Festivals can provide you extraordinary experiences and offer you insights into that country’s incredible cultures. From messy food fights, crazy good parties to arts festivals, there is truly something for everyone.
If you are planning your next holiday, be sure to check if it coincides with any of the fun festivals in the list below! You are in for an amazing treat.
1. Harbin Ice and Snow Festival – Harbin, China
When : Early January
Why do you have to be there: Lights, ice and everything nice – these are some of the things that go into the making of the world’s most spectacular winter festival in the world. Feel like a disney princess or prince (on ice) when you explore the magnificent snow sculptures without breaking a sweat.
2. Holi Festival- India, Nepal, Sri Lanka
When: Late February to early March
Why do you have to be there: What Color Run? This is the real deal! This festival just spells fun, fun and more fun. Primarily observed by Hindus around the world, it involves streets full of people throwing colored powders and spreading pure, unadulterated joy. Be prepared to look like a unicorn at the end of the day!
3. The Rio de Janeiro Carnival – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
When: Between February and March
Why do you have to be there: if anyone can do parties, it is the Brazilians. This is the biggest party in the world filled with huge parades, elaborate costumes, lots dancing and heart-pounding samba music. You can’t call yourself a party-animal if you have not been here!
4. Pingxi Lantern Festival – Taiwan
When: Between mid to late February
Why do you have to be there: Originally, lanterns were released by the people in Pingxi district to let others know that they were safe from the evil and disease. Now, watch the lanterns take flight with all your written wishes and dreams. Thousands and thousands of lanterns decorating the sky do make for breath-taking scene
5. Carnival of Venice – Venice, Italy
When: Between Mid February and Early March
Why do you have to be there: I’m pretty sure you have been to at least one Masquerade-themed prom sometime or another, but I bet you wouldn’t have experienced anything like this. During the carnival, Venice comes alive with people in colorful costumes and gorgeous masks, entertainers and jugglers everywhere. It’s like a fairytale come alive. The famous canals will be filled with colorful boats – perfect for your Instagram post.
6. Battle of the Oranges – Ivrea, Italy
When: Early February
Why do you have to be there: If you are always up for a good food fight, you’ll definitely find your feet here! The Battle of Oranges is a festival where people throw oranges at each other. Legend has it that the oranges were thrown in celebration of the killing of a rapist in town. Whatever it is that started this tradition, it has now become a full-fledged competition against organized groups- in the name of fun, of course
7. London Fashion Week – London, England
When: February and September
Why do you have to be there: if you pride yourself as a trendsetter, this is the place to be. You’ll get to see and feel the hype of the upcoming season’s collections from the hottest designers out there. Dress your finest and you have a chance to be photographed by some famous fashion blogs. Who knows, this might be the big break into the modeling world that you’ve been waiting for!
8. Frozen Dead Guy Day Nederland, Colorado
When: Usually on the first weekend in March
Why do you have to be there: The inner nerd in me got excited when I got to know how this festival started. Frozen Dead Guy Days pays tribute to a man who died and was cryogenically frozen. His family then decided to preserve him at their home instead. Now, the festival embraces the weird and uncomfortable – such as frozen lake diving and coffin races. Oh, did I mention that there is unlimited beer and Eat-all-you- can pancake buffet? Count me in!
9. Songkran Water Festival – Thailand
When: Usually on the second week of April
Why do you have to be there: Are you ready for a wet and wild adventure? Get your water guns, balloons and bottles ready. You are in for a sweet relief from one of the hottest months in Thailand. The cool part? You may even see Elephants splashing water jets at people! This is truly the water fight of your dreams.
10. Cappadox — Cappadocia, Turkey
When: Mid or late May
Why do you have to be there: The Cappodox festival is waiting to entertain you with performances, eclectic music, dining events and special outdoor activities – all set against the stunning landscape of Cappadocia. Trust me, there is no other place in the world where you can enjoy some great music while overlooking the numerous hot air balloons in a gorgeous setting too! I’m kicking myself for not catching this festival when I was there, so make sure you don’t miss it too.
11. Stars of the White Night- St Petersburg, Russian FederationSource
When: Late May to Early August
Why do you have to be there: Fun fact : this festival is literally held on White Nights – a period where the Sun never sets. But, why would you want it too, when there are tons of arts performances to catch? Stars of the White Night is an arts performance extravaganza celebrating music, opera, film and ballet. This festival is so popular that tickets are known to be sold out months prior to the actual dates. So for all you arts aficionados out there, better grab your tickets fast!
12. Glastonbury — Glastonbury, EnglandSource
When: mid to late June
Why do you have to be there: The Glastonbury festival is one of the largest performing arts festival in the world. Say Hello to Adele, and have an Adventure of a lifetime with Coldplay, all at one place! Whether you like to chill to Sigur Ros or catch a circus, the week at Glastonbury will be jam-packed with stuff to see and do.
13. Running of the Bulls at the Festival of San Fermin – Spain
When: 6-14 July
Why do you have to be there : Watch male chauvinism on full display as the guys jump among the running bulls to show off their bravado. This festival has its roots in the early 14th century when men would try to rush their cattle by using scare tactics while transporting them to the market to sell. After many years, it turned into a competition as young adults try to race the bulls and make it safely to their pens. If you like the adrenaline rush or feeling a little adventurous, this is one festival to check out!
14. La Tomatina – Buñol, Spain
When : The last Wednesday in August
Why do you have to be there : Do you know that this festival is not linked to any ancient traditions? About 50 years ago, some locals decided to have some fun and started a food (or shall I say vegetables and fruits?) fight- and ever since, the practice has continued on. La tomatina proves that tomatoes and fun do mix.
15. August Moon Festival – Athens, Greece
When : Mid or Late August
Why do you have to be there : As if there is a need to beautify the already picturesque Greece, the full moon on a clear August night comes on and adds to the scene. The full moon festival is where there is FREE entry to most major attractions, with special performances, poetry readings and film screenings to boot. You’ll be the lucky few to catch these attractions in a new light.
16. Oktoberfest – Munich, Germany
When: Starts late September and runs till the first weekend in October
Why do you have to be there : This is the biggest and the original beer party in the world. Need I say more? The Oktoberfest is a huge part of the Bavarian culture, so rest assured that you’ll only be getting the best beer, food and atmosphere that cannot be matched elsewhere!
17. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta – New Mexico
When: Early October
Why do you have to be there : Picture this – picnicking with over 700 hot air balloons above you, against the clear azure skies. Sounds good to you? Then you have to be at this fiesta! This festival is made of dreams. There is nothing not to love about it, with gorgeous view of the landscapes and fun-shaped balloons. An opportunity you definitely cannot miss if you are in the area.
18. Frankfurt Book Fair – Frankfurt, Germany
When: Mid October
Why do you have to be there : Frankfurt Book Fair is like a Mecca for bookworms. The Frankfurt Book Fair is the world’s largest trade fair for books, with over 7000 publishers gathering at this place. There is bound to be something that you fancy, for sure. Get first dibs on the next bestsellers or exclusive books here!
19. Day of the Dead— Celebrated by Mexicans in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Mexico
When: November 1st
Why do you have to be there : Commonly celebrated by the Mexicans, the Day of the Dead is dedicated to celebrating and honouring their deceased loved ones. Immerse yourself in this meaningful traditional celebration as you participate in the colorful parades, elaborate face paintings and costumes.
20.Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – New York, USA
When: 4th Thursday of November
Why do you have to be there : With over a dozen giant balloons shaped like your beloved characters, marching bands, parade floats, cheerleaders and dancers, this is the biggest and the most hyped about thanksgiving parade in the Big Apple. It is a spectacle indeed! Join the 3.5 Million people watching the parade live and you’ll realize why this tradition is still going strong even after 90 over years.
21. New Year’s Eve – Sydney Harbor, Australia
When: December 31st (duh, right?)
Why do you have to be there : Known to be the best place in the world to see New Year’s fireworks, our own fireworks have nothing on these. Just look how spectacular the display is! Be enthralled by the displays at 9pm and at midnight as you welcome the New Year.