Are you thinking of spending some time this winter in Europe, or do you already have a trip planned? Europe is an exciting place to visit any time of the year, but during the winter, there are some unique festivals going on. If you think you’d like hanging out at one of these awesome events, then look into taking a tour of Europe, which may include a stop at one of these festivals or at least a chance to get there!
1) Cologne Carnival, Germany
If you thought Oktoberfest was crazy, then it’s nothing compared to the Cologne Carnival. Obviously, anything with the word “carnival” in the name is sure to be a great time — especially when you’re doing it the German way. If you come here, wear the most ridiculous Snuggie you can find, because you’ll be out partying on the streets with lots of beer, music, food, parades, and so much more. But, don’t worry…if you need to warm up, you can just pop into one of the many pubs or restaurants participating in the festival, which begins on November 11th at 11:11 AM. Make a wish!
2) Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, Scotland
Who would have thought that one of the best New Year’s parties takes place off the mainland? Here in Scotland, U.K., you’ll find one of the coolest parties to say goodbye to 2017 and welcome in 2018. Edinburgh’s Hogmanay features street parties, concerts, incredible light shows, and one of the most remarkable firework displays in the world. Seriously, can you think of a better way to spend New Year’s Eve, because we can’t!
3) Up Helly AA, Scotland
Yes, Scotland is kind of the place to be this winter on your tour of Europe, especially if you love awesome festivals. If you don’t get to make it to their New Year’s party (or even if you do) don’t miss out on Up Helly AA, which is truly the only festival of its kind. Up Helly AA takes place on the Shetland Islands and celebrates the region’s Viking heritage with a procession of people dressed up as Vikings, holding torches. It’s also a good way to keep warm!
4) New Year’s Dive, The Netherlands
The Dutch may have a reputation to be all sorts of things, and what they do during this festival may not surprise you. If you truly don’t mind the cold, then take your Eurotrip off the deep end this year…literally. Every year on New Year’s Day in The Netherlands, the Dutch strip off their winter wardrobe and head to the water for the most ridiculous polar plunge ever. It happens all over the country, but the most popular place to do it is Scheveningen. Are you brave enough?
5) Carnival of Binche, Belgium
This carnival is a little different than the one in the Cologne or the others going on in Europe during the winter. The Carnival of Binche in Belgium is another traditional festival that celebrates the Belgian culture with traditional costumes, masks, dances, and basically turns the city into a Medieval town. It all takes place in the few days leading up to Lent.
So, which festival will you want to join in on this year? These are just a few of the awesome festivals in Europe over the winter. If you need help getting there, book a tour!
Hana LaRock is originally from New York, though has called other places around the world her home for the last two years. She currently lives in Mexico and freelance travel writer. When she’s not working, she enjoys writing, reading, spending time with her dog, and of course, traveling. You can find her at www.hanalarockwriting.com.