10 of the most effective winter festivals in Europe: readers’ journey ideas

10 of the best winter festivals in Europe: readers’ travel tips


Successful tip: Carnevale di Ivrea, Italy
The battle of the oranges is held yearly in February within the fairly Piedmont city of Ivrea as a part of the city’s annual carnival. 9 groups over the course of three days hurl 500,000 kilos of oranges (from Sicily; they aren’t grown in these elements) of their try to kill the tyrannical marquis, who apparently was decapitated by the native miller’s daughter; the story dates from the center ages. As a spectator you received’t be concerned within the crossfire, however there may be an unbelievable quantity of oranges to deal with on the bottom. It’s one of many largest meals fights in Italy, and culminates with the funeral of the marquis. There’s a large number of road meals obtainable at affordable costs. It’s a enjoyable, feel-good pageant that can depart you smelling of citrus for days. It’s all the time held on Sunday to Ash Wednesday – so 23-26 February in 2020. • hstoricocarnevaleivrea.itMartin Colegate
Up Helly Aa, Lerwick

{Photograph}: Andy Buchanan/Getty Photographs
On a tour of Scotland final winter I went to the Shetland Islands for a few days – and ended up staying every week due to a form of Norsemen-style Mardi Gras in Lerwick, which took days to get pleasure from and get well from. Up Helly Aa is a wild, torchlit social gathering with costumed Norse revellers, all-night dancing and consuming, bonfires, processions and blazing ships which have fun the island’s connections with Scandinavia. The principle theme is who could be the Lord of Lerwick, apparently by being the final individual standing because the festivities finish. Most of the characters portrayed have been actual vikings with fascinating tales hooked up to them. The end result of the festivities takes place on the final Tuesday in January (the 28th in 2020); the day after is a public vacation to get well.• uphellyaa.orgMike Wilson

Each week we ask our readers for suggestions from their travels. A collection of ideas will likely be featured on-line and will seem in print, and the most effective entry every week (as chosen by Tom Corridor of Lonely Planet) wins a £200 voucher from accommodations.com. To enter the most recent competitors go to the readers’ ideas homepage

Somerset carnivals

{Photograph}: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Photographs
You may’t say you’ve actually skilled an English winter till you’ve skilled a Somerset carnival. Over the course of 1 fortnight in November one of many largest illuminated parades on this planet travels across the county, warming chilly excessive streets with a procession of floats bearing hundreds of lights, banging pop tunes, and sulky tweenagers wearing masquerade costumes. The route takes in cities akin to Bridgwater, Shepton Mallet and Weston-super-Mare, however my favorite venue is Glastonbury, if just for the conjunction of stoned hippies, drunk locals, and bemused-looking guests. Bridgwater’s spectacular illuminated processions takes place on the primary Saturday of November. • visitsomerset.co.ukAlice Rooney
Fête du Citron, Menton, France

{Photograph}: Alamy
The Lemon pageant is held on the finish of winter within the south of France, within the small city of Menton (from 15 February to three March in 2020) to have fun the Menton lemon. The theme adjustments every year, however the carnival all the time consists of monumental sculptures comprised of oranges and lemons (entry prices €10). There are additionally a number of parades crammed with citrus floats and dancers (tickets value €25 seated, €12 standing). I discovered the entire expertise to be distinctive.• fete-du-citron.comMila
Tartófla truffle pageant, Bologna

{Photograph}: Getty Photographs
Final November we visited the Tartófla truffle pageant held in Savigno, a 45-minute drive south-west of Bologna. Apart from a brisk commerce in entire white truffles and stalls promoting truffle-flavoured the whole lot, there have been exhibitions, crafts and an enormous pop-up restaurant tent serving a truffle-heavy menu. There was even a workshop the place you can take your canine to check its truffling potential. Our spotlight was the candlelit night truffle searching expedition (€10 adults) which took us by way of farmland with a truffle-hunter and his canine, ending in woodland the place the canine excitedly dug up just a few truffles, although it ate half of them earlier than we had an opportunity to catch a glimpse! This yr the pageant is being held over three weekends: 1-3, 9-10 and 16-17 November.• tartufosavigno.comMartha
Fête des Lumières, Lyon

{Photograph}: Alicia Canter/The Guardian
Lyon’s annual Mild Competition takes place over 5-Eight December this yr. Spiritual in origin, it’s now a deservedly fashionable occasion with greater than 40 gentle installations. Lasers and fashionable know-how remodel town’s statues, fountains, bridges and constructing facades right into a magically hued, continually altering wonderland, essentially the most spectacular I’ve seen. There are spectacular fireworks, and street-food stalls promoting mulled wine, soups and native, scrumptious, fare. There’s lots to do in stunning Lyon earlier than darkish, too. Climb the hill to the basilica of Notre Dame de Fourvière for panoramic views of town and even the Alps, and benefit from the metropolis’s vaunted gastronomy.• fetedeslumieres.lyon.frFi
Krampus, Salzburg

{Photograph}: Johannes Simon/Getty Photographs
Solid apart the well being and security ebook and be part of Salzburg’s Krampus parades to discover the darkish aspect of Christmas, this yr beginning on 6 December – St Nicholas Day. Be ready to atone to your sins because the fearsome Krampus, clad in stinking goatskins, clanking cowbells and terrifying horned masks, roam the streets in packs with flaming torches and birch whips, thrashing the legs of anybody unlucky sufficient to stray too shut. The town parades are typically tamer affairs, so head out to the villages for the actual deal. Undoubtedly not for the fainthearted.• salzburg.infoMelita Dennett
Fiestas de San Antonio Abad, Spain

{Photograph}: Trevor Thompson/Alamy
Within the Matarraña, Teruel (inland between Barcelona and Valencia), the pleasant fiesta of Antonio Abad, patron saint of animals, is well known on 17 January. The pageant is held throughout Spain, however we actually loved the one held in Valderrobres village, the place on the night time of the 16th there’s a spectacular bonfire at which desserts and drinks are handed round. Early the next morning everyone seems to be invited to take part in a group breakfast – primarily native sausages and chorizo roasted within the embers of the fireplace. Later in the primary sq. locals convey their animals to be blessed. Within the surrounding villages the bonfires are staggered so that folks can get pleasure from a number of of them. Keep at very affordable costs within the villages or in comfy nation homes: a splendidly genuine expertise of fashionable tradition.Annalee Curran
Mild pageant, Amsterdam

{Photograph}: Getty Photographs
Through the Amsterdam Mild Competition (28 November to 19 January 2020), town is illuminated by gentle artists from everywhere in the world showcasing their work all through town centre. A whole lot of designers and designers submit their concepts and the choice committee chooses 30 artworks. To totally benefit from the pageant, as we did, it’s finest to comply with steered routes on foot, and there are additionally routes for individuals who wish to see all of it by bicycle and boat.John Kilkelly
Percée du Vin Jaune, Jura, France

{Photograph}: Sébastien Bozon/Getty Photographs
Subsequent yr’s Breakthrough of the Yellow Wine pageant will happen on the weekend of 1-2 February within the picturesque village of Ruffey-sur-Seille, 80km south-west of Besançon. This native pageant celebrates the discharge of the brand new classic of this very particular sherry-like wine which is aged for six years. A €20 day move is accessible on-line (see beneath) which provides you 10 tasting tickets for the winemakers displaying their produce of their embellished cellars plus a memento glass. There’s additionally a cookery competitors, a wine public sale, parades of Jura winemakers and nice road meals.• percee-du-vin-jaune.comJantee
In search of a vacation with a distinction? Browse Guardian Holidays to see a variety of unbelievable journeys


Supply hyperlink