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Peace, love and happiness were the buzzwords at the original Woodstock festival in Bethel, New York back in 1969. Oh, and top quality music, which was a given with a stellar line up of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Santana and The Who, to name just a few.

For one whole weekend, lyrical tunes of psychedelic rock, folk revival and bluesy beats flowed freely to a crowd powered by flower. It was an event so good, that 50 years later (to the day!) people around the world are still talking about it.

While we can’t take you back to the summer of ’69, we can take you to some amazing and unforgettable festivals the world over. Participating – or just observing – a festival in another country is a fantastic way to gain a unique insight into the culture of the country you’re visiting. From the colourful streets of Rio de Janeiro to the ancient alleyways of Cádiz.

Read on for a roundup of some of our favourite festivals around the world…


Day of the Dead, Mexico

El Dia de los Muertos (‘The Day of the Dead’) is a colourful two-day event that takes place from 1 November each year. It’s a time when people unite to remember loved ones who have passed away. Together they clean the graves of those who have died and leave candles, sugar skulls, flowers and food.

It may sound and mournful, but the ancient Aztecs actually believed mourning the dead was an insult; tears were thought to make the spirit’s journey into the afterlife more difficult. So this is a time of roaring celebration and an explosion of life-affirming joy.

Communities across Mexico celebrate El Dia de Los Muertos with their own traditions, but the most famous is the grand parade of skulls in Mexico City. A masquerade riot of whirling figures, eerie-yet beautiful masks, impressive floats and fizzing energy bursts onto the city’s streets. Big smiles are worn by everyone who attends this joyous event, so put on your face paint and join in on our October departure of ‘Mexico’s Mayan Trail’.


Cádiz Carnival, Cádiz

This is one of Spain’s best-known carnivals – and for good reason! A fantastic spectacle of live music, dance and comedy performances, this 10-day carnival is what the locals look forward to all year - and can you think of a better place to party than in one of Europe’s most ancient cities?

On our special departure of ‘Authentic Andalucia with Cádiz Carnival’, you’ll get the chance to salsa alongside locals dressed in flamboyant costumes at this world-famous event.


Winner’s Parade, Rio de Janeiro

Rio Carnival is one of Latin America’s most colourful and elaborate celebrations. Think dazzling costumes with feathers and sequins shimmying alongside gigantic floats.

Our February departure of our ‘Colours of Brazil’ tour coincides with the festival’s closing event, the Winners’ Parade. You’ll see the champion of the festival reunite with the four runners-up, celebrating the victory and closing the Rio Carnival samba parades. So you’ll arrive just in time to see the crème de la crème of the whole event, you lucky things.


Mardi Gras, New Orleans

Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a time when the whole city goes a little bit wild – in a good way. Mardi Garas is a French term, literally translating to ‘Fat Tuesday’. It origins are religious, taking place the day before Ash Wednesday, which traditionally is the first day of fasting until Easter.

These days, it’s welcomed excuse to eat yummy foods (such as beignets), drink and have a ruddy good time. Experience the parties, toe-tapping music and street parades of Mardi Gras in New Orleans on special departure of ‘Southern Sights and Sounds’ in February, which will see you arriving in the atmospheric French Quarter just in the nick of time…


Inti Raymi, Peru

The world-famous Inti Raymi is the Peruvian annual festival of the Sun – an epic nine-day extravaganza full of skirt swirling, hat tossing, feasting and tradition. Dating back more than 500 years, the festival is the most anticipated event in Cuzco’s calendar.

Dancers and actors are specifically selected to perform the rituals of Inti Raymi, the main two roles being Sap Inca (the Sun King) and his wife Mama Ocllo. Over the course of several days before the big event, the streets of Cusco swell with excitement. The alleyways and side roads running off the main squares bubble to life with the twirling, dipping and swaying of authentic folk dances and Peruvian music.

On our June departure of ‘Footsteps of the Incas’, you’ll arrive just in time for all the fun.


Madeira Flower Festival

When it comes to floral delights, Madeira’s reputation precedes itself.  The island’s capital, Funchal, is decked out with colourful masterpieces at the best of times and the city’s botanical gardens are second-to-none. But this Mediterranean island outdoes even itself every spring during the Madeira Flower Festival.

This enchanting festival, with parades and floats through the bustling streets of Funchal, perfumes the air with an abundance of exotic floral smells and species, spreading a fairy tale ambience through the city’s streets, squares and alleyways.

There’s prizes for best-decorated shop window,  local performances and a flower exhibition at Praça do Povo. Plenty to keep you busy on our special ‘Madeira Flower Festival’ tour.


Have you experienced an incredible festival on one of our tours? We’d love to hear all about it on our Facebook page.

Article published on: 15th August, 2019

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Natalie

From the coffee-clad highlands of Colombia to getting up-close-and-personal with elephants in Thailand, Natalie is a wannabe-adventurer and finds it hard to pick favourites when it comes to travel destinations. She has a weakness for wildlife and good wine, so her escapades are usually in pursuit of one or the other.

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