There is nothing quite like a festival to get your creative juices flowing, especially when you can stay in and enjoy the food, drink and culture of amazing cities and countries. Where can you find the most vibrant festivals around the world? Start here for a few top ideas to help you plan your travels.
Rio de Janeiro Carnival
It might not be Brazil’s capital city, but Rio de Janeiro puts on what is arguably the world’s greatest carnival. It is certainly the biggest one. It is held annually before Lent, so check your dates because Easter changes every year. The carnival is packed with millions of revelers who watch the magnificent floats parading through the streets, enjoy the samba dancing from the many samba schools in the city, and then head to cafés, bars, restaurants and nightclubs to relax or continue the festivities after a spectacular day.
You should book accommodation early because the city’s hotels and apartments fill up quickly for carnival. The food is eclectic, so expect plenty of Portuguese influences crossed with South American flair along with lots of international cuisine. Take a trip to the magnificent statue of Christ the Redeemer that stands sentinel over Rio, and ask local guides in your hotel where you can go safely as there some areas that tourists should not visit.
Havana Jazz Festival
Cuba has been opening up recently, and its Caribbean setting is perfect for this February festival, which is its first one dating back to 1978. Many of the legends of jazz have played here, including Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach and Chucho Valdes. Valdes is now the artistic director and keeps a stream of jazz luminaries and younger up-and-coming musicians to delight festival goers.
Cigar aficionados will love Cuba’s tobacco offerings, and Havana is an historic city with plenty of museums and places of interest. For places to stay, you could look to to find what will suit you and your family or friends. You can find very reasonably priced accommodations when you explore what’s on offer. That means more money left over for good food and drinks!
Chinese New Year
You don’t have to go to China to enjoy the New Year festivities, although it is a thrilling experience if you do! Countries around the world have significant Chinese communities, and many of those in major cities head out on the streets to celebrate. Expect to see vibrantly colored dragons, lanterns, flowers and symbolic clothing to usher in the Chinese New Year, and don’t forget that there will be stunning displays of fireworks.
Remember to check your dates because the Chinese calendar differs from the calendar used in most of the rest of the world. Celebrations usually start on Chinese New Year’s Eve and run for 15 days. You can always find something to enjoy.
Depending on where you are for the celebrations, you’ll have a good choice of places to stay, from quality bed-and-breakfast establishments to luxury hotels. When you’re out joining in the celebrations and hunger sets in, head for a Chinese restaurant or pick up something delicious from a food stall.
Mud, mud, glorious mud
It may sound strange, but the Boryeong Mud Festival in South Korea is hard to top. It is essentially mud all the way and was devised by a cosmetics company that featured mud from Boryeong in its beauty products. When you’re fed up with mud pools, mud slides and mud skiing, you can take in acupuncture, live music and an enormous fireworks display at the end of the festival.
The festival is very popular, so make sure you book your accommodations well in advance. You will also want to take the time to explore the many attractions in the country and sample delicious Korean food.
The Glastonbury Festival in England is probably the most iconic music festival running. Set in the West Country county of Somerset, it has provided entertainment both musical and otherwise to millions of people since 1970. Theater, circus acts, comedians and cabaret are there, along with the crème de la crème of rock and alternative music. Past acts have included U2, The Rolling Stones, Coldplay, Beyoncé, Arcade Fire, Adele, Muse, Stevie Wonder, Radiohead and David Bowie.
You will see dozens of performers in all performing arts genres, and it’s one of the hottest festival tickets on the planet. If you’re headed there, be prepared to camp. There are accommodations in and around the town of Glastonbury but not within easy walking distance.
If you’re planning to attend a festival in 2017, you can’t go wrong with any of these choices. Start planning now so you don’t miss out on any of the fun!