8 fun festivals to attend this spring

8 fun festivals to attend this spring

by Courtney Woodruff
Stripes Europe

A new season in Europe means another opportunity to celebrate the joys and rhythms of life. Cultures welcome spring each year with beloved Easter markets, flower festivals and unique village celebrations. If you’re stationed overseas, here’s a list of eight festivals you won’t want to miss in the coming months.

1.  Nuremberg Easter Market (Ostermarkt), April 5-22

If, like me, you feel as though you’ve been withering away in the dark days of winter, Nuremberg’s colorful Easter market will surely revive you with its bright colors and cheery atmosphere. Enjoy hunting for your pick of intricately painted eggs, handmade spring décor and confectionary treats from more than 100 vendors. The market is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the exception of Good Friday.

2. Prague Easter Markets, April 7-28

For three weeks in April, many of Prague’s most famous squares will be transformed into a spring wonderland. Wander from location to location to shop for authentic Czech products, including hand-painted Easter eggs, elegant lace, wooden toys and my favorite — tasty treats. Children will especially enjoy participating in the arts and crafts demonstrations, which include egg decorating and candle making.

3. International Kite and Wind Festival — April 20-22

The skies over the beach of Châtelaillon in south France will be filled with color all Easter weekend-long in celebration of the International Kite and Wind Festival. This family-friendly event will keep your eyes turned to the heavens in wonder as giant, whimsical polyester creations soar through the air. Attend the kite-making workshop, and stay up late for the night flight event on Saturday evening.

4. Munich Spring Festival — April 26-May 12

Munich’s spring festival (Frühlingsfest) is known as the little sister of Oktoberfest for good reason. At first glance, the set-up looks very similar — large beer tents, carnival rides and tasty food vendors — but you’ll notice a major difference right away: fewer crowds. If you’ve ever wanted to see what Oktoberfest is all about without having to wait in long lines, add this fest to the list of events to attend this spring. Stay for the fireworks displays on Friday nights, and be sure to stick around to see who will be crowned this year’s Beer Queen (Bierkönigin).

5. King’s Day Celebration — April 27

On King’s Day, fest-goers flood the streets and canals of Amsterdam with the Dutch national color: orange. Don’t forget to wear your own shirt, tutu, hat or wig — the sillier the better. Enjoy free concerts and street theater performances as you wave to passengers on floats cruising down the canals. Bring plenty of euros to shop for treasures at the massive flea markets around the city; for one day only, adults and children are allowed to sell items without needing permits or paying taxes. Before the celebration is over, toast your travel companions with shots of Orange Bitter, a traditional local liqueur.

6.  Girona Flower Festival (Temps de Flors) — May 11-19

For one week in May, the streets of Girona turn into an outdoor art gallery to display more than 100 masterpieces made entirely of flowers. Live music, parades, lights, fountains and the heavenly scent of blossoms add a little extra magic to the atmosphere. Even the locals get involved, adding their own special touches to village doorsteps, storefronts and alleyways. Be prepared for a colorful surprise at every corner.

7. Noto Flower Festival (Infiorata di Noto) — May 17-19

Sicily’s Infiorata di Noto is known as one of the most vibrant festivals in the world. Every year, artists from all over the globe hit the streets to create prismatic mosaics with the petals of flowers that have been grown especially for the event. Artists begin working on allotted sections of pavement on Friday, and the exhibit is open to visitors Saturday and Sunday. If you have little ones, be sure to stay until Monday morning — when the town’s children are allowed run wild and free through the flower displays to symbolize wrecking and restoration.

8. Spring Break Island Festival — May 5-June 23

In Europe, spring is savored until the last moment. Head to Croatia the first week of June to hop from one beach party to the next by day, then dance the nights away with 2,500 other spring-breakers on your very own holiday island. Tickets and travel packages are available on springbreak-island.com.

Enjoy all the upcoming spring festivities Europe has to offer! 

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