Entenrennen: Experience Germany's Annual Duck Race

Make the most of Germany's annual rubber duck race with these tips from Lonely Planet.

An old town and Neckar River in Tübingen Photo © Getty Images/no_limit_pictures


Alleenbrücke, Tübingen, Germany


Early October.


It’s not exactly Running of the Bulls. Indeed, the ducks involved in this bridge-to-bridge race aren’t even alive: they’re the yellow, rubber species whose usual habitat is the bathtub. Nonetheless, Tübingen’s annual contest is spectacular, if inexplicable. In a random, Germanic version of the ‘Poohsticks’ game enjoyed by Piglet et al in Winnie-the-Pooh, a truck dumps some 7000 duckies into the Neckar River from Alleenbrücke.

The sunflower-colored shower is accompanied by cheers from crowds lining the river banks. Many of the spectators are clutching a ticket with a number corresponding to one of the speeding water demons. The first synthetic contender past the finishing line at Neckarbrücke wins its patron a €1000 holiday voucher, with plenty of other prizes for runners-up.

Although the dazzling idea of the duck race is thought to come from Canada, it’s big business in Germany, where there are corporate duck-racing specialists. The season begins in March, with more than 150 competitions taking place in towns such as Erfurt, Bielefeld and Göttingen, as well as smaller villages.

Level of Participation

4 – try your luck in the bobbing derby.


Get there before the race starts to buy a ticket.

Other Local Attractions

Come down from the duck-related adrenaline with a stroll around late-medieval Tübingen. A hilltop fortress, cobbled alleys and half-timbered houses are the background for a lively University scene.d

Want to know more about Germany? Check out our podcast. We have an insider's guide to the coolest spots in Berlin and find out how to Eurail around Germany.

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