Would you like to experience Mozart’s music in the tropics, explore the world’s largest ice and snow carnival or get carried away in a hot air balloon the next time you go on vacation?

Join one of the best festivals around the world in 2018, complete with fun activities, cultural immersion, and food galore. Here’s your chance to take your travel experiences to the next level.

1. Cartagena International Music Festival

Every year, since 2007, local and international visitors gather in Cartagena for the annual Cartagena International Music Festival. The central theme for the 12-day event from January 5 to 16, 2018 is “El Gusto por la Forma. El estilo clasico” – featuring the classical music of Beethoven, Haydn, and Mozart.

See Austrian Cellist Julia Hagen, German chamber orchestra Münchener Kammerorchester, Italian Mezzo-soprano Elena Belfiore and more. Performances are held throughout the city’s theaters, plazas, and churches.

Cartagena is Colombia’s historic and coastal city, located by the Caribbean Sea in the northern part of the country. Old Town Cartagena is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it has many hidden gems for history buffs and cultural enthusiasts.

For additional information, check out Cartagena Music Festival website.

2. Rio Carnival

No festival lists are complete without mentioning Rio Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rio, the carnival capital of the world, presents samba dancing, shows, samba competition and carnival parade. The highlight of the event is the carnival parade on Avenida Marques de Sapucai, also known as Sambadrome, the official venue for Rio Carnival.

This 5-day event starts officially before Lent on Friday and ends on Fat Tuesday every year. In 2018, it will begin on February 9 and ends on February 14. Besides the parade, Rio will host over 500 parties throughout the city.

Tourists can participate in the samba competition by joining one of the city’s samba schools or participate in the street parties.

Read The Telegraph’s Where to find the best street parties.

3. Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival

If you prefer cold places, go to Harbin, China for the most extensive ice and snow festival in the world. The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival from December 21, 2017, to February 28, 2018, features winter sports, massive ice sculptures, and tours to the Siberian Tiger Park, a 355-acre nature reserve with hundreds of Siberian tigers.

4. Songkran in Bangkok

Songkran, Thai New Year or Water Festival is an important national holiday in Thailand. It marks the end of the dry season where Thai citizens celebrate with the throwing of water on family members and strangers, smearing of white powder and the cleaning of Buddhist statues and shrines. It’s also a festival dedicated to prayers.

If you’re there during Songkran from April 13 to April 15, 2018, plan to get wet, actually very wet, if you’re out and about in Bangkok or anywhere in Thailand.

5. Palio in Siena

Every year on July 2 and August 16, Siena’s main square, Piazza del Campo is covered with tuff clay and used for the Palio horse race. Started since 1656, the horse race is a 90-second race around the Piazzo.

The race on July 2 is to honor Palio of Provenzano (Madonna of Provenzano) and on August 16 is for Palio of the Assumption (Virgin Mary’s Assumption).

According to Discover Tuscany, Palio is a 4-day event, and the race happens on the last day. Besides Palio, the medieval city of Siena is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is rich in culture and history. This picturesque town with winding streets and quaint shops can be explored on foot.

You can read insider tips on Discover Tuscany’s website.

6. Notting Hill Carnival

Europe’s biggest street carnival happens every year in the streets of West London. Per VisitLondon.com, Notting Hill Carnival presents Caribbean colors, music, and flavors. There is a parade, steel bands and calypso music and food stalls selling goat curry, roti, jerk chicken and rice, and a variation of delicacies from the Caribbean.

Get ready for this event, happening in West London from August 25 to August 27, 2018.

Visiting London can be inexpensive if you know where to look for deals and free things to do. Read VisitLondon’s 101 free things to do in London before you leave home.

7. Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque, New Mexico is one of the best places in the world for hot air ballooning, especially in fall. Every year in October, the city celebrates the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta for nine days.

It’ll start on October 6 and ends October 14, 2018, when hundreds upon hundreds of balloons will take flight in the 78-acre Balloon Fiesta Park. Located in the New Mexico at 5,000 feet above sea level, Albuquerque provides an opportunity to sample traditional New Mexican cuisine, culture and history.

Have a question or recommendation on the best festivals to attend in 2018? Trippy would love to hear from you. Join in the conversation by becoming a Trippy user. Trippy is where the travel community shares their travel tips and wisdom. It’s where questions related to travel get answered. Join in! Become a Trippy user now.

Article by Claudia Looi

Mentioned in this post
  1. Cartagena
    City in Colombia

    Cartagena Colombia
  2. Rio de Janeiro
    City in Brazil

    Rio de Janeiro Brazil
    +55 21 3460-1746
    http://www.rio.rj.gov.br
  3. Harbin
    City in China

    Harbin China
  4. Thailand
    Country

    Thailand
  5. Siena
    Metro Area in SI Italy

    SI Italy
  6. London
    City in United Kingdom

    London United Kingdom
  7. Albuquerque
    City in New Mexico

    Albuquerque New Mexico