5 Reasons to Visit the World’s Largest Pumpkin Festival in Germany in 2019

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.

Related Reading: Food And Drink in Germany Vs. Canada

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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. It sounds like a very odd, and not very tasty combination.

I bet when you first read pumpkin wine, you squished up your face and curled your lip.  It’s OK to admit it.  I know I did when I first saw it.

Although I was skeptical, I was also curious. I had to try it.

I took a small sip, ready to spit it out. To my surprise, not only did I not spit it out, I had another sip, then another.  In fact, I  liked it so much that I ordered another glass.

 Now I’m hooked and stock up on pumpkin sparkling wine each year since it’s difficult to get out of season.

It’s surprisingly sweet, but not too sweet.  It isn’t too pumpkiny tasting, there’s just a hint of pumpkin.  It’s refreshing, yet balances the heavier flavours of a seasonal soup at the same time.

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.

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.

I’ve also 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:

  • The theme changes each year. For 2019 it’s the Fantastic World of Fairy Tales.
  • It runs from the end of August to November of each year. (Aug 30 to Nov 3 for 2019).
  • 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, the 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 2019 to provide the most up-to-date information.

 

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33 thoughts on “5 Reasons to Visit the World’s Largest Pumpkin Festival in Germany in 2019”

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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!

  7. 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 🙂

  8. @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!

    @

  9. 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.

  10. Looks really interesting! We have to check it out this year as it’s just a short ride from our home 🙂

  11. 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.

    • @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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

    • @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.

    • @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.

  14. Don’t forget to mention that the Pumpkin Festival also hosts a Pumpkin paddling race. People sit in a pumpkin and paddle against each other on the lake in front of the castle on two weekend days in around 23rd of Septmeber each year. on Saturday everybody can enter qualifications in order to win 200€ on Sunday in the finals. This year an American lady which was pregnant in her 8th month did the second place! –> just to show you that really everybody has a chance.

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