For the most part, we tend to plan trips according to the destination. We all have lists of places we’d like to go and favourite places we’ve been before. On occasion though, a special event is as good a reason as any to visit a particular destination. Festivals, sporting events, cultural and holiday celebrations…. All of these can transform a place such that whether it’s an ordinary or extraordinary one, it becomes more fun one to visit. Which is why it’s worthwhile to consider events when you plan your getaways. Here are five events worth travelling for in Europe.
1. Oktoberfest, Germany
Oktoberfest is known as one of the biggest and most cheerful beers and food festival in the world, and really the one that sets the tone for innumerable imitators around the globe. To give you some idea of just how big it’s gotten, the 2018 festival just opened as of this writing, and organizers are expecting more than six million visitors over the two weeks of the event.
It’s a place for massive, happy crowds, staggering amounts of authentic German beer, good food, and a uniquely Bavarian festival atmosphere. Plus, when you aren’t actually at the festival, you get to tour the beautiful city of Munich.
2. Venice Carnival. Italy
The Carnival of Venice is ostensibly a religious celebration. It takes place as a lead up to Lent (which is the season during which Christians sacrifice something for 40 days before Easter). It’s become more of a cultural phenomenon, however, catering to millions of visitors each year.
Basically, it’s a big street festival throughout Venice, for which people dress up in painted masks and elaborate costumes, attend balls at night, and enjoy various art exhibitions during the day. Venice is an attraction of itself, and over the course of the Carnival celebration, it comes to life almost like some sort of fantasy town.
More about Italy: Why Visit Cagliari? 10 Reasons to Make You Go to Sardinia
3. Cheltenham Festival, the UK
If you like a bit of sport with your cultural festivity, the Cheltenham Festival is the event for you. Held each march at the Cheltenham Racecourse, on the northern end of the English Cotswolds region, it’s a four-day series of horse races surrounded by pageantry, food, drink, and fun.
Unlike some stuffier horse racing events, Cheltenham is renowned for its vibrant and noisy atmosphere, which makes the whole experience more relaxed. And in addition to seeing major horse races, you’ll get to take place in some of the themes of the day, such as the “Ladies Day” fashion exhibitions (on day two) or St. Patrick’s Day celebrations (on day three). There’s just a little bit of everything to enjoy.
More about the United Kingdom: 10 Original Ways to Discover London
4. La Tomatina, Spain
This is one of the strangest and most endearing festivals in the world. It takes place in the small town of Bunol near Valencia, Spain, and is essentially a week-long party.
However, it peaks on the last Wednesday of every August with a tomato fight that takes place between 11 am and 1 pm. That’s it! It’s a two-hour tomato fight, spread out across essentially an entire town, and it’s become a world-famous celebration. It’s unlike most anything else you can do anywhere. And because it’s so brief it gives you plenty of time to expand your trip into a broader tour of Spain as well.
Read also: Making the Most of Your Vacation in Spain
5. Monaco Grand Prix
Here we’re getting back to sports, but as with the Cheltenham Festival, the appeal is far beyond the main athletic event. That event is one of many grand prix races on the Formula 1 schedule, and to be sure it includes the best drivers in the world and is always exciting. This is not your average racing event, however.
The track winds all through the gorgeous seaside city of Monte Carlo and turns the same city into a livelier place for several days. Even if you go to the grand prix only to witness the practice sessions you’ll get to hang out in one of the world’s prettiest cities at its very best. Which is actually the more affordable way to see the cars and drivers up close.
Don’t miss out nearby: Turin Italy – When to Go and What to See
Planing your trip around an event is a great way to make the most of a destination. Many of these events are unique for the country and give you an original perspective to the place and its people. Every time you decide on a destination, check what’s happening around your dates. You might find an event that will change entirely the focus of your trip.
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