1. La Tomatina – Buñol, Spain
Want to take part in the world’s BIGGEST food fight? La Tomatina is probably the craziest, messiest festival you’ll ever attend, and is certainly one to tick off the bucket list. Every year, thousands of people flood into the tiny town of Buñol in Spain, where 100,000 tonnes of tomatoes are dumped in the middle of the streets (cue the madness as everyone proceeds to pelt tomatoes at one another). The food fight lasts an hour and afterwards, many of the locals offer their hoses to wash down thousands of tomato-smothered victims. You’ll never look at the humble tomato in the same way.
2. Sziget – Budapest, Hungary
If there is one music festival you should attend this year, make it Sziget. An island in the middle of the hip city of Budapest comes alive as it is casually overtaken by over 400,000 punters from 95 countries around the world. Since the 90’s, Sziget has hosted some of the world’s hottest acts, and Rihanna, David Guetta, Muse and The Lumineers are amongst the epic line-up for 2016. Plus, Sziget is about so much more than just the music – the ‘Island of Freedom’ is home to a never-ending list of activities, including circus shows, art installations, dance parties…the list goes on. Get amongst it.
3. Amsterdam Pride – Amsterdam, Netherlands
For the most vibrant celebration of the year, head to Amsterdam during Gay Pride to celebrate all things equality! The city transforms into a colourful labyrinth of dance parties, canal parades, film screens, exhibitions and fun-filled events and gives you a chance to rock the most colourful, flamboyant outfit possible. It is certainly an experience you won’t forget in a hurry!
4. Hogmanay – Edinburgh, Scotland
You may think watching the ball drop at Times Square is the place to be on NYE, but Hogmanay in Edinburgh certainly gives it a run for its money. A celebration like no other, Hogmanay starts from the 30th of December and lasts for three days, with events taking place all over the city. To kick off the event, Hogmanay attendees take part in the Torchlight Procession, where they march through the city with fire torches – an epic spectacle to watch or join. On New Year’s Eve, the party goes into full swing, with parades, performances and one of the biggest firework displays on the planet.
5. Notting Hill Carnival – London, England
From the 28th to the 29th of August, London explodes into one of the largest and wildest street festivals in the world. The Notting Hill Carnival is a place for everyone to band together and celebrate cultural diversity through music, dancing and food. Don your dancing shoes and embrace the party spirit as you jive along the streets of London with a million other enthusiastic punters. Hurrah!
6. Oktoberfest – Munich, Germany
Officially the world’s biggest party, Oktoberfest draws a crowd of seven million people every year to Munich to celebrate the best three things to come out of Germany: beer, bratwurst and pretzels #amiright? Over the fortnightly celebrations, locals and visitors flock to the grounds to enjoy the 14 beer halls, 21 schnapps and wine tents, traditional music, dancing and all sorts of crazy German festivities. The dress code is Bavarian classic, lederhosen is optional and singing, hugging and dancing on tables is encouraged. Prost!
7. Las Fallas – Valencia, Spain
The Spanish seem to have a knack for hosting some of the world’s most unique and crazy festivals, and Las Fallas is no exception. Las Fallas, true to origins back in the 18th century, is a festival based around burning to the ground representations of people or events the locals of the town were skeptical. They used to use rag dolls to form these ‘representations’, but nowadays, you’ll find a spectacle of massive floats wheeled around the city. That is, before they are all thrown in a gigantic bonfire, or ‘Fallas’ as it is called. Yep, Las Fallas is just about as crazy as it is sounds. Burn, baby, burn!
8. Carnival of Venice – Venice, Italy
If you love masquerade parties, you will adore the Carnival of Venice. For two weeks, Venice transforms into a playground of festivities, where partygoers adorn masks and dress up in 18th century costume (think: feathers, over-the-top makeup and dresses galore), joining in with the many events taking over the city. From masked balls to gala dinners, elaborate processions to traditional ceremonies, you’ll find non-stop celebrations occurring among every canal, square and palace of this picturesque Italian city.