The Ultimate Guide to Berlin’s Carnival of Cultures – Karneval der Kulturen

Carnival of Cultures in Berlin is a carnival celebration that is all about breaking down barriers and bringing people together! This article has everything you need to help you plan the best possible carnival experience.

****** Due to the current situation regarding Covid-19 the 2020 Berlin Carnival of Cultures has been cancelled this year! ******

29th May 2020

Monday 1st June 2020

Days to start

What is The Carnival of Cultures?

berlin carnival

The Carnival of Cultures or Karneval der Kulturen is a carnival celebration that occurs annually in Berlin, Germany. Berlin is an international city that is home to around half a million people from all around the world. 

The Carnival of Cultures is a multicultural celebration that pays homage to Berlin’s ethnically diverse population. Carnival of Cultures is all about celebrating a peaceful co-existence between all the different culture’s that call Berlin home.

Carnival of Cultures is where people from all sorts of different backgrounds unite and share their passions, ideas, hopes and dreams in a creative manner with other open-minded people. The 2020 Carnival of Cultures will celebrate its 23rd anniversary and the carnival is just as important as it ever was!

When is The Carnival of Cultures?

berlin carnival

****** Due to the current situation regarding Covid-19 the 2020 Berlin Carnival of Cultures has been cancelled this year! ******

Every year when Spring comes to Berlin, German so too does carnival. The carnival date is always set around Pentecost Sunday. Carnival of cultures goes for four days with Pentecost Sunday being the day when most festivities occur. 

The Carnival of Cultures 2020 dates will take place from Friday 29th May 2020 – Monday 1st June 2020. The main day of celebrations is on Pentecost Sunday, which is Sunday 31st May 2020. This is the day when the Carnival of Cultures Street Parade will be held.

The Carnival of Cultures officially kicks off on Friday 29th May at 4pm. Visitors visit the Global Carnival Village that has been set up around Blücherplatz over the weekend which is open from 11 am to midnight. So, you are able to celebrate all day!

Pentecost Sunday is of course when the village receives the most visitors who come for the famous street parade. The parade sets off in Yorckstrasse /Großbeerenstrasse at 12:30 pm. The carnival slowly winds down on Monday between 11am and 7pm.

Where does the Berlin Carnival of Cultures take place?

The Carnival of Cultures takes place in Berlin, the capital city of Germany. For four fun filled days the Carnival of Cultures occurs at Blücherplatz, in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district. There will be several stages put up for live performances as well as food and drink vendors and many market stalls set up selling arts and crafts.

What is the history of The Carnival of Cultures?

The origins of the Carnival of Cultures celebrations first started back in 1996 as an answer to xenophobic race riots that had been occurring in the area. Every year it continued to become more and more popular and eventually transformed into a four-day street celebration which culminates in a huge colourful street procession.

Attended by Two Million People!

carnival of cultures

When the Carnival of Cultures began in 1996 it had an impressive attendance of 50,000 but today it has grown exponentially in size with almost two million people coming to Berlin to join in the carnival celebrations.

The Carnival of Culture parade has also grown from having 2000 participants to over 5000 thousand! It features groups from all over the world including Africa, Asia and Latin America.

How is The Carnival of Cultures celebrated?

The Carnival of Cultures took its inspiration from other carnival celebrations that were occurring in Europe including London’s Notting Hill and Rotterdam’s Zomercarnaval.

The Carnival of Cultures has parades, street parties, theatre shows, street performers, market stalls, food vendors, arts and crafts and so many more activities and events that are all about celebrating and embracing peace, tolerance and multiculturalism.

Live Music is also a key part of The Carnival of Cultures with several stages hoisted to features Berlin’s International Music Scene and has many live bands including international acts play concerts.

Berlin Celebrates Multiculturalism

berlin carnival

The Carnival of Cultures aims to bring people from different cultures together so that we can learn and appreciate each other’s different values, cultures and beliefs. It’s about breaking down barriers between different regions, nationalities, religions and cultures.

The Carnival of Cultures lets us appreciate each other’s cultures through the different displays of costumes, dance, music, arts and crafts that feature in the celebration. When nationalism and populism are on the rise the Berlin Carnival of Cultures is a celebration of diversity.

Everyone is welcome to take part! 

carnival cultures

What is nice about Berlin’s Carnival of Cultures is that everyone of all ages is invited. It’s a family friendly event and everyone can come out to enjoy the beautiful celebration of cultures in Berlin. The way we learn about each other is through sharing and the Carnival of Cultures provides this opportunity to do so.

The Carnival of Cultures is about involving everyone from all walks of life and anyone is welcome to take part it doesn’t matter if you’re a professional or amateur. People of all ages and cultural backgrounds from all over Berlin have the chance to take part in the parade.

The Berlin Carnival of Cultures Street Parade

  • Date: Sunday 31st June, 2020
  • Start: 12:30 pm @  Yorckstraße / Großbeerenstraße via Yorckstraße, Gneisenaustraße, Hasenheide
  • Finishes: 9:00pm @ Hermannplatz

The highlight of Carnival of Cultures is an amazing street parade that features around 5000 dancers, musicians, DJs and artists from over 70 different countries. The Colourful parade features performers from all over the world that put on the most incredible procession.

The Carnival of Cultures Parade kicks off at midday and begins at Hermannplatz heading along towards Yorkstraße where it will finish later in the afternoon. The Carnival of Culture Parade runs for about four hours and over a million spectators come out to watch.

The parade features incredibly authentic costumes, elaborately decorated floats and amazing larger than life puppets. With carnival groups from all round the world you can watch Brazilian Samba dancers, Irish folk singers or a Chinese dragon dance group. There is so much to soak up.

2020 Carnival of Cultures Street Parade Route

karneval der kulturen

Below you can find the map of the Carnival of Cultures Street for last year’s Carnival of Cultures. The description of this year’s parade is identical so it still shows the route for the Straßenumzug. The parade starts at the corner of Großbeerenstraße and finishes at Hermannplatz.

The Berlin Carnival of Cultures Music

carnival of cultures

Carnival of Cultures is all about entertainment and Berlin would never throw a party without a lot of music! During the Carnival of Cultures and you can enjoy music from all over the world.

There are four different festival stages that play so many different styles of music like reggae, samba, Afrobeat, funk, Jamaican dancehall, soca and so much more. One of the highlights is the Farafina stage that features some pretty impressive African drum shows.

Besides the concerts throughout the whole area the Carnival of Cultures will feature different street musicians and bands playing their own tunes.

Food vendors

Trust us when we say turn up to Carnival of Cultures on an empty stomach! There are over 350 delicious mouth-watering food stalls, selling delicious dishes from all around the world. French crêpes, Japanese Sushi, Indian curries and African beer – the range of speciality food from the most diverse regions of the world knows no bounds.

Exotic food smells fill the air and of course you must try some exotic cocktails as well! In addition to all the yummy food, there are market stalls selling arts and crafts, clothes, jewellery and all sorts of beautiful things from all around the world.

The Berlin Carnival of Cultures Street Parties

carnival of cultures

Of course, like most carnival celebrations when the sun goes down is when the real party kicks off and the debauchery begins. All the families with kids head home and the sound systems are brought out. Music fills the air and everyone parties on the street till the sun rises.

What to wear for Carnival of Cultures?

The Carnival of Cultures is one of Germany’s most legendary events. A celebration of cultures from all around the world.  The parades are colourful AF, with women dressed in colourful and elaborate feather headdresses and bejewelled bras.

You don’t need to dress like the people in the parade but why not wear some playful pieces that will help you stand out from the crowds. It’s the time to let your imagination one wild and get creative and wear something fun, you can check out some cool outfit ideas on Amazon. Remember though to wear comfortable shoes as you will be on your feet all day long! 

How much does Carnival of Cultures?

Good news! Entry to Carnival of Cultures is free for everyone!

berlin carnival

How to Get to The Carnival of Cultures?

By Plane: To get to Berlin the easiest way is to fly to Tegel International Airport (TXL) as this is a major international airport that is well connected. To get a quote for a flight click here.

By Bus: Berlin has bus services to and from over 350 destinations in Europe. Long distances buses arrive from the Central Bus Terminal (Zentraler Omnibusbahnhof) in Charlottenburg.

  • Berlin Linien Bus covers 350+ destinations in Europe
  • Salinea  covers Bosnia
  • Flixbus covers Germany and many other European cities, including Stuttgart, Munich, Freiburg, Frankfurt, Hamburg, as well as Copenhagen, Prague, Stockholm, Zurich, Budapest and more.

By Train: Berlin is served by EuroCity, InterCity, ICE and trains by Deutsche Bahn that offer connections between Berlin and other German and major European cities. Night trains from Budapest, Vienna, Zurich and Amsterdam run every day. There are also several long-haul trains from Eastern European cities including Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Warsaw, Kiev, Minsk and Kaliningrad. It is even possible to travel from Asia with the direct once weekly Sibirjak train service connects Russia’s Asian cities Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Chelyabinsk, as well as Kazakhstan‘s capital Astana directly with Berlin.

By Car: Berlin is encircled by a motorway ring (A10 Berliner Ring), that runs up to 30km outside the city limits. Get a quote for a rental car here.

Getting around Berlin is easy as the city has numerous bus services and an excellent metro city that has two stations close to where the Carnival of Cultures is centred. Get a quote for a rental car here. To rent a bike or a scooter get a quote here.

How to get around Berlin?

Getting around Berlin is easy. While Berlin is a big city, it has excellent bus, tram, train and underground services to get you around. There are also plenty of Taxi services. You are some online services like Talixo that facilitate online and in-app booking. You can check out the Berlin route planner in English which will provide you with excellent maps and schedules for the U-Bahn, buses, S-Bahn and Trams. If you look at The Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG), they have a comprehensive fare list on their website. Also, if you are unable to get somewhere, you can always call their Customer Service on +49 30 19449.

Get a quote for a rental car here. To rent a bike or a scooter get a quote here. For European rail tickets please go here. 

Where to stay for Carnival of Cultures?

berlin carnival

There are hotels, hostels, guest houses and apartment rentals for all budgets. If you want to be close to the action stay in around Hermannplatz. It is important to book accommodation and make travel arrangements in advance because with the carnival attracting millions the earlier you book the more choices and availability you have, and the better the budget.

Check out some great accommodation deals here.

What to do and see in Berlin?

Apart from the carnival celebrations Berlin is one of the greatest places in Germany. Berlin is full of impressive monuments, incredible food, amazing markets and nightlife.

For more information about tours, things to do, sightseeing tours, day trips and more click here. For a longer vacation check out Tour Radar for some cool trips.

Before you go!
Berlin is generally a very safe place to visit but be aware of pickpockets! Especially during carnival when there are big crowds and it is easier to get your stuff stolen. So be aware of your valuables at all times or even leave them back at your hotel and only bring some cash with you. Or check out Amazon and invest in one of these travel safety accessories, like a fanny pack hidden under your clothing to store your essentials in. If you have to take your phone out with you, don’t have it on show for long.
We can’t stress enough the importance of travel insurance! Never travel without coverage! Being protected on your travels gives you an irreplaceable peace of mind. Don’t learn the hard way about the importance of travel insurance. Get a quote through our recommended insurance provider, World Nomads!

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