Carnivals are vibrant festivities that celebrate the life, culture and diversity of each region. From the music and colourful streets to the impressive floats and extravagant costumes, these events offer a unique experience for travellers looking to immerse themselves in the joy and energy of the celebrations. In this article, we’ll take you on a tour of the best Carnivals in the world and in Spain, highlighting their locations, reasons for their popularity and key dates so you can plan your next adventure in advance.
World’s Best Carnivals
Rio de Janeiro Carnival, Brazil
Known as the “King of Carnivals“, the Rio de Janeiro Carnival attracts millions of visitors from all over the world every year. Its samba parades, spectacular floats and the festive atmosphere that fills the streets make this event an unforgettable experience.
The celebration lasts five days, culminating on Shrove Tuesday, which usually falls in February or early March. This year (2024) the official dates for the Rio Carnival are 9 February to 12 February. However, it often happens that the celebrations are extended by a few more days.
Venice Carnival, Italy
The Venice Carnival is famous for its elegant masks, boat parades and dancing in the city’s historic squares. With a long history dating back to the 11th century, this Carnival is a celebration of opulence and mystery that captivates visitors from all over the world.
For approximately two weeks (from late January to early February) the streets and canals of Venice are filled with celebrations and extravaganzas worth seeing.
New Orleans Carnival, United States
Known as “Mardi Gras“, the New Orleans Carnival is a party that combines French, Spanish, African and Caribbean influences. From the parades of floats to the extravagant street parties and traditional krewes, this Carnival offers a unique experience that reflects the cultural diversity of the region.
New Orleans Carnival peaks on Fat Tuesday, which is the day before Ash Wednesday, usually in February.
Best Carnivals in Spain
Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival, Canary Islands
Known as the “most Brazilian Carnival in Spain”, the Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival is a party full of colour, music and fun. Parades of floats, Carnival queens and comparsas fill the streets with a festive and joyful atmosphere.
The Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival is celebrated over several weeks, with events starting in January and culminating in February, just before Shrove Tuesday.
Cádiz Carnival, Andalusia
The Carnival of Cádiz is famous for its wit, humour and social criticism through the chirigotas, comparsas and coros. During these festivities, the city fills with extravagant costumes and music in the streets, creating a unique and energetic atmosphere.
It takes place over approximately two weeks, with events taking place mainly in February.
Sitges Carnival, Catalonia
The Sitges Carnival is known for its open and welcoming atmosphere, as well as its extravagant parades and street parties. It is notable for its diversity and the active participation of the local community and international visitors alike.
The Sitges Carnival is celebrated over several days in February, culminating in the Burning of King Carnestoltes on Ash Wednesday.
Each Carnival offers a unique experience that reflects the diversity, culture and creativity of its region. Which of these amazing Carnivals would you like to experience?
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