreuther-festspiele.de). Late July to late August.
Red Wine Festival, Rüdesheim/Assmannshausen. This is held in Assmannshausen, the Rhine village most famous for red wines. For exact dates, contact the Rüdesheim Tourist Bureau, Geisenheimer Strasse 22 (tel. 06722/906150; www.ruedesheim.de). Late August.
Musikfest Berlin (tel. 030/254890; www.berlinerfestspiele.de) takes place for a little more than 2 weeks. During the festival, Berlin plays host to orchestras, ensembles, conductors, and soloists from around the world. The festival is organized in conjunction with the Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker. Late August to mid-September.
See Floodlighting of the Castle, Heidelberg, under June, above.
Oktoberfest, Munich. Much of Germany's most famous festival takes place in September, not October. Millions show up, and hotels are packed. Most activities are at Theresienwiese, where local breweries sponsor gigantic tents that can hold up to 6,000 beer drinkers. Contact the Munich Tourist Bureau (tel. 089/23396500; www.muenchen.de) for particulars or just show up. Reserve hotel rooms well in advance. Mid-September to mid-October.
Frankfurt Book Fair. A major international event for publishers, book dealers, agents, and authors. For more information call tel. 069/21020 (www.frankfurt-book-fair.com) or contact the Frankfurt Tourist Office (tel. 069/21238800; www.frankfurt-tourismus.de). Mid-October.
Spielzeit'europa. Schaperstrasse 24, Berlin (tel. 030/254890; www.berlinerfestspiele.de), is a 4-month season of theater and dance performances at Festspiele. October to January.
Jazz-Fest Berlin. This annual festival, staged at the Philharmonie, attracts some of the world's finest jazz artists, ranging from traditional to experimental. Contact the Berlin Festspiele Ticket Office (tel. 030/254890; www.berlinerfestspiele.de) for more information. Early November.
Winter Dom, Hamburg. An annual amusement fair (sometimes called Hamburg Dom) at the Heiligengeistfeld. For more information, contact the Hamburg Tourist Bureau, in Hauptbahnhof (tel. 040/30051300; www.hamburg-tourism.de). Early November to early December.
Christmas Fair, Mainz. Mainz stages its Christmas fair on the Rhine for the 4 weeks preceding Christmas. For more information, contact the Mainz Tourist Bureau, Brueckenturm am Rathaus (tel. 06131/286210; www.mainz.de). December. (Other German towns hold Christmas fairs in Nov.)
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.