It’s one thing to travel the world and see all the sites, however to really experience a destination, you need to get to know and live like the locals. Travelling on a tight itinerary can make this difficult, but not impossible. Attending annual events in different locations all over the world is a great way to mingle with locals, while also experiencing something unique to that destination.
Here we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite annual European festivals and events that are not-to-be-missed.
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Scotland
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is an annual series of military tattoos (tattoo = an evening drum or bugle signal recalling soldiers to their quarters) performed by British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and International Military bands, and artistic performance teams at the Edinburgh Castle.
The origin of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo dates back to 1949, where inspiration was drawn from a show called ‘Something About a Soldier’. A year later, in 1950 the first Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo was held on the Edinburgh Castle esplanade, to an audience of 6000+ spectators.
Flower Parade, Holland
Each year, visitors from all over Holland and the world flock to the colourful spectacular that is the annual Flower Parade. Over 20 floats, all decorated in colourful flowers follow a 42km route from Noordwijk to Haarlem, passing the famous Keukenhof (where you can see all of the in-bloom tulips).
Carnival of Venice, Italy
Like Carnival celebrations all over the world, the Carnival of Venice takes place in the days leading up to Lent. What makes Venice’s Carnival tradition so unique are the Venetian masks and elaborate masquerade balls.
It is believed that the origin of the Venetian Carnival dates back to 1162, when victory of the Venice Republic against the Patriarch of Aquileia was being celebrated. While Carnival celebrations were absent for a long time, 1979 saw the return of the classic Venetian Carnival. Now, the festival attracts more than 3 million visitors per year.
Christmas in Lapland
Experience the Christmas that you dreamed of as a child in Finland’s Lapland. Meet Santa Claus and his Reindeer, frolic in the snow, go on a husky sled and sleep in an igloo. While travelling to the Arctic Circle during Festive season comes with a hefty price tag, these trips are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not to be missed!
Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany
Held annually in Munich, Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer festival, with attendee’s consuming upwards of 7 million litres of beer over the festivals 2-week period each year!
The origins of Oktoberfest date back to 1810, where citizens of Munich were invited to celebrate the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig (later to become King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The locals had so much fun celebrating, that they repeated them the following year … and here we are over 200 years later, still celebrating!