From South Korea to Copenhagen, street parties to sports competitions, there’s an event out there to suit every type of traveler in 2018 – and if you’re looking for an excuse to book that plane ticket, we’ve got 19 of them for you. Which celebration will you mark on your calendar for next year?
Carnevale di Venezia in Venice, Italy
Although Carnevale – a big final party before the restrictions of Lent – has been celebrated throughout Italy since the 11th century, the most extravagant celebrations take place in Venice, where you can watch gondola parades, view fireworks in St Mark’s Square, and yes, attend one of the many famous masked balls that take place during the spectacle.
When: January 27 – February 13
World-class winter sports in South Korea
The modern meets the traditional in South Korea, with ancient temples sitting in the shadow of futuristic high rises. And in February, the county of Pyeongchang plays host to the biggest winter sporting event in the world, featuring figure skating, bobsledding, ski jumping and more. So, you can wrap up warm, cheer on your team, and celebrate with some Korean fried chicken and beer afterwards. Allow an extra few days to explore Seoul too; the Korean capital is only an hour and a half away by high-speed train.
When: February 9–25
The Lantern Festival in Taiwan
The Taiwan Lantern Festival takes place on the first full moon of the Lunar New Year, and features everything from electric-powered lantern shows and folk performances, to more traditional events like Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival. In Pingxi, a small hillside town outside of the capital Taipei, villagers used to release paper lanterns into the sky; today, locals and visitors alike carry on the practice for good luck in the new year.
When: March 3-11
Centennial celebrations in Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia
2018 sees the three Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia celebrate 100 years of statehood – resulting in multiple events and celebrations that make it the perfect time to visit. Travel to Tallinn and stroll the streets of the Old Town, listen to live performances on Street Music Day in Lithuania, or relax on the beaches of the ‘Baltic Riviera’ in Latvia.
When: Events all year
300th birthday celebrations in New Orleans, US
New Orleans is known for being a party town – but in 2018 the party will last long after Mardi Gras in February, as the Big Easy celebrates its 300th birthday in style with special events, firework shows, and concerts. So even if you can’t make the famous Mardi Gras parades, the colorful port city will have plenty to offer throughout the year (and most likely at cheaper prices, too).
When: February 9–13 (and throughout the year)
King’s Day in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Pack your orange outfits for King’s Day in Amsterdam, which marks the gaudy-color loving Dutch monarch’s birthday with a huge street party that sees the city’s population almost double. The fun begins the night before, and the celebrations continue into the next day, with street vendors, market stalls, and boat parties on the world-famous canals. Make sure you sample a local Tompouce pastry to keep your energy levels up, decorated with orange icing especially for King’s Day.
When: April 27
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- What to do in Amsterdam for free!
- The best neighborhoods of Amsterdam
- Download the free momondo places Amsterdam city guide for iOS
Distortion in Copenhagen, Denmark
Distortion is often tagged as almost a week-long spectacle celebrating emerging dance music and orchestrated chaos. What started as an experiment in 1998 is now an annual event with free daytime street parties, intimate club nights, and a closing two-day festival in the city’s industrial warehouse wasteland, Refsehaleoen. Although the line-up is yet to be confirmed, the festival’s 20th anniversary is sure to be a hit with dance fans from around the world.
When: May 30 – June 3
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- What to do in Copenhagen for free!
- The best design shops in Copenhagen
- The best hotels in Copenhagen
Inti Raymi in Cuzco, Peru
On the southern hemisphere’s winter solstice, the ancient Inca capital of Cuzco hosts a re-enactment of the Inca’s tribute to the sun god, Inti. Follow the procession from the center of town to the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, and watch the spectacle unfold. Don’t forget that Cuzco – located high in the Andes – is also a good base for visiting the ruins at Machu Picchu.
When: June 24
Soccer in Russia
Russia plays host to the world’s biggest international soccerl event in 2018, with 11 host cities taking part across the country, and millions of fans watching world over in support. When the goals are scored and the games are over, the cities have plenty to offer fans, from Red Square and the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, to the elegant canals and palaces of St. Petersburg.
When: June 14 – July 15
Nelson Mandela Centenary, South Africa
On July 18, 2018 Nelson Mandela would have turned 100. A government committee has been set up to organize commemoration events, which are yet to be confirmed, but expect plenty of celebrations in memory of Mandela. The centenary also makes it the ideal time to visit some of the South Africa’s most significant sites associated with the former president and anti-apartheid revolutionary, such as Robben Island and his home in Soweto.
When: Events all year
Comic Con International in San Diego, USA
The largest pop-culture event in the USA takes place in July, attracting fans of comic books, movie memorabilia, and pop culture of all kinds. Fans can attend autograph signing, workshops, and panels (think topics like “The Musical Anatomy of a Super Hero” and “Comic Book Law School”). Expect to see fans dressed up as their favorite characters – there’ll be real-life super heroes everywhere in San Diego this weekend.
When: July 19–22
115 years of Harley Davidson in Milwaukee, USA
Whether you’re a die-hard motorbike fan, or have never been on a bike before, the Harley Davidson birthday celebration in the Midwest city of Milwaukee has something for everyone. The “Welcome Home” party will feature field games, food trucks, and a beer garden. Then there’s the option to get a behind-the-scenes look at the Harley Davidson factory, before the final bike ride parade through the city.
When: 29 August–2 September
The Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the largest celebration of arts and culture in the world – the 2017 festival saw more than 53,000 performances of over 3000 shows – and covers everything from theater and comedy, to circus and opera. Many of the events take place in the city’s center, a Unesco World Heritage site, so when you’re walking from show to show, you’ll be able to soak up the history as well as the heady festival spirit.
When: August 3–27
Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany
Six million people attend the famous beer festival in Munich each year, drinking around six million liters of beer. Following tradition, only beer from breweries in Munich are on offer, with some of the businesses dating back to the 1300s. It’s not just about the beer though: you can eat local foods, listen to folk music, and get dressed up in traditional Bavarian outfits.
When: September 22 – October 7
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Braderie de Lille Flea Market in Lille, France
Each year, the first weekend in September – the last before school starts – sees Europe’s biggest flea market set up shop in the streets of Lille. Whatever your shopping style, you’ll be sure to find something, as the market attracts everyone from jumble sellers to experienced antique dealers. Don’t forget to enjoy some mussels and chips while you’re there (it’s a badge of honor for a restaurant to have the largest pile of mussel shells outside their door this weekend).
When: September 1– 2
Loy Krathong and Yi Peng in Chiang Mai, Thailand
The two distinct celebrations of Loy Krathong and Yi Peng coincide in November across Thailand, although the place to be for the biggest celebration is Chiang Mai. For Loy Krathong, small floats holding candles are placed in rivers as offerings, while for Yi Peng, locals and visitors alike light thousands of paper lanterns and release them into the sky for good fortune.
When: November 23
Mevlana Whirling Dervishes in Konya, Turkey
Whirling Dervishes, also known as the Mevlevi Order, have been dancing the ‘sema’ on the same date for 750 years to mark the death of Rumi, the Afghan poet who produced most of his work in Konya. There are readings, concerts, and performances in the lead-up to the anniversary of his death, but the main attraction is the religious dance of the Whirling Dervishes on December 17th.
When: December 10–17
A look back at Vienna Modernism in Vienna, Austria
In 2018, the Austrian capital will celebrate Vienna Modernism, marking 100 years since the deaths of four of the era’s crucial figures: Klimt, Wagner, Schiele, and Moser. Expect a variety of events and exhibitions across the city, all examining the impact these artists had on the city at the turn of the century. Don’t forget to follow in their footsteps and pay a visit to one of Vienna’s coffee houses, where intellectual debates often took place in the early 1900s.
When: Events all year
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