What’s not to like about a great festival, let alone going to one with fellow thirsty travellers? With an abundant choice of festivals in Europe and around the world, it might be time to consider some of the many festival tours on offer.
Did somebody say festival tours?
Whether it’s a European beer tour or party holiday package to other destinations, festival tours are becoming one of the fastest growing travel segments in the world.
Festival tours offer travellers an option to experience a destination in the eyes of a local, unlike the usual (let’s face it: boring) sight-seeing tours.
Because when you’re at a festival, you meet people who are there to have a fun time, a great party and to simply let their hair down. Try doing that when visiting the Eiffel tower.
Are all the best festivals in Europe?
While festivals in Europe have tradition on their side – Oktoberfest in Munich and La Tomatina for example – some of the greatest events in the world are held in Brazil, USA and countries throughout Asia.
In fact, the biggest festival on earth is Rio Carnival in Brazil with over 6 million visitors a year. Yes, you read that right: 6 million. That’s more than the population of most cities in the world. Of these, 2 million people hit the streets of Rio each day for the 5-day festival. That’s one hell of a party.
Songkran in Thailand and Holi in India count as the biggest festivals in Asia, drawing millions of people celebrating the Thai New Year (Songkran ) or the victory of good over evil (Holi, also known as the festival of colours).
Burning Man, an annual gathering that takes place at Black Rock City in Nevada USA, is widely considered the festival with the most sought-after tickets in the world . With just 70,000 people at each event, a ticket lottery ensures that this should be on your bucket list of festival tours.
Other festivals in Europe however are on par with these: the Stuttgart Beer festival in Germany is the 2nd biggest beer festival in the world with over 4 million visitors, and the Battle of the Oranges in Italy rivals La Tomatina.
Where do I go for festival tours?
Let’s not do things by halves, so if you’re ever contemplating going on a festival tour then here are some of the biggest festivals in the world.
- Rio Carnival, Brazil
- Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany
- St Patrick’s Day, Ireland
- Stuttgart Beer Festival, Germany (the 2nd biggest beer festival in the world after Oktoberfest in Munich)
- La Tomatina, Spain
- Songkran (Thai New Year), Thailand
- Full moon party, Thailand
- Holi Festival, India
- Burning Man, USA
- Mardi Gras, USA
- Glastonbury, UK
- Rock in Rio, Brazil
- Day of the Dead, Mexico
- Hogmanay, Scotland
- The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Scotland
Some of these are limited by numbers (eg. La Tomatina only has 20,000 tickets each year), while some of them are a celebration of an event that has neither a limit nor specific location, such as the Thai New Year.
Tips for a great festival tour
At Thirsty Swagman we’ve got this covered because that’s what we do: great festival tours. Zero boring sightseeing, no uninteresting trips to a tourist trap – just the world’s coolest party holidays, beer tours and festival travel.
So here are some tips for your next festival trip:
A good festival tour will have accommodation booked close to the festival grounds. You wouldn’t want to navigate your way back to the hotel via hidden laneways or multiple train stations. Always ensure you’re within short walking distance of where the party is at .
Many of the world’s greatest festivals are day-time events and considering hotels usually don’t let you check in until late afternoon, it may be worth arriving a day before you plan to party. Similarly for night -time festivals, such as Rio Carnival which goes until well past sunrise, you wouldn’t want an 11am check out the next day.
Getting to and from the festival destination
If you’re flying into a city specifically for a festival, it’s worth planning well in advance the best route from the airport to the hotel. This will help you avoid some dodgy cab driver taking you the long way to your hotel.
For night-time festivals, it’s also well worth having a flight out in the afternoon on the day of departure. There is no pain greater than nursing a hangover on a morning flight.
This can be the most challenging bit: getting tickets. While many festivals are open to anyone who wants to attend (eg Hogmanay, also known as the Scottish New Year), many location specific festivals require you to pre-book tickets. And by pre-book, this can literally be a year in advance. Anyone who’s ever tried to book their spot at Burning Man or the Glastonbury Festival will know that this can be almost like a lottery, and tickets sell out in mere minutes.
So get your tickets organised before you even begin to plan your festival tour.
Ready for some Festival Tours?
At Thirsty Swagman we combine the love of travel and a good festival. We believe that going to some of the world’s best festivals is one of the great pleasures of life and an excellent way to make new friends and meet the locals.
Our festival tours and party vacations (we call them Thirsty Adventures) feature premium hotel / resort accommodation and zero boring sightseeing!