12 Festivals to Add to Your Bucket List

Need some wanderlust inspiration? Here are 12 spectacular, unique, and unforgettable festivals you need to add to your travel bucket list!

San Fermín (Running of the Bulls)


When: July 6 - 14

Where: Pamplona, Spain  

Why you should go: There's nothing like being chased by a bull to get your adrenalin pumping. Every morning during San Fermín, hundreds of brave individuals take their chances and run alongside 12 massive bulls through the narrow streets of Pamplona. I did it back in 2012 and I'll never forget how violently the ground shook when the bulls ran behind me. What a rush that was! After the daily run, the old town erupts into a party that lasts from 8am until dawn. The festivities never stop during San Fermín so prepare to unleash the party animal in you.

Holi

Photo Credit: Steven Gerner

When: Spring celebration that changes every year based on the Hindu calendar. Usually takes place in March or late February. This year, it's held on March 6.

Where: India (but also celebrated slightly differently in Nepal, Pakistan, and other countries with large Hindu populations)

Why you should go: Be dazzled by colour at Holi, a spring festival held primarily in India and other Hindu regions. Also known as the festival of colours, this ancient religious festival celebrates the end of winter and encourages Hindus to reconnect and renew broken relationships. During Holi, people enjoy themselves by throwing vibrant coloured powders onto friends and family.

Oktoberfest

Photo Credit: 46137

When: 16-day festival lasting from late September to the first weekend in October

Where: Munich, Germany

Why you should go: If beer is something you fancy, you'll need to check out Oktoberfest in Munich. Over six million litres of beer are consumed during this 16-day festival, making Oktoberfest the largest beer festival in the world. While you're there, don't forget to pair your brew with some hearty German cuisine such as wiener schnitzel, schweinshaxe (grilled ham hock), German sausages, and sauerkraut. Numerous attractions are also held including amusement rides, games, and parades.

Full Moon Party


When: Happens once a month when the full moon is out

Where: Koh Phangan, Thailand

Why you should go: Head to the island of Koh Phangan and party like never before at the Full Moon Party. Every month when the full moon emerges, tens of thousands of people flock the shores of Haad Rin Beach coated in glowing body paint and neon attire. Partygoers sip strong cocktails out of massive buckets and enjoy a night full of music, dancing, and fire games.

Coachella

Photo Credit: Jason Persse

When: Held over two weekends in April

Where: Indio, California, U.S.A

Why you should go: Coachella is the ultimate festival for all music lovers out there. Every year in April, Coachella delivers an impressive line-up which boasts the biggest names in hip-hop, rock, indie, pop, and electronic dance music. The festival is also known for its larger than life art installations and sculptures.

La Tomatina

Photo Credit: Graham McLellan

When: Last weekend of August

Where: Bunol, Spain

Why you should go: Ever had the urge to get into a food fight? Make your dreams come true at La Tomatina. Held in the tiny Spanish town of Bunol every August, La Tomatina is a festival dedicated to hurling tomatoes at one another. Over 100 metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown into the streets making La Tomatina the world's biggest food fight. This week-long celebration also includes music, parades, dancing, and fireworks.

Boryeong Mud Festival


When: Two-week festival that begins the second weekend of July

Where: Boryeong, South Korea

Why you should go: Free your inner wild child and roll in some mud at the Boryeong Mud Festival. The festival takes place on the shores of Daecheon beach in South Korea every summer. A variety of events are offered including mud wrestling, body painting, and mud sliding. The mud here is also good for your skin, so skip your next facial and slather on that mud!

Burning Man

Photo Credit: Ed Johnson

When: Week-long event that starts end of August

Where: Black Rock Desert, Nevada, U.S.A

Why you should go: An experimental community dedicated to art, music, freedom, and self-reliance, Burning Man gives you the opportunity to shed societal norms in Nevada's dusty desert. Money is no good here as gifting and bartering are the main forms of currency. You're also on your own for showers, toilets, food, and water. In exchange, you'll get to witness intriguing art, meet individuals from all walks of life, party 24/7, and live life in a way you never had before.

Carnival

Photo Credit: Prefeitura de Olinda

When: 5-day festival that starts on the Friday before Ash Wednesday and ends at noon on Ash Wednesday (beginning of Lent)

Where: The festival happens all over Brazil but the largest Carnival takes place in Rio de Janeiro

Why you should go: This wild 5-day festival is one of extravagance, colourful costumes, and nonstop partying.  Brazilian samba music pulses through street parties and parades, while performers and patrons dress in their most fancy and dazzling costumes. The highlight of the Rio Carnival is the Samba Parade. This exuberant parade is made up of competing samba schools who are judged on their floats, costumes, music, lyrics, aesthetics, and how well they represent their theme.

Glastonbury

Photo Credit: Ben Cremin

When: 5-day festival that occurs during the last weekend in June

Where: Pilton, Somberset, England

Why you should go: In the UK, Glastonbury is a valued artistic establishment and has been since the 1970s. Here, you'll discover a vast array of musical, dance, comedy, theatre, and other arts performances. The festival attracts over 175,000 people who love to get wild rain or shine. Glastonbury usually receives a lot of rain so it's not unusual seeing people dance around in rain boots with mud up to their knees.

Tomorrowland


When: Last weekend of July

Where: Boom, Belgium

Why you should go: Probably the most popular electronic music festival around, Tomorowland attracts over 100,000 people every year to their magical grounds. Held on the last weekend of July in the sleepy town of Boom in Belgium, Tomorrowland is a festival unlike any other. With the best DJs spinning at 16 stages, decor that transforms the park into a fantasy world and partygoers making the pilgrimage from every continent, this is one music festival you need to attend before you die.

Songkran

Photo Credit: John Shedrick

When: April 13-15

Where: Thailand

Why you should go: You'll need to pack your water guns and fill water balloons if you want to participate in the largest water fight in the world. Held every April in Thailand, Songkran is considered the traditional New Year's Day. Large cities such as Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, and Pattaya throw large scale festivities and water fights that shut down entire streets. The throwing of water symbolizes washing away the bad so people can start their new year fresh.


What are your bucket list festivals? Leave me a comment below and let me know! 

Melissa Li

I’m a Canadian girl on a quest to step foot in every continent before I’m 30. You’ll most likely find me chowing down on Japanese ramen, partying at a music festival, hiking to the top of a scenic lookout, cuddling with cats, or chilling out at the beach. I’ve visited over 60 countries so far and hope to inspire you to do the same.

2 comments:

  1. I would love to go to all these festivals one day!!!

    Also, I love your blog and have nominated you for the Liebster Award. You can find more details here: http://www.wanderlustnlove.co/liebster-award/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lovely photos of Festivals. As with many other European destinations, I would love to put this on my bucket list.

    ReplyDelete