Festivals & Special Events travel tours holi carnival

Festivals & Special Events - Best Tours & Trips

Festivals, which you can find the world over in a myriad of forms, aren't just fun -- they're a reflection of a culture. Some are centuries old celebrations, such as Il Palio, an elaborate horse race in Siena, Italy. Others are more recent in vintage, such as San Francisco's annual Gay Pride Parade. And of course, many are indeed great fun, such as Rio's Carnaval, New Orleans' Mardi Gras, and Spain's chaotic Tomato Festival, in which everyone pelts each other with juicy red fruit. Special events may include Christmas Markets in Germany or New England fall foliage tours. Whatever your favorite festival or event, a good tour will take you there.

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Top Festivals & Special Events Experiences and Attractions


Top Festivals & Special Events Experiences

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Top Festivals & Special Events Attractions

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Festivals & Special Events Trip Reviews


1,549
Festivals & Special Events Tour Reviews - Summary
98% Recommend

4.6 out of 5
Excellent 1,059 Great 401 Average 64 Disappointing 18 Terrible 7
Value
4.6 Guide
4.6 Activities
4.6 Lodging
4.6 Transportation
4.6 Meals
4.6

B

Recommends

I really wanted to move to Japan October 2018

5.0

Summer Course Japan

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I really wanted to move to Japan, but I was too nervous about making a long term commitment. Thanks to Studytrips, I was able to do a 3 week trip and experience everything I was wanting to experience in Japan. If I didn’t think I could live in Japan, this trip allowed me to experience my Japnese bucketlist and was the perfect trip! However, I was able to make the decision that I do want to stay in Japan for a longer period. I am so grateful that Studytrips was able to give me a test run and give me the confidence to chase my dream! Read more

Operator Studytrip.com

A

Recommends

Bucket List Bhutan October 2018

5.0

Bhutan: Land of the Thunder Dragon

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
If seeing Bhutan and hiking in the Himalayan region is on your bucket list,
then the Land of the Thunder Dragon tour is for you! This trip was such a
good mix, that it made me really feel like I got to see a good variety and
experience Bhutan to the fullest.
We got to trek for five days, seeing beautiful scenery, visit two festivals
(including a really fun, smaller local one, and a more famous and larger one
in the city), and visited many cultural sites.
Exodus Travels has an amazing local staff in Bhutan, and the guides were all
great. Everything was organized down to the last detail, and the trip was
executed flawlessly.
I can't recommend this trip enough!
On the fourth day of our hike, the clouds cleared and we got to see some of
the world's tallest unclimbed mountains!


We had two leaders, Norbu and Tshering, and they were both excellent. They
knew the answer to every question anyone could possibly have about Bhutan!
They both had outgoing, fun personalities and worked to make sure everyone on
the trip was happy and having a good time.


Pack warmer clothes than you think you'll need for the hike, and pack modest
but cooler clothes for the rest of the trip if you're going in September.


Read more

Operator Exodus Travels

A

Recommends

One of the best Exodus trips October 2018

5.0

Bhutan: Land of the Thunder Dragon

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Although the price is high, this is a great holiday and worth the cost. The
only thing that could have been better was the weather, as we had two days of
rain during the trek, but that made us appreciate all the other days of good
weather more. The scenery was fantastic, the itinerary was perfect, and we
were very well taken care of. We certainly left with a positive view of
Bhutan.
Really, the whole holiday was inspirational. Watching the sunrise during the
trek was beautiful and we were glad the guides woke us up to see it. We also
visited Punakha Valley even though we were supposed to miss it as we were
going to a festival and we were very glad we got to go as it was great. All
the dzongs were interesting and the buildings were photo-worthy everywhere we
looked.


Norbu was very knowledgeable, attentive, and accommodating. He had clearly
been a guide for a long time. Our other guide was also helpful and a very
nice man, although his English and his knowledge were not quite as good.


It can be very cold on the trek, especially at night, and very hot in the
valleys. You are also likely to get sunburnt on the trek, no matter how much
sunscreen you apply.

Pillows are provided on the trek.

Take cash on the trek for the tips as this will be given to the camp crew at
the end of the trek before you get to the hotel in Thimpu. The recommended
tip in the trip notes didn't include the main guide on our trip.

Take cash -- some people had trouble using cash machines.

Leave some clean clothes in Paro before starting the trek. You will get them
in Thimpu after the trek.

You have free time in Kathmandu at the beginning and end of the trip -- there
is nothing organised before dinner. It's not difficult to visit sites on
your own but if you are a woman travelling on your own, try to go with
someone else. Sole women often get harassed, probably not as badly as in
some places, but enough to be a nuisance and, potentially, slightly menacing.
People in our group experienced this. For myself, on one occasion I was
walking behind my husband so it wasn't clear that we were together and I was
followed by a man who wouldn't take no for an answer until my husband turned
around and threatened him.


One of our best holidays!


Read more

Operator Exodus Travels

A

Recommends

Fabulous country, fabulous trip...go!! October 2018

5.0

Bhutan: Land of the Thunder Dragon

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We did this trip with some fear and trepidation as we would be trekking at
altitude for the first time. We were very keen to visit Bhutan before it
modernises and we also hoped to see the rhododendron in bloom in the
Himalaya. We had done quite a bit of training for the trek and this paid off
as we were fit enough for the grade of walk. We loved the country, the
people, the Buddhist culture and the government philosophy of 'improving
gross national happiness'. This is evident everywhere and seems very genuine.
From the minute you land in Paro you know you are somewhere very special. It
is quite wonderful to be immersed in their culture for the whole time you are
there. The trek was not what we expected as we had snow every night and had
to walk on icy surfaces some days and were perhaps colder than we had
anticipated. The excellent trip notes had suggested we bring adequate
sleeping bags and down jackets, so we were always cosy at night. We did
perhaps miss some of the spectacular views because of the weather and the
rhododendrons were only just in bud..so if you want to see them you should
plan your trek in May rather than April. However, we were able to be a part
of the Paro festival and this was fascinating. Exodus puts together a very
good and varied itinerary, in comfortable accommodation, with great guides,
good transportation and excellent food throughout. You are well acclimatised
to altitude and the trekking is not too hard. We were disappointed to have to
share campsites with other groups. There are a lot of trekkers on the Druk
path and if you want solitude on trek you should go on one of the longer
treks. This is a great introduction to trekking in the mountains and we felt
extremely well looked after. My gluten free meals were always varied and
plentiful. The main food is rice and veggies and many differing ways of
cooking them. Breakfast was always wonderful too. We thoroughly recommend
this trip and Exodus as a company. Go...you won't be disappointed.
Reaching the highest summit and hanging prayer flags.


Our leader Norbu was absolutely fabulous. He was calm and confidant and
always with a smile. His knowledge was outstanding. He always helped out if
anyone was struggling with the trek or altitude.


Take adequate warm clothing and a good sleeping bag.


I cannot wait for my next exodus trip


Read more

Operator Exodus Travels

A

Recommends

Bucket list trip October 2018

5.0

Walking the Amalfi Coast

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Everything was seamless. The balance was excellent: two days hiking, a day of
Pompeii and Herculeneum, a hike, an optional day in Capri or Naples, and a
closing hike. The hotel and its staff were welcoming. The views are stunning
in Amalfi, and when you look back at where you came from you are amazed that
you did it. I travelled to and from Agerola off the Exodus schedule and the
hotel arranged it perfectly.
Our guide rescued an abandoned pup that we found on a hike. He made the
effort to carry the pup until we came to someone who knew where it likely
came from, and took over.


First class. Sevario was enthusiastic, well prepared, indulgent of perhaps
too many questions, made an effort to encourage people in difficult terrain,
helped rescue one of our group who stumbled off the trail and fell down a
steep slope, and led someone with vertigo through challenging terrain.
I never expected that he would be with the group from morning till late in
the evening.


Take the trip. Amalfi is breathtakingly beautiful.
The walks in some cases are probably a little more difficult than advertised,
but most of our group was 60+, and if you are reasonably fit you will have no
trouble.


Read more

Operator Exodus Travels

Festivals & Special Events Tours and Travel Guide


Festivals & Special Events Attractions & Landmarks Guide

Festivals, which you can find the world over in a myriad of forms, aren't just fun -- they're a reflection of a culture. Some are centuries old celebrations, such as Il Palio, an elaborate horse race in Siena, Italy. Others are more recent in vintage, such as San Francisco's annual Gay Pride Parade. And of course, many are indeed great fun, such as Rio's Carnaval, New Orleans' Mardi Gras, and Spain's chaotic Tomato Festival, in which everyone pelts each other with juicy red fruit. Special events may include Christmas Markets in Germany or New England fall foliage tours. Whatever your favorite festival or event, a good tour will take you there.

Festivals can be among the most memorable and colorful experiences in travel.

Whether you’re shouting “Hey, Mister, throw me some….” as the krewe floats pass by at Mardi Gras in New Orleans; watching a solemn religious procession at Semana Santa in Seville, Spain; downing way too much beer at an Oktoberfest tent in Bavaria, Germany; or checking out the wares at India’s exotic Pushkar Camel Fair, festivals can be fun and frenetic but also fascinating, by serving as a window into the very heart of a culture.

They can also be just plain wacky or offbeat, such as Spain’s La Tomatina (tomato-throwing) or South Korea’s Boryeong Mud Festival (mud play).

Here’s a calendar of major festivals around the globe as they take place throughout the year. Note that many dates are approximate and change based on factors such as holidays or lunar cycles.

Top January Festivals Around the World

Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, Harbin, China. This is the world’s largest snow and ice sculpture festival and, appropriately, features the largest actual sculptures as well. Starting in early January each year, it runs for an entire month. Harbin is in northeast China, and, perhaps needless to say, is cold in winter, but the festival attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators.

Quebec Winter Carnival, Quebec City, Canada. Quebec’s two-week-long Winter Carnival, which typically starts in late January and runs into February, is a celebration of all things snow: It’s the world’s largest winter carnival and ranks third for all carnivals after those in Rio and New Orleans (Mardi Gras). Winter sports, dogsled races, snow sculptures, an ice hotel and more are featured. 

Top February Festivals Around the World

Carnaval, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Extravagantly designed yet skimpy costumes, samba dancing, and a certain degree of licentiousness mark Rio’s Carnaval, held in the week leading up to Ash Wednesday and the 40 days of Lenten sacrifice. This is the place to drop your inhibitions and let yourself go, in the company of a million other visitors. Since Carnaval dates are tied to Easter, they differ each year and may extend into March.

Mardi Gras, New Orleans, Louisiana. With similar timing to Carnaval, Mardi Gras culminates in a parade of brilliantly decorated floats sponsored by a variety of krewes (clubs). Krewe members typically toss out beads and candy to spectators, who have also been known to imbibe a bit on Bourbon Street.

Chinese New Year, San Francisco, California (and many other cities around the world with large Chinese populations, including, of course, in China). Chinese New Year, which varies with the lunar calendar and sometimes falls in March, is celebrated by lots of noise (firecrackers), color (lion and dragon dances), gift-giving, and traditional feasting. It lasts about two weeks and culminates in parades and visits to family and friends.

Top March Festivals Around the World

St. Patrick’s Day, throughout Ireland and New York City and Boston, Massachusetts. Ireland’s patron saint, who is said to have converted the island to Christianity, is honored by parades and freely flowing green beer. It falls annually on March 17.

Top April Festivals Around the World

Semana Santa and Feria de Sevilla, Seville, Spain. Seville’s Semana Santa – or Holy Week leading up to Easter – is marked by processions of huge religious floats carried by bearers and followed by hundreds of penitents. Seville’s Fair, also known as the April Fair, follows two weeks later, and is a week-long party of all-night eating and drinking. Many local women and men wear traditional dress – think flamenco costumes – and ride around in decorated carriages. Dates vary along with Easter.

Top May Festivals Around the World

Cinco de Mayo (May 5) is holiday time in Mexico, but it’s actually celebrated more fervently in areas of the U.S. with large Mexican populations, especially California and the Southwest. Parades, mariachis, Mexican foods, and margaritas are a big part of the mix. It commemorates a victory in battle over the French in 1862.

Top June Festivals Around the World

White Nights Festival, St. Petersburg, Russia. Centered around evening ballet, opera, orchestral and popular music performances, the White Nights Festival actually extends from late May through mid-July, but includes all of June, when sunlight lasts well into the night. Carnivals and costume parties round out the festivities.

Top July Festivals Around the World

Fiesta de San Fermin (“Running of the Bulls”), Pamplona, Spain. Made famous by Ernest Hemingway in The Sun Also Rises, San Fermin draws up to a million visitors per year Attendance is exciting but dangerous if you’re actually running with the bulls and not just spectating; one or more people get gored almost every year. The bulls run daily from July 7-14 each year.

Montreal Jazz Festival, Montreal, Canada. The world’s largest jazz festival attracts some of the biggest names in music to this ten-day event, which draws two million visitors and 3,000 musicians for 1,000 shows, both indoor and outdoor, many of them free. The festival typically starts in late June and runs through the first week of July.

Boryeong Mud Festival, Boryeong, South Korea. Situated each summer in the little beach town of Boryeong south of Seoul, this nine-day festival is all about the mud: mud sliding, mud games, mud massages, mud swimming, mud bathing. It’s South Korea’s most popular festival for international visitors; dates vary.

Top August Festivals Around the World

Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Scotland. The world’s largest arts festival, the Fringe Festival takes place over three weeks in some 300 venues around Edinburgh – currently more than 50,000 performances of more than 3,200 shows per year. Drama, comedy, dance, music – if it’s the arts, it’s here.

Palio di Siena, Siena, Italy. The Palio is one of the world’s most historic and colorful horse races, with costumed bareback riders representing ten different areas of the city competing in the Piazza del Campo, Siena’s beautiful central square. With origins dating back to the 6th century, it now takes place on August 16 and July 2 each year. Parades and other festivities extend over four days, culminating in the race itself.

Top September Festivals Around the World

Oktoberfest, Munich and other cities in Bavaria, Germany. It may seem strange that Oktoberfest begins in September, but it’s too much fun to wait—and the weather’s better. Mostly it’s about drinking beer, singing, eating sausages and general merrymaking in big groups seated in roomy tents or beer halls. This goes on from mid-September to early October, and has for more than 180 years.

Top October Festivals Around the World

Diwali, throughout India and various other countries with large Indian populations. Diwali is an ancient five-day Hindu celebration marked by gift-giving, candle lighting, and – most visible and audible to visitors – firecrackers. While dates can change each year, October is the most typical time.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico. The world’s largest hot air ballooning festival gets ramped up at dawn for five mornings (out of nine days) in early October. It’s also said to be the world’s most photographed special event, as hundreds of colorful balloons float over the high desert framed by the Sandia Mountains.

Top November Festivals Around the World

Day of the Dead (Dia de las Muertos), throughout Mexico and other regions with large Mexican populations. The Day of the Dead – marked each year from October 31 to November 2 – is much less morbid than it sounds. Yes, there are visits to cemeteries to honor dead ancestors and lots of skull masks and skeleton costumes, but they are incorporated into parades and other festivities. Oaxaca has some of the best.

Pushkar Camel Fair, Pushkar, India. Even if you’re not in the market for a camel, the six-day Pushkar Camel Fair is one of India’s most colorful spectacles – which is saying a lot. Along with some 11,000 camels and horses for sale, traders and vendors come from all over Rajasthan, among the hundreds of thousands of participants and spectators.

Top December Festivals Around the World

Whirling Dervish Festival, Konya, Anatolia, Turkey. For a week in mid-December (December 10 to 17), some devout adherents of Sufi Islam -- known as whirling dervishes -- perform rhythmic, twirling dances that are meant to transport them into mystical unions with God. In their white outfits with flowing skirts, they are mesmerizing to watch. The dances commemorate a 13th century Sufi mystic.

Related Categories

Popular Continents:                      

AsiaEuropeNorth America & South America

Popular Countries:

IndiaItalyMexicoSpainCanada & Brazil

Popular Festivals:

Calgary Stampede, Canada; Day of the Dead, Mexico; Oktoberfest, Germany; Rio de Janeiro's Carnaval, Brazil; Kumbh Mela, India & Many More

Popular Amongst: 

18-30+Culture explorer

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