Spring is a time that everyone looks forward to regardless of where you live: it’s a time where the days become longer, the weather becomes warmer and people generally become happier. This is why many countries celebrate the beginning of spring with festivals – festivals which usually consist of lots of bright colours, dancing and even fire! So if you are ready to welcome in spring in style here are some great European festivals you do not want to miss:
Fallas de Valencia, 15th-19th March
If you don’t like fireworks, then let us give you a piece of advice: never visit Valencia between the 15th and the 19th of March! Between these dates every year the city hosts the Fallas de Valencia – a festival that spans across five days and includes parades, fireworks and, on the last night, hundreds of giant paper-maché caricatures being set alight across the city:
Valencia also offers numerous campsites right on the coast, giving you the chance to relax on the beach before the festivities begin. Camping Park El Saler is just a 15 minute drive from Valencia’s city centre and offers white sands, a swimming pool, an on-site restaurant and Mediterranean cuisine. Further up the coast is Camping Valencia which is perfect for families as it includes tennis/football courts, 3 swimming pools and even a 35 metre water slide!
Rocket War, Vrontados, Chios, Easter Weekend
We are not pulling your leg here, there really is an event called “Rocket War” held every year on the Easter Weekend on the Greek island of Chios. As the name suggests, the event focusses on firing rockets (60,000 to be precise) across the town, however the strange part is that it’s two churches that are doing the firing!
The origin of this annual event is unclear, however some believe that it started during the Ottoman era as a way for residents to celebrate Easter. Regardless, every year rival parishes fire rockets at the belfries of the St. Mark’s and Panaghia Ereithiani churches – the next day direct hits to each belfry and counted and the winner is announced. However, no matter what the outcome each parish will always claim victory until they agree to settle the score same time again next year.
Naturally, whilst the Rocket War may be impressive it’s unlikely you’ll want to park your motorhome under the cross-fire. Luckily, it’s just a 45 minute flight from Athens to Chios, meaning you can spend the day watching the fireworks and the evening relaxing near some of the most famous ancient ruins in the world.
St. Patrick’s Festival, Ireland, 17th-20th March
Last month we wrote about travelling to Ireland in your motorhome, and if we’ve tickled your fancy then now is the perfect time to go. Between the 17th and 20th of March the whole country takes part in celebrating the patron saint of St. Patrick with festivals and, of course, lots of Irish dancing and drinking! This year in Dublin they are hosting a series of events called I Love My City which includes literature, music, film, spoken word, design and visual art from some of Ireland’s most iconic artists.
Those who are fans of food and drink will not want to miss the Irish Craft Beer & Whiskey Village where over 12,000 people visit numerous stalls featuring artisan Irish whiskeys, beers, cider and food. If you love seafood, make sure you head to the fishing village of Houth where the Dublin Bay Prawn Festival offers some of the most delicious prawn and fish dishes around. You can also take part in a number of walks, talks and seaside events on the day, ensuring you’ll leave filled both with food and culture.
Spring is the perfect time to head to Europe and see how other cultures celebrate the changing of the seasons. Who knows, you may love a certain tradition so much that you visit year after year!