If you are a carnival lover: You really should have seen these carnivals across Europe. Those are the craziest and, most impressive examples of Europe’s best Carnivals, which we found for you.
The Tenerife Carnival in the Canary Islands is the most well-known and important Carnival celebration in Europe, and the second in the entire world after Brazil. Partying starts on the Wednesday with the election of the Queen of the Carnival where candidates are dressed in stunning and heavily made costumes (some of them reach 200 kilos) full of colour, glitter and feathers. Celebrations are spread out across the week around the entire city. Tinerfeños (the people of Tenerife) go out every night of Carnival week wearing a different fancy dress for each day in a big variety of themes. The warm weather helps, even though it’s still chilly in the rest of Europe. But the biggest celebrations take place on the Big Saturday Parade, when an entire march of fully decorated floats and comparsas (marching groups) parade over the coastal city finishing with an amazing spectacle of lights and fireworks in Plaza de España. Although the official celebrations are over by Ash Wednesday, the following weekend you even could find more carnival-like parties.
The Cologne Carnival is considered one of the most important cultural celebrations in Germany, sometimes referred as the 5th season of the year, or even “The Crazy Days” (due to the fact that bars and pubs are less restricted by licensing laws during this period). The top of Cologne Carnival is on the Rosenmontag, when three participants known as Die Dreigestirn, representing a Virgin, a Prince and a Farmer, are paraded through the city accompanied by a parade of floats, music and candies thrown to the public. 140.000 tones of sweets were dished out last year!
The Venetian Carnival represents the most classical image of what Carnival Celebrations are about: masquerades and balls, including mask creation contests, some of them made of porcelain, Murano crystal, or even gold. Probably the most well-known event of the Canal’s City, Il Carnevale di Venezia, is a tradition that started on the thirteenth century, when nobles used to wear masks to mingle with the town folk, and it has arrived at our times maintaining the original spirit.
Heavily influenced by the Venetian Carnival (especially because of the presence of mask in the carnival costumes), the Nice Carnival has become one of the most popular events in France, taking place in the two weeks before ‘Fat Tuesday’, or Mardi Gras in French. Following Catholic traditions, rich and fatty dinners are served in many parties all over the city preparing the crowd for the “fasting” after Carnival. Several parades take place over the city during the celebration, the most popular being the Battle of Flowers, where floats and participants throw bouquets between them, and the Night-time Parade, when adults enjoy an evening of drunken festivities.
Just a short 30 min train ride from Barcelona is the coastal town of Sitges, home of one of the other most festive Carnival in Spain. Even though Sitges is already a well-known summer tourist destination (especially for the gay community), it’s during the Sitges Carnival that the city overflows with visitors from all over the country. Although several parades take place over the course of week, the most crowded one takes place on the Thursday when the King Carnestoltes (as Carnival is known in Catalan language) parades over the city followed by a march of dancers and music from local associations. The rest of town doesn’t remain quiet, and the entire coast line gets crowded with people dancing and drinking dressed in the funniest costumes.
There are a lot of other popular Carnival celebrations around Europe such as the one in Basel (Switzerland), Cádiz (Spain), Rijeka (Croatia), and many more. Have you ever attended one of them? What did we miss out?
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