One of the world’s most spectacular horticultural sights lies on the borders of historic Lisse, the centre of the Netherlands’ flower-growing region. Found to the south-west of Amsterdam, the Keukenhof Gardens open for seven weeks every year with a spectacular canvas of daffodils, hyacinths and – of course – tulips on offer. A remarkable assault on the senses, the festival celebrates its 67th anniversary from 24th March – 16th May this year with an arresting collection of more than 7 million bulbs in bloom, including 800 varieties of Holland’s most distinctive flower. There’s little wonder it’s referred to as the Garden of Europe.
On the 17th March each year, Ireland puts on a fantastic St Patrick’s Day party to honour its most revered religious patron. Thanks to the spread of Irish culture, the festival has grown into a global phenomenon, and today everywhere from New York to New Zealand takes part. While the parade and fireworks in Dublin may be renowned as the spiritual heart of the festivities, this is by no means to only way to celebrate. Take a look at some of these alternative activities across the Emerald Isle that you can enjoy during St Patrick’s Day.
What once began as a period of merrymaking just before Lent has transformed into a series of colourful events celebrated across the world. Carnivals are now some of the biggest and boldest parties on the planet, with masks, costumes and spectacular parades the norm. While Brazil may be renowned as the spiritual home of carnival, you can catch many of the most extravagant celebrations without even leaving the continent. Slip on your brightest outfit and check out our favourite carnivals in Europe to revel in the delightful madness.
If there’s one thing Europeans know how to do well, it’s how to put on a show. Thousands of different regional and national festivals take place across the continent each year, with everything from crazy carnivals to colourful floral celebrations. To inspire your own adventure, we’ve highlighted some of our favourite festivals in Europe this year.
Every spring, 1.7 billion tulips burst into bloom across the Netherlands, bringing a kaleidoscope of colour to fields and cities of this picturesque country. While only the unofficial national flower, Holland is still widely known as ‘the land of tulips’, and tours of the dazzling bright red, yellow and pink coloured meadows have become one of the most popular attractions in the country for both tourists and locals alike. With festivities ranging from flower parades to the incredible arrangements at the country’s most celebrated spring garden, see for yourself just why Holland is considered the tulip capital of the world.
With its picturesque canals, cosy wood panelled cafés and awesome activities, Amsterdam is one of the best cities to explore, even when the temperature drops. Fast becoming one of the hottest winter break destinations in Europe, we decided to take a look at the best reasons to visit the Netherlands‘ capital this festive season.
With Halloween fast approaching, the Bram Stoker Festival is the perfect activity for anyone looking for a spooky outing in Dublin. Taking place from 23-26th October, the city will come alive with creepy crawlies, gruesome ghouls and an array of frightening activities for you to sink your teeth into. This grisly event takes visitors on a walk through Dublin’s dark side, with heart-racing adventures and creepy living stories for adults and children alike.
Taking place each on the 19th September to the 4th October, Oktoberfest is one of the most important Bavarian festivals of the year. Held in a meadow outside Munich city centre, around 6.4 million visitors and locals alike come to the 16-day carnival to sing, dance and drink traditional German beer. The festival has been keeping its vibrant traditions alive since it began in 1810 as a celebration of the marriage of King Ludwig I. Oktoberfest offers beer-loving visitors a chance to taste local Bavarian beer, regional food and revel in the atmosphere of one of the world’s most iconic festivals.
Taking place from August 7th-31st, the Edinburgh Fringe holds the title as the largest arts festival in the world. A kaleidoscope of performance-based acts are spread across hundreds of stages, totalling over 3,000 shows. Thought of as a rite of passage for performers, the festival frequently draws the biggest names in the business, who perform alongside budding stars and fresh new talent.
The Belgian people are serious about beer, and they have every reason to be. The country boasts a rich beer heritage which dates back thousands of years, and to this day Belgium is regarded as one of the biggest and most prestigious beer producing countries in the world. Of course, you don’t just have to take our word for it, as the annual Belgian Beer Weekend in Brussels offers the perfect opportunity to sample the many different variations of the hoppy drink from the top brewers in the country.