Sometimes we travel to decompress and get away from the stress of daily life. Sometimes we travel for a family occasion. And sometimes we travel with a real purpose in mind: a festival.
These trips can be the most memorable vacations we ever take. To center travel plans around a specific event provides intention to your time away from home and a solid foundation for fun.
So whether you love raves, samba or beer, these famous festivals are a good place to start.
10. Oktoberfest – Munich, Germany
First off, let’s resolve a misconception about this legendary beer bash: it actually begins in September. The end of September to be exact. The festivities wind down two weeks later in early October or whenever the kegs run dry. The sudsy revelry goes down on the Theresienwiese, which is really a big grassy enbankment with beer tents. Loads of beer tents (it’s a very big enbankment).
Of course there’s other stuff besides beer, like live music and a parade. But who’s kidding who? Oktoberfest is about beer. If you go, keep in mind that beer-drinking is a competitive sport in Munich. So try to keep up and don’t embarrass yourself.
Go to Ratestogo to find a place to stay in Munich for Oktoberfest.
Edinburgh is a neat little town to visit at the worst of times, so why not head down there during the biggest arts festival in the world? The mother of all Fringe Festivals has it all, with over 200 shows in as many venues.
From musicals to comedy, opera to dance, there’s something for everyone. Prices of admission are super cheap on average and the Scottish capital is absolutely abuzz during the three weeks the fest is on.
Book your Edinburgh Fringe Festival accommodations.
This ultra-alternative festival that celebrates self-expression, self-reliance and art as the center of community has gone mainstream in recent years just enough to open it up to anyone. You don’t need to make sculptures out of garbage, drive a car powered by vegetable oil or have solar panels on your roof to attend. Still, it wouldn’t hurt.
Either way, Burning Man is the antithesis of traditional corporate sponsorship-mad festivals. Held in the middle of the Nevada desert, the flat plain becomes a virtual community for a week, with off-beat art exhibits, music performances and all sorts of random mayhem. Even cooler, the festival culminates with the burning of a massive, building-sized effigy.
Las Vegas is the ideal base camp for the Burning Man Festival. Check out some great Sin City hotels.
The Love Parade began at a pivotal time in Europe’s history – 1989 – and has become a world phenomenon since. With copycat festivals all over the world, the original draws well over a million participants every August to Berlin and the Ruhr area of Germany. In essence, the festival is a rave of epic proportions.
Fans of techno, trance and house music turn the streets into a massive dance party that is at times bawdy and slightly orgiastic. There are some political overtones to the whole affair but basically, Love Parade is about music and carefree Euro-fun.
Be wise and book your Love Parade hotel room in advance.
A bawdy music and dance festival you say? Carnivale in beautiful Rio de Janeiro is decidedly that, albeit of a different colour. Or colours that is, if anyone has seen the ornate and lavish costumes. The theme here is samba, samba, samba and a more titanic celebration there could not be.
Held in February or March every year, the festival is a bash to commemorate the many samba schools in the city. That sounds modest enough but the result is a party to rival any other. The music is infectious, the dancers indefatigable and the energy at incessant fever pitch levels.
Check out beautiful Rio hotels to make the most of Carnivale.
A major jazz festival, a famous film festival and the best live music festival in the world round out the rest of our Top 10. Click here to read on …