Time your Europe holiday to coincide with one of the awesome festivals held each year for an even more memorable adventure. Carina Frazer from Flight Centre Auckland shares her tips on which Europe festivals you shouldn't miss.
Kings Day, Amsterdam
Get lost in a sea of orange at Kings Day! This year will hold the first Kings Day (previously Queen’s Day) after the inauguration of King Willem-Alexander in 2013.
Amsterdam is one place that knows how to hold a party, with city-wide street markets, DJs playing in public squares, canals filled up with boats, and the streets and parks filled with parties and concerts!
Running of the Bulls, Pamplona
This is a festival not to be missed even if you do not want to see the bulls. Although this festival is well-known for the bull running, the opening ceremony is one of the best parties I have ever been to. It is a massive Sangria fight which I would personally rate better than La Tomatina!
After the opening ceremony there is another two weeks of bull running and partying, plus they have fireworks every night at midnight. This festival is finished by the closing ceremony which is filled with candlelight.
If you still have energy after the Running of the Bulls you could carry on partying it up at the Bilbao BBK music festival, or just go and wind down in San Sebastian.
My favourite festival of all time has to be Oktoberfest! This festival is held in Munich and runs over three weeks starting on the third Saturday of September.
The first weekend kicks off with a big parade for the opening ceremony and then the festival officially starts with the Lord Mayor tapping the keg at midday. Make sure you get in line nice and early in order to get a table (a must for the opening weekend). If you don’t want to feel out of place make sure you also dress in the official outfit, which is a Dirndl for the girls and Lederhosen for the boys!
Germany has some of the best beer in the world. I recommend ordering a maas (stein) of Augustiner from one of the frauleins (remember to tip if you want regular service) and the pork knuckle is a must! If you want to attend without the crowds, mid-week is the way to go.
Hogmanay is one of the best New Year’s celebrations in Europe, featuring a big street party and torchlit procession. With Edinburgh being easily accessible from London, and having no liquor ban in place, it is a popular and cheap option to get away.
The street party is filled with outdoor concerts featuring bands and DJs, plus the famous Auld Lang Syne song after the midnight fireworks! I recommend purchasing the VIP tickets to the street party if you want to get into the garden party. After the street party, Edinburgh’s clubbing scene is a must!
Although most people will want to sleep in the next day and recover, try and make it to the Loony Dook swim even if it’s just to watch. If you are crazy enough you can join one of the 1,100 swimmers who plunge into the freezing waters, mostly in costume!