Europe is a continent so vast and diverse that every time you think you’ve finally worked out what you want to do with your time there, someone will say, Oh, are you going to check out [insert festival/place/sight here] while you’re here? and then you have to start planning all over again. To help you decide which famed European festivals will best suit your tastes, we’ve put together a short-list of five must-see European celebrations.
So what's on the Menu?
San Vino Wine Fight
Haro, La Rioja, Spain | 27th - 30th June
If you like wine, you’ll like Spain, and you’ll love San Vino. As the weather starts to warm up, the Spanish like to casually cool off with the world’s biggest wine fight. Young and old are led out by the mayor himself, wielding jugs, bottles and water pistols. Through the town they go, round the cliffs, to partake in a pesky mass before the fight can get underway and the vineyards run red with unlimited vino. Later, you’ll return to town where the celebrations continue - drinking, dancing and even bull-fighting. To fully embrace tradition and optimise your before-and-after shots, make like the locals and wear white.
San Fermin aka Running of the Bulls
Pamplona, Spain | 4th - 15th July
If you relish the sight of a big rump steak oozing a little blood (be it bovine or human), the world-famous San Fermin aka Running of the Bulls is for you. The bull run itself is known as the Encierro, an event not recommended for the faint-hearted or vegetarians. Aggravated bulls are led through the streets by adrenaline-junkie runners dressed in festival whites, finishing up at the bull-ring where the bulls (and maybe some punters) will meet their gory ends. Besides the madness of the Pamplona bull run, San Fermin is bull-balls deep in cultural activities, street parties and sangria.
Munich, Germany | 14th September - 3rd October
Bavaria’s - nay, the world’s - biggest celebration of bier! Don the dirndl, lay out your lederhosen, practise your Prost!s and get down to the beer halls in Munich to watch that most special social lubricant, beer, work its wonders. Be swept up by the sweet jamboree of drunken German bands, as they play drinking tunes so catchy that you don’t even need to know the words to join in the chorus. Swill steins of the most delicious beer in Europe, sing and sway and finish it all off with a smorgasbord of stomach-liners including pork-knuckle, pretzels and pommes frites.
Springfest aka Frühlingsfest
Munich, Germany | 21st April to 8th May
Don’t be sad if you’re not in Europe for Oktoberfest, because the beer-soaked volksfest has a lesser-known and more underground sibling for you to attend, you edgy thing you. Springfest is to Oktoberfest what Solange Knowles is to Beyonce, what Rob Kardashian is to Kim, what Pauline Hanson is to Donald Trump. It’s in the same place and offers all the same delights, just on a smaller scale, and in spring! The birds will be singing German drinking songs as they scatter hop blossoms in your braids, and the enormous queues will be absent, replaced by a largely local crowd and making your experience all the more authentic.
Buñol, Spain | 28th August - 1st September
If you’re a saucy sort partial to tomatoes and not afraid of a crowd, go make a mess of yourself at the world’s biggest food fight. There’s no consensus on just how La Tomatina started, but each year the streets of usually-sleepy Bunol run red with the juices of thousands of tomatoes. That can of Watties will never look the same ever again.
There's nothing quite like it. The foreign land, the friends - new and old, and the boozy atmosphere of a European festival. Our buddies over at Stoke Travel have made it super easy to party your way around Europe, combining multiple festivals and location options into the Stoke Travel Passport.
Check out: Festival & Party Travel with Stoke Travel
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