Festivals Around the World

28 Jan 2019

Stuck for ideas on where to go next? Find inspiration in our month-by-month guide to epic events across the globe in 2019...

January: Sydney Festival

When: 9th - 27th

Where: Sydney, Australia

Sydney has played host to this buzzing celebration of art, music, theatre and dance since 1977. Events take place across the city centre, from Hyde Park to the Opera House, and the inspiring schedule includes a special showcase of artists from Indigenous communities. 

February: Chiang Mai Flower Festival

When: 1st - 3rd

Where: Chiang Mai, Thailand

This visual feast has been running for more than 40 years, and Thailand’s colourful reputation shines bright – you’ll get a real taste of local culture in all its exotic vibrancy. As well as glorious flower arrangements in Suan Buak Haad gardens, you’ll see a parade and the crowning of ‘Miss Chiang Mai Flower’. 

March: Trinidad Carnival

When: 4th - 5th

Where: Trinidad & Tobago

Though it’s one of the smaller islands in the Caribbean, Trinidad still manages to pack a punch with its yearly carnival. Grab yourself a pot of pelau – a carnival favourite of rice, meat, pigeon peas and coconut milk – and soak up the atmosphere as the sun blazes, music pumps and buoyant locals fill you with good vibes. Calypso and soca plays all day, as the streets are filled with masses of flamboyant dancers in dazzling outfits. One of the Caribbean’s best-loved carnivals, this is an unabashed celebration of life, love and music.

April: Cherry blossom picnics

When: various dates

Where: Japan

Known as sakura to locals, Japanese cherry blossom trees attract endless admirers every year. As spring arrives, a favourite way to enjoy these bright-pink marvels is to arrange a picnic (hanami) under the trees. Head to Tokyo’s Shinjuku Gyoen garden for incredible views. 

May: Lantern Floating Ceremony

When: 27th

Where: Oahu, Hawaii, USA

Held annually, this emotive event celebrates those we have lost. Try fish delicacy poke as you take in water rituals, hula dancing and conch players, then look on as lanterns are sent out to sea…

June: Dragon Boat Carnival

When: 14th - 16th

Where: Hong Kong

A yearly event that is said to have originated 2,000 years ago, this jaw-dropping extravaganza juxtaposes ancient and 21st-century elements of Chinese culture, as traditional dragon boats race around Victoria Harbour under the bright lights of its ultra-modern high-rise skyline. And with street entertainers on every corner, there’s a real festival atmosphere.

July: Calgary Stampede

When: 5th - 14th

Where: Alberta, Canada

Steeped in true cowboy tradition, the ‘Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth’ boasts huge parades, concerts, rodeo shows and wagon racing!

August: Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

When: 2nd - 11th

Where: South Dakota, USA

The riding season goes full throttle when more than 500,000 bikers from across the globe descend on the Black Hills of Dakota. Rock bands entertain riders and local food vendors take part in the ‘street food throw down’.

September: Rugby World Cup

When: 20th September - 2nd November

Where: Japan

For the first time in its 32-year history, the Rugby World Cup will take place in Japan. And with the country home to some awesome sporting stadiums, it’s bound to raise the bar for Rugby World Cup celebrations. Expect plenty of local traditions incorporated into the festivities, creating a wonderfully memorable once-in-a-lifetime event. The icing on the cake? Rugby crowds are said to be the friendliest and most sociable of all sports! 

October: Day of the Dead

When: 31st October - 2nd November

Where: Mexico

Honour the dead and guide them through the spiritual realm at this vivid, vibrant festival – now world-famous thanks to its strong visual identity. The whole nation joins in the revelry, the streets fill with music and colour, and thousands pay their respects at specially constructed public altars.

November: Formula 1 Grand Prix

When: 28th November - 1st December

Where: Abu Dhabi, UAE

A mammoth venue, the uber-modern Yas Marina Circuit attracts some of the world’s most famous faces. Join the crowd and watch Formula 1’s elite drivers battle for the top spot on the podium. 

December: Christmas City

When: until early January

Where: Gothenburg, Sweden

Here, the snow-covered streets come straight out of a festive fairy tale. Add row upon row of fairy lights, traditional wooden stalls and  one of Europe’s biggest Christmas markets, and you’re in Yuletide heaven. Tuck into local treats, from cinnamon buns to pickled herring.


Add a festival to your next self-drive holiday or city break. To book, browse our range of holidays and talk to our Experts today. 


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