Ultimate Guide to the Largest Pumpkin Festival in the World | Ludwigsburg, Germany | 2020 Travel

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival Art

    With Autumn as my favorite season, you can imagine my delight when I discovered that the largest pumpkin festival in the world took place in Germany! It was easily accessible by train and wasn't too far so I arranged a quick trip right away. This all happened before the second Covid wave hit Europe so it was supposed to be a "safe" time to travel, but I planned a short 2 day trip to the area to keep our time to a minimum (remember that safety and health comes first!). You can spend all day at the festival, but you shouldn't need more than the one day there.

So where is the festival?

    The festival takes place in Southern Germany in a smaller town called Ludwigsburg - only a 20 min metro ride from Stuttgart. It's hosted by the Ludwigsburg Palace Gardens which is only a 15 min walk from the Ludwigsburg train station.

map of stuttgart, germany

What is there to do?

    There is a surprisingly large amount of things to do at the festival! There are pumpkin sculptures to see, pumpkin delicacies to try, pumpkin carving stations, pumpkin related competitions, boat rides, beautiful palace grounds to walk through, and so much more. Because the festival is hosted at the Ludwigsburg Palace Garden, you get access to the entire palace garden grounds which is massive and took us hours to walk through. But the inside of the palace is a separate tour that you can also purchase and make into one trip.

Ludwigsburg Palace in Autumn

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival Art

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival Pumpkins

    Every year, the festival has a theme, and for 2020, it was Music. We were pretty bummed out to hear that we missed out on previous themes such as Dinosaurs or Fairytales because that sounds pretty amazing, but we still enjoyed the pumpkin scupltures this year.

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival Art

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival Art
Did you notice what the Germans call boomboxes? GHETTO BLASTERS. Apalling? or Hilarious?

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival Art

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival Art

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival Art

What is there to eat?

    There were a variety of festival tents that offered pumpkin themed cuisines such as pumpkin soup, pumpkin fries, pumpkin balls, pumpkin pasta, candied pumpkin seeds, and so on. There were also plenty of vendor stalls that offered pumpkin based items to bring home such as pumpkin ketchup, oil, seasonings, tea, crackers, drinks, and so on.

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival Food
This pumpkin maultaschen in pumpkin soup is an absolute must try! I inhaled it...

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival Food

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival Food
The candied pumpkin seeds were one of my favorite treats at the festival

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival Food
Pumpkin Balls & Pumpkin Fries!

    There were also sit down restaurants that looked like they were the normal palace grounds restaurants available year round if you're not interested in any pumpkin based meals. They had the usual German fare such as bratwursts.

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival Pumpkin Prosecco

Is it worth a trip?

    Most definitely!!! My husband didn't believe we could spend the whole day at a "silly pumpkin festival," but he ended up being the one dragging me to see the next thing at the end of the day! Here's everything you should know:

  • Entrance was only 10 Euros per person!
  • Food was affordable, but serves at different times from festival hours so make sure you check that on their website when you go
  • You can't pre-purchase the tickets online so go early before lines form. (Technically you can buy tickets on their website, but it's not sent electronically. They would send you the physical tickets by snail mail which they say can take 1-2 weeks, and I don't know if it gets you priority entry.)
  • There seemed to be two entrances to the festival. We entered through the palace area as it was closer to our hotel, and it appeared to be far less crowded than the other entrance near the big garden fountain area (pictured below). Maybe that will help if you can't arrive early.
  • All of the events that take place at the festival can take place on different weeks/days so make sure to check their website and plan accordingly! For example, the pumpkin carving booth this year was only open on weekends starting from mid September.
  • Expect to spend several hours at the festival. Not only are there plenty of pumpkin related activities to partake in, but the gardens are vast and include their usual exhibits and activities such as the fairy garden section, open space bird habitat, exotic themed gardens, rides, etc

Map of Ludwigsburg Palace

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival Competition

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival Pumpkins
Named 'Baby Boos'! How Cute!

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival Art

How was the festival during Covid?

    Unfortunately, the pumpkin festival is now cancelled for the rest of the year due to the second wave of Covid hitting Europe. We were glad to be able to attend before things got bad as this is probably our last year in Germany. There were plenty of people in attendance, but because the grounds are so large, masks were required (unless sat and eating with distanced tables), and it was all outdoors, we felt safe being able to partake in all of the activities without coming into close contact with others. The festival was also required to restrict the number of people so I'm sure that helped it from getting too crowded. We were pretty bummed out though because plenty of events had already been cancelled due to Covid restrictions even before the second wave. For example, the pumpkin boat race! They apparently carve out the massive pumpkins into boats to race in every year. Let us know if you guys get to see it in the future!

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival Boat Race


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