From cheese rolling in the UK to Carnival across Europe – spring is a time when everyone seems to start to shake off the winter blues and go a little big spring crazy. Here are five festivals not to miss in Europe this Spring where you can go forth and enjoy!
1. Ireland & Germany: Heard of St Patrick’s Day?
Something to do with Ireland, a saint, a snake and some Guinness. Everyone loves it – the Americans go bonkers for it – and plenty of places in Europe are happy to do the same. Even Ireland.
Dublin makes this year the biggest festival they’ve had, with a four day long celebration with all kinds of arts, history, and culture events, as well as a parade and much revelry. There are over 30 events planned and 3,000 performances – so there’s plenty to keep you busy until you hit the bars! To see the changes to the parade route this year check here.
Enjoy these celebrations in Dublin and you are sure to get a good Irish welcome and leave with a lot more friends than you came with! Find out about this year’s programme of events here
St Patrick’s in Munich
Yes in Germany. The Bavarian’s love to celebrate St Patrick’s Day – maybe because they can’t so ‘no’ to a party – but they wait for the weekend instead of 17th March and make a whole weekend of it. On 22 March join the crowds lining the streets of Munich in a parade to mark this ever popular celebration of all things Irish! Pick up the parade to Odeonsplatz where after the traditional blessing of the shamrock there will be live Celtic music and dancing, stalls selling beer and general merriment.
Go along and paint the town green!
2. Las Fallas in Valencia
This is one fire-loving noisy festival – even by Spanish standards! This is a five day long festival in Valencia with parades, paper-mache caricatures, fireworks, cannons booming and a lot of people celebrating in the street. Somewhere between carnival and a fire fiesta (it originally was with medieval torches that were placed to defend the city), Fallas ends with everything being set fire to and the giant colourful parade figures (ninots) exploding with fireworks. The last day is really impressive (and very loud) – you can see the whole city lit with the fires. The celebration has taken place for over 200 years and is definitely worth checking out! See the programme here
3. Netherlands: King’s Day
If you love the colour orange and some serious street partying then King’s Day in Holland is the one for you. Known as the biggest party of the year, King’s Day (or “Koningsdag” if you speak the lingo), is a celebration of the Dutch King Willem-Alexander and features street parties, live music event, boat parties, and flea markets (the vrijmarkt or free market) all through Dutch cities and a line up of concerns. Formerly known as Queen’s Day – this celebration is as traditional as it gets and the biggest party you will see in the Netherlands all year!
There are always concerts and live music events the week before, with the big party the night before so bring your dancing shoes. Hit up Amsterdam or Rotterdam for an experience that you won’t soon forget. And wear orange!
Book a place to stay
If you’re heading to Holland for this all day/ all night affair you might want a place to rest your head when you’re done celebrating. Check out The Flying Pig hostel in Amsterdam (where they sure like to party…) or Room Hostel Rotterdam in the cool port city only 45 minutes from Amsterdam. There will be big celebrations in both cities so get your orange on and come and celebrate King’s Day in the Netherlands!
4. Seville’s Feria de Abril (April Fair) 30 April – 6 May
This celebration of spring and beginning of Easter is a week long affair of festivities including parades, partying, amazing traditional costumes and lots of late nights!
Also known as the Spring Fair in Seville, it takes place every April and ends with a big bang at midnight on the last night with a huge firework display. A Spanish tradition since 1824, expect to see the Sevillanos letting their hair down, dressing up, and partying all night long. The fair takes place two weeks after Semana Santa (holy week preceding Easter) – this year it’s from 30th April – 6th May – and the whole city revels in this traditional party that is day and night until the end! Everyone is encouraged to dress in traditional clothes – so get yourself to Seville and get partying! Find out more here
5. Carnival & Semana Santa
For those of you who enjoyed your pancakes on Shrove Tuesday you’ll know that carnival has kicked off. Not just in Rio de Janeiro but all over Europe too. Some of the biggest parties are held in Venice and Tenerife, but you’ll also see some serious partying in Nice, Cologne, Sitges near Barcelona and Cadiz.