The Best Events in the World There’s no such thing as a list that’s too long. If there is anything you don’t want to skimp on in your lifetime, it’s
The Best Events in the World
There’s no such thing as a list that’s too long. If there is anything you don’t want to skimp on in your lifetime, it’s having wild and unforgettable experiences.
As expert world travelers and international event goers, we know a thing or two about memorable experiences. Combining travel with the most exciting events of our time is a great way to see the world, make new friends, and add some seriously exciting memories to your arsenal of stories.
Here are 99 events around the world that you’ll want to make room for on your list. From the biggest events in the world, to international cultural events, to off-beat lesser-known gems, you’re sure to find any number of 24inside events to attend in this extensive list of international events.
The Masters, Augusta, GA
The Masters tournament is one of the four major golf tournaments held per year at the professional level. Unlike the other three, whose locales change annually,
the Masters tournament is held at the same location every year – in Augusta, Georgia. It’s a tournament that has been made famous by the iconic green jacket of the Augusta National Golf Club
Membership in this club is kept under lock and key – it is by invitation only. However, the tournament itself is must -see event for all serious golf fans. For a chance to watch the biggest pros at the height of their concentration, in the classiest setting with the highest stakes, there is simply nothing quite like the Masters.
MEET ME AT THE MASTERS
Kentucky Derby, Louisville, KY
The Kentucky Derby is one of America’s major horse races held every year in the vibrant city of Louisville, Kentucky. The race is known as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports,” but the race itself is almost secondary to the atmosphere and rituals of the event. Mint juleps galore, the audience dressed in their Spring-in-the-South finest, a large and vibrant hat tradition, the Kentucky Derby provides some excellent people watching and parties. The Kentucky Derby is one of the best events in the world to see and be seen.
DON’T MISS DERBY
The US Open, New York, NY
One of four Grand Slam tournaments held annually across the world, the US Open is a grueling tennis championship played on hard courts. For a chance to watch the greatest tennis talent in the world competing for some high-stakes prize money and name recognition, all in the bustling metropolis of New York City, the US Open makes for an enthralling event for spectators.
FIFA World Cup
Soccer may still be up and coming in the States, but football is absolutely adored by the rest of the world. The FIFA World Cup is the world’s most watched sporting event, with roughly half of the global population tuning in to watch at least one game. This makes the World Cup one of the biggest events in the world, with a scaleeven larger than that of the Summer or Winter Games.
Held every four years across multiple cities in one host country, those attending the matches get to see more than just incredible athletic talent. The patriotic international presence makes for a roaring good time, and prestige of the matches means that every moment is filled with edge of your seat action. Plus, it gives you the chance to explore distant and exciting countries like Brazil in 2014, Russia in 2018, and Qatar in 2022!
TRAVEL TO QATAR IN 2022
UEFA Champions League, the Euro Cup
The best European football clubs compete nine months out of the year in a tournament that eventually whittles them down to the two very best. With such a long and grueling elimination process filled with rivalries, injuries, and dreams, the Champions League Final, hosted in a different European city each year, has a lot riding on it. There is nothing quite like watching two teams that have been playing their hardest for the last nine months come head to head. Plus, attending this must-see event gives you a chance to explore incredible European cities like Kiev, Ukraine, Cardiff, Wales, and Madrid, Spain.
MEET ME IN MADRID
Camden Windjammer Festival, Camden, ME
Camden, Maine has a deep maritime history and they keep it alive every year with the Camden Windjammer Festival. The festival is like stepping into a time machine to the 1930s, when travel by sea was the main mode of transportation in the area. They have a huge windjammer fleet, elegant yachts and sailing ships that adorn their vibrant community. Plus, the seafood is unbeatable. Stay for the whole weekend for a lobster crab race, a fish relay race, a build-a-boat contest, a chowder challenge and more. The Windjammer Festival is one of the coolest events in the world that you’ve never heard of.
Carnival, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
As one of the world’s oldest and most vibrant Carnival celebrations, the tradition of Rio Carnival began in 1723. In the almost 300 years since its first colonial inception, the festival has grown into a week long party with more than 2 million people in attendance. It is the biggest carnival of the year and begins every year just before Lent. The entire city is full of floats, samba schools, song, and dance. In terms of scope, atmosphere, location, and parties, Rio’s Carnival is one of the greatest must-see events around the world.
Mardi Gras Festival, New Orleans, LA
Enter the world’s wildest Mardi Gras festival in the lively city of New Orleans, Louisiana. Distinct from Carnival celebrations held through out Europe and Latin America, New Orleans’ list festival has its own flavor. For amazing Cajun food, colorful beads, incredible jazz music, and a wild parade and party, Mardi Gras in New Orleans is the place to be in February.
Chinese New Year, Shanghai, China
Chinese New Year is the most important holiday of the Chinese calendar. A celebration of the year to come, the Chinese make way for plenty of good fortune with feasts, parades, lanterns, colorful costumes, and lots of rituals. Each year is characterized by a different astrological animal with different significance, whose likeness will be prevalent in the celebrations. To see how millions upon millions of people usher in the new year, head to one of China’s largest cities during Chinese New Year for an unforgettable celebration.
Sapporo Snow Festival, Sapporo, Japan
For seven days every February, nearly 2 million people visit Sapporo, Japan to see incredible works of art made from snow and ice at one of the most unique festivals in the world. The festival is glittering and ethereal, with beautiful ice sculptures, mazes, and even entire buildings. A true winter wonderland, this festival is at once romantic and fun for the whole family.
St. Patrick’s Day, Dublin, Ireland
Irish pride is positively beaming on St. Patrick’s Day, the country’s most vibrant holiday. The entire country will be abuzz with whiskey, beer, and good vibes, but nothing can rival the celebration in the capital city of Dublin. With a parade that draws crowds of a nearly a million people, you’ll certainly feel the luck of the
Irish. Seeing the real St. Patty’s Day in Dublin ranks among the greatest list events around the world.
Austin City Limits, Austin, TX
Austin City Limits (ACL) is anAmerican public television music program recorded live in Austin, Texas, that showcases incredible music talent. The festival is inspired by the show, and features some of the biggest names as headliners as well as a robust lineup of up-and-coming talent. This festival takes place over the course of two weekends in the Live Music Capital of the World, with plenty of hiking, swimming, and tacos to boot.
Coachella Music Festival, Indio, CA
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is an annual music and arts festival held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, located in the Inland Empire’s Coachella Valley in the Colorado Desert. One of the nation’s largest music festivals, Coachella regularly features the hottest names in music each year. Plus, with
its proximity to Los Angeles, you will probably see any number of celebrities in the crowds.
Bonnaroo Music Festival, Manchester, TN
Founded in 2002, Bonnaroo served as the inspiration for dozens of Stateside festivals starting up in the mid 2000s. Located between Nashville and Chattanooga, Bonnaroo typically features a range of musical genres, with the emphasis being on indie rock bands and singer-songwriters, but also including alternative rock, hip hop, EDM, and comedy acts. Take a peak at the featured headliners through the years and it’s hard to not consider Bonnaroo one of the top music destinations in the world.
Leeds & Reading Music Festivals, Leeds & Reading, UK
The Reading and Leeds Festivals are a pair of annual music festivals that take place in Reading and Leeds in England. The events take place simultaneously on the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of the August bank holiday weekend, sharing the same bill. The Reading Festival is held at Little John’s Farm on Richfield Avenue in central Reading, near the Caversham Bridge. The Leeds event is held at Bramham Park, near Wetherby, the grounds of a historic house. These pop and rock festivals include lots of camping spots, making the whole experience feel very community-oriented.
Tanglewood Music Festival, Lennox, MA
The Tanglewood Music Festival is a music festival held every summer on the Tanglewood estate in Stockbridge and Lenox, Massachusetts in the Berkshire Hills in western Massachusetts. The festival consists of a series of concerts, including symphonic music, chamber music, choral music, musical theater, contemporary music, jazz, and pop music. The Boston Symphony Orchestra is in residence at the festival, but many of the concerts are put on by other groups. The setting is beautiful, with lawn chairs and picnics sprawled in front of the stage (which is
actually an old barn!).
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, NM
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a yearly festival of hot air balloons that takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, during early October. The Balloon Fiesta is a nine-day event and has over 500 balloons each year. The event is the largest hot air balloon festival in the world. Balloon Fiesta Park, from which the
balloons are launched, is located on the northern edge of the city.
Cooper Hill’s Cheese Rolling Festival, Gloucester, UK
The Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake is an annual event held on the Spring Bank Holiday at Cooper’s Hill, near Gloucester in England. It is traditionally done by and for the people who live in the local village of Brockworth, but now people from all over the world take part. The competition consists of chasing a wheel of
cheese down a grassy hill, and the event is just as wacky as it sounds.
Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV
Burning Man is an annual gathering that takes place at Black Rock City – a temporary community erected in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. The event is described as an experiment in community and art, influenced by 10 main principles, including “radical” inclusion, self-reliance and self-expression, as well as community cooperation, gifting and decommodification, and leaving no trace. First held in 1986 on Baker Beach in San Francisco as a small function organized by Larry Harvey and a group of friends, it has since been held annually, spanning from the last Sunday in August to the first Monday in September (Labor Day). One of the big events around the world in terms of artsy notoriety, Burning Man is the place to be if you’re ready to get weird.
Lantern Festival in Hawaii, Honolulu, HI
Memorial Day in America is a day when people remember and honor those who have fallen in service to their country. In Hawai‘i, with its diverse population, traditions become easily adopted and assimilated into itsrich cultural fabric. It is the norm for people in Hawai‘i, on Memorial Day, to place flowers and offerings on
gravesites of loved ones who served their country as well as those of others who have passed away. Not only is the Lantern Festival incredibly moving, it’s also one of the best events around the world in terms of photography.
Henley Royal Regatta, Henley-on-Thames, England
Taking place in the charming town of Henley-on-Thames, this grand tradition combines posh sophistication, premier athletic competition, and a party atmosphere in this annual five day event. With races taking place every five minutes, the regatta attracts teams from all over the world. While the races are the main attraction (on paper), both shores are packed with ladies in extravagant hats and men in impeccable tailored rowing blazers, a tradition that has been in place since the first races in 1906. Whether you are a rowing enthusiast or just looking for an excuse to dress up, the Henley is the classiest party you will ever attend.
Punkin Chunkin World Championship, Bridgeville, DE
This Delaware town figured out a very entertaining use for all the leftover pumpkins after Halloween. 75 teams construct homemade catapults and compete to chuck their pumpkin the furthest. For impressive feats of engineering and flying vegetables, this wacky and popular event is not to be missed.
Rubber Duck Race, Tübingen, Germany
Although the dazzling idea of the duck race is thought to come from Canada, it’s big business in Germany, where there are corporate duck-racing specialists. The season begins in March, with more than 150 competitions taking place in towns across Germany. The race in the idyllic southern city of Tübingen is the largest, where the first synthetic contender past the finishing line at Neckarbrücke wins its patron a €1000 holiday voucher, with plenty of other prizes for runners-up. This is a list to attend if only for its uniqueness!
Dragon Boat Carnival, Hong Kong
The International Dragon Boat Championship is in ancient Chinese festival turned into the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival. Held in the Victoria Harbor, this carnival is marked by the Dragon Boat races that take place. Hundreds of thousands of spectators come flocking to Victoria Harbor to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime event. The world’s best Dragon Boat athletes duke it out while both the spectators and athletes drench themselves in ice cold, refreshing beer along with live entertainment as a part of Beer Fest.
Royal Ascot Races, Berkshire, UK
The Ascot is a thoroughbred horse racing course in England, and the Royal Ascot Race is the gold standard for races worldwide, inspiring derbies across the globe. This particular race is steeped in tradition, dating back to 1711 with Queen Anne. If you ever wanted to see British royalty in person, this would be a prime place to do
it as it is attended by the British Royal family every year.
World Bog Snorkeling Championships, Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales
Bog snorkeling is a unique sporting event. Competitors race in a water-filled trench through a peat bog using snorkels and flippers. Conventional swimming techniques are not allowed – these athletes must rely on flipper power alone. The total race is 120 yards as they must race 60 yards one way and 60 yards back. Held in Wales in the UK, the World Bog Snorkeling Championships is held every year on the August Bank Holiday.
Coupe Icare Masquerade, Saint-Hillaire, France
The Icarus Cup Masquerade Flights, or Coupe Icare, is an awesome event held in France where people compete in in elaborately adorned paraglides. You’ll also find flight competitions, street performances, live entertainment, children’s activities and a flight museum.
The Winter Games
The Winter Games are one of the world’s major international sporting events held every four years with winter-themed sports involving snow and ice. It currently is a three-week event with athletes around the world and takes place in February. These top world athletes compete in 15 various sports from ice hockey and figure skating to bobsledding and curling. An Olympic medal is the greatest honor an athlete can complete for, and the national pride and sense of community that these events bring out makes for an unforgettable experience.
BRING ME TO BEIJING IN 2022
The Summer Games
One of the most prestigious events any city can host, the Summer Games are held every 4 years and bring together the world’s greatest athletes to compete for their countries. Filled with amazing athletic feats, inspirational underdog stories, and incredible international brotherhood and sportsmanship, the Summer Games are one of the most awe-inducing events you can witness in your lifetime.
TAKE ME TO TOKYO IN 2020
Cricket World Cup
Cricket is a European sport but is gaining popularity internationally, especially in former colonies like India. In 2015, the Cricket World Cup was hosted jointly by Australia and New Zealand. It was the 11th Cricket World Cup, held on Valentine’s Day February 14th through March 29. The current competition consists of 14 teams who played in 49 different matches in 14 different venues. Australia Will Host the 2021 the Cricket World Cup.
Wimbledon, London, UK
The Wimbledon Tennis Tournament is held every year and is the largest of the Grand Slam tournaments. The only international tennis tournament to be played on grass courts, a lot of care goes into preserving the greens and the formalities of this event. Expect certain traditions to be held in place as you attend – strict dress codes for the athletes, strawberries and cream for the attendees, and because it takes place in the UK, the British Royal family will be there. An elaborate queuing process makes Wimbledon one of very few international sporting events where spectators can obtain tickets the day of
WANNA GO TO WIMBELDON?
Le Tour de France
The French event, Tour de France is one of the most grueling bicycle races on the planet. Lance Armstrong helped make this one famous by being its champion seven years a row from 1999 to 2005. It is a three-week tournament where cyclists race over 2200 miles (3500 km). The route changes every year, but always features the gorgeous French countryside as well as many famous monuments. Having the reputation of being the most physically demanding race in the international circuit, this is not an event you want to miss.
Italian Grand Prix, Monza, Italy
One of the top Formula 1 races internationally, Monza’s Italian Grand Prix is one of the longest running races in the sport. The Italians may just love this sport more than any other nation, and the top automotive makers like Ferrari and Lamborghini are out in full-swing for this event to showcase their brands.
FIS Alpine World Ski Championships
The Alpine World Ski Championships is another major international sporting event featuring several countries. Many of these countries participate in the Winter Olympics. For several decades, this event was directly connected to the Winter Olympics, but in the 1980s, they were held independently. Currently, they are held biannually in the odd-numbered years. They are scheduled to be hosted in Italy in 2021.
Rugby World Cup
The Rugby World Cup is a men’s international tournament. Inaugurated in 1987, Australia and New Zealand initially co-hosted the tournament. The award for the Rugby World Cup is the Webb Ellis Cup. Originally, 16 international teams were invited to participate, but since 1999, 20 teams have been competing. The next championship that will take place in 2019 will feature Japan’s first entry. If you’re not familiar with Rugby, think of it like American football with fewer rules. And with less padding and head gear, the athletes inevitably tackle one another differently.
Daytona 500, Daytona Beach, FL
One of the most famous NASCAR races, this one takes place in Daytona Beach, Florida. It is 500 miles long and part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. It is the first of the two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, with the second one being the Coke Zero 400 that is held at Daytona. The Daytona 500 is considered the most prestigious NASCAR race and the one where the most prize money is won. It has been dubbed as the “Great American Race” as well as the “Super Bowl of StocList Events in the Lowenbrau Beer Tent in 2018
Oktoberfest began as the marriage ceremony between Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese on October 12, 1810. All of the townspeople were invited to attend
the festival, which took place in the fields outside of the city gates. Following the wedding the fields were named Theresienwiese after the Princess, and the party was such a hit that the townspeople asked King Ludwig to continue the celebration the following year.
Today the remnants of the gates still stand and the fields, known by locals as the Wies’n, now host the largest beer festival and one of the most famous international cultural events in the world: Oktoberfest! What was a simple wedding celebration has transformed into a 17 or 18-day festival in which 7 million people from around
the world participate in, consuming more than 6 million liters of Bavarian beer. That’s 1 million gallons of beer! Oktoberfest officially begins on the second to last Saturday in September at noon when the mayor of Munich taps the first barrel at the Schottenhamel Tent, crying “O’zapft is” (It’s open). The festival concludes the
first Sunday of October following German reunification day on October 5. Don’t even thinking about attending without a traditional costume or on an empty stomach.
MEET ME IN MUNICH
Running of the Bulls, Pamplona, Spain
There really is no comparison to the Running of the Bulls and theSan Fermin FestivalinPamplona, Spain. For eight incredible days, the city on Pamplona takes on a playful mystique, consumed by the perpetual state of bliss that the celebration brings. At what other international cultural event can you mix religion, thrills, parties, parades… and bovines?
The running of the bulls happens every year from July 7 – 14. It’s the same dates every year, but some years there are more of the daily runs on the weekend, while other years they happen during the week. This actually has a big effect on the crowd sizes during the event. This whole festival is one huge party, so wear white and get ready to get soaked in wine! Whatever you do, don’t leave Running of the Bulls off of your list of international events.
RUN WITH THE BULLS
Winterlude, Ottawa & Quebec, Canada
Winterlude is an annual festival in Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec that celebrates winter (something Canadians do very well). Winterlude is run by the National Capital Commission and was started in 1979. The event is one of Ottawa’s most important tourist draws, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. In 2007, it set a new attendance record of an estimated 1.6 million visits to one of the four Winterlude sites. The focal point of Winterlude is the Rideau Canal Skateway, which at 7.8 kilometers (approximately 5 miles) is the largest skating rink in the world.
Midsummer’s Eve Pagan Festival, Tallberg, Sweden
Given Scandinavia’s long, dark winters, it’s not surprising that the arrival of summer is a big deal throughout the Nordic countries. In Sweden, Midsummer’s Eve is one of the most important days of the year, rivaling Christmas with its festive spirit and traditions. Raising and dancing around a maypole (majstång or midsommarstång) is an activity that attracts families and many others. In earlier times, small spires wrapped in greens were erected; this probably predates the maypole tradition, which is believed by many to have come from the continent in the Middle Ages.
Bloomsday, Dublin, Ireland
Bloomsday is a commemoration and celebration of the life of Irish writer James Joyce during which the events of his novel Ulysses (which is set on 16 June 1904) are relived. It is observed annually on 16 June in Dublin and elsewhere. Joyce chose the date as it was the date of his first outing with his wife-to-be, Nora Barnacle; they walked to the Dublin suburb of Ringsend. The name is derived from Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of Ulysses. The day involves a range of cultural activities including Ulysses readings and dramatizations, pub crawls and other events, much of it hosted by the James Joyce Centre in North Great George’s Street.
Carnival of Venice
The Carnival of Venice is an annual festival, held in Venice, Italy. The Carnival ends with the Christian celebration of Lent, forty days before Easter on Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras), the day before Ash Wednesday. The festival is world-famed for its elaborate masks. Approximately 3 million visitors come to Venice every year for the Carnival. One of the most important events is the contest for la maschera più bella (“the most beautiful mask”) placed at the last weekend of the Carnival and judged by a panel of international costume and fashion designers.
Diwali, Festival of Lights, Mumbai, India
Diwali (or Deepavali, the “Festival of Lights”) is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated in autumn every year. Deepavali is the biggest and the brightest festival in India. The festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness. The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over a five-day period, but the main
festival night of Deepavali coincides with the darkest, new moon night of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika. In the Gregorian calendar, Deepavali falls between mid-October and mid-November.
Elephant Festival, Jaipur, India
Elephant Festival is a festival celebrated in Jaipur city in Rajasthan state in India. It is held on the day of Holi festival, usually in the month of March. The festival features Elephant polo and Elephant Dance. The Elephant Festival begins with a beautiful procession of bedecked elephants, camels, horses and folk dancers. The owners proudly embellish their elephants with vibrant colors, jhools (saddle cloth) and heavy jewelry. Elephant polo, Elephant race, the tug-of-war between Elephant and 19 men and women are the featured events of the festival.
The Ganesh Celebrations, Dehli, India
Ganesh Chaturthi is the Hindu festival celebrated in honor of the elephant-headed god, Ganesha. Celebrations are traditionally held on the fourth day of the first fortnight in the month of Bhaadrapada in the Hindu calendar, usually August or September in the Gregorian calendar. The festival generally lasts ten days, ending on the fourteenth day of the fortnight. The public celebration involves installing clay images of Ganesha in public pandals (temporary shrines) and group worship. At home, an appropriately-sized clay image is installed and worshiped with family and friends.
Snow & Ice Festival, Harbin, China
The annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is an annual winter festival that takes place with a theme in Harbin, China, and now is the largest ice and snow festival in the world. At first, participants in the festival were mainly Chinese. However, it has since become an international festival and competition. The festival includes the world’s biggest ice sculptures. During the festival, there are ice lantern park touring activities held in many parks in the city. Winter activities during the festival include Yabuli alpine skiing, winter swimming in the Songhua River, and the ice-lantern exhibition in Zhaolin Garden.
Holi Festival of Colors, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and other Hindu regions
Holi is a spring festival, also known as the festival of colors or the festival of love. It is an ancient Hindu religious festival which has become popular with non-Hindus in many parts of South Asia, as well as people of other communities outside Asia. It is primarily observed in India, Nepal, and other regions of the world with significant populations of Hindus or people of Indian origin. In recent years, the festival has spread to parts of Europe and North America as a spring celebration of love, frolic, and colors.
Cascamorras, Baza, Spain
The Fiesta de Cascamorras is a festival that takes place in the towns of Guadix and Baza in the province of Granada, Spain, annually on September 6. The two towns fight for possession of a statue of the Virgen de la Piedad and festival goers smear each other with grease. In 2006, the festival was declared a “Fiesta of National
Tourist Interest of Spain.” The festival surrounds the recalling of the events that unite and oppose Baza and Guadix, two sister towns with a history of a buried sacred image of the Virgen de la Piedad (Our Lady of Mercy). The celebration, the Fiesta de Cascamorras, lasts for three days each year and is one of the best events in the world for getting dirty.
Tomorrowland, Boom, Belgium
Tomorrowland is one of the biggest electronic music festivals held in the world, taking place in Belgium. The festival takes place in the town of Boom, 16 kilometers south of Antwerp, 32 kilometers north of Brussels, and has been organized since 2005. Tomorrowland has since become one of the most notable global music festivals. 2011 marked the festival’s expansion to three days. 360,000 people attended Tomorrowland 2014 on the 10th anniversary of the festival.
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, New Orleans, LA
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. Jazz Fest is currently held during the day, between the hours of 11 am and 7 pm, at the Fair Grounds Race Course, a horse racing track located in historic Mid-City. It is held on the last weekend of April (Friday-Sunday) and the first weekend of May (Thursday-Sunday) each year.
Wexford Opera Festival, Wexford, Ireland
The Wexford Festival Opera is an opera festival that takes place in the town of Wexford in south-eastern Ireland during the months of October and November. The festival began in 1951 under Tom Walsh and a group of opera lovers who quickly generated considerable interest by programming unusual and rare works, a typical festival staging three operas. This concept has been maintained over the company’s history under the direction of seven different artistic directors. From the beginning, the company embraced new and upcoming young singers, many of whom were Irish, but it also included new international names that made first appearances there.
Melt Festival, Gräfenhainichen, Germany
Taking place 140 km outside of the German capital of Berlin, this electro and rock festival is located in an abandoned iron plant. With cranes and towering machines all around, the location and atmosphere is nothing short of spectacular. Add 12 stages and a line up filled with the world’s hottest dance acts and you’re in for a good
Bregenz Festival, Bregenz, Austria
Bregenzer Festspiele is a performing arts festival which is held every July and August in Bregenz, Austria that is famous for its elaborate sets on the shores of Lake Constance. Founded in 1946, the festival presents a wide variety of musical and theatrical events in several venues, including a floating stage.
Lucerne Festival, Lucerne, Switzerland
The Lucerne Festival is a summer music festival in Lucerne, Switzerland. It was founded in 1938 and, since 2004, it has taken place at the Lucerne Culture and Congress Centre designed by Jean Nouvel. The two resident ensembles of the festival are the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and the Lucerne Festival Strings, which had most recently been led by the Italian conductor Claudio Abbado until his death. In addition to the performances, the Lucerne Festival Academy was founded by the composer Pierre Boulez in 2004 to train young musicians in the performance of modern music.
Cork Jazz Festival, Cork City, Ireland
The Cork Jazz Festival is an annual music festival held in Cork City, Ireland in late October every year since 1978. The festival is Ireland’s biggest jazz event and attracts hundreds of musicians and thousands of music fans to the city each year. The country’s first jazz festival successfully attracted thousands of jazz fans. Guinness became the major sponsor in the 1980s. Over 40,000 people now visit the festival each year making it one of the biggest events in the world of Jazz.
North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam, Netherlands
The North Sea Jazz Festival is an annual festival held each second weekend of July in the Netherlands at the
Ahoy venue. It used to be in The Hague but since 2006 it has been held in Rotterdam. The festival has grown to
fifteen stages, 1,200 artists and about 25,000 visitors a day. The festival is known worldwide for the many
music styles it presents, from traditional New Orleans Jazz to Swing, bebop, fusion, blues, gospel music, funk
music, soul music and drum n bass.
Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
The Venice Biennale is an arts organization based in Venice, and also the original and principal exhibition it organizes. Featuring exhibits all over the city, as well as installations in many public places, the city of Venice comes alive with art during the event. Already a city famous for its striking canals, Venice’s Biennale is truly one of the most unique events around the world.
Cannes Film Festival, Cannes, France
The Cannes Festival, named until 2002 as the International Film Festival (Festival International du Film) and known in English as the Cannes Film Festival, is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres, including documentaries, from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is considered the most prestigious film festival in the world and is one of the most publicized. The invitation-only festival is held annually (usually in May) at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès.
Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, OR
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) is a regional repertory theater in Ashland, Oregon, United States. The festival annually produces eleven plays on three stages during a season that lasts from February to early November. From inception in 1935 through the end of the 2014 season (excepting the war years 1941–1946), the Festival has presented all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays a total of 303 times and 293 other plays a total of 327 times for a total of some 29,200 performances to an audience totaling approximately fifteen million.
Salzburg Festival, Salzburg, Austria
The Salzburg Festival is a prominent festival of music and drama established in 1920. It is held each summer (for five weeks starting in late July) within the Austrian town of Salzburg, the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. One highlight is the annual performance of the Everyman (Jedermann) dramatization by Hugo von
Hofmannsthal. Since 1967, there is also an annual Salzburg Easter Festival, organized by a separate organization. The 2006 festival also saw the opening of the Haus für Mozart.
Sundance Film Festival, Park City, UT
The Sundance Film Festival, a program of the Sundance Institute, is an American film festival that takes place annually in Utah. With 46,731 attendees in 2012, it is the largest independent film 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. The festival comprises competitive sections for American and international dramatic and documentary films, both feature-length films and short films, and a group of out-of-competition sections, including NEXT, New Frontier, Spotlight, and Park City at Midnight.
Art Deco Weekend, Miami, FL
Art Deco Weekend is a community festival presented by the Miami Design Preservation League, celebrating architecture, preservation, education, history, advocacy, art, culture and entertainment. It is a community festival held on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach that welcomes over 150,000 people to Miami Beach every year over the 3-day event. Art Deco Weekend is committed to the Miami Design Preservation League’s mission to preserve, protect & promote historic preservation in the Art Deco District and throughout South Florida through the over 85 educational events held during Art Deco Weekend’s 3-day festival.
Manhattanhenge, New York, NY
Manhattanhenge – sometimes referred to as the Manhattan Solstice – is an event during which the setting sun is aligned with the east–west streets of the main street grid of Manhattan, New York City. This occurs twice a year, on dates evenly spaced around the summer solstice. The first Manhattanhenge occurs around May 28 while the second occurs around July 12. The term “Manhattanhenge” was popularized by Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History and a native New Yorker.
Tōrō Nagashi, Sasebo, Japan
Tōrō nagashi is a Japanese ceremony in which participants float paper lanterns (chōchin) down a river; tōrō is traditionally another word for lantern while nagashi means “cruise, flow.” This is primarily done on the last evening of the Bon Festival based on the belief that this guides the spirits of the departed back to the other world. The Bon Festival takes place on the thirteenth to sixteenth of August or July, depending on the calendar you go by.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, New York, NY
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is an annual parade presented by the U.S.-based department store chain Macy’s. The tradition started in 1924, tying it for the second-oldest Thanksgiving parade in the United States with America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit (with both parades being four years younger than the Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia). The three-hour Macy’s event is held in New York City starting at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Thanksgiving Day, and has been televised nationally on NBC since 1952.
Yom Kippur, Western Wall, Jerusalem
Yom Kippur, also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year in Judaism. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jewish people traditionally observe this holy day with an approximate 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. Yom Kippur is “the tenth day of [the] seventh month” (Tishrei) and is regarded as the “Sabbath of Sabbaths”. Rosh Hashanah (referred to in the Torah as Yom Teruah) is the first day of that month according to the Hebrew calendar. On this day, forgiveness of sins is also asked of God.
Up-Helly-Aa, Shetland, Scotland
Up Helly Aa refers to any of a variety of fire festivals held in Shetland, in Scotland, annually in the middle of winter to mark the end of the yule season. The festival involves a procession of up to a thousand guizers in Lerwick and considerably lower numbers in the more rural festivals, formed into squads who march through the town or village in a variety of themed costumes. According to John Jamieson’s Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language (1818), Up is used in the sense of something being at an end, and derives from the Old Norse word Uppi which is still used in Faroese and Icelandic, while Helly refers to a holy day or festival.
Anastenaria Firewalking Ceremony, Greece & Bulgaria
The Anastenaria is a traditional fire-walking ritual performed in some villages in Northern Greece and Southern Bulgaria. The communities which celebrate this ritual are descended from refugees who entered Greece from Eastern Thrace following the Balkan Wars of 1911–12 and the exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey in 1923. Today, the rituals of the Anastenaria are performed in five villages of northern Greece: Ayia Eleni, Langadas, Melike, Mavrolefke, and Kerkine. In addition, the ritual is still performed in six Bulgarian villages in the Strandzha Mountains: Balgari, Gramatikovo, Slivarovo, Kondolovo, Kosti, and Brodilovo.
Take Part in the Hajj Pilgrimage
The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, and a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims, who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and can support their family during their absence. It is one of the five pillars of Islam, alongside Shahadah, Salat, Zakat, and Sawm. The gathering during Hajj is considered the largest annual gathering of people in the world.
Day of the Dead, Mexico City, Mexico
Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico, in particular, the Central and South regions, and acknowledged around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died and help support their spiritual journey. In 2008, the tradition was inscribed in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. In Spanish, the holiday is called Día de los Muertos.
Sun Festival at Abu Simbel, Egypt
Ramses II built his temple at Abu Simbel so that the internal chamber would light up two times a year: once on the anniversary of his ascension to the throne (in February, around the 22nd), and once on his birthday (in October, around the 22nd).
Every year on the Sun Festival, crowds gather before sunrise to observe the stream of light gradually sneaking through the stone and enlightening the statuettes of Ramses, Ra and Amun in the central chamber. Only the statue of Ptah – the god of darkness – remains in the shade even on these two special days of the year!
La Tomatina, Valencia, Spain
One of the most famous festivals in Spain, La Tomatina is a festival that is held in the Valencian town of Buñol, a town located in the East of Spain 30 km/ 19 miles from the Mediterranean, in which participants throw tomatoes and get involved in this tomato fight purely for entertainment purposes. Since 1945, it has been held on the last Wednesday of August, during the week of festivities of Buñol. The fight lasts for an hour, after which the whole town square is covered with tomato
paste. Fire trucks hose down the streets and participants use hoses that locals provide to remove the tomato paste from their bodies. Some participants go to the pool of “los peñones” to wash. After the cleaning, the village cobblestone streets are pristine due to the acidity of the tomato disinfecting and thoroughly cleaning the surfaces.
Purna Kumbh Mela, Ganges River, India
Kumbh Mela or Kumbha Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred river. It is considered to be the largest peaceful gathering in the world where around 100 million people were expected to visit during the Maha Kumbh Mela in 2013 in Allahabad. It is held every third year at one of the four places by rotation: Haridwar, Allahabad (Prayaga), Nashik and Ujjain. Thus the Kumbh Mela is held at each of these four places every twelfth year.
Cervia International Kite Festival, Cervia, Italy
The Cervia International Kite Festival is a unique gathering of kite artists from all over the world and the event is in its 33rd edition, meaning that the Festival has been running for quite some time now. There are only a handful of festivals in the world that can show off such a long history and still have the same organizers. Also, the event takes place in a beautiful place: along the beach of Pinarella di Cervia, a popular summer destination in Italy with very warm weather and gentle onshore breezes, making it ideal for kiting. It takes place from 20th April to 1st May.
The French Open, Paris, France
Starting in late May and ending during the second week of June, the French Open is a fabulous opportunity to see the world’s most romantic sport in the world’s most romantic city. The French Open may be notorious for being the most physically grueling of all of the Grand Slam Tournaments, but it is also the most fashionable which makes for some awesome people watching.
Monaco Grand Prix, Monaco
Known for its winding roads, gorgeous landscapes, envious wealth and lax tax laws, Monaco is a top destination for the world’s pleasure-seekers all year round. However, each May, the Formula One Grand Prix makes Monaco the number one spot on the map for F1 racing fans and all-around speed demons. It also draws a throng of royal watchers, as the event is overseen, and conspicuously attended, by the country’s posh royal family.
Boi Bumba, Parintins, Brazil
Boi Bumba, an amazonian folklore festival that takes place in the Parintins municipality of Brazil, is exactly the answer to your woes. This vibrant festival and immersive experience presents colorful, theatrical tellings of the most important legends of Amazonian lore. The elaborate acts include massive parades with intricate sets, tribal rituals, a giant puppet show, a fairytale battle of good vs. evil, huge displays of folk art, fireworks shows, and an all-night party for attendees. At Boi Bumba, you can expect the same sort of contagious celebratory atmosphere and elaborate, colorful costumes that have made Rio’s Carnival world-famous, but with only a fraction of the tourists.
The Great Escape Festival, Brighton, UK
Quirky, progressive and a little bit naughty, Brighton is a beacon for creatives, laid-back beach lovers, and cultural enthusiasts. Given its Bohemian cred, it should come as no surprise that it is home to one of the coolest music festivals on the planet, the Great Escape Festival, which is held each May. Touted as the British version of South by Southwest, it showcases over 500 emerging artists from all over the world. If you’re the type of music aficionado who loves to claim that you “discovered” a band, this is a can’t-miss event.
Hafengeburtstag, Hamburg, Germany
To celebrate its famous port, without which the world may have never discovered the Beatles or the Hamburger, the city of Hamburg puts on a huge birthday party each year. One of the most anticipated German festivals, the port anniversary begins with a jaw-dropping parade of ships, which features vessels of every size, shape and age. This event also includes the Hamburg Tugboat Ballet, which showcases the stubby little ships “dancing” to classical music. It is just as charming and goofy as it sounds. As you take in all the maritime glory, you can stroll down the three-mile-long promenade, hitting delicious eateries, unique shops and the St. Pauli fish
markets along the way.
Cherry Blossom Festival, Kyoto, Japan
Kyoto, Japan is one of the best places to visit in April due to its famously beautiful cherry blossoms. But not only is this ancient city lined with fragrant, pink-flowering trees during the month of April, but many of its historic sites spring to life in celebration. Kyoto’s shrines, temples, city centers, and performance halls host
performances and ceremonies during this month. In addition to the sensational Miyako Odori Geisha Dance, which is performed throughout the month with constantly changing sets, women dressed as geishas can be seen strolling the streets of Kyoto. Temples all throughout the Southern Higashiyama District illuminate their buildings and gardens in honor of the cherry blossoms, an experience that is magical and inspiring.
Konigsdag, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Koningsdag, or King’s Day, is celebrated on the birthday of the Dutch King, Willem-Alexander of Orange. A huge street party is held in his honor that includes plenty of orange outfits, street vendors, and boat parties circulating the city’s famous canals. Because street trade goes unregulated on this day, many market stalls, pubs, restaurants, and shops will offer incredible deals and specials that they couldn’t any other time of year. Not only is Koningsdag one of the best times to experience the famous Amsterdam nightlife, it is also a truly unique opportunity to see what a modern monarchy looks like.
The Open Championship, Rotates each year
Also known as the British Open, this golf tournament may just be the grandest stop on the PGA Tour. As the oldest of the four major championships and the only one held outside the United States, it offers a one-of-a-kind glimpse into the ancient homeland of golf. Fans looking for the perfect July vacation ideas will find nothing better than the Open Championship.
ATTEND THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
Hermanus Whale Festival, Cape Town, South Africa
This weeklong event at the end of each September gives over 150,000 visitors each year the chance to see the migration of the Southern Wright Whale up close and personal off the western cape of South Africa. Hermanus, located outside of Cape Town, offers the best land-based whale watching in the world, and this yearlycelebration is the single best time to see this magnificent creatures.
The Singapore Grand Prix, Singapore
Held in the middle of September, this race is one of the most difficult circuits in the entire sport of F1, with 90 degree turns, narrow walls, and countless twists and turns. But after watching a race constructed to be so deliberately difficult, visitors can retreat into a city that is truly a wonder of civil engineering. Not only is the tiny city-state of of Singapore modern, clean, and beautiful, but its nature, food, and culturalattractions make it one of the best places to travel in September.
La Mercè, Barcelona, Spain
Spain has its fair share of wild, colorful, and relatively dangerous cultural festivals, but la Mercè is truly something special. Beginning on September 21st each year, la Mercè is considered by locals to be Barcelona’s greatest party. Programming for la Mercè takes place throughout the entire city, and the vast majority of events are free to enter. And what you can see truly runs the gamut. One iconic, not-to-be-missed event is the Correfocs, in which people dressed as devils will wield burning pitchforks and march through the streets to an ominous drum beat as spectators run through a tunnel of fireworks. Another event you should make sure to see is the Castellers, a human tower that can be as tall as 10 layers high, acrobatically erected in busy city squares.
Starkbierfest, Munich, Germany
Starkbierfest is a lesser-known German beer festival that offers some seriously powerful brews in the beautiful setting of Munich. Starkbier, which translates to strong beer, is a type of beer traditionally brewed by monks who were fasting as a convenient loophole to fill their bellies. Also known as “liquid bread,” Starkbier is
seriously heavy, high in ABV, and like a meal all its own. It may be the lesser-known cousin of Oktoberfest, but Starkbierfest is a delicious and raucous good time in its own right. Much like Oktoberfest, Starkbierfest takes place over two weeks in March and consists of much of the same kind of merriment and celebration: famous beer halls decked out with huge tables, dirndls, lederhosen, giant beer mugs, and hearty German fare.
Comic-Con, San Diego, CA
Nerds and geeks of all shapes, sizes, species, and fandoms show up in droves for Comic-Con. This multi-day event brings awareness and appreciation for comics and art, and is perhaps most famous for the elaborate Cosplay of its attendees. Attend workshops, panels, film and anime screenings, competitions and art shows. Meander through the massive Exhibition Hall, and get autographs from your favorite actors, authors and artists. The nighttime parties, hosted and attended by celebrities, organizations and media companies, such as Buzzfeed, IMDb and Warner Bros., offer chances to let loose after long days of attending various events. Between the costumes and the celebrities in attendance, Comic-Con truly offers some of the greatest people watching in the world.
GET YOUR GEEK ON AT COMIC-CON
Reeperbahn, Hamburg, Germany
Europe’s largest club festival and the German equivalent of SXSW, Reeperbahn is a music festival spread out the beautiful northern port city of Hamburg. Instead of being held in one dedicated location, the majority of bars, clubs, and music venues throughout the city host upwards of 800 concerts over the course of four days in
September. Reeperbahn is where music labels’ newest darlings make their debuts and the next stars are discovered. Label scouts, indie hopefuls, and underground music fans turn out by the tens of thousands.
Fringe Festival, Adelaide, Australia
The largest open-access art festival in the southern hemisphere, Fringe Festival in Adelaide, Australia is a month long mash-up of everything having to do with creativity and culture. The entire city transforms into a gigantic art venue. Normal local businesses transform into galleries, public spaces fill with performances and
art installations, parks become elaborate sets, and performers spill out onto the streets displaying their crafts.But Fringe Festival isn’t the only reason you’ll want to head to Adelaide in February. If winter in the northern hemisphere has you down, then you’ll love Adelaide. Summer is in full swing in February, the sun is shining, the beaches are calling, and the entire city is abuzz with art.
Voga alla Veneta, Venice, Italy
Is there any image more classically Venetian than the Italian city’s canals filled with gondolas? If you have ever dreamed of being rowed through the waterways of Venice by an Italian man in a striped shirt, there is simply no better time to make it happen than the Voga alla Veneta festival: Venice’s annual citywide gondola
race. The afternoon’s festivities kick off with a large boat parade along the city’s canals with historical boats oared by expert oarsmen dressed in historical costumes. Then, it’s off to the races with several different age group competitions over courses of different lengths. While these events often quite often throughout the year, the Voga alla Veneta that is normally held on the first Saturday in September is the one that everyone looks forward to the most and is usually the largest of these races.
Yamayaki Festival, Nara, Japan
In the old capital city of Nara, the annual ritual of Yamaki kicks off every new year in a pretty intense way. It involves lighting an entire mountain on fire. The festival celebrates a rivalry between two local Buddhist temples that took place in 1760 who couldn’t agree on the boundary lines separating the two groups, so they set Mount Wakakusa, the mountain that sat between them, ablaze.
Each year, the Wakakusa Yamayaki Festival begins with the ceremonial lighting of a sacred fire at Nara’s Kasuga Taisha Shrine. Traditionally dressed Buddhist monks then parade the fire to the foot of Mount Wakakusa, where a bonfire is lit and an amazing fireworks display is set off. This is not only an awesome thing to witness, but it also helps maintain the mountain’s ecosystem by burning away dead grass and chasing off bugs, bears and wild boars.
Fête de l’Escalade, Geneva, Switzerland
Traditionally held on the weekend closest to Dec. 11 and 12, the joyous event centers on a thwarted 17th-century attack and a giant pot of chocolate. In the early morning hours of December 11, 1602, the Duke of Savoy and a group of soldiers attempted to scale Geneva’s fortification walls and attack the city’s inhabitants. According to legend, a local woman heard the attack while cooking a giant pot of chocolate. She poured the pot’s contents on the invaders, causing quite a bit of noise and waking Geneva’s sleeping army, who then successfully defeated the encroaching enemy.
To celebrate this event, revelers dress in historical costumes, bang drums, roast pigs on spits, and shoot old-school weapons. Children also dress up and, much like Halloween, go from door to door asking for treats. The culmination of the festival involves a specially constructed pot made of chocolate, which is ceremonially smashed to release marzipan candies for the crowd’s enjoyment.
Al Dhafra Festival, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Abu Dhabi may play second fiddle to the UAE’s crowning jewel of Dubai, but Abu Dhabi has something truly special: the world’s largest camel beauty pageant. The event, which begins in mid-December and spills into January, is a celebration of the Bedouin. These desert-living groups inhabited the area until the 1950s, when the city began to grow and modernize. As a nod to the city’s Bedouin past, people gather in Madinat Zayed to show off local crafts, cuisine, culture and, of course, camels. The camels are adorned in costumes and jewelry and allowed to strut their stuff. The prettiest, fastest and most prolific milk producers are lauded and often attract the interest of wealthy buyers. Visitors to the festival enjoy great food, entertaining races and the
knowledge that they’ve laid their eyes on the best-looking camels in the world.
Junkanoo, Nassau, Bahamas
Winter’s wildest party can be found in the Bahamian capital city of Nassau on December 26th and January 1st. The Junkanoo Festival is a huge street celebration that’s half carnival and half masquerade ball. Beginning at around 2 a.m., elaborately-costumed dancers and lavishly decorated floats begin to parade down Nassau’s streets to the beat of goombay drums. Many of the people who participate in the parade work on their costumes all year long. Those judged to have the most extravagant costumes have their handiwork displayed in the Junkanoo Expo Museum.
Whirling Dervishes, Konya, Turkey
The festival is a celebration of the teachings of Rumi, a 13th-century poet and Islamic theologian who practiced meditative twirling. Modern followers of the religious figure don tall hats and white robes to perform a feverish, spinning dance. The dizzying meditation, which is dedicated to love, tolerance and forgiveness, has been named a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Because the festival is based on the Islamic religious calendar, the date of the event varies each year. However, it most often falls in November or December, and up to a million people come to watch the magical, moving and hauntingly beautiful celebration every year.
Yi Peng Lantern Festival, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Also known as the Festival of Lights, Yi Peng is among the most iconic and photogenic festivals in the world. Unique to Northern Thailand, Yi Peng is a festival in celebration of the last full moon of the Thai lunar calendar (usually falling in November). It also marks the passing of the monsoon season, making way for the
coolest season of the year to begin. Though multiple cities in the northern region of Thailand celebrate this festival, Chiang Mai is undoubtedly the center of the action. Before the festival begins, the city is adorned with flower wreathes and decorations, especially in its many Buddhist temples. Attending the Festival of Lights
is exactly as ethereal as it sounds. After the sun sets, you will see thousands of paper lanterns float away into the night sky. During the festival, all of Chiang Mai smells of fragrant incense.
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