8 best winter festivals of Europe

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Winter festivals in Europe can be extremely vibrant, lively, historic, and varied. In spite of the cold temperature, people expect the celebrations and tend to be little deterred by rain. Here are a few to look at if you’re in Europe in the winter time.

1. Amsterdam Light Festival — December & January

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The boat approaches the passage underneath the bridge, however time the brilliant white lights in strings cause it to feel as if entering an area tunnel. The lights continue inside and, once on the other side, the boat is met with the information resembles chandeliers hanging all over the canal.

Amsterdam is well known for its canals. You can find 165 canals totaling 31 miles (or 50 kilometers), overpassed by 1281 bridges. Almost all of the canals are flanked by streets and sidewalks, a lot of them tree-lined. Throughout the Light Festival (which this holiday season featured famed artist Ai Weiwei a few) the canals and the bridges were decorated with light displays of each and every kind, shape, and form. Most of the 2500 houseboats of Amsterdam are also all decorated, making for movable displays on the water.

There are organized tours for walking, cycling, or boating, although the displays are designed particularly for the canals and some are specially completed for the boats, so experiencing the Festival from your water is the most authentic experience.

2. Winter Solstice, UK

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The crowd can be loud while in the evening, but also in the quiet morning, witnessing sunshine rising across the 5,000-year-old megalithic structure of Stonehenge is reasonably the spectacle. Stone circles and henges are far away from rare in britain, but the well-known Stonehenge deserves its merit because the densest Neolithic complex monument in the united kingdom. Pagan rituals these are some from the oldest Winter Solstice celebrations on earth. On a yearly basis 100s of people — tourists, neo-Druids, hippies, and photographers — gather to your event.

It can be extremely interesting celebrating in one of the other main stone circles with a henge in the UK, such as the The Ring of Brodgar, on the island of Orkney. However the complex might be more dispersed, nearby landscape is a bit more interesting because the two long lochs flanking the internet site at the lower level. While using the ideal varying weather conditions, and as a result of smaller crowd, the winter months Solstice morning can be quite ethereal.

3. Ice and snow Sculpture Festival, Bruges, Belgium — November to January

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There is much more than a single Ice Festival in Belgium, but the Ice and snow Festival in Bruges has become the varied. This year the festival celebrated the 25th anniversary of Disneyland Paris by showing, among other things, 90 Disney characters in detailed sculptures from 29 international artists. Nonetheless the real display is the blend of the lights with all the ice sculptures. Apart from the various colors and effects, the most unique element could be the light reflections throughout the ice. There is hardly any view that repeats itself twice.

4. La Tamborrada, San Sebastian, Spain — January

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There are fairly few tourists in the loudest festival on holiday, where about 15,000 drummers from 100 different bands play all day and night during the Basque city. La Tamborrada is one of the commemoration of historic events, cultural unity, overcoming difficulties, and happiness. One can find three multiple drummers: tamborreros (who have fun playing the proper drum), the cooks, along with the water carriers who drum on other instruments unique of proper drums. Culinary clubs play a big role in organizing the festival, hence their big presence one of several drummers.

5. Fête du Citron, Menton, France — February & March

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The Lemon Festival follows a theme every year. The moveable statues, scenes, and carts on the parade are completely covered in lemons (together with other citrus fruits). These are the main feature with the celebration, but you can also get decorated gardens, streets, and displays. The history could be the beautiful Côte d’Azur, which in late winter still sometimes has good weather.

6. Up Helly Aa, Lerwick, Scotland — January

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Flaming torches are ubiquitous. This can be a fire festival celebrated to mark get rid of the yule season (Christmas in Scotland). The perfect known and largest Up Helly Aa is within Lerwick, to the Shetland Islands, where to a thousand guizers (performers) in several squads and costumes march through town. The culminating moment is the circling and burning of a Viking longship. Afterwards, the crowds disperse to non-public parties the location where the squads perform their acts.

Lerwick may be a small, mysterious town on land protruding while in the Bressay Sound. The homes, the majority of short and easy, are constructed of grey stone and grey roofs. This boosts the timeless have a look at the march in the event the torches, big with long handles, cast their orange ignite into the sky and reflect within the windows. The fires from hundreds of torches warm you up and their light contrasts together with the guizer’s dark costumes.

7. Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, Scotland — New Year

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Hogmanay is the Scottish Year. You’ll wish to attend a ceilidh, the original Gaelic gathering such as folk music and dancing. The most common festival would be the Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. The road party from the old town is becoming well liked that tickets on the main party are limited to 100,000 — but there may be three times more than this (the 1996-97 festival is around the Guinness World Records to the world’s largest New Year party with 400,000 attendees). The festival is a couple of days of processions, concerts, and fireworks. Live music is available everywhere so any pub or venue you’ll walk in probably has someone performing.

The Bairns Afore, among the festival’s events, is particularly scenic given it develops on the big West Princes Street Gardens, which have been right within the steep mound with the fortress over the top. Several of the fireworks appear like a bright, spiked and colored crown over the castle.

8. …and Carnivals

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Last though not minimal, Carnival festivities are popular everywhere Europe and are a signature event in the winter months. Traditions vary a great deal from country to country in duration, themes, and customs — on the Cologne Carnival, Germany’s biggest; to Ljubljana’s Dragon Carnival; into the UNESCO listed Binche Carnival.

Honorable mention visits the Carnival of Venice. Between January and February, the flowery masks are ubiquitous in every corner of Venice, with the enigmatic calli (alleys) up to Piazza San Marco. The parades down the canals, the gem with the festival, mostly include small traditional boats, but you will discover bizarre creations too: you could sometimes notice a queen-bed on waterskis, or even a circus with acrobats. Sometimes there are so many boats that you may walk from a single side of the Canal Grande to another.

In the Carnival of Binche, in February or March, thousands of Gilles (the oldest and principal performers) march from the city wore traditional linen suits, wax masks, and wooden clogs. They start at 4 AM can be and so they play instruments, dance, perform, and occasionally throw oranges around for good luck — so that you can dodge, however, if you catch one don’t throw it back.

The Carnival of Nice, over 14 days in February, is just about the world’s most major, attracting over 1 million visitors. Every year there is a different theme. On the list of popular features of the celebration will be the parade along with its 18 major floats integrated traditional papier-mâché. Towering over everybody and perhaps over most of the buildings, they move or interact, and they are extremely decorated. The parade is especially expressive during the night, if the lights from the squares, as well as lights on the floats, produce the statues pop-out up against the dark sky.

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