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The World’s Greatest Carnivals

Carnivals attract millions of people across the globe, if you like having the time of your life, we’ve come up with some of the world’s greatest carnivals. Catch a glimpse into some of the most elaborate and occasionally crazy carnivals in the world.

Santa Cruz, Tenerife

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This world-famous carnival starts the Wednesday before Shrove Tuesday and lasts for about 15 days. It ranks number two in the top carnival destination in the world, being beaten only by Rio Carnival in Brazil – it certainly gives Rio a run for its money in the colourful and flamboyant department. Highlights of the carnival include election of the Carnival Queen, fireworks, the main parade and where else will you see men dressed up as widows to mourn a sardine at the Burial of the Sardine?

Venice, Italy

Paint a picture in your mind of people dressed in the most elaborate costumes and staring at you behind masks with a backdrop of the beauty of Venice. This picture becomes a reality if you attend the Venetian Carnival which lasts approximately 15 days and ends with the celebration of Lent, forty days before Easter on Shrove Tuesday.

Cologne, Germany

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With enough parades and stage shows to outshine most, the Cologne Carnival is a street festival heavyweight. Since 1823 the streets of Cologne has entertained millions with a parade which focuses on three individuals Jungfrau, Prinz and Bauer (virgin, prince and farmer). You’ll be entertained throughout by a menagerie of performers and thousands of people in fancy dress.

Baranquilla, Colombia

Four days before Ash Wednesday, Baranquilla’s Carnival brings parades, parties and music to wow people from near and far with its spectacular displays. It centres on the slogan which is ‘who lives it, who enjoys it’ – the Battle of the Flowers is the first float of the parade and is a carnival favourite. During the days of the carnival, events take place at multiple venues throughout the city and dominated by costumed processions and musical performances of many styles of Colombian music.

Quebec, Canada

The Quebec Winter Carnival became a fixture in the annual Canadian calendar years ago and Bonhomme, Quebec’s carnival mascot, has been around for decades so he tends to steal the show. This is an awe-inspiring parade that will take you through a fantastical world of ice and snow. Young and old will be enchanted by the lights and ice sculptures. If you’re feeling peckish or in need of a warming drink, head to the various restaurants, bars and food stalls that are decorated beautifully. Try some food from the free outdoor public banquets and keep warm with a hot alcoholic traditional drink of Caribou.

Nice, France

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It’s no surprise that one of the world’s most major carnival events is the Carnaval de Nice. Every year visitors flock for 15 days of jaw-dropping performances and entertainment with a lineup of more than 1,000 musicians and dancers from across the world. You’ll wish you could be in three places at once to take it all in.

Mazatlan, Mexico

This carnival started in 1898 and is the oldest major modern Carnival in Mexico. Every year during the week before Lent, the city of Mazatlan is host to tens of thousands of carnival lovers who gather to party at the third largest carnival celebration in the world. You get the real deal here with spectacular parades, fireworks and live music. If you visit this carnival you will have bragging rights to one of the most beautiful and fun carnivals on Earth.

Visiting any destination during carnival time has got to be a memorable experience so we hope you find this blog useful in planning your next trip, however, we do recommend booking your flights and accommodation early due to high demand.

Looking for somewhere to go at Christmas? then you may want to check this out