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International Festivals

Cultures the world over have always found plenty of reasons to celebrate. Be it mass food fights in the Spanish sun or impromptu comedy in a historic Scottish tavern – or even dancing hot desert nights away inside an art installation the size of a multi-story car park – there are plenty of weird and wonderful festivals around the globe to tickle even the most eccentric of fancies.

La Tomatina International Festival

La Tomatina

Held in the Valencian town of Buñol, La Tomatina represents the ultimate food fight. The tomato throwing event occurs on the last Wednesday of every August, having began life as post war entertainment in 1945 when a group of young people initiated a food fight during a street parade.

The event is a defining high point of Spain's summer, with tomato lorries arriving in the central area of the town at 11am packed with tomatoes previously bought by the locals, before water cannon fire sounds the beginning of the tomato slingling fight lasting approximately two hours.

Increasing popularity for the town-organised event sees feverish celebrations throughout the week leading up to La Tomatina, allowing visitors to holiday in the Valencia area before taking part in this action packed, fun filled highlight.

Burning Man

If Las Vegas is the shining beacon of westernised hedonism, Nevada's Black Rock city is its illuminating sibling for this alternative end of August arts festival in the western state.

As with many iconic festivals around the world, Burning Man began as a humble gathering organised by founders Larry Harvey and Jerry James, as they burnt a wooden frame on San Francisco’s Baker Beach, unaware they had stumbled on a future phenomenon. Tens of thousands of people now gather annually at Burning Man Festival, incorporating several miles of imaginatively surreal art, fashion and workshops in a fusion of creative minds.

The draw of this festival above many others is that it is participatory as opposed to a spectator event, ensuring everyone can get involved in anything from the catering and organisation to the art forms themselves, providing a uniquely engaging festival extravaganza.

Burning Man International Festival
Koningsdag International Festival


Amsterdam's Koningsdag or King's Day stems from the annual celebrations of Queen's Day in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which follows the previous national holiday celebrating Queen Juliana's birthday and Queen Beatrix before abdication in 2013 and Willem-Alexander's subsequent ascension to the throne.

Koningsdag has been celebrated in differing formats since 31 August 1885, with various dates set aside in recognising the royal hierachy with one of Holland's biggest street parties of the year.

The final weekend of April is now reserved for the festivities, involving locals across the city enjoying open air celebrations and markets awash with patriotic waves of orange colour, cascading throughout the city streets and winding canal areas.

Galways Oyster Festival

Fly from Manchester Airport to Knock Airport where you can be within an hour's drive from Galway's Oyster Festival, featuring the World Oyster Opening Championship as part of a sea-food based foodie's delight befitting the throwback fairytale Irish city.

Medieval architecture amid throwback wood panelled public houses and winding cobbled streets are the majestic setting for the most internationally acclaimed Irish Festival alongside St.Patrick's day, and celebrates the Galway Native Oyster which is unique to the region.

The 1954 initiated festival includes tasting events take place among some of the finest eateries in Galway, while live music and cooking demonstrations complete this end of September food based paradise.

Galway Oyster Festival
Edinburgh Fringe International Festival

Edinburgh Fringe Festival

There aren't many festivals across the globe which encapsulate everything a festival should be as a definition, but Edinburgh's Fringe Festival in Scotland's beautiful capital city comes closer than most.

The largest arts festival in the world takes place over several weeks in August each year, with Edinburgh's ready made platform for the creative realm seeing thousands of shows performed across hundreds of stages of all shapes and sizes.

Whether you seek dark comedy, slapstick, ballet or critically acclaimed theatrical feats, you can be sure that the Edinburgh Fringe Festival will offer something for everyone to enjoy in this comedy, music and theatre epicentre as a city wide testement to the cream of the arts world. 

Taormina Film Festival

The historic Sicilian Film Festival began in 1955 has been permanently resident in the small town commune of Taormina since 1971, having since seen silver screen luminaries such as Robert De Niro and Marlon Brando grace its dramatic setting in its heady position as the Academy Awards equivalent in Italy.

Fly into Palermo and enjoy the view from the picturesque Greek amphitheatre overlooking the Sicilian landscape. The Taormina Film Festival honours the best of Italian and foreign films, with awards given additional integrity due to them being chosen by industry experts such as screenwriters and producers.

Taormina Film Festival
Chinese New Year Festival

Chinese New Year

Beijing is known as throwing the biggest party for Chinese New Year as the nation's capital, although this notorious exhibition of spectacular colours and giant dragon puppets under firework lit skies is often celebrated across the world.

Celebrated on Monday 8th February in 2016 as the Chinese calendar moves into a new year, expect to witness a vibrant festival atmosphere like no other. Many traditions and myths of Chinese folklore are integrated into brightly decorated temples, markets and homes of the nation and beyond in bringing in the new year in style.