There are so many amazing events around the world so I simply had to put together a compilation of some of the best ones.
The only difficulty in attending these events is keeping track of their whereabouts and time. For example, suddenly you’ve been to Belgium for a few days but completely missed that this was the weekend for the music festival Tomorrowland, and you might not get the chance to visit Belgium again — especially to perfectly time it with the festival. That would be a shame, and the same goes for other places you will visit. Therefore, I have put this list together in chronological order from amazing events held in January all the way to December.
Therefore, bookmark this page and return to it every now and then when you are travelling. Maybe you suddenly end up at the right place at the right time for an amazing memorable event?! Moreover, the list will continuously be updated, so if you have any events you think should make the list, let me know the in the comments.
Amazing Events in January
Super Bowl (US)
When: Last Sunday in January or the first Sunday in February
What: The Super Bowl is the championship game of the National Football League (NFL), the premier association of professional American football. It was first played on January 15, 1967, as part of a merger agreement between the NFL and its then-rival league, the American Football League (AFL).
The day on which the Super Bowl is played is now considered by some as an unofficial American national holiday, typically referred to as “Super Bowl Sunday”. It is the second-largest day for U.S. food consumption, after Thanksgiving Day. In addition, the Super Bowl has frequently been the most-watched American television broadcast of the year; the seven most-watched broadcasts in U.S. television history are Super Bowls (in 2015, Super Bowl XLIX became the most-watched American television program in history with an average audience of 114.4 million viewers), and is second to soccer’s UEFA Champions League final as the most watched annual sporting event worldwide.
Ultimate guide to Super Bowl | Daily Telegraph
Super Bowl | NFL
Wakakusa Yamayaki (Nara, Japan)
When: Fourth Saturday of January (or the day after in case of bad weather)
What: The name of the festival literally translates as “The Mountain Roast” and is where the dead grass on the hillside of Mount Wakakusayama is set ablaze – but until after one epic fireworks display. There are two theories of the evolution of the festival. The first claims that the burning of the mountainside began during boundary conflicts between Nara’s great temples (Tōdai-ji and Kōfuku-ji), while another claims the fires were used to drive away wild boars. Once set ablaze the mountain can burn for up to an hour and because of the mountain’s elevation, it can be seen from anywhere in the city.
Burning Mountain Festival in Japan | I Love Travelling
Wakakusayama Yamayaki | Japan Guide
Sundance Film Festival (Utah, US)
What: The Sundance Film Festival is an American film festival that takes place annually in Utah. It is the largest independent cinema festival in the United States. Held in January in Park City, Salt Lake City, and Ogden, as well as at the Sundance Resort, the festival is a showcase for new work from American and international independent filmmakers.
Sundance Film Festival | Sundance Institute (Official Website)
Up Helly Aa Fire Festival (Lerwick, Scotland)
When: Last Tuesday in January
What: Up Helly Aa involves a series of marches and visitations, culminating in a torch-lit procession and the burning of a galley. This is followed by hours of performing acts and dancing in halls throughout Lerwick. There is a main guizer who is dubbed the “Jarl”. There is a committee which a person must be part of for 15 years before one can be a jarl, and only one person is elected to this committee each year. The procession culminates in the torches being thrown into a replica Viking longship or galley.
Up Helly Aa | (Official Website)
Up Helly Aa in Shetland — Possibly My Best Adventure Yet! | Adventurous Kate
Harbin Ice and Snow Festival (Harbin, China)
When: From early January to late February
What: The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is a festival exhibiting the most exquisite ice and snow sculptures in the world. Every year people build incredible things out of ice and snow, decorating them with lights and lasers. This exhibition has a lot to offer, one can only find out after visiting it…and it is phenomenal!
You’ve Never Seen Winter Like This Before | LeaveYourDailyHell
Ice Festival Harbin | (Unofficial Website)
Amazing Events in February
London Fashion Week (England)
When: February and September
What: London Fashion Week (LFW) is an apparel trade show held in London, England twice each year, in February and September. It is one of the “Big Four” fashion weeks, along with New York Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week. During the LFW, there’s a lot of cool things going on in the city!
London Fashion Week | (Official Website)
Holi Festival (India, Nepal & Sri Lanka)
What: Holi, or Holli, is a spring festival celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and others. The festival is also known as the “festival of colours” or the “festival of love”. It signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter and for many represents a festive day to meet others, play, laugh, forget and forgive. It is primarily observed in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and countries with large Indic diaspora populations, such as Suriname, Guyana, South Africa, Trinidad, United Kingdom, United States, Mauritius, and Fiji, it has also generally spread to parts of Europe and North America as a spring celebration of love, frolic and colours.
It lasts for a night and a day, starting on the evening of the Purnima (Full Moon day) falling in the Vikram Samvat Hindu Calendar month of Phalgun, which falls somewhere between the end of February and the middle of March in the Gregorian calendar. Holi celebrations start on the night before Holi with a Holika Dahan where people gather, perform religious rituals in front of the bonfire, and pray that their internal evil be destroyed. The next morning is celebrated as Rangwali Holi – a free-for-all festival of colours, where people smear each other with colours and drench each other. Water guns and water-filled balloons are also used to play and colour each other. Anyone and everyone is fair game, friend or stranger, rich or poor, man or woman, children and elders. The frolic and fight with colours occurs essentially everywhere; in the open streets, open parks, outside temples and buildings and so forth. Groups carry drums and other musical instruments, go from place to place, sing and dance.
The Survival Guide to Holi Festivals in India | A Life of More
New Orleans Mardi Gras (Louisiana, US)
When: Day before Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent). In 2018, it falls on Tuesday 13 February.
What: Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday in English) in New Orleans, Louisiana, is a Carnival celebration well-known throughout the world. The New Orleans Carnival season, is a season of parades, balls (some of them masquerade balls), and king cake parties.
You’ll find that Fat Tuesday can be any Tuesday between Feb. 3 and March 9. Carnival celebration starts on Jan. 6, the Twelfth Night (feast of Epiphany), and picks up speed through midnight on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday.
16 Tips for Celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans | Southern Living
Mardi Gras New Orleans | (Unofficial Website)
Rio Carnival (Brazil)
When: Seven Sundays before the Sunday of Easter Friday. In 2018 it will begin 9 February and end 14 February.
What: The Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is a world famous festival held before Lent every year and considered the biggest carnival in the world with two million people per day on the streets. The first festivals of Rio date back to 1823. The typical Rio carnival parade is filled with revellers, floats and adornments from numerous samba schools which are located in Rio. It’s an event I absolutely have on my bucket list!
Rio Carnival | (Unofficial Website)
Rio Carnival: Where to find the best street parties | The Telegraph
Chinese New Year (China)
When: 15 days from the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. In 2018, it begins on February 16.
What: The Chinese New Year, with dragons, fireworks, symbolic clothing, flowers, lanterns, and celebration, is China’s most important and significant holiday. Also known as the Spring Festival, the Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally run from Chinese New Year’s Eve, the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month.
Chinese New Year is typically a time for families to be together. Wherever they are, people come home to celebrate the festival with their families. However, the new year’s celebrations also include a lot of public ceremonies and cultural activities, ranging from setting off firecrackers, ancestor worship, dragon dances and imperial performances. A great variety of traditional Chinese products are on offer, and strange Chinese snacks, rarely seen the rest of the year. Overall, you’ll face the Chinese “lucky colour” red everywhere; every street, building, and house where CNY is celebrated are decorated with red. Red lanterns hang in streets; red couplets are pasted on doors; and banks and official buildings are decorated with red New Year pictures depicting images of prosperity.
The Chinese New Year period is a good time to visit China if you are interested in traditional Chinese culture. But you should be prepared for travel chaos and transport stress around China. The festival is the busiest travel season in the world, as the whole nation is on the move. Thus, if travelling in China in January or February, see the Most Essential Travel Tips for Chinese New Year.
Chinese New Year | History.com
Chinese New Year 2017 Hong Kong | Hong Kong Travel Guide
10 Chinese New Year Traditions and the Stories Behind Them | ChinesePod Blog
Pingxi Lantern Festival (Taiwan)
When: During Chinese New Year.
What: The Pingxi Lantern Festival is a festival that witnesses thousands of sky lanterns light over Pingxi District in Taiwan. It was originally celebrated to ward of evil and disease from the town. The Taipei Pingshi Sky Lanterns were released originally to let others know that the town was safe. These lanterns are decorated with wishes and images relating to the owner and finally they’re released off into the sky together magically decorating the sky into a sanctuary of lights.
Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival in Taiwan | Escape2Taiwan
Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival | Taiwan & Me
Salvador de Bahia Carnival (Bahia, Brazil)
What: Bahian Carnival is a popular street event in the Brazilian state of Bahia. It began to evolve from the gap between social classes – street carnival vs. private clubs – resulting in an inversion of the social order, a utopic celebration of equality in which the social divide is temporarily suspended.
Survival Guide: Carnival, Salvador, Brazil | The Gentleman Backpacker
Bahia Carnival | (Official Website)
New York Fashion Week (New York, US)
When: February and September
What: The semi-annual New York Fashion Week, branded Mercedes-Benz FashionWeek in 2009, is held in February and September each year in New York City. It is one of four major fashion weeks held around the world. It generally lasts about 7–9 days, and boasts an array of different shows and events. Suffice to say, with economic impact estimated at $887 million, the NYFW is no minuscule thing.
NYFW | (Official Website)
Breaking Down NYFW — Here’s how to Attend if You’re a Blogger | Poor Little It Girl
Berlin Film Festival (Germany)
What: The Berlin International Film Festival (German: Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin), also called the Berlinale, is one of the world’s leading film festivals and most reputable media events. It is held in Berlin, Germany. Founded in West Berlin in 1951 at the initiative of U.S. Film officer Oscar Martay, the festival has been celebrated annually in February since 1978. With 274,000 tickets sold and 487,000 admissions it is considered the largest publicly attended film festival worldwide.
Berlin Film Festival | FilmFestivals.com
Berlinale (Official Website)
Battle of the Oranges (Ivrea, Italy)
What: The Battle of the Oranges is a festival which includes a tradition of throwing oranges between organized groups. It is the largest food fight in Italy. There’s no point to compare apple and oranges; here the citrus is the winner. I don’t know about you, but I definitely want to experience this one day — and what a cool day that will be!
The Carnival of Ivrea | Italia.it
The Battle of the Oranges – Italy’s Biggest Food Fight | Go4TravelBlog
Verona in Love Festival (Italy)
When: February 14
What: The Verona in Love festival is dedicated to all those lovebirds who flock to Verona on Valentine’s Day. Thousands of hearts, lights, and other red-tinted decorations line the streets while exhibitions, activities, concerts, food, and aphrodisiacs are all available for your enjoyment.
The building pictured above dates back to the 13th century and features the balcony where Romeo supposedly promised his Juliet eternal love in Shakespeare’s famous tragedy. The balcony is today one of the main attractions in Verona, and a great reason to why Verona is synonymous with “love” today. Maybe you’ll declare your love to your “Juliet” (or Romeo) here one day?
Verona in Love | History in High Heels
Verona in Love | (Official Website)
Amazing Events in March
St. Patrick’s Day (Ireland)
When: March 17
What: Saint Patrick’s Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig) is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on 17 March. It commemorates Saint Patrick (c. AD 387–461), the most commonly recognised of the patron saints of Ireland, the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general.
Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. Christians also attend church services and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day, which has encouraged and propagated the holiday’s tradition of alcohol consumption. If you’re not wearing green then watch out because you ought to get pinched! Nowadays, the festivities have spread to all the corners of the world, with notable celebrations in Australia, the UK and the US (e.g. New York, as seen in the photo above).
17 of the Best Places in Ireland to Spend St. Patrick’s Day | TripsToDiscover
St. Patrick’s Day Festival | (Official Website)
South by Southwest (Texas, US)
What: South by Southwest (SXSW) is a set of film, interactive and music festivals and conferences that take place every spring in Austin, Texas, United States. SXSW first began in 1987 and is centered on the downtown Austin Convention Center. Each of the three parts runs relatively independently, with different start and end dates.
SXSW | (Official Website)
Oxford Literary Festival (England)
What: The Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival is an annual literary festival where visitors can meet and listen to authors and experts from a wide range of fields discussing a variety of topics from literature, politics, history, philosophy, economics, science, culinary, travel, environment and religion, to mention only a few. You’re destined to come out of this experience a hell of a lot more smarter, I’m sure.
Oxford Literary Festival | (Official Website)
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race (Alaska, US)
When: Early March
What: The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is an annual long-distance sled dog race run in early March from Anchorage to Nome. Mushers and a team of 16 dogs, of which at least 6 must be on the towline at the finish line, cover the distance in 9–15 days or more. The Iditarod began in 1973 as an event to test the best sledge dog mushers and teams but evolved into today’s highly competitive race. The current fastest winning time record was set in 2011 by John Baker with a time of 8 days, 19 hours, 46 minutes, and 39 seconds. How fast could you do it? Would you even be able to do it?
Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race | Mannaismaya Adventures Blog
Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race | (Official Website)
Amazing Events in April
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (California, US)
When: Third weekend or last week of April
What: The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (commonly known as Coachella or Coachella Festival) is a three-day (formerly a one or two-day) annual music and arts festival, organized by Goldenvoice (a subsidiary of AEG Live) and held at the Empire Polo Fields in Indio, California, in the Inland Empire’s Coachella Valley. The event features many genres of music including alternative rock, hip-hop, and electronic music as well as large sculptural art. It is considered by some to be the very best music and arts festival in the world.
Coachella | (Official Website)
Coachella: First Timers Guide | HelloFashionBlog
New Orleans Jazz Festival (Louisiana)
When: Last weekend of April and first weekend of May
What: The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, often known as Jazz Fest, is an annual celebration of the music and culture of New Orleans and Louisiana. Use of the term “Jazz Fest” can also include the days surrounding the Festival and the many shows at unaffiliated New Orleans nightclubs scheduled during the Festival event weekends. So, if Jazz is your thing, then you simply can’t miss this.
NOJazzFest | (Official Website)
On the Ground: New Orleans Jazz Fest | Sherman’s Travel Blog
Melbourne Comedy Festival (Melbourne, Australia)
What: The Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) is the third-largest international comedy festival in the world and the largest cultural event in Australia. It is generally regarded as the least commercial and most relaxed of the three major comedy festivals. Established in 1987, it takes place annually in Melbourne over four weeks in April typically opening on or around April Fool’s Day (1 April).
Melbourne International Comedy Festival | (Official Website)
Grand National (United Kingdom)
What: The Grand National is a world famous National Hunt horse race which is held at Aintree in the United Kingdom. It is a handicap chase containing thirty fences which is run over a distance of 4 miles and 856 yards (7,242 m). It is presently scheduled to take place each year on a Saturday afternoon in early April. It is the most valuable National Hunt event in Great Britain, and in 2010 it offered a total prize fund of £925,000.
Grand National 2017 | Grand National Guide
Yeouido Cherry Blossom Festival (South Korea)
When: April (varies slightly each year depending on the blooming of the white/pink flowers).
What: If you can’t get enough of the fluffy pink flowers, then Yeouido is the place for you. Spanning over a few days, the Yeouido Cherry Blossom Festival (also known as the Spring Flower Festival) occurs on the island in Seoul’s city centre. While it may not be the most peaceful place in the city for a stroll under a canopy of cherry blossoms, it’s hard to deny that beauty of the trees flanking the Han River and the National Assembly building. But of course, there’s plenty of other great spots in Seoul, and elsewhere in South Korea, where the beauty of the Cherry Blossom trees can be enjoyed.
Yeouido Cherry Blossom Festival in Seoul | Bobo and Chichi
Yeongdeungpo Yeouido Spring Flower Festival | VisitKorea
Koningsdag (King’s day) in the Netherlands
When: April 27
What: Koninginnedag or King’s Day is a national holiday in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Celebrated on 27 April (the 26th if the 27th falls on a Sunday), the date marks the birth of King Willem-Alexander. Koningsdag is known for its nationwide vrijmarkt (“free market”), at which many Dutch sell their secondhand items. It is also an opportunity for “orange madness” or oranjegekte, for the national colour, when the normally strait-laced Dutch let down their hair, often dyed orange for the occasion.
Overall, it’s a crazy fun celebration when the centre of the city is basically car, tram, and bike-free, simply because there are too many people on foot. It has a contagious festival-like atmosphere with street vendors, a market day when anyone can sell pretty much anything, and an insane boat parade party on the canals that will have you dancing unconsciously. It’s a festival that can put a smile on everyone’s face! Tip: wear orange and bring some cash.
Sant Jordi Festival Barcelona (Spain)
When: April 23
What: Sant Jordi, or St George, is the patron saint of Catalonia (and England and about ten other countries and regions). However, St George’s Day in Barcelona is also the city’s version of Valentine’s Day, when romance sweeps the city, and lovers swap books and roses. So if you’re in Barcelona at the time, forget about the Sagrada Família for a sec, and rather seek to bedazzle your loved one!
Barcelona Sant Jordi Day and the Day of Roses | SuiteLife
Sant Jordi — Day of the Book and the Rose | Barcelona.de
Snowbombing (Mayrhofen, Austria)
When: 3 – 8 April 2017
What: Snowbombing is the biggest party on snow held in Mayrhofen, Austria in April every year. Primarily a festival about snow sports, it has grown to become the biggest music festival in the mountains over the past few years. Billed as a Ride N Seek event (a snowboard competition like no other) you’ll see the pros of the industry throwing some serious tricks in the park by day and watch an eclectic mix of music acts each night. Add in a fancy dress day where the mountain is filled with colourful skiwear and fake moustaches – it’s one of the best festivals on snow!
Snowbombing | (Official Website)
Festival Review – Snowbombing | Huffington Post
When: April 13-15
What: Songkran is the celebration of the Buddhist New Year that takes over Thailand for 3 full days in April. The goal? To “cleanse” everyone and everything in sight. Yes, prayer is involved but the main way of cleansing is to douse everything in water. Participants are all armed with buckets, water guns, hoses and whatever they can get their hands on that can get others wet. Even the police are not spared from being soaked! You gotta love Thailand for that fact alone.
Songkran Water Festival in Thailand — Tips for Visitors | Songkran Day
Songkran: Thai New Year | NomadicMatt
Amazing Events in May
Indianapolis 500 (Indiana, US)
When: Last weekend in May
What: The Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, also known as the Indianapolis 500, the Indy 500 or The 500, is an American automobile race, held annually over the Memorial Day weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. The event lends its name to the IndyCar class, or formula, of open-wheel race cars that have competed in it. The event, billed as The Greatest Spectacle in Racing, is considered one of the three most significant motorsports events in the world (the two others being Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix and 24 Hours of Le Mans).
The Tale Of The First Indianapolis 500 | Beepi
Indianapolis 500 | (Official Website)
Amazing Events in June
What: The Championships, Wimbledon, or simply Wimbledon, is the oldest tennis tournament in the world and is considered the most prestigious. It has been held at the All England Club in the London suburb of Wimbledon since 1877. It is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, and the only one still played on the game’s original surface, grass, which gave the game of lawn tennis its name.
Wimbledon Tournament Experience | Moo’s Tennis Blog
Wimbledon | (Official Website)
Bonnaroo (Tennessee, US)
What: The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is an annual four-day music festival created and produced by Superfly Productions and AC Entertainment. It was first held in 2002. The festival is held at Great Stage Park on a 700-acre (2.8 km²) farm in Manchester, Tennessee, 60 miles (97 km) south-east of Nashville, Tennessee, and 60 miles (97 km) north-west of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Supposedly, it’s a great and unique festival, that this experienced festival-goer gives you 23 reasons why you should attend.
A Bonnaroo Resource for Veterans and Beginners | Bonnaroo Chris
Bonnaroo | (Official Website)
Summerfest (Wisconsin, US)
What: Summerfest (also known as “The Big Gig”) is a yearly music festival held at the 75-acre Henry Maier Festival Park along the lakefront in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The festival lasts for 11 days, is made up of 11 stages with performances from over 700 bands, and since the mid-1970s has run from late June through early July, always including the 4th of July holiday.
Summerfest | (Official Website)
Attend the 24 Hours of Le Mans (France)
What: The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the world’s oldest sports car race in endurance racing, held annually since 1923 near the town of Le Mans, France. Commonly known as the Grand Prix of Endurance, it is organised by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and runs on a circuit containing closed public roads that are meant not only to test a car and driver’s ability to be quick but also to last over a 24 hour period. Nowadays, they also arrange other race competitions in a similar fashion, such as 24-hour classic cars race, a 24-hour truck contest, and even a 24-hour event for cyclists. Should you find yourself in Le Mans (only an hour away from Paris) at a different time, you could consider guided tours or even jump on the chance to drive the inner circuits yourself.
Le Mans | (Unofficial Website)
San Vino Wine Fight (Haro, Spain)
When: 28 – 30 June 2017
What: Spain’s annual Batalla de Vino, or Wine Battle, must be one of Europe’s most unique and underrated annual festivals. Each year in the small village of Haro, thousands of revelers emerge to a hill just after sunrise to wage war on each other using red wine as their weapon! Water guns, insect sprayers, and buckets are all filled with the deep red liquid that leaves attendees stained from head to toe.
This wild event takes place on the morning of June 29th each year. But the night before is when the party really gets started. The festivities draw a mostly local crowd, making it a fun cultural experience as you stay up all night drinking and dancing in the streets until the wine fight begins in the early morning hours.
San Vino Fight | StokeTravel
Wine Fight | (Unofficial Website)
Glastonbury Festival (England)
When: Last weekend in June
What: The Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, commonly abbreviated to Glastonbury or Glasto, is the largest green field open-air music and performing arts festival in the world. The festival is best known for its contemporary music, but also features dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret and many other arts. For 2005, the enclosed area of the festival was over 900 acres (3.6 km²), had over 385 live performances and was attended by around 150,000 people.
Glastonbury Festival | (Official Website)
Bordeaux Wine Festival (France)
What: This festival, organised by the town of Bordeaux, is an opportunity for fans of fine wine, good food and culture to enjoy a great festive moment. It will be a celebration of the senses on the largest square in Europe, right on the banks of the Garonne. The riverbanks and the Esplanade des Quinconces will welcome more than 300,000 gastronomers and culture-vultures throughout its four-day event.
Bordeaux Wine Festival | (Official Website)
Wine Festivals Guide: Where to Go in 2017 | Decanter
White Nights Festival (St. Petersburg, Russia)
What: The White Nights Festival is an annual international arts festival during the season of the midnight sun. It consists of a series of classical ballet, opera and music events and includes performances by Russian dancers, singers, musicians and actors, as well as famous international guest stars. The Scarlet Sails celebration is the culmination of the White Nights season, the largest public event anywhere in Russia with the annual estimated attendance about 1 million people, most of whom are students from thousands of schools and colleges, both local and international.
An Insider’s Best St. Petersburg Tips | ParkInn
The White Nights Festival | Planet EU
Amazing Events in July
Running of the Bulls at the Festival of San Fermin (Spain)
When: Around July 6–14
What: The Running of the Bulls is a practice that involves running in front of a small group of cattle, typically six, of the toro bravo breed that have been let loose on a course of a sectioned-off subset of a town’s streets. The most famous running of the bulls is that of the eight-day festival of Sanfermines in honour of Saint Fermin in Pamplona, although they are also traditionally held in other places such as towns and villages across Spain, Portugal, in some cities in Mexico, and southern France during the summer.
Most of you have heard of the running of the bulls, or “el Encierro” as it is called by the locals, which takes place each morning at 8 am. After those wounded from the bulls have been removed from the streets, however, the real partying begins. Alcohol and great food are everywhere. The bars are open and filled with people by 9 am so you can imagine the atmosphere of the festival’s entirety. Bullfights take place each night at 6:30 pm which can usually only be attended if you buy tickets in advance.
Note: Make sure you wear all white with a red bandanna around your neck if you plan to attend or you will be the ONLY person there without such attire (although I do see some misfits in the photo above!).
The Beginner’s Guide to The Running of the Bulls | The Blonde Abroad
San Fermin Pamplona | Bull Run Pamplona
Gilroy Garlic Festival (California, US)
What: The Gilroy Garlic Festival is one of the largest food festivals in the United States, held annually in Gilroy, California on the last full weekend in July at Christmas Hill Park. Who wouldn’t fancy some garlic ice cream and everything else “garlicy”?
Gilroy Garlic Festival | A Heaping Spoonful
Gilroy Garlic Festival | (Official Website)
Boryeong Mud Festival (South Korea)
When: First two weeks of July
What: A South Korea cosmetics company developed a line of beauty products which featured mud from the Boryeong mud flats as the main ingredient. Since the company couldn’t be bothered to spend money on commercials, the Boryeong Mud Festival was born so potential customers could feel the benefits of the special mud firsthand. In case you attend and get bored of the mud slides, mud prison, mud pools, and mud skiing, you can enjoy live music, acupuncture, and the festival’s culminating fireworks display.
Boryeong Mud Festival | VisitKorea
Boryeong Mud Festival: Budget Travel Guide | ThePoorTraveler
Just for Laughs (Montreal, Canada)
When: 14 – 30 July 2017
What: For comedy-lovers there is no other festival in the world better than Montreal’s Just for Laughs. The event takes place at the end of July and if you visit you get to split your sides laughing, see some celebrity comics and tour one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The Festival concentrates most of its show in the Latin Quarter. During the day street performers delight the crowds and at night the city comes alive with comedy happenings scattered throughout the City.
Just for Laugh | (Official Website)
Just for Laugh Festival | (Official Festival Website)
How to Binge Just For Laughs on a Budget | Fagstein
Comic-Con International (San Diego, California, US)
When: 20 – 23 July 2017
What: With the rise in popularity of animated films, western cartoons and Anime, as well as video games and other fantasy novels, the franchise of Comicon, has been growing over the years since the 70’s. Basically, this festival features a four-day event that is held at San Diego Convention Center in California.
A wide variety of different genre in the fantasy world are all over the place during the whole event. Some famous movie and TV personalities can also be seen in this big event. In 2015, there were a lot of personalities that showed up in the event such as Gal Gadot (Wonderwoman), Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Jennifer Lawrence (“The Mockingjay”/ Mystique), and even the all popular and talkative Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds. The cool part here is not solely just meeting your idols, but also by partaking in the hype of the fantasy world by cosplaying your favourite characters, talking to strangers and making friends with the same enthusiasm with you. It’s a four-day event where you can act like a child and have fun like you don’t care about the whole world.
Comic-Con | (Official Website)
SDCC | (Unofficial Comic-Con Blog)
Werchter Rock Festival (Belgium)
What: Rock Werchter is a Belgian annual music festival held in the village of Werchter, near Leuven, since 1973. It is one of the five biggest annual rock music festivals in Europe. 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007 festivals received the Arthur award for best festival in the world at the International Live Music Conference (ILMC). It normally hosts around 80,000 guests!
Rock Werchter | (Official Website)
All the action from Rock Werchter – Day 1 | CapeTownMyLove
Tomorrowland (Boom, Belgium)
When: 21 – 30 July 2017
What: Started in 2004 by a few renowned DJ’s, the festival these days attracts thousands if not millions of EDM lovers from across the globe. Held on a lovely summery weekend this place turns into pure megalomania. The extravagance of this festival with its psychedelic motifs and stages gets everyone going right from the start and it never stops. DJs like – Tiesto, David Guetta, Afrojack are just some of the big names who perform every year to the sheer delight of the crowds in attendance.
An open field with tents and camps all around for people to rest and sleep while enjoying the music. Meeting new people around the world who enjoy the same kind of music just pulsates the nerves and induces that feeling of belonging and that’s enough to get anyone hooked to this festival.
I have always wanted to visit Tomorrowland and its high up on my bucket list.
Tomorrowland | Official Website
Surviving Tomorrowland: How to Get Tickets | Alex in Wanderland
Amazing Events in August
Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Scotland)
What: For over 50 years Scotland’s capital city has seen a unique explosion of creative energy within the Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world — which in 2016, spanned 25 days and featured 50,266 performances of 3,269 shows in 294 venues!
What makes this arts festival particularly cool is that it’s an open access performing arts festival, meaning that anyone may participate, with any type of performance? Maybe you could have a show there yourself?! The official Fringe Programme categorises shows into sections for theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events. Phew, suffice to say, there’s a lot to choose from.
How to make the most of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival | A Luxury Travel Blog
EdFringe | (Official Website)
La Tomatina Festival (Spain)
When: Last Wednesday of August
What: La Tomatina is a festival that is held in the Valencian town of Buñol, a town located 30 km inland from the Mediterranean Sea in which participants throw tomatoes and get involved in this tomato fight purely for fun. It is held on the last Wednesday of August, during the week of festivities of Buñol.
Every year 30,000 people assemble in the streets to participate in the largest tomato fight in the world. 125,000 kg of tomatoes are brought into the city via truck so ammunition is never short. 5 massive tomato-packed rockets are exploded in the air to commence the fight. There are only two rules:
1) You must squish each tomato before throwing it so that the force of the vegetable against you target’s head will not cause injury
2) Only tomatoes can be thrown
La Tomatina | (Official Website)
The Ultimate Guide to La Tomatina, Bunol | BruisedPassports
Zurich Street Parade (Zurich, Switzerland)
Zurich really comes to life in summer. On August 12, 2017, electronic sounds will make the city vibrate and hundreds of thousands will be dancing on the streets of Zurich. The Street Parade sparks an incredible party atmosphere with 30 love mobiles, hundreds of DJs and seven stages around the Lake Zurich basin. It is the largest techno party in the world and an indisputable highlight of Zurich’s event calendar.
Street Parade | Wikipedia
Hajj (Mecca, Saudi Arabia)
When: 30 August – 4 September 2017
What: Hajj refers to a Muslim’s pilgrimage to Mecca and is one of the five pillars of Islam. At least once in his or her lifetime, each Muslim is expected to undertake this pilgrimage the sacred city of Islam. While a visit to Mecca is beneficial any time of the year, it must take place during the month of Dhu al-Hijja (the last month of the Islamic year) to fulfil the requirements of the hajj.
However, even if you’re a non-Muslim this is sure to be a religious and cultural enriching experience unlike any other.
Hajj | (Ministry of Hajj)
Diary of My Hajj | TheRevival
Deventer Book Fair (Netherlands)
What: Deventer is a municipality and city in the Salland region of the Dutch province of Overijssel. In August, Deventer is home to Europe’s largest book fair, attracting some 125,000 visitors with an over 6 km long path of book stalls. That’s a lot of reading!
Epcot Food & Wine Festival (Orlando, Florida, US)
When: 31 August – 13 November 2017
What: If you’re a foodie and lover of all things Disney, there can hardly be anything better than The EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival inside Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Although the dates vary slightly each year the festival typically runs from September to mid-November. On top of the 11 countries permanently represented in EPCOT’s World Showcase, the festival highlights food and beverage offerings from 19 other nations at themed stalls. In addition, they offer seminars and demonstrations from famous chefs, wine tastings, and even film ABC’s The CHEW on site.
Ultimate Guide to the Epcot Festival | UndercoverTourist
Epcot Festival | (Official Website)
Amsterdam Gay Pride (Netherlands)
When: First weekend of August
What: The Amsterdam Pride is an annual gay festival in the centre of Amsterdam, organised in the first weekend of August. With several hundred thousands of visitors, this event is one of the largest public events of the Netherlands. The peak of the festival is during the canal parade, a parade of boats of large variety on the first Saturday of August, which usually goes from Westerdok over the Prinsengracht, Amstel river, Zwanenburgwal and Oudeschans to Oosterdok.
A Gay Couple City Weekend Amsterdam | CoupleofMen
Pride Amsterdam | (Official Website)
Cosplay Festival (Japan)
When: First weekend of August
What: World Cosplay Summit, also known as WCS, is an annual international cosplay event that promotes friendly international exchange through Japanese pop culture. The WCS is organised by the events division of TV Aichi and has the active support of local volunteers, city organisations and businesses. The parade and championship are held in Nagoya, Japan with several related events being held in the Kanto, Kansai and Tokai areas.
WCS Japan | (Official Website)
Amazing Events in September
When: September (yes, it begins in September, not October)
What: Oktoberfest is a 16-18 day festival held each year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, running from late September to the first weekend in October. It is one of the most famous events in Germany and the world’s largest fair, with more than 5 million people attending every year. The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations, modelled after the Munich event.
Reportedly over 6 million litres of beer are consumed within the beer gardens in Munich. Yet despite all of the alcohol consumption, Oktoberfest boasts a great family atmosphere with a huge fairground to entertain kids and adults alike. The event kicks off on the first Saturday with a huge procession of the tent concessionaires, all of which are pulled by those gigantic horses you see on beer commercials. Oktoberfest is nothing short of epic…especially if you’ve been participating in some of the beer-drinking activities.
Oktoberfest in Munich: What You Need to Know | Monkeys & Mountains
Oktoberfest | (Official Website)
Burning Man (Nevada, US)
When: Monday before American Labor Day. Early September.
What: Burning Man is an annual event held in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada, in the United States. The event starts on the Monday before and ends on the day of the American Labor Day holiday. It takes its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy on Saturday evening. The event is described by many participants as an experiment in community, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance.
Even that description cannot do Burning Man justice, however; there is just too much going on. Basically 50,000+ people swarm to the middle-of-no-where, Nevada and build a temporary city that they call Black Rock City. Those who attend are simply expected to contribute whatever they can to the Burning Man community. There is also a temple that has constructed and burned every year since 2000. Artists construct huge art pieces all over Black Rock City and music is always being played by musicians. Nudity and psychedelic drugs are very prevalent.
An honourable mention is AfrikaBurn, hosted in South Africa, which is quite similar.
Burning Man | (Official Website)
Toronto International Film Festival (Canada)
What: The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is a publicly-attended film festival held each September in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Your Guide To The Toronto International Film Festival | ForbesTravelGuide
TIFF | (Official Website)
August Moon Festival (Greece)
When: Late September or early October
What: August is the month when Athens is full of cheers. Of the festivities of Athens in the month of August, the Full Moon Festival holds a special attraction. During this festival, both locals and tourists are allowed free entry to the city’s major monuments, museums and archaeological sites, giving visitors an unique opportunity to experience these sacred places bathed in moonlight. Some sites also offer outdoor music concerts — a rare opportunity that further enhances the experience.
August Moon Festival | Lonely Planet
A Guide To Greece’s August Full Moon Festivities | CultureTrip
Amazing Events in October
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (New Mexico, US)
What: The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a yearly festival of hot air balloons that takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA during early October. The balloon fiesta is a nine-day event and has around 750 balloons. The event is the largest hot air balloon festival in the world. Need I say more?
5 Tips for Attending the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta | HeelsFirstTravel
Balloon Fiesta | (Official Website)
BFI London Film Festival (United Kingdom)
What: The BFI London Film Festival (also known as just the London Film Festival) is the UK’s largest public film event, screening more than 300 features, documentaries and shorts from almost 50 countries. The festival, currently in its 55th year, is run every year in the second half of October under the umbrella of the British Film Institute.
BFI | (Official Website)
Concurs de Castells (Tarragona, Spain)
When: October (bi-annually).
What: You’ve seen buildings constructed by people, but have you seen them constructed of people? Every other October, men and women climb on top of each other’s shoulders as part of the Concurs de Castells (human towers competition) in Tarragona, Spain. It’s the ultimate exhibition of teamwork as large groups of everyday people from the ages of five to 95 work together to build a living human structure. Watching the castellers climb to create towers reaching upwards of nine stories high will take your breath away—a mix of fear and excitement, that is.
Catalonia’s mind-blowing Concurs de Castells | Pura Aventura
Concurs de Castells | (Official Website)
Professional Bull Riders World Finals (Nevada, US)
What: The PBR’s premier tour, the Built Ford Tough Series (formerly the Bud Light Cup Series), includes at most 30 events across the United States every year. Pyrotechnics, pulsating music and special effects open each event, and each features the top 35 riders in the world at the time. The season culminates in Las Vegas, where the PBR World Finals are held.
How To Behave At The PBR World Finals! | Enthusiastic About Life
PBR World Finals | (Official Website)
Austin City Limits (Texas, US)
What: The Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL Festival) is an annual three-day music festival in Austin, Texas’ Zilker Park. The Festival brings together more than 130 bands on eight stages playing rock, country, folk, indie, Americana, hip-hop, reggae, electronic, and bluegrass. Over 65,000 visitors are attracted to the event each day. Named after the legendary PBS concert series, the festival is produced by C3 Presents, who also co-produce the Lollapalooza festival.
5 Tips You Need To Know To Survive ACL | A Taste of Koko
ACL Festival | (Official Website)
Diwali (Mumbai, India)
When: 19 – 23 October 2017
What: Known as the “Festival of Lights”, the Diwali is supposed to last for about five days and consists of exchanging gifts, burning butter and oil lanterns, and fireworks. In fact, it actually lasts more than the official five days, and it is incredibly noisy, with fireworks exploding literally anywhere – so much so that the already dramatic pollution levels of India increase further.
Most Indians take their holidays during Diwali, or right after. Cities can get incredibly crowded with internal tourists – but the atmosphere is incredible!
Do You Know How Diwali Is Celebrated Across India? | MakeMyTrip
Diwali: An Indian Festival Goes Global | The Diplomat
Day of the Dead (Mexico)
When: October 31-2 November
What: Celebrated every year, Day of the Dead focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it attains the quality of a National Holiday, but also celebrated around the world in other cultures.
Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas, honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. Many places it also includes various parades, and “Halloween”-related festivities.
Dia de los Muertos | National Geographic
Day of the Dead | Day of the Dead
Frankfurt Book Fair (Germany)
What: The Frankfurt Book Fair is the world’s largest trade fair for books, based on the number of publishing companies represented. It is held annually in mid-October at the Frankfurt Trade Fair, Germany. The first three days are restricted exclusively to trade visitors; the general public can attend on the last two.
Frankfurt Book Fair | (Official Website)
Amazing Events in November
Loy Krathong & Yi Peng (Chiang Mai, Thailand)
When: November 2017
What: Loi Krathong is one of the most picturesque and most romantic festivals of Thailand, falling on the night of full moon of the 12th lunar month. The moon appears exceptionally bright, beautiful and full. Young couples draped in traditional finery gather around lakes, rivers and canals to pay respects to the goddess of water by launching of the Krathong into the water. Krathong is a lotus shaped container made of banana leaves, containing a candle, incense sticks, flower and coins.
People also make their way to these water bodies where they can float Krathongs and make their wishes. It is said that people congregate for floating away their sins and miseries and hope for a better future for their families. At the same people light lanterns which rise into the night sky (Yi Peng) which makes for one of the most amazing sights you will ever see.
Loy Krathong, Yee Peng, Festival of Lights | ChiangMaiBest
Travel Diary: Loy Krathong and Yi Peng Festival | CamilleTriesToBlog
Cannabis Cup (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
When: November 22 – 26
What: High Times magazine hosts the Cannabis Cup annually to celebrate the wonders of marijuana as well as the legalisation movement. Participants are encouraged to purchase a judge’s badge which allows them access to all ceremonies, concerts, seminars, the expo and of course, the right to vote on the best strain of cannabis. The hundreds of different coffee shops in Amsterdam all create their own strains of marijuana (like micro-breweries, but for marijuana).
While High Times states that samples must be purchased from the coffee shops, there are tons of booths at the expo that give out free samples including joints, small sacks and full vaporiser bags. The coffee houses take immense pride in their strains so they will do whatever possible to win the competition.
Cannabis Cup | (Official Website)
Tips For Attending A High Times Cannabis Cup Event | TheWeedBlog
Amazing Events in December
Sydney New Year’s Eve (Australia)
When: December 31
What: Sydney New Year’s Eve is an annual multi-tiered event held every New Year’s Eve over Sydney Harbour, centring on the Harbour Bridge. Its main features are the two pyrotechnic displays, the 9 pm Family Fireworks and the Midnight Fireworks, both of which are televised nationally by current broadcaster the Nine Network. Each year the event takes on a new theme and is regularly viewed by more than one million people at the harbour and one billion worldwide for the televised Midnight Fireworks.
Sydney Welcomes in 2017 with “Best Fireworks in the World” | Mirror [Video]
Sydney New Year’s Eve | (Official Website)
Venice Carnival (Italy)
When: Starts forty days before Easter. In 2018, it will begin on 27 January and end on 13 February.
What: The Carnival of Venice (Italian: Carnevale di Venezia) is an annual festival, held in Venice, Italy. The Carnival starts forty days before Easter and ends on Shrove Tuesday (Fat Tuesday or Martedì Grasso), the day before Ash Wednesday. Not only is Venice a spectacular city by itself, but combined with the picturesque carnival it even gets better.
12 Bucket List Things to Do in Venice, Italy | Bucket List Fanatic
Venice Carnival: How to Make the Best of Your Visit | Zes Trip
Full Moon Party (Haad Rin Beach, Koh Phangan, Thailand)
When: Every full moon
What: Haad Rin is home to the Full Moon Party and houses about 3-5000 people; it is the island’s nightlife capital and has Koh Phangan’s biggest concentration of beach clubs that collectively put on the ultimate travellers get together. Within this transient crowd of party animals some highly talented DJ’s pass through, banging out their wares to the raging lunar explorers that have landed on planet party. It’s a party gone wild. So if you’re a party animal..this is your place to be.
Full Moon Party Thailand | (Unofficial Website)
15 Tips For Surviving The Full Moon Party | WonderLoveWorld
BONUS: Other Cool Events:
Here are some other, smaller, but really cool events. Keep coming back to this section, as new events will be added continuously.
Porthcawl Elvis Festival (Porthcrawl, Wales)
When: September 25-27
What: Every September, thousands of Elvis enthusiasts gather to celebrate the “King.” There are more than 100 shows at more than 20 venues around the city during that weekend. This is truly the largest Elvis celebration there ever was.
Revolutionary War Reenactment (Across the US)
When: Ongoing, although the next is event is September 12-13th in Wheaton, Illinois
What: Join the North West Territory Alliance in this immersive reenactment of the Revolutionary War and Encampment — get a true feel for what battle was like. Hundreds of reenactors convene at Cantigny Park and pitch tents just as the soldiers did in the late-1700s. And we’re talking legitimate recreation here — no flashlights, charcoal or electricity allowed.
Wizard Cons (Across the US)
What: For pop culture and comic book nerds, these events are made just for you. Truly a haven for everything supernatural and wizardly, Wizard Cons are conventions held across various countries that bring together fans and celebrities to celebrate sci-fi, fantasy, comics and cosplay.
Whether you’re a fan of WWE, off-the-air sci-fi television series or William Shatner, Wizard Cons will surely get your juices flowing.
Daybreaker (New York, Los Angeles, London and more)
When: Ongoing (multiple per month)
What: There are hundreds of smiling, dancing people around you — lights are flashing, a DJ is spinning and you’re in one of the hottest clubs in your city. Except that it’s 7 a.m., and it’s a Wednesday. Daybreaker is a “morning movement that will start your day off unlike anything else,” creating alcohol-free ragers mid-week for people to feel free, refreshed and break it down on the dance floor.
It’s becoming increasingly popular around the world, so be sure to check out whether there are any near you.
Cheung Chau Bun Festival (Hong Kong)
What: Towers of sweet buns up to 60 feet high line the streets of Cheung Chau in the days leading up to this festival. On the day, competitors race to climb these sweet towers, grabbing as many buns as possible in the process. Sign me up!
Kanamara Matsuri — Festival of the Iron Phallus (Kawasaki, Japan)
What: There is no stronger celebration of the Japanese joystick than Kawasaki’s Kanamara Matsuri (Festival of the Iron Phallus). Despite smirks and giggles from Westerners, this is no Fantasy Fest: it’s an ancient tradition that serves as a celebration of (and prayer for) fertility, long marriages and healthy births, and a way to promote awareness about sexually transmitted diseases, most importantly HIV. While some societies hide their fertile bits, Japan worships them. That doesn’t just mean they build temples around them—they actually put the penis on parade.
Kanamara Matsuri | EverFest
That concludes the list. Did I miss any amazing event? Let me know in the comments.