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Search TripSpot or Google |   Great Must-See sites   |   Read Articles and Lists | Find answers | City Guides  

Festival Fun

Whether you're an experienced traveler looking for adventure or a novice seeking local color, one of the world's famous festivals may satisfy the craving. From New Orleans' Mardi Gras to the Tour de France, there is something out there for everyone, in every corner of the world.

To search by location or festival type, check out
  • Hogmanay
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Annually Dec. 29 - Jan. 1

    With more than 200,000 attendees a year, this Scottish New Year's Eve celebration is rumored to be the best in the world. Numerous festivities include a concert in the Gardens, street party, a torch light procession and more.

  • Mardi Gras
    New Orleans
    Annually in February or March; See dates here

    Considered a wild event by many, Mardi Gras is a celebration featuring music, costumes, parades and elaborate floats that many locals bring their families to see. The parades take place over a few days leading up to Fat Tuesday. Most of the rowdy behavior takes place in the French Quarter and can be avoided if desired.

  • Canada's Tulip Festival
    Ottawa and Gatineau
    Annually in May

    The largest tulip festival in the world began as a gift from Princess Juliana of the Netherlands in 1945. The Princess gave Ottawa 100,000 tulip bulbs as thanks for sheltering the Dutch royal family during World War II. Now, the festival lasts 18 days attracts more than 600,000 people and offers free admission. The festival has become a symbol of international friendship and the beauty of spring.

  • Sanfermin
    Pamplona, Spain
    Annually July 6- July 14

    The most well known part of this festival (also called the Fiesta de San Fermin) is the week-long "Running of the Bulls" or "Encierro". Participants run about half a mile in front of the bulls to lead them from their pen to the bullring. Although the event can be extremely dangerous, thousands of daredevils and adventure seekers participate each year. There's also a party to honor Saint Fermin, patron of Navarra, with plenty of other fun activities.

  • Le Tour de France
    Annually in July

    The largest annual sporting event in the world, le Tour de France, is a three-week-long 2,250-mile cycling race that began in 1903 and travels throughout France and surrounding countries that concludes in Paris each year. American Lance Armstrong won the race each year from 1999-2005 and is the second American to have ever won after Greg Lemond in 1986, 1989 and 1990.

  • The Tall Ships' Race (formerly Cutty Sark Tall Ships' Races from 1973-2003)
    Northern Europe
    Annually in July and August

    One of the world's leading annual sailing events, the first race was held in 1956 from Torbay, England, to Lisbon, Portugal with 20 ships. The summer 2009 races were from Vigo in Spain to Tenerife in Spain; Tenerife to Hamilton in Bermuda; Hamilton to Charleston in the U.S.; Charleston to Boston in the U.S.; Boston to Halifax in Nova Scotia; and Halifax to Belfast in Northern Ireland.

  • Notting Hill Carnival
    London, England
    Annually in Late August

    The largest street party in Europe, this two-day festival is held the last week of August on the August Bank Holiday Monday and the Sunday before. The festival began 35 years ago with black immigrants from the Caribbean (mainly Trinidad) and features steel drum bands, elaborate costumes and Soca, a fusion of soul and calypso music. Up to 2 million people flock to Notting Hill for this traditional Caribbean street fair to experience and enjoy cuisine as well as local and international artists live on stage.

  • Oktoberfest
    Munich, Germany
    Annually in Late September/Early October

    Referred to by locals as Wies'n, Oktoberfest is an event like no other. In 2010, the festival will celebrate its 200th anniversary. About 6.5 million visitors come for the food, rides and of course, the 14 big and 20 small beer tents featuring Masskrug (one liter beer mugs) and original Bavarian music. Hofbrauhaus, the number one tourist attraction at Oktoberfest, can seat more than 10,000 guests! Before heading out to the festival, make sure to brush up on your Oktoberfest phrases here.

For additional festival sites, see our Arts/History page.

   --- A. Harris


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