13+ Best Travel Events In The World: Places To Be When The Time Comes

The beauty of local events is that they can renew the whole experience of travelling. Even for areas you have been to, the atmosphere, the people, the activities would all change on special occasions.

These events showcase a region's cultural identity, allowing travellers to witness ancient rituals, indulge in traditional cuisine, and engage with local customs.

Join us as we dive into the best travel events in the world, where the social fabric of communities fosters a sense of unity, pride, and shared experiences are presented.

1. Carnival of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
2. Oktoberfest (Germany)
3. Holi Festival (India)
4. Running of the Bulls (Spain)
5. Rioja Wine Harvest Festival (Spain)
6. Dia de los Muertos - Day of the Dead (Mexico)
7. Chinese New Year (China)
8. Glastonbury Festival (United Kingdom)
9. Lantern Festival (Taiwan)
10. Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Scotland)
11. Mardi Gras (New Orleans, USA)
12. Songkran Water Festival (Thailand)
13. Cherry Blossom Festival (Japan)
14. Carnival of Venice (Italy)
15. Carnival of Nice (France).

1. Carnival of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)

Carnival of Rio de Janeiro Brazil
Where stages come to you. Photo by Ferran Feixas on Unsplash

When: Feb 9-17 (2024)

Where: City of Rio de Janeiro

Price: Free

Website: riocarnaval.org

What to do:

  • Watch four days of Sambadrome parades
  • Join blocos - street parties and bailes - Carnival Balls
  • Join in the parades.

Since 1973, the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro has been where Brazilian culture is embodied and celebrated. During the festival, approximately two million people walk and dance on the street of Brazil.

The event is a chance for dancers and performers from the top samba schools to show what they’re made of to millions of visitors. And there are the elaborate and flashy costumes to marvel at, all a part of showcasing the schools’ creativity.

Every square inch of the city comes alive with street parties (Bloco) after the festivity formally ends. They are the heart and soul of the carnival, with a more casual and relaxed atmosphere.

CabinZero tips: Don’t forget to get away from the mayhem by taking a dip in the beautiful beaches, particularly the Copacabana and Leblon. Rio Downtown is not the only place where the fun is.

2. Oktoberfest (Germany)

Oktoberfest Germany
There is more to it than just beer. Photo by karepa - stock.adobe.com

When: Sat, Sep 16, 2023 – Tue, Oct 3, 2023

Where: Munich, Germany.

Price: Free 

Website: https://www.oktoberfest.de/en

What to do

  • Try Bavarian cuisine 
  • Follow a wide range of parade
  • Of course, drinking German beer!

Dated back all the way to 1810, Oktoberfest is now a 213 years old event. The festival was the celebration of the wedding of King Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Bavaria. It is an unforgettable experience that showcases the warmth and hospitality that is deeply ingrained in German culture.

Indulge in the finest German beers, carefully brewed according to centuries-old recipes, while feasting on hearty Bavarian cuisine, including pretzels, sausages, and sauerkraut.

As the night progresses, traditional oompah bands show up and fill the air with lively music. The festival picture is completed with the locals who dress in traditional lederhosen and dirndls engage in spirited dances.

Unlike the common belief, Oktoberfest is a family-friendly travel event. For entertainment, there are roller coasters, shooting galleries, etc. When your kids get hungry, you can get them all different types of food, from sweets such as popcorn to unforgettable savouries like bratwurst mit pommes frites (grilled sausage with french fries) or Brathendl (roasties chicken).

3. Holi Festival (India)

Holi Festival (India)
What colour would you be? Photo by Katarzyna Leszczynsk - stock.adobe.com

When: March 24- March 25 (2024)

Where: Various locations in India (Udaipur, Rajasthan, Mumbai, etc.)

Price: Free 

Website: No official website

What to do:

  • Throw powdered pigments at others and be thrown at
  • Dance to traditional music and celebrate with locals
  • Savour festive sweets and drinks during the celebration.

Being one of the most popular festivals of colours and the celebration of Holi in India, it will surely paint your adventure with wonders. As winter gives way to spring, people from all walks of life gather to partake in this excitement.

Come and embrace the spirit of unity while coloured water is playfully thrown at each other, breaking barriers and blurring boundaries. Don’t be shy and try to dance to traditional music, feast on delectable sweets, and let loose in the infectious laughter and joy that flows through the air.

Holi is not only a merriment of the changing seasons but also a symbol of the victory of good over evil and the importance of unity and inclusiveness. It is a cultural spectacle that will leave you with lasting memories of a charming transformative experience.

4. Running of the Bulls (Spain)

Running of the Bulls (Spain)
All the thrill you can ask for is here. Photo by San Fermin Pamplona - Navarra on Unsplash

When: July 7th to July 14th (2024)

Where: Pamplona, Spain (part of the San Fermín festival).

Price: Free (both to spectate and to run)

Website: https://www.sanfermin.com/en/ 

What to do:

  • Avoid being gored
  • Enjoy the lively festivities throughout the week, including parades and concerts
  • Experience the rich Spanish culture and traditional celebrations.

Brace yourself for an electrifying surge of adrenaline as you participate in the world-renowned San Fermín festival in Pamplona, Spain. It is where the heart-pounding tradition of the Running of the Bulls is held.  With the thunderous roar of a rocket, the event officially began. 

Accompany thousands of participants as they gather to test their courage and agility, running alongside bulls through the historic cobblestone streets. The flow of daily life is broken, giving way to this centuries-old spectacle's raw energy and intensity. 

Made famous by Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises work, it is the most well-known (and perhaps anticipated) bull runs event in the world. Once the risky run and the bullring fight are over, there are sangria, music, and fun all over the city streets.

5. Rioja Wine Harvest Festival (Spain)

Rioja Wine Harvest Festival (Spain)

There is also an exciting battle waiting for you. BigSus, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When: 16 - 23 September (2023) 

Where: Rioja region, Northern Spain.

Price: Free 

Website: https://lariojaturismo.com/en 

What to do:

  • Join in the grape-picking and grape-stomping, and harvesting as well
  • Explore vineyards and learn about the winemaking process
  • Savour some of the world's finest wines through tours and tastings.

The festival is a time-honoured tradition of grape-stomping, where you can feel the grapes squish beneath your feet, symbolising the culmination of a year's hard work and dedication. It is the time to relax and let your mind wander to where it desires.

Remember not to miss the colourful parades, where locals perform traditional customs showcasing rich cultural heritage through dance, music, and captivating performances.  To ones who hunger for exciting activities, woodchopping and the Basque handball tournament are what you must try. 

6. Dia de los Muertos - Day of the Dead (Mexico)

Dia de los Muertos - Day of the Dead (Mexico)
Dia de los Muertos is a celebration of life and death. Photo by Oleg Znamenskiy - stock.adobe.com

When: November 1st and 2nd (2023)

Where: Various locations in Mexico (Mexico City, Oaxaca, etc.)

Price: Free

Website: https://dayofthedead.holiday/ 

What to do:

  • Honor deceased loved ones by creating colourful altars and decorating graves
  • Visit cemeteries and witness beautiful candlelit tributes
  • Participate in lively parades filled with music, dancing, and stunning costumes.

Despite its name, Dia de los Muertos is a festivity of life, a fusion of indigenous traditions and Catholic rituals. Every year from October 31st to November 2nd, the cities and towns transform into kaleidoscopes of colours. Beautifully decorated altars with marigolds create a sacred space to remember and connect with loved ones who have passed away. 

Along the street, elegant sugar skulls and intricately crafted papel picado decorations symbolise the ephemeral nature of life. For ones who travel to Mexico, especially at this time, one is bound to try the local offerings such as tamales, pan de muerto, and sugar skull-shaped candies.

7. Chinese New Year (China)

Chinese New Year (China)
Chinese New Year is one of the few rare occasions you can see this creature. Photo by Jason Wells - stock.adobe.com

When: Late January to mid-February (dates vary each year, based on the lunar calendar).

Where: Almost every region across China and Chinatowns worldwide

Price: Free

Website: No official website

What to do:

  • Watch vibrant dragon and lion dances in the streets
  • Enjoy elaborate fireworks displays and traditional performances
  • Participate in the time-honoured custom of giving red envelopes (hongbao) for good luck.

Catch a flight to this vibrant tapestry of Chinese culture as you partake in the enchanting traditions of Chinese New Year. If you want to experience the whole festival, remember to spare a lot of time. Why? It is celebrated for almost 15 days. 

Experience the joyous atmosphere, marked by colourful parades, mesmerising dragon dances, and the crackling sound of firecrackers filling the air. Once the time comes, symbolic rituals, such as the giving of red envelopes for good luck and lantern release, will take place. 

While you are here, have all the fun you can; traditional delicacies, like dumplings and tangyuan (soup ball), will provide all the energy you need. However, getting to China around this time can be a battle. 

8. Glastonbury Festival (United Kingdom)

Glastonbury Festival (United Kingdom)
It’s always exciting here in Glastonbury. Czampal, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When: Wed, Jun 26 – Sun, Jun 30 (2024)

Where: Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset, England.

Price: Prices vary and might need to be purchased in advance

Website: http://glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/ 

What to do:

  • Experience an incredible lineup of music performances across various stages
  • Immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of one of the world's largest and most iconic music festivals
  • Enjoy a diverse range of arts, entertainment, and cultural activities on-site.

Step into the captivating world of Glastonbury, where the legendary music festival is waiting to be discovered. As famous artists from diverse genres take the stage against the backdrop of the picturesque English countryside, lose yourself in the feast of melody.

Wander through the sprawling areas, immersive art installations, and a vibrant array of food and crafts. There are approximately 210,000 people united by their love for music and the electric atmosphere.

9. Lantern Festival (Taiwan)

Lantern Festival (Taiwan)
The light we all have missed. Photo by Richie Chan - stock.adobe.com

When: Sat, Feb 24, 2024

Where: Celebrated throughout Taiwan, with larger events in cities like Taipei and Pingxi.

Price: Free

Website: No official website

What to do:

  • Observe the mesmerising sight of thousands of lanterns lighting up the sky.
  • Take part in the traditional releasing of sky lanterns
  • Enjoy performances, parades, and street food during the festivities.

Prepare to be captivated by the mesmerizing beauty of Taiwan's Lantern Festival, where the night sky is brightened by thousands of lanterns. The Lantern Festival is a true feast for the senses, providing a glimpse into Taiwan's captivating traditions and warm hospitality.

As dusk settles, the atmosphere becomes enchanted, with lanterns of various shapes, sizes, and designs lighting up the surroundings. If you are looking for the best locations, we have 3 for you: 

  • Pingxi: The Pingxi Lantern Festival in New Taipei City, Taiwan, is a cherished celebration held on the 15th day of the first lunar month.
  • Yanshui Beehive: Instead of traditional fireworks, the festival features "beehive fireworks" that shoot off in all directions like a shower of light. It is a religious way of receiving protection from the deity Guanyu who will drive away evil spirits and pestilence. 
  • Bombing Master Handan: The festival is in Miaoli County, Taiwan. It blends Taoist rituals, cultural performances, and fireworks displays. During the grand procession, the Bombing Masters lead the way, enduring firecrackers and fireworks without harm, symbolising divine protection and strength. How did they do it? They stand in the middle of the fireworks. 

10. Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Scotland)

Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Scotland)
Be careful, or you will miss a stage on the street. Festival Fringe Society, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When: Fri, Aug 4 – Mon, Aug 28 (2023)

Where: Various venues throughout Edinburgh, Scotland.

Price: Ticket prices vary depending on the shows and events.

Website: http://edfringe.com/ 

What to do:

  • Explore a diverse array of performances, including comedy, theater, music, and dance
  • Discover up-and-coming artists and renowned acts from around the world
  • Engage in the lively atmosphere of street performances and pop-up events throughout the city.

Feel an exhilarating artistic journey at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, a celebration of the arts hosted in the captivating Scottish city. For three weeks in August, Edinburgh is home to artists from all assortments of theatre, comedy, music, and dancing. 

Try making some conversations with artists, fellow festival-goers, and art enthusiasts. The sense of community and shared appreciation for creativity is unreal. The festival is a melting pot of cultures, ideas, and perspectives, providing a platform for artists to showcase their talents and for audiences to immerse themselves.

11. Mardi Gras (New Orleans, USA)

Mardi Gras (New Orleans, USA)
A different sense of carnival. Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

When: Tue, Feb 13 (2024)

Where: Celebrated in various cities, but most famously in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

Price: Free

Website: http://mardigrasneworleans.com/ 

What to do:

  • Join in colourful and festive parades with vibrant floats and extravagant costumes
  • Savour traditional Creole and Cajun cuisine, especially king cake
  • Participate in lively street parties with music, dancing, and revelry.

Prepare to be swept away by the electrifying energy and vibrant carnival atmosphere of Mardi Gras in the heart of New Orleans. A kaleidoscope of colours, filled with exuberant parades, elaborate floats, and masked revellers, is the new normal.

Fun fact: Even though the event is held in New Orleans, Mardi Gras has its root in medieval Europe and was brought to the U.S. by French Settlers. 

Often considered an American’s original art form, jazz permeates the air of the city and sets the stage for spontaneous dancing. Even if it’s not for the event, New Orleans is still a one-of-a-kind place in the US you must visit at least once.

12. Songkran Water Festival (Thailand)

Songkran Water Festival (Thailand)
It's fun for the whole family. Photo by schamin - stock.adobe.com

When: Sat, Apr 13 – Mon, Apr 15 (2024)

Where: In various locations (Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, etc.)

Price: Free

Website: No official website

What to do:

  • Take part in the famous water fights and splashing, symbolising purification and washing away misfortunes
  • Experience traditional ceremonies and rituals, such as pouring scented water on Buddha images
  • Enjoy cultural performances, food markets, and festivities during this joyous celebration.

Escape the scorching summer heat and dive into the exhilarating water fights that mark the annual Songkran festival. A renewal, unity, and an enduring spirit of Thailand are what the Songkran Water Festival is about.

The original word is "saṃkrānti" in the Sanskrit language, which has evolved into "Songkran" in Thai. The name is used to refer to the traditional Thai New Year celebration according to the solar calendar. 

In temples, as part of the Songkran Festival, fragrant water is gently poured over revered Buddha statues. As Thai people believe in the purification of water, don’t hesitate to splash water on anybody. It is the way of washing misfortunes of the past to welcome a fresh start as the New Year comes.

13. Cherry Blossom Festival (Japan)

Cherry Blossom Festival (Japan)
Come and swim in the sea of pink. Photo by mos design on Unsplash

When: Late March to early April (exact timing varies depending on the region and weather conditions).

Where: Various locations in Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, etc.)

Price: Free

Website: No official website

What to do:

  • Take part in hanami, the tradition of picnicking under the cherry blossom trees
  • Drink Japanese Sake under the cherry blossom trees
  • Enjoy traditional Japanese food from street vendours.

As April comes, so does Japan's Cherry Blossom Festival. Gradually, the country changes its clothes to a new pink coat. Do you know that its origins can be traced back to the Nara Period (710-794)? Then, the aristocrats held gatherings to appreciate the blossoming plum trees.

In the modern era, the focus shifted to cherry blossoms, which has become a widespread cultural practice. People gather in parks, relax and breathe in the gentle fragrance and are serenaded by the soft rustling of petals in the breeze.  

Don’t forget to learn about the traditional tea ceremonies while surrounded by the enchanting ambience of cherry blossoms. Either through photography or painting, the beauty of this flower is hard to miss.

The Cherry Blossom Festival is a celebration of renewal, hope, and the fleeting nature of life, providing an unforgettable experience that encapsulates the essence of Japanese culture.

14. Carnival of Venice (Italy)

Carnival of Venice (Italy)
Can you feel the mystery? Photo by Marc Vandecasteele on Unsplash

When: January 27 - February 13 (2024)

Where: Venice, Italy.

Price: Free

Website: https://www.carnevale.venezia.it/ 

What to do:

  • Witness the enchanting sight of elaborately dressed Venetian masks and costumes
  • Attend grand masquerade balls and parties held in historic palaces and venues
  • Enjoy the unique water parades and performances on gondolas and boats along the city's canals.

Step into a world of elegance, the mystery of the enchanting Carnival of Venice. This centuries-old tradition brings the city's narrow canals, picturesque squares, and ornate palaces to life with a carnival of masks, costumes, and festivities.

Street performances, live music, and impromptu dance parties bring life to every corner, creating a captivating ambience. Around the historic palazzos throughout the city, masquerade balls are held where you can mingle with fellow revellers, elegantly swirling across the dance floor.

15. Carnival of Nice (France)

Carnival of Nice (France)
When the streets are the stages. Photo by litchi cyril - stock.adobe.com

When: Fri, February 9 - Sun, February 25 (2024)

Where: Nice, France.

Price: Free

Website: en.nicecarnaval.com

What to do:

  • Marvel at the massive and colourful floats during the carnival parades
  • Experience the "Battle of Flowers," where flower-covered floats pass through the streets, and flowers are thrown to the crowd
  • Enjoy the festive atmosphere with music, street performances, and traditional Niçoise cuisine.

As one of the largest and oldest carnivals in the world, the city of Nice becomes a playground of colour, music that you should not miss.

Amid the carnival ambience, you have the opportunity to witness the grandeur of elaborate floats decorated with intricate designs and animated characters as they parade through the streets.

These magnificent creations serve as captivating showcases of artistry, each float narrating its own distinctive story and captivating the imagination of onlookers who pause to admire them.

The tradition of throwing flower-made confetti infuses the carnival atmosphere. This simple yet joyous gesture allows people to actively participate in the festivities, adding to the vibrant energy that fills the air.

H2. Choose The Best One For You

Since these events have different aesthetics and purposes, there might be ones that are better suited to you. Refer to ours, then make your own list of the best travel events in the world, and share it with us! And if you have first-hand experience with these events, even better, why not share with everyone in the comment section? We are waiting for you! 

Bui Hoang Hai

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