Summer is just around the corner and for us Brits that means there is festival after festival to look forward to.
But from all corners of the world, there are celebrations to be had all year around – from music events and beer and food festivals, to cultural gatherings and important religious ceremonies. Every year millions and millions of people across the earth gather to mark special occasions and celebrate in style!
But where to begin? There are literally thousands upon thousands of festivals that take place, making it a near impossible task to list them all. So I’ve asked some of the best travel bloggers out there to put their thinking caps on and help me compile this list of some of the best festivals they’ve experienced around the world.
Some you may have heard of, while others are a little more unique or off-the-beaten track. But they all look equally as fun and interesting, so dive right in and get some inspiration on what to add next to your festival wish-list!
The Experience Festival
(Koh Tao, Thailand)
By Drifter Planet
The Experience Festival is the HAPPIEST music festival in the world! The timing of this annual festival is perfect – Dec 30 – Jan 2, so you are guaranteed to have an epic New Year celebration. The location of this festival is Thailand’s beautiful Koh Tao, which is also known as the Turtle Island. The UV decor here is mind-blowing and it matches the psychedelic trance beats played here.
This festival has surprisingly clean toilets that are airy. Showers are awesome but we prefer the nearby Freedom Beach for an early morning swim to revitalize ourselves. This festival is special for me because this is where I met my better half (now my husband) Sandro a few years back and we have visited it every year after that.
(Castejon de Monegros, Spain)
By Lost With Purpose
Crazies galore, colours everywhere, epic remote landscapes, mountains to climb, and a small, loving community where you can actually get to know the people you’re romping with. Nobodies love the Nowhere Festival in Castejon de Monegros, Spain, and for good reason! People claim that Nowhere is akin to Burning Man in its early years–a bunch of artsy outcasts congregating in the desert to make art, music, and do lots of things you wouldn’t tell your grandmother about.
Alas, I’m not old enough to say if this comparison is valid, but I do know that I love Nowhere because it’s a beautiful place to lose yourself, find yourself, and/or just get plain silly on the Spanish plains each summer. If you’ve got a car, a bus, a plane ticket, or even just a thumb to hitchhike, why not consider going Nowhere?
By The Endless Adventure
Music, fashion, food, and art are just a few of the things that make Coachella great. There’s literally something for everyone! If you’re into late night partying or early morning yoga, pop music or EDM, camping or glamping, dressing up or hardly getting dressed at all, fresh juices or illicit substances (not that we know anything about those), Coachella’s got you covered! It’s three days of soaking up the sun, getting a little dirty – you’re in the desert after all, and busting out your “best” dance dance moves while unabashedly singing along with your favourite artists.
By Taylor’s Tracks
Beer not your thing? That’s okay, but don’t brush Oktoberfest off your list of must-attend festivals. It is the largest beer festival in the world, but has plenty more to offer. Outside of the beer tents you’ll find rides, games, and some of the best food that Germany has to offer. Not to mention it’s held in Munich, a gorgeous city in lower Germany that’s worth exploring. Oktoberfest is family friendly and is a great place to meet people from all over the world, since millions attend the two-week festival each year. The festival holds onto its traditions strongly, from the typical old-fashioned dress, to the decorated cookies, and Bavarian music that plays while you drink and eat some of the best beer and food in the world.
By Feathery Travels
Temporarily home to 175,000 people, Glastonbury is the biggest, muddiest and undoubtedly most exhausting of all the festivals I’ve ever been to, so why have I chosen to write about it here? Although its size can be overwhelming at first, this forty year old gathering is unbeatable for its unique combination of friendly atmosphere, variety of performances and incredible line-up. Where else could you see the Rolling Stones, Portishead and Andy C in the same weekend?! Rising out of the rolling green farmland, the Pyramid Stage is iconic, but don’t forget to spend some time exploring the smaller nooks and crannies of the site – you’re likely to stumble across something mind-blowing.
By Wander With Jo
Holi is my absolute favourite festival in the world. It’s a festival of colours where you celebrate by throwing water balloons on each other, rubbing dry colours and well there is practically colours everywhere. You also get to indulge in delightful Holi sweets and the traditional drink called “Bhaang” which can take you to a different level altogether.
By Vicky Flip Flop Travels
I think Latitude in Henham Park, Suffolk, is one of the best festivals I’ve ever been to. I actually went by myself but still had a brilliant time watching all the acts, from comedy to poetry to science expos and dance. Latitude isn’t just about the music which means a real variety of people go and there’s always loads to see and do. I really want to go this year but I won’t be in the country sadly – I’m there in 2017!
Byron Bay Bluesfest
(Byron Bay, Australia)
By Migrating Miss
Run over 5 days near the beautiful location of Byron Bay, the Byron Bay Bluesfest is for everyone. It’s one of those festivals where the lineup doesn’t really matter, the experience itself is what makes it. In saying that, some of the biggest names in music have performed there and it’s a chance to see up-and-coming musicians and old favourites. Some of my highlights have been John Fogerty (of Creedence Clearwater Revival), Hozier, Cold Chisel and the Pogues. Sipping drinks in the Australian sunshine, eating foods from around the world and shopping at the arty kind of place Byron Bay is already well-known for, this is 5 of the best festival days you could ever have.
Craven Country Jamboree
By The Lost Girl’s Guide to Finding the World
In the centre of Canada you’ll find a small-town festival site that sees more than 95,000 fans rock out to country music over a four day period every July. A festival site since 1983, Craven Country Jamboree has hosted some of the biggest names in the country music industry like George Strait, Blake Shelton and Taylor Swift. From converted school buses and hauled-in couches to hand-built decks for after-parties, fans come ready to set up camp for the weekend. And at the end of it all, the festival raises and donates more than a quarter million dollars every year to support dozens of local charities and organizations throughout the province.
Quebec City Winter Carnival / Carnaval de Québec
By Dream Travel Magazine
The Quebec Winter Carnival is a Canadian tradition and is well known as one of the largest winter carnivals in the world. It has been part of the Canadian experience since 1955 and each year features many fun winter activities including: snow slides, ice sculpture contests, sleigh rides, skating, amusement park attractions and of course lots of food and drink.
Located in the beautiful historic Old Quebec City a UNESCO World Heritage site, visiting the carnival is like visiting a charming European village in winter, with cobblestone streets, boutiques, cafes and fabulous eateries. Be sure to ride the famous wood toboggan ride during your visit and hopefully you will get a chance to meet the carnival’s ambassador our friendly “magical snowman” Bonhomme Carnaval. He symbolizes the spirit of winter fun and is the face and voice of the Quebec City Winter Carnival.
By The Trusted Traveller
Vivid is my favourite time of year in Sydney. Held in May/June each year, Vivid is a celebration of light, music and ideas that runs for a few weeks. What I love most about it is the light installations. Each year they get bigger and better with more live sites and bolder themes. But the showstopper of the whole festival is of course the famous Sydney Opera House, lit up with light that moves to the music.
By Fit Two Travel
Songkran is a Buddhist New Year celebration, which lasts for 3 consecutive days between April 13-15. What started as a ritual to wash away the bad and bring good luck in the new year, has evolved into a water fight spanning over the days. Anyone and everyone out on the streets is involved in the celebration. If you are visiting during this time, be prepared and bring a squirt gun!
The Shinbyu or Novitiation Ceremony
By Travel Life Experiences
This is a coming of age ceremony for all boys in Myanmar under 20 years old. The ceremony is to celebrate boys entering into the order of the monks, a duty required in the Buddhist tradition. This is the most important event for all Buddhists in Myanmar, and it is incredibly fascinating for any foreigner, as it is exciting and unusual all at the same time.
The boys (soon to be monks) get their heads shaved, then dressed in brightly coloured and intricate costumes with multi-coloured make-up symbolic of the look of a royal prince. The procession involves the boys sitting in a decorated Pandal or bamboo chairs, hoisted on the shoulders of the men of the family while the boys were ceremoniously carried above their heads, shaded with gold umbrellas. Depending on stature, the boys may be riding horses, oxes or elephants. After a delicious feast, the boys head into the monastery and are stripped down of their colourful costumes and left in their white undergarments. After the senior monks perform alms and prayers, they are transformed; by receiving their maroon robes after the ceremony, they become monks.
By Grassroots Nomad
I’m not normally a festival person, but INmusic is the perfect combination of chilled out, beach vibes, awesome music, cheap food and drinks, and incredible people. Plus camping! The music is varied and there is something for everyone to enjoy – from metal, to dance, hip hop and pop. If you have time, try to camp at least a few days before the festival starts to take advantage of the relaxed atmosphere (and to pitch your tent in the perfect spot)!
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
(Washington State, US)
By Small Town Washington
One of my favorite Washington festivals is the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. The valley’s agricultural fields burst with brilliant colors in every shade imaginable. And, the western backdrop is the Cascade Mountains. Attendees can walk through the fields ($5 parking fee), or visit the display gardens at RoozenGaard ($5)―noted as being the largest acreage of tulips in the world―and Tulip Town ($6), which has a windmill and lots of family-friendly activities, like trolley rides and face painting. There are even helicopter rides ($55-$60) over the tulip fields. If you decide to visit I suggest wearing waterproof shoes or rainboots as the fields are muddy. The festival is 1.5 hours north of Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., and twenty minutes away from the San Juan Islands.
Glas Denbury Music Festival
By RM Adventures
Glas-Denbury is an amazing small festival, which will put the smile on anyone’s face. There is so much colour and always something going on despite being really small. There’s an amazing vibe where anyone will have a dance with you, even around the campsite. Personally though the colour of the festival is quite amazing, literally everything is covered in colour! I highly recommend it to anybody who happens to be Devon.
By What Way Today
Recently renamed from Optimus Alive to NOS Alive, a few years ago we attended this festival in Lisbon and it ranks as one of our favourites. This year it runs in July meaning you’re sure to get great weather whilst listening to some great acts. Not only is it minutes from the city centre of Lisbon, but it’s right by the coast meaning you get a refreshing breeze for when things hot up. It’s not a massive festival in terms of size which means you have more of a chance of getting up close and personal with the bands and DJs on stage. This year it’s a throwback to the 90s and 2000s with Radiohead, Arcade Fire, The Pixies, and The Chemical Brothers all set to play. As if all that wasn’t enough, you can explore the picturesque city of Lisbon during the day and eat some amazing bacalhau and custard tarts.
Festival of Lights
By Miss Happy Feet
The festival of lights is also known as Diwali or Deepavali , a festival celebrated on the Hindu month of Kartik (October/ November) by those of Hindu faith, signifying the triumph of good over evil (light dispels darkness). On this very day, beautiful small clay oil-lamps and colourful decorations will surely fascinate you, especially the skillfully created “ Kolams”. These intricate floral designs on the floor are made from coloured rice and powder, created to welcome diety Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth. Our Hindu friends will hold open houses (a tradition in Malaysia), where friends of all races and religion are invited to come together to share the joy and of course, some delicious traditional sweets!
Navratri is a festival that spans nine days and nights, the celebrations are in honour of the Divine Goddess and the nights erupt in a symphony of colour, lights, music and dance. Boys and girls, men and women, young and old sway to the hypnotic music as they dance the nights away rhythmically and gracefully.
The dance forms are called Garba and Dandiya. Women and girls eagerly wait for this occasion to flaunt their charm and don every night different gorgeous looking Chaniya Choli , stylishly designed contrast colour dupatta and traditional jewellery. Chaniya Choli is the traditional costume worn in Navratri festival, an authentic kutchi hand work and mirror work in vibrant shades. Men and boys wear traditional Kafni bottoms and Kediya for Dandiya nights. Thus, this festival of 9 days is rich in culture and heritage.
Boots and Hearts: Country Music Festival
By Travel Pray Love
This country music festival is the largest ever to be held on Canadian soil; and if you’re a country gal or guy at heart – this is the place to be! A 3 day festival of camping, trucks, red-solo-cups, a ton of beer and great live country music; what’s not to love? I love this festival because country folk really know how to party! And waiting in line for a few hours to get within feet of young stunners like Hunter Hayes, or great country music legends like Brad Paisley, Chris Stapleton or George Strait is definitely worth it!
This festival is sometimes referred to as the Glastonbury of East and it is not just about music, but also about art, culture, street food and of course the people – the Szitizens from all over the world. It features great concerts (Robbie Williams was opening the festival in 2015, this year, Rihanna will have the honour) of various music styles so if you are not into mainstream, you can entertain yourself very well too.
The festival presents Hungarian folk culture, but also theatre and dance performances and it cooperates with NGOs and local talented artists. It takes a week, which is actually more than enough to fall in love with the island life on Sziget. Last year, more than 400,000 people entered the gates of the Island of Freedom. This year will be my fourth time and I cannot wait for it!
Bristol International Balloon Festival
By Travelling and Dreaming
The international Balloon Fiesta is one of the greatest festivals held in the United Kingdom and one of the largest in Europe; the best thing is that it is completely free. It is held every August and it takes place in the large county state of Ashton Court in Bristol, where you can bring your tent and barbecue during the day or opt for eating from the many food stalls on the site! Up to you!
The festival last 4 days during which people from around the world bring their hot air balloons to participate in mass ascents every morning and evening where as many as 100 hot air balloons ascend nearly at the same time. It is absolutely scenic! Apart for the balloons ascents, the festival counts with the Night Glow, for me, one of the best attractions of the Fiesta, where the balloons light in accordance and rhythm of the music, finishing with fire works.
By Wyld Family Travel
The festival is 2 day event and epic medieval proportions. People dress in coustume, bands play music from the period, markets stalls, activities and food all from the a by gone era will wizz you back to the medieval age. Its amazing activities and events in every direction.
By Karolina and Patryk
TET is the most important festival in Vietnam. Every January or February Vietnamese people are celebrating New Year. We really loved the traditions of TET, like burning money, giving gifts to the ‘ghosts’ that live in every house or watching the amazing fireworks at midnight. TET is totally different than Songkran in Thailand or New Year in western countries. It’s not the loud holiday, people rather celebrate at home with their families and friends.
Secret Garden Party
By Where is Noodles?
For those of you who have not heard of SGP, it’s a lovingly-crafted, art-fuelled, four day music festival set in the idyllic landscaped grounds of Cambridgeshire.
But this festival is not just about the music – every corner of the festival’s rural setting is full of carefully curated masterpieces. Colourful strings of fairy lights illuminate hidden forests. One year they transformed the lake stage into a pirate ship, which you had to be punted out to. And not forgetting the giant thatched fox, which actually proves extremely useful as a meeting point for when you inevitably lose all of your friends.
Every year the festival sets an ambiguous theme for its fellow ‘gardeners’, which you and your friends will most likely end up deliberating over the whole year beforehand. Basically, just imagine one giant playground where you can let your inner-crazy-child completely loose, while prancing around in the silliest of fancy dress outfits.
What do you think is the best festival in the world? Tell us in the comments below.
Liked this post?
Pin it below!