I am a lover of festivals! Big festivals, little festivals, historic festivals, music festivals, summer festivals, you name it, I want to go! Since living in Europe, I am constantly surrounded by an endless number of possibilities, from the fun related festivals to the ones of historical importance. Now I try to go to as many as I can, the others, over time will come! Until there here are the festivals I have been to and the ones I want to go to!
The Festivals I’ve Been To!
The Flower Carpet Festival 2014
Every other year, on even numbered years, Brussels turns the already magnificent 17th Century Grand Place into a beautiful flower carpet with over 750,000 Begonias! This is a festival not to miss for those who love beautiful things, as this festival is for one weekend only, usually in August!
Open to the public for free to walk around it but for the best view of the Flower Carpet, pay just a few euros per person to go up inside the stunning Hotel de Ville which dominates the main square and step out on to the balcony.
When: Next August 12-15th, 2016
Where: Brussels, Belgium
How much: Free!
Fasching 2008 & 2015
Every year, cities around Germany have their own parades which stretch on for a couple of hours, everyone participating in the fun in order to celebrate Fasching (Carnival)! From babies to old folks, people of all ages dress up in costumes and take part in the festivities!
When: Rose Monday
Where: all of Germany, most commonly Cologne!
How much: free!
Notting Hill Carnival 2012
Two strands of carnivals converged into one to create the Notting Hill Carnival. First, a “Caribbean Carnival” began in response to racial tensions in the 60s. The second, was a more hippie strand to promote cultural unity in 1966. Now one of the world’s largest festivals, for three days in August, people flock to the greatest street party to watch beautifully handcrafted floats parade down the street with DJs and music blaring from the floats. The Nottinghill Carnival is not actually related to carnivals for Lent, but is simply a street festival. Dancers flock around in rival colorful peacocky outfits drawing the attention of thousands of festival goers!
When: August 30-31st, 2015
Where: Nottingham, England
How much: free!
Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival 2014
Every autumn, just outside of Stuttgart in a small town called Ludwigsburg, the Palace Gardens are turned into an orray of oranges. No, not the fruit, the color, as the gardens are turned into a Pumpkin Festival. Here, there is fun for all as you stroll through the gardens to find pumpkin sculptures, pumpkin food, pumpkin stalls and even pumpkin sports!
When: Septemer 4-November 8th, 2015
Where: Ludwigsburg, Germany
Officially the world’s largest fair, every year since 1810, this beer festival has been held in Munich, Germany. What started out as a wedding festival for King Ludwig I, it has become the world’s most popular beer festival lasting 17 days with multiple tents from local brewers supplying 6 million people with 6.7 million liters of beer! Don’t be confused though, Oktoberfest is not actually in October! The festival begins in the middle of September every year and ends in October after German Reunification Day.
When: September 19 – October 4, 2015
Where: Munich, Germany
How much: Entrance is free, but beer can cost up to 10€ a Maß (1 liter)
Mai/Herbst Dult 2012 – present
Twice a year in my German hometown of Regensburg, we have a similar and quainter version of Oktoberfest called Dult! Dult is even older than Oktoberfest and was created by the people, for the people of the town! For two weeks in May and August, Dult comes to town. Rides, food stalls and beer tents are set up and everyone flocks to the tents for Maß beers, cheaper than at Oktoberfest!
When: May 8-25th, 2015 & August 23 – September 13th, 2015
Where: Regensburg, Germany
How much: Entrance is free, but a beer can cost up to 8.50€ a Maß (1 liter)
Adlersberg Palmator Starkbierfest 2015
Just outside of Regensburg, is a small former abbey perched upon a hill called Adlersberg. Monks needed a way to survive the long 40 days of Lent and found a loophole which allowed them to brew beer. Not just any beer. STARKbier. The beer is extra strong as it is filled with more nutrients so as to fill the bellies of the monks through the entire Lent season. Every year, for one day only on Palm Sunday, the brewery has a little festival inside the abbey walls. The tradition is that the people of Regensburg and surrounding villages hike to the abbey before enjoying the Starkbier.
When: Palm Sunday
Where: Pettendorf – village outside of Regensburg
How much: free!
Relatively new to Regensburg and other towns around Germany, this Color festival is inspired by the Indian tradition of Holi and is one of the happiest festivals around! The perfect festival to kick off the summer season, dance along to music and throw you chalk of rainbow colors in the air or at your friends. Be sure to wear white so the colors show up better!
When: Check the dates for a festival near you!
Where: Check the webpage for a city near you!
How much: Prices vary depending on the package you want!
Würzburg Wine Festival 2014
One of Germany’s greatest wine regions, Franconia is home to Würzburg – a romantic town along the Main river with endless rolling hills of vineyards. Every summer, Würzburg is overloaded with an infinite amount of wine festivals throughout the city. The most enjoyable is the Würzburg Weindorf, when the entire city center of Würzburg turns into a little wine village with stalls and tents sent up throughout the town where one can plop down and enjoy a glass or two…or three of local wines!
When: Check the dates of different wine festivals below!
Where: Würzburg, Germany
How much: Entrance is free!
My Festival Bucket List!
Carnival in Venice, Italy
Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Giants for the Baptism of Fiere Margiet, Leuven, Belgium
Lemon Festival in Menton, France
La Fete des Lumineres – Lyon, France
Regata Storica – Venice, Italy
King’s Day (Queen’s Day) – Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Keukenhof Tulip Festival – Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Las Fallas Festival – Valencia, Spain
Flower Carpet – Malaga, Spain
Feria de Abril – Seville, Spain
La Tomatina – Buñol, Spain
Pamplona Bullrunning – Pampalona, Spain
Up Helly Aa – Scotland
Hogmanay on New Year’s Eve – Edinburgh, Scotland
What are some other great festivals around Europe you can recommend?