Europe, we get it. You’re good at stuff. You’re good at art and wine, beaches and mountains. You have some rather lovely buildings, and you make a mean spaghetti carbonara. Unsurprisingly, you’re also great at festivals, many of which revolve around food – tomatoes and cheese, gelato and white truffles – and we’re not complaining. Whether you’re here for the beer, the cheer or you just want to visit Dracula’s castle on the eve of Halloween, we’re your entry to the Old Continent’s best celebrations. And when December rolls 'round, there’s no more festive place to be than a snowy German Christmas Market. Fact.
While we don't have trips that center around each of the festivals below, we do offer trips that run through these cultural celebrations so you'll still get a chance to experience some of the best festivals in Europe.
Multiple countries celebrate the spooky traditions of Halloween, but none do it better than Romania – the birthplace of Count Dracula. Listen to mythical legends about werewolves, vampires, and curses you can’t get rid of while visiting haunted castles steeped in centuries of eerie history and join your fellow travellers for a spine-tingling Halloween party like no other.
Pack a scary costume for the Halloween party to get into the spirit of this spooky holiday
It can get quite cold in Romania during this time of year so make sure to pack warm clothes, especially for nighttime activities
No one does Christmas quite like the Europeans so when time continues to tick closer to December 25th, there’s no better place to be than exploring the festive stalls of Central Europe’s Christmas markets. From listening to traditional songs in Munich and looking over trinkets in Vienna to sipping on forralt bor (boiled wine) in Budapest, you’ll be wrapped up in the magic of the silly season in no time.
The Christmas markets you visit can get very busy so please be aware of your belongings as you move through them
It’s winter in Europe during the Christmas season so pack plenty of warm clothing to avoid being cold when spending long periods of time outside
Marking the day Allied troops from Australia and New Zealand landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in April during World War 1, the ANZAC day dawn service allows each attendee the time to pay their respects to the soldiers who fought and reflect on their greatest sacrifice for their country. Wander ANZAC Cove, walk through the trenches and listen to tales of bravery and camaraderie as part of this unique commemoration.
You may not get much sleep the night before the dawn service, so it’s imperative you feel well-rested before joining the trip
It also gets extremely cold in Turkey in April so pack plenty of warm clothing, especially for nighttime activities
With origins dating back to 1945, La Tomatina is a tomato-throwing festival (yes, you read that right) with approximately 20,000 people joining the crazy and memorable food fight every year in Bunol, Spain. Participate in this crazy celebration in honour of the city’s patron saint, and quite literally paint the town red while making memories to last you a lifetime. P.S. you may never look at a tomato the same way again.
Wear your oldest clothes to the festival so that you’re not upset when they’re inevitably covered in bright red tomato juice
Leave your sharp objects, glass bottles, and anything else that might potentially injure someone back at your accommodation
Be sure to squash the tomatoes before throwing them (you’re not looking to take someone’s eye out)
Picture this; packed streets full of mysterious figures wearing ornately decorated masks, merry-makers calling out to one another from street-side café tables, boats whizzing through canals ferrying partygoers to the next hotspot - it’s February and you’re in the middle of the Carnival of Venice. From dancing in the street to feasting on traditional Italian food, this crazy celebration is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you don’t want to miss.
There’ll be plenty of people around so don’t think you’ll be able to speedwalk anywhere – just pick a direction and slowly wander!
Get involved in the festivities by wearing a mask (even if it’s just a cheap one you bought at a souvenir shop the day before)