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Must see locations, events and places to travel and enjoy in the Europe.
Must see locations, events and places to travel and enjoy in the Europe.
Trying to choose the best gay pride party in the world is kind of like choosing a favourite child. There are so many cities that turn on a tremendous event – Sydney, San Francisco, London, New York, the list goes on. However, Amsterdam gets the vote having rolled the event into the supersized ‘Europride’, a three-week long LGBT celebratory extravaganza.
If three weeks off work is too much to ask, make sure you’re there for the last weekend (early August) – that’s when most of the major events take place.
Street parties, the Drag Queen Olympics, the Canal Parade, the Funhouse dance party, and the enormous Pride Closing Party. Some events are divided into either gay or lesbian, and some are themed, like the Bear Necessities, but the vibe is generally inclusive and fun for all.
If your idea of paradise involves more whisky than you could poke a caber at, then yes, this is paradise.
A CABER? WHAT?
You know, the caber toss? Never mind. The point is that you’re in Scotland, and is there anything more Scottish than whisky? And this is where the spirit comes to life, a five-day celebration of the art, craft and business of making and drinking the water of life.
You won’t be disappointed. The festival takes place in the towns, villages and 50 distilleries of Speyside, with some 400 events over its five days. There are distillery tours and tastings, talks, whisky fairs, fine dining dinners, live music…
It’s a truly satisfying festival, blending single malt with the singular beauty of rural Scotland and its convivial hospitality. You’ll go for the whisky but stay for Speyside itself. Ok, and the whisky. But you’ll stay, that much is certain.
If you happen to be partial to the amber ale, as millions of us are, then Oktoberfest is known to you. If you go to join the fun, you’ll discover it’s the beating heart of the beer-swilling world.
Over six million visitors turn up to be a part of the festivities so chances are you’ll run into a few boozy lads but they won’t dominate the fun.
In that case, eat yourself out of a hole with traditional treats like hendl (roast chicken), schweinebraten (roast pork), or schweinshaxe (grilled ham hock).
Before you get into doing your bit with the nearly eight million litres of beer that is drunk here each year, have a go on the amusement rides and sideshow games. Your eye might be slightly out later.
When famed Danish chef, Rene Redzepi (of Noma note), pulled the symposium together for the first time in 2011, we imagine he was hoping that everyone would take his efforts seriously. And they did: in the short time that the symposium has been running it has garnered a reputation as ‘the Food World’s G-20’.
The philosophy behind MAD is ‘to expand knowledge of food to make every meal a better meal… Good cooking and a healthy environment can and should go hand-in-hand’. So yes, there’s a healthy contingent of eager chefs, but the symposium draws in many others from the food industry, including farmers, food journalists, suppliers and food-service professionals.
The cast of guest speakers reads like a who’s who of the international restaurant world. Think David Chang, Albert Adria, Alain Ducasse, to name just a few – so you would be hard-pressed to come away from the festival without a mind packed with new culinary ideas.
The viticulture gods do shine down on this UNESCO World Heritage site at the end of June each year. With an architecturally stunning setting and world-famous vineyards surrounding the town, this fabulous festival draws in wine aficionados from all corners of the globe.
You will most certainly not be alone; this shindig is known as one of the biggest wine festivals in the world and while the wine is first and foremost, the four-day fiesta includes barrel-rolling competitions, live music, fireworks displays and sound and light shows each night. That is, of course, if you get tired of all the tippling.
The festival sets up on a two kilometre stretch of road between the historical old town and the river, with a string of tasting pavilions featuring more than 80 appellations from Bordeaux and the Aquitaine region. Make your way to the water.
The festival goers that are suspended hundreds of feet above the ground in those colourful hammocks are called slackers, and they’re not your usual festival slackers; these guys earned their name from the slack wire helping to prevent them plunging to their deaths. The fiesta is a chance for lovers of the sport to meet up in a totally non-competitive environment.
Completely understandable; the aim of the get-together is to not only give enthusiasts a chance to hang out (boom boom) but to gently introduce newbies to the sport. Don’t feel pressured to get high (bam) – the festival organisers put on musical entertainment, an outdoor cinema, food stalls and yoga lessons for those not into the high life. At night there’s a dance party that even the slackers get in on.
This is a go-to destination for anyone who has ever been interested in body art. There is awe-inspiring body painting on show as well as airbrush and special effects artists working their magic. In some cases, it’s hard to even believe that there’s a human being underneath that paintwork.
Over the years, the body painting festival has broadened its horizons to become a self-proclaimed ‘multicultural, multimedia open air space’ and that’s why you can experience five different zones with a host of DJs playing anything from reggae to electronica, to dancehall to hip hop. There’s even a stretch of beach dedicated to activities for the kids and a whole market zone with fashion, craft and jewellery.
The best body artists from over 50 countries around the world are on show, so everywhere you look there are stunning pieces of art. However, for something a bit different, stick around until the evening show of the best UV body paint, spectacularly lit up under lights.
Do they! In what should be described as a series of many major artistic events and not just one festival, White Nights runs over the longest days of the year and features a staggeringly varied array of performances and exhibitions.
There is classical music, opera, dance, film, circus acts, comedy, theatre, sculpture, jazz concerts and myriad other performing arts pieces on show. Many performances are outdoors, so strolling around the city centre or along the banks of the River Neva you’re likely to catch a free show.
One of the most justifiably popular events is the Scarlet Sails – the recreation of a child’s storybook. A giant crimson-tailed longship is sailed up the River Neva towards the Tsar’s palace, with accompanying fireworks and lightshows. This spectacle draws crowds in their millions. Also, make sure to be at the opening of the drawbridge at least once – a street party erupts at 2am each night the drawbridge is retracted.
This is the granddaddy of performance art festivals and you can bet on seeing some weird and wonderful acts over the month it’s held. But it’s not all Shakespearean plays performed by dangerously drunk actors, and grim, ironic, post-modern, pre-future fairytales. The entertainment on offer is unbelievably diverse: musicals, kids’ shows, dance, circus, cabaret…
and comedy. The Fringe has a strong humour focus; you’ll find a laugh or two for sure. Rowan Atkinson, Eddie Izzard and Billy Connolly made names for themselves here.
Maybe not at their current levels of fame. But here there’s some genuinely groundbreaking stuff going on. You’re likely to experience acts that might not make it into more mainstream arts festivals – at least, not until Fringe-found fame opens those kinds of doors.
One of the most recognisable symbols of this vibrant Portuguese festival is the installation of hundreds of colourful umbrellas suspended above one of the city’s streets. Other parts of the urban landscape, like park benches, stairs, and power poles, are also painted in colourful examples of street art, creating an enchanted atmosphere.
The festival aims to promote new musical and artistic projects with the ‘Talentos AgitAgueda’, a competition for emerging artists. As well as new hopefuls there are many established national and international acts that grace the stage.
The festivities extend over three weeks so there’s plenty of time to pack it all in. Many of the musical acts perform in the main tent, which is free. And there’s nothing stopping you from walking around the streets to see all the amazing outdoor installations, murals and sculptures