Sick of sitting at home waiting for adventure to find you? Stop waiting for it, and start chasing it! There are so many experiences out there waiting to be had. If you’ve got a case of wanderlust, check out these 7 fun festivals around the world.
Oktoberfest – Munich, Germany
Contrary to its name, Oktoberfest starts at the middle or end of September and lasts until the first or second week of October. It’s typically 16-20 days, and while it’s celebrated all over Germany (and the world!), you’ll never experience it quite like you will in Munich! Expect a crowd; 7 million people or more attend Oktoberfest throughout the three week festival. When it comes to beer, the drinking age is 16, though Germany enforces an age of 18 for spirits and liquors.
While most people flock to this festival for the beer, you can also take part in a costume parade, live music, and carnival rides!
Cherry Blossom Festival – Washington, DC
In 1912, the Mayor of Tokyo donated 3,000 cherry blossom trees to Washington DC. Each year, they bloom in the spring and upwards of 1.5 million people – nation and worldwide – visit our nation’s capital to see this gorgeous display. While the festival is a month long, from mid-March to mid-April, there are different celebrations each week. Visitors can watch a parade, participate in the kite festival, shop the Japanese street market, and enjoy live music at Petalpalooza. Not to mention, stroll the iconic monuments with gorgeous views of the blooming trees!
Carnival – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
While many nations celebrate Carnival across the world, Rio de Janeiro is the capital of Carnival. The costumes, parades, celebrations, dances, and street carnivals are unlike any other! Unlike the other festivals we’ve mentioned, Carnival only lasts a few days, so it’s important to plan in advance. You’ll want to try the cuisine, learn to samba, attend a ball, watch the parade, and visit as many street carnivals as possible – there are over 300! Taking place the week before Fat Tuesday, this festival is usually in February or March, so plan accordingly!
Hot Air Balloon Festival – Cappadocia, Turkey
You could attend hot air balloon festivals closer to home – like the ones in New Mexico, New Jersey, Colorado, Idaho, California, and more – we think the views in Cappadocia, Turkey are worth the trip! While the first official Hot Air Balloon festival takes place this July, hot air balloon tours are offered year-round. This rocky terrain is best known for its “fairy chimney” stone formations, and some of its buildings are built right into the mountainside. Tour the caves and churches, visit the underground city of Derinkuyu, or visit nearby Istanbul for nightlife and shopping.
Mardi Gras – New Orleans, Louisiana
Like Carnival, Mardi Gras is celebrated in the days or weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday – the day before Ash Wednesday. Be sure to dress in shades of purple, green, and gold, bring or buy a mask, and collect as many “throws” as possible. Floats from the parades will toss out beads, toys, souvenirs, coins, candies, and more! You can also take in street performers, jugglers, magicians, and flambeaux on Bourbon Street or try to catch one of the elusive Indian parades. While they tend to be in the same area each year, they never publish the time or exact location, so it’s all about being in the right spot at the right time!
Running of the Bulls – Pamplona, Spain
The Running of the Bulls is actually part of a larger festival in Pamplona, Spain, called San Fermin Festival. Each year, a million or more people travel to participate in this historic, epic, and courageous activity in July. Besides the daily bull runs and bull fighting, visitors can also participate in El Struendo – or The Roar – where people gather outside of town hall at midnight and make noise for hours using drums, cymbals, bowls, and yelling.
Be warned, though, that while observing the Running of the Bulls is an exciting experience, it’s very dangerous to take part in. Each year, 200-300 people are injured and some have even died.
Floating Lantern Festival – Pingxi, Taiwan
While lanterns are sold and released in Pingxi year-round, there’s no experience quite like The Floating Lantern Festival. Just imagine writing your wishes on a paper lantern, releasing it into the hands of your ancestors, and lighting up the night sky with hundreds of others. It takes place on the last day of the Lunar New Year, typically in January or February– the perfect time for making wishes! And for those of you who hate the impact lantern releases have had on the environment, Pingxi has a recycling reward program in place to collect all of the used lanterns.
Because these festivals happen at certain times in certain countries, some planning is involved. If you want to make the absolute most of your experience, get in touch with an expert at UnlimitedTrips to start planning your getaway!