European Festivals dates are sometimes unconfirmed and occasionally unreliable, so check before booking. TBC/A = To Be Confirmed/Announced.
30 Dec – 1 January
SCOTLAND, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay – one of world’s best New year Celebrations, a truly wild and wooly underwear occasion, with an huge street party, a torchlight procession, a Fire Festival, fireworks, concerts and much insobriety, in a city dark yet strangely light. . . Edinburgh Guide, Pictures
SPAIN, San Anton Festival in the village of Canillas de Albaida – a typical rural Andalusian fiesta for their patron saint San Anton, with lots of horses, music, dance and a parade.
25 – 28 January
SWEDEN, Kiruna Snow Festival – It’s all white in the snowy north as reindeers race, dog sleds drift and artists sculpt ice into fantasy forms. Kiruna is Sweden’s northmost city and 145 km north of the Arctic Circle. Sweden Pictures Guide
England, China Town, London, Chinese New Year – the largest New Year celebration outside Asia, with traditional costumes, spectacles, fireworks and processions.
the last Tuesday in January
SCOTLAND, Up Helly Aa – ‘Europe’s largest fire festival’, a spectacular community tradition celebrating their rich Viking heritage, annually held in Lerwick, Shetland. Costume marches, torchlight parades, burning a viking boat and the parties go on and on long after the last flames fade away. Scotland Guide, Islands Pictures
11 – 28 February
ITALY, Carnival of Venice – colourful, fascinating, funny and a superbly costumed environment in spectacular St Mark’s Square and the misty, magical streets around. For the full flavour, buy a mask, rent a costume and go to a palazzo ball (the best is the Doge’s Ball). Watch Video the below in February section. Carnevale di Venezia website
11 – 12, 19, 23 – 28 February and 1 March
ITALY, Ivrea Carnival, Storico Carnevale di Ivrea, Piedmont district of Turin – another colourful carnival, but with a different ending as the whole town partakes in a monstrous orange fight, ‘Battle of the Oranges’, Battaglia delle Arance, starts at 2: 00pm on the Carnival Sunday. Wear a tall, red hat if you don’t wish to participate (or was it don’t wear a tall red hat. . . ? ).
3 – 26 Feb.
lasts 17 days
DENMARK, Copenhagen CopenhagenWinter Jazz Festival – a two-week winter edition of a famous jazz summer festival held in the capital, now renowned as northern Europe’s largest festival city.
11 – 26 Feb.
FRANCE, Nice Carnival, the Cote d’Azur – a brilliant event on the lovely promenade of a terrific city, but not every day and parades are basically the same so one is probably enough. And half an hour along the coast Menton is having a small but colourful Lemon Festival during approximately the same period. See below. Le Carnaval de Nice
2015’s Nice Carnival, Côte d’Azur, France. It will take place on 11 – 26 February 2017.
11 February – 1 March
France, Lemon Festival (Fête du Citron), Menton on the Cote d’Azur – a bright and cheerful event with the local park full of themed structures faced with citrus fruit, as well as parades over 18 days.
GERMANY, Cologne Carnival (Kolner Karneval) – Germany‘s answer to Mardi Gras, a huge event marking the beginning of Lent, local festivities and the highlight being “the crazy days”, the street carnival, and the monster Rose Monday parade.
23 February – 1 March
at 11: 11am 11th
Nov. 2016 till
GERMANY, Düsseldorf Karneval (Carnival) – another massive, outrageous and psychedelic occasion; Rose Monday Parade is probably the best for wacky dress.
26 – 28 February
BELGIUM, Binche Carnival, Carnaval de Binche – one of Belgium‘s wildest parties, a UNESCO Heritage event (as ‘Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’), half an hour south of Brussels. Sunday and Tuesday are best.
18 February – 19 March
(Usually around St. Joseph’s day 19th March)
GERMANY, Munich, Starkbierzeit, Strong Beer Festival (also known as Strong Beer Season or Time), a 300-year traditional beer-swilling, belly-swinging, guttural-singing, mostly German celebration. It lasts 2 to 4 weeks depending on the venues.
This page deals only with January and February. Click below for other months