5 Reasons to Visit the World’s Largest Pumpkin Festival in Germany

The world’s largest pumpkin festival is home to some 400,000 pumpkins.

It’s held each year in Ludwigsburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, located just 17 km north of Stuttgart.

The first time I went was three years ago, albeit reluctantly.  My German partner at the time dragged me. He said it would be fun.

Having never been to a pumpkin festival and not really wanting to go, I thought it sounded cheesy and something just for kids.

Pumpkin festival in Ludwigsburg Baden-Württemberg, Germany

I’ve since changed my mind and have been several more times. It’s one of my favourite foodie experience ever.  I suspect I’m not the only Pumpkin Festival doubter out there, so here are:

5 reasons to visit the world’s largest pumpkin festival:

1) Pumpkin Art

Each year the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival has a theme.  The first year I went it was Under the Sea featuring dolphins and blue whales made out entirely of pumpkins. Another year it was larger than life dinosaurs made of pumpkins:
A dinosaur creation at the Pumpkin festival in Ludwigsburg, Germany.

The pumpkin festival is held each year in Ludwigsburg in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
Huge sculptures are made entirely of pumpkins each year in Ludwigsburg, Germany.

Baby and mama dino at the pumpkin festival Ludwigsburg in Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Me posing with the mama and baby dino at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival.

Kids loved seeing the dinosaurs, but so do kids at heart, at least I did.

In 2016 the theme was Pumpkin Circus, which was fun! It’s a great place to get some pumpkin carving inspiration, including some that are easy to do at home, aka, not life-size!

2) Pumpkin Shopping

Not surprisingly the world’s largest pumpkin festival is an excellent place to buy a pumpkin. You’ll find different kinds from all over the world. Get your pumpkin carving toolkit ready!

Anything pumpkin is also available, including pumpkin pasta, pumpkin beer, pumpkin spiced coffee and my personal favourite pumpkin sparkling wine. I know that pumpkin and wine sound like a strange combination, but it’s actually really good. I love serving it to guests, as it always takes them by surprise.

Pumpkins from all over the world are for sale.
Last year I bought 6 pumpkins and we ate pumpkin something or another for almost 2 months straight.
Pumpkin pasta
I’m dying to try pumpkin pasta, but as I have a gluten allergy, I made some delicious pumpkin risotto instead.
Pumpkin sekt is delicious!
I had never heard of pumpkin sparkling wine before last year and tried it out of curiosity with low expectations. Since trying it I’ve never left with less than 2 bottles and that’s with J.P. constraining me.

3) Eating Pumpkins

In keeping with the theme you can also eat an assorted variety of pumpkin goodies so go hungry.  My favourite is the pumpkin soup, which is consistently the best I’ve ever tasted.

J.P. tried the Pumpkin Rösti (fried grated potato) which had an interesting flavour, although I wouldn’t have wanted to eat a whole plate of it.  The  Maultaschen (the German take on ravioli invented in nearby Maulbronn) looked amazing as well.

Menu at Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival
The Maultaschen (pictured at the bottom) looked heavenly. Unfortunately, I’m allergic to gluten so didn’t try it.

4) Seeing Pumpkins from All Over the World

What would the world’s largest pumpkin festival be without a judging competition?  The judging doesn’t happen until October but these two unique ones get my vote:

 textured bump covered pumpkin
This textured bump covered pumpkin was from the United States.
odd-shaped pumpkins
This odd shaped pumpkin came from France.

5) Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival Setting

The festival is behind Ludwigsburg Palace, one of the largest Baroque buildings in Europe.  Just walking through the palace gardens and grounds is worthwhile in itself.

However, seeing the contrast of a palace and pumpkins is really something else.  It also is my favourite castle tour in all of Germany and I’ve visited a lot of castles in Germany. You can easily combine it with the festival.

If you do decide to do the castle tour and are doing some other sightseeing in and around Stuttgart, consider the StuttCard. It gives you free entrance to the castle.

 Ludwigsburg castle, where the pumpkin festival is held
The impressive Ludwigsburg Palace is the setting for the pumpkin festival.
Pumpkin festival palace and pumpkins in Baden-Württemberg, Germany
You don’t see a palace and pumpkins every day unless you live in Ludwigsburg.

The Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival is great for both kids, and kids at heart!

Know Before You Got to the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival 2018:

  • The theme for 2018 is Pumpkin Forest.
  • It runs from August 31st to November 4th, 2018
  • The festival is open daily from 9:00 to 8:30 pm
  • The shops are open from 10:00 to 6:00 pm
  • Pumpkin dining is available from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm
  • Your ticket also includes entrance to the fairy garden, which children will enjoy.
  • Allow several hours to visit the festival, more if you also want to do a palace tour, which I highly recommend.

    Where to Stay in Ludwigsburg:

    If you’re travelling by car, I recommend Schlosshotel Monrepos. It’s a 4-star castle hotel situated on the lakeshore of Monrepos See. You’ll find a golf course, riding stables and wine estate there. It’s a 10-minute drive to the centre of Ludwigsburg.

    If you don’t have access to a car, nestor Hotel Stuttgart-Ludwigsburg is a better choice. This 4-star hotel is just 400 metres from Ludwigsburg Palace. It features 19th-century brickwork design, elegant rooms and a traditional German bakery.

More information about the Pumpkin Festival can be found here.

See more places to travel in Germany.

You'l find 450,000 pumpkins at the pumpkin festival in Ludwigsburg, Germany, the largest in the world

Note: This article was originally published in 2011 but was updated in September 2018 to provide the most up-to-date information.


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About Author

Laurel Robbins is the founder of Monkeys and Mountains Adventure Travel. She's passionate about getting outdoors as often as possible and helping travellers do the same on their vacation in a sustainable way. She's Canadian and grew up in the Canadian Rockies but now lives in Munich, Germany. You can find her skiing or hiking in the mountains most weekends, hanging out with her cat or with her nose in a good book.


September 25, 2011
Funny! When I lived in Germany, the people in my community didn't believe me that you could eat pumpkin. They believed it to be completely inedible & thought I was lying about pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving.
September 25, 2011
We love squash. Visiting the pumpkin patch in the fall is always a highlight. To be fair, our pumpkin patches a significantly less opulent and dinosaur free. :)
September 25, 2011
wow, that pumpkin festival looks better than the one I went to years ago in California. I like how they use pumpkins to make the dinosaurs! so cute. your post reminded me that, it is pumpkin season and also time to make pumpkin pie!
September 25, 2011
What a fantastic way to welcome in all the festivals of harvest time! I can't believe all of the variety of pumpkins and the magnificent sculptures on display. This festival looks like so much fun and your pictures convey it well!
September 25, 2011
A very interesting post. Amazing Palace. We have a boatload of humble pumpkins in Canada and I am ashamed to say we have not taken advantage of this opportunity at all. This post reveals a host of great ideas beyond pies, soup and Halloween carvings. Excellent photos.
September 26, 2011
Wow, that is fascinating and creative. Not only are the pumpkins and dinosaurs fun to look at but what a beautiful location!
John D. Wilson
September 26, 2011
Great pics and story! Arghhhh - now you have me craving for a piece pumpkin pie with some cool whip! It's never going to happen in Nicaragua! :( Cheers, John D. Wilson
September 26, 2011
That looks awesome. Well, except for the wine. The rest, totally awesome.
September 26, 2011
I love this festival especially the animals made out of pumpkins! Makes me wish I was in Germany for the festival. . . ok I always wish I was in Germany! LOL
September 27, 2011
Well, it's original! Never seen sculptures made of pumpkins! I don't mind squash (soup, stuffing for pasta etc. can be very good) but I get slightly annoyed when in October everything becomes something-pumpkins. Pumpkin pies, pumpkin spice drinks etc. Give me back my chocolate instead!
September 28, 2011
Great idea. The pumpkin pasta and the sparkling wine, especially, look very tempting. What a perfect backdrop as well for all those dinosaurs. Julia
September 29, 2011
Love the picture of the pumpkin dinosaur with the palace in the background! Glad I found out about this pumpkin festival, would love to be there and try out the "Pumpkin Rösti! :-)
September 29, 2011
I like the sound of the wine :) It certainly seems as if some people out there are deadly serious about pumpkins!
September 29, 2011
This made me hungry and has me looking forward to the next few months where every store here in Texas will be selling pumpkins like crazy. When I moved here, I had never cooked with pumpkin before. Now, I like it pureed in soup, pieces in risotto or stew, and as an addition to pasta sauce. Yummy! I love all the statues by the way! I went to an arboretum in Dallas last year and they had some neat stuff around this time of year as well, but the festival in Germany seems to have much more going on :)
September 30, 2011
Oh gosh I so want to see this, the I am thinking maybe Sunday as the weather is still so nice, although there is a Weinfest in Göppingen which finishes Monday... oh too many decisions!
October 1, 2011
@Rachel - No way? I see pumpkins everywhere here, and pumpkin cakes as well, but haven't seen any pumpkin pie though, think that's more of a North American thing. @Caanan - I love squash as well, especially spaghetti squash. A pumpkin fest is still a pumpkin fest, even without dinosaurs :) @Annie - I like how creative the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival is as well. Every year they outdo themselves. @Jeff - I agree and it's so much fun too! @Barry - Well see, now you have no excuse not to check out a pumpkin festival. This one certainly surpassed my very humble expectations. @John - Yah that could be a bit tricky to find in Nicaragua :) @Jul - But the wine is the best! And now you have an excuse to visit Stuttgart. @Debbie - Well now it gives you an excuse to visit in the Fall and I'm sure it wouldn't be difficult to come up with reasons to visit the rest of the year as well :) @Zhu - Well I'm sure there's pumpkin chocolate something or other :) @Julia - I'm dying to try the pumpkin pasta, and am going through my pumpkin sparkling wine which I bought way to quickly. @Michaela - There's still time, the pumpkin festival runs through until the beginning of November if you're in the area. @Robin - Oh yes, pumpkins are a serious business. I know that I now take my pumpkin sparkling wine very seriously (in other words I don't like to share it). @Sabrina - Really, I can't believe you hadn't cooked with pumpkins before. I hadn't thought of adding it to pasta sauce, will have to try that. @Morgenmuffel - Now that is a hard choice! @
October 22, 2011
No I haven't but now I'm totally adding that to my ever-expanding list of places I'm dragging my husband to lol. Pumpkin food is really hit or miss for me. I don't really care for most of what I've tried although I did have a pumpkin spice doughnut the other day that was delicious. But this seems like a fun fall activity regardless and it's only about an hour from where we'll be living. It ends a few days before we'll be landing in Germany so that'll have to be an idea for next year.
March 23, 2012
I was there too! I actually had to look closely to see if you stole my photos (j/k). Going back in a few weeks, what else can you recommend?
Masha (2away)
June 30, 2012
Looks really interesting! We have to check it out this year as it's just a short ride from our home :-)
October 12, 2012
It's a great place to go actually. The photos are awesome. Can't believe the dinosaurs can be made of pumpkin. The food looks very tasting. Sounds like a great family day off.
October 24, 2012
@Agnes There are definitely a lot of families there, but as an adult, I enjoyed it as well, especially the pumpkin wine :)
October 26, 2013
Thank you Laurel for the amazing pictures and the interesting article. I wish there was more festivals like this where I live. Seems like a lot of fun! Btw, sad to hear your gluten allergic, my mum is that too and I know it makes life quite difficult at times and especially when travelling. Greetings from Finland.
November 9, 2013
@Viktor - I love festivals, many more in Germany, than in Canada, where I'm from. I found it really easy to be gluten-free in Finland. Even the gluten-free bread was really good!
Krissy Harris
October 17, 2014
Are dogs allowed? Is there an entry fee?
October 20, 2014
@Krissy, the entrance price for 2014 is €8.50 per adult. Not sure whether dogs are allowed, you would have to check the official website.
October 27, 2015
I found your blog while looking for a recipe to recreate the maultaschen we had at the festival this year. I can confirm that it is AMAZING. :) We have been back in the States for two weeks and I am craving the stuff.
November 2, 2015
@Jen - Glad to hear that you enjoyed it! I wish that it wasn't so time intensive to make at home.
October 18, 2016
Awesome! I haven't seen a pumpkin festival before. I guess this is fun. I just can't believe there's a lot of things to do with pumpkin. Even the wine and pasta is made up of pumpkin. What else pumpkin can do? I hope there's a cheap made of pumpkin too. Thanks for sharing. I enjoy reading your post.
October 21, 2016
@Annika - I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the pumpkin festival. I'm on a pumpkin recipe kick lately, which has included, pumpkin soup, risotto, chicken, and even curry.
October 31, 2016
LOL. The first time I see a pumpkin festival. It is a pity that it is not never been able to visit in Germany ... (Animals turned out just wonderful
October 31, 2016
@Terry It's definitely something to see and each year they have a different theme. I went yesterday and this year it was a circus theme. Hope you're able to visit a pumpkin festival sometime.

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