Festival Holidays

For us, festivals are the smell of incense, the fizz of fireworks and the squelch of a fresh tomato. They arrive with the thunder of charging bulls, and wind down like a Munich beer hall hangover. They’re the lantern-lit, confetti-filled, mud-slinging reminder that life is there to be enjoyed to the max, and that there’s no such thing as too much fun in the name of pomp and ceremony. 

From the holy waters of the Ganges and the graveyards of Mexico to the tulip fields and orange groves of Europe, festival season never truly dies – and we’ve got your private pass all ready to go. It’s time strap on your sandals, loosen your lederhosen and dive right in. 

 

Holi Festival

You know those pictures of the world’s biggest paint fight? With colours so vibrant they threaten to break the saturation on your screen and set fire to your eyes? Yeah, that’s Holi – the ancient Hindu festival of colour. Traditionally held each March during the full moon and lasting up to a week, it’s India’s most iconic festival and a complete blast for all travellers fortunate enough to be caught up in it. We’ve got a number of trips running through the Holi hotspots –Delhi, Goa and Rajasthan – all you have to do is pick your favourite. Just remember: India gets even more chaotic during Holi, so some itineraries may be altered slightly. If in doubt, check the details with your friendly Intrepid travel agent. 

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Day of the Dead

It’s possibly the only festival in the world where the dead are actively encouraged to take part. The Day of the Dead (or Dia de los Muertos) is Mexico’s answer to Halloween. It’s actually quite a lovely idea: the faith holds that on the night of 31 October, the gates of heaven open and the spirits of friends and family who have passed-on descend to earth to celebrate with the living. It’s a time for honouring your ancestors, but it wouldn’t be Mexican if it weren’t also one giant spooky party. Whether you explore Mexico City on our special festival-themed adventure or head out into the countryside for some old-fashioned rural festivities, this is a day to die for.

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Oktoberfest

Some international festivals are intensely spiritual, ancient ceremonies full of meaning that anchor us to a far distant past. Oktoberfest…isn’t quite like that. The world’s largest funfair and Bavarian beer bonanza runs for 16 days across the end of September and the beginning of October. For those two-and-a-bit weeks, Munich is transformed. Giant beer tents take shape, lederhosen are dusted off, and six million people flock to drink over seven million litres of Oktoberfest’s distinctive lager. Only six breweries are allowed to serve Oktoberfest beer, and all can be found in Munich – so there’s really nowhere else to enjoy this world-famous German brew-up. 

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Japan Winter Festivals

When people think of Japan, they often see the soft sunlight and blushing cherry blossoms of spring; but we’re here to tell you, winter here is when things truly heat up. At the beginning of February each year the snow-dusted islands come alive with a super-cool collection of snow and ice festivals. These aren’t your typical snowball fights. We’re talking three-storey ice palaces, night-time LED light shows, ancient wonders carved from snow and a glowing constellation of lanterns trapped in ice, not to mention some of the best skiing on the planet. Japan isn’t a country to do things by halves, and neither are we. Warm saké anyone? 

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Pushkar Camel Fair

Even camels need to let their hair down occasionally, and the Pushkar Fair (or Pushkar ka mela) is where they get their chance. Tens of thousands of camels, horses and cattle descend on the town of Pushkar in Rajasthan, along with 400,000 locals, tourists, acrobats, dancers and snake charmers. The festival coincides with the full moon day of Kartik in the Hindu calendar, and runs for about two weeks in October or November each year. Visit the mela, one of the last great traditional Indian fairs, to see the locals barter for livestock, or get swept along in crazy competitions and crowd events like ‘longest moustache’ and the ‘Tourists v Locals’ cricket match.   

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Naadam Festival

Even camels need to let their hair down occasionally, and the Pushkar Fair (or Pushkar ka mela) is where they get their chance. Tens of thousands of camels, horses and cattle descend on the town of Pushkar in Rajasthan, along with 400,000 locals, tourists, acrobats, dancers and snake charmers. The festival coincides with the full moon day of Kartik in the Hindu calendar, and runs for about two weeks in October or November each year. Visit the mela, one of the last great traditional Indian fairs, to see the locals barter for livestock, or get swept along in crazy competitions and crowd events like ‘longest moustache’ and the ‘Tourists v Locals’ cricket match.   

Find out more