What type of festival or event is your preference? Music? Beer? Eccentric? Whatever it is, Europe has it. If you are studying abroad in the area, be sure to take the time to check out at least one of the incredible events and festivals that the continent has to offer. Here are our top seven crazy events (in seven different countries in Europe):
1) Cooper Hill’s Cheese Rolling and Wake Festival – – Gloucester, England
This is awesome. At a small town in England, thousands of people gather to watch people chase an 8 pound circle of cheese down a steep hill. It’s simple- whoever grabs the cheese first wins. Tons of concussions and other injuries happen every year, so be careful if you decide to try it out- but it’s definitely a hilarious event.
2) Tomorrowland – – Boom, Belgium
If you’re a college student, you’ve probably seen one of the viral Tomorrowland videos. This music festival features top electronic music performers in the end of July, and hundreds of thousands of visitors attend. The event usually gets sold out in minutes, but if you get the chance to go, it probably will be something you won’t ever forget (or won’t ever remember).
3) St Patrick’s Day – – Dublin, Ireland
This is an event that everybody knows about, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t crazy. If you like parties where you can wear bright green leprechaun hats, fake orange beards, and anything related to shamrocks, then you’re in luck! Enjoy the parade, celebrate in Temple Bar, and be prepared to party with over half a million people.
4) Palio de Siena – – Siena, Italy
You might have not heard about this one, but man is it cool. It eerily feels like a Hunger Games or Harry Potter event, with the city of Siena divided into seventeen “Contrades,” and each district having their own animal symbol (like Eagle, Dragon, and She-Wolf) and their own designated horse racer. The bareback horse race event (which has happened for over 700 consecutive years in the center plaza) features a three lap winner-take-all race that essentially has no rules (a horse can still win if the rider gets knocked off). If you go to the event, spend your time in the winning district after the event: you won’t regret it.
5) Oktoberfest – – Munich, Germany
Everyone has heard about Oktoberfest- for good reason. It is the largest festival/public fair in the world, with over six and a half million people attending (and drinking over 2 million gallons of beer). The event spans over two weeks with plenty of parades, rides, and other things going on aside from just drinking and eating. But, honestly, if you’re going to go, get some stylish Bavarian clothes and head to one of the main tents for some merriment with friends.
6) La Tomatina – – Buñol, Spain
Food fight! Well.. it’s the “world’s biggest food fight” with 50,000 people and a couple hundred thousand tomatoes. This event is held on the last Wednesday of every August, and ends with people washing off in the river or being sprayed down by firetrucks. If you go, it’s probably wise to spend the night in Valencia, given the small town of Buñol only has a population of about nine thousand.
7) Up Helly Aa Fire Festival – – Lerwick, Scotland
Don’t worry- this has nothing to do with the American “fire festival” that went up in flames this past April. The Up Helly Aa festival definitely qualifies as a “crazy event,” as a plethora of Scandinavian processions, parades, and parties take place before the culminating event, where hundreds throw their torches into a viking ship to burn. Go to the festival dressed in some “Game of Thrones” attire and prepare to let out your inner pyromaniac.
Honorable mention: Carnival of Venice, Cascamorras, Running of the Bulls, El Concurs de Castells, Terschellings Oerol festival, Haro Wine Festival
Well, this concludes our list for crazy events in Europe. Did we miss anything? Is there anything you’d change or add? If you’re curious what other events we’d recommend, or what other events your friends have enjoyed, be sure to download Rayka this summer! Our social travel app launches on June 1st, allowing study abroad students to see the favorite places of past students who studied in their city. Hopefully this list has helped inspire some travel plans!
- Cooper’s Hill via https://www.pinterest.com/pin/142778250657205115/
- Tomorrowland via https://www.tomorrowland.com/en/festival/welcome
- St Patrick’s Day via http://irelandtodaynews.com/index.php/st-patricks-day-ask-dublin/
- Oktoberfest via http://www.muenchen.de/int/en/events/oktoberfest.html
- Tomatina via http://www.andalucia.com/festival/latomatina.htm
- Up Helly Aa via http://khoyub.com.ua/blog/29-травня-2/