Some of the world’s most spectacular displays of cultural tradition and national pride are springing up this summer across the globe. From theatrical pageants to modern arts celebrations to gourmet feasts, destinations from Peru to South Africa are hosting magnificent festivals for travellers and locals alike.
This summer, why not take your holiday to the next level and catch one of these unforgettable celebrations. You’ll have a unique opportunity to interact with locals, take part in exotic cultural traditions, and soak up the magical jubilation that comes just once a year.
Here are 5 must-see festivals that we recommend:
Mongolia’s Naadam Festival
Cheer on nomadic wrestlers and watch majestic horses race across grasslands at this extravagant Mongolian celebration. Held in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar and in towns across Mongolia, the historic July event is brimming with Buddhist-style pomp and circumstance. The dazzling festivities begin with a colourful parade of athletes, monks, soldiers, and musicians, as well as Mongolians dressed in Chinggis-style warrior uniforms. Rousing tournaments of wrestling, horse racing, and archery follow over three days, with plenty of time for merry-making. Listen to throat singing and savour delicious Mongolian barbecue while watching Mongolian men and women participate in the ultimate test of courage and strength.
Sydney’s Vivid Festival
Billed as a “unique festival of light, music and ideas,” this world-famous event lights up Sydney, Australia for 18 days with mesmerizing outdoor lighting sculptures, cutting-edge musical performances, and innovative talks on creativity and design. First curated by legendary musician Brian Eno, Vivid transforms Australia’s oldest city into a breathtaking canvas of creative expression. Visit Sydney during late May to soak up the festival’s magical atmosphere, and feast your eyes on the specially illuminated Sydney Opera House – a cutting edge light display creating a unique and dazzling view of Sydney Harbour.
Thailand’s Hua Hin Jazz Festival
Relax on white powdery sands in Thailand’s Hua Hin resort town while listening to the upbeat chimes of traditional and modern jazz. The annual Hua Hin Jazz Festival is Thailand’s most influential music event, delighting music lovers of all kinds with performances by Thai and international jazz aficionados. During a weekend in June, performances take place around Hua Hin in local venues, beside the town’s world famous wooden train station, right on the luxurious sandy beach. During the musical extravaganza, Thai craftspeople from all walks of life line the streets to share their goods. Listen to the sweet sounds of Thai jazz music while savouring freshly caught seafood and Thai culinary delights. All musical events are free of charge.
Peru’s Festival of the Sun
Hundreds of colourfully-costumed Peruvians re-enact 500 year old Inca traditions in this spectacular week-long tribute to the Sun God. Inti Raymi, also known as the Festival of the Sun, takes place over winter solstice (late June) in Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire. Now the second largest festival in South America, Inti Raymi features a ceremonial procession to the ancient fortress of Sacsayhuamán, a sacred call for the blessings of the sun and ceremonial food offerings to Pachamama (Mother Earth). The week-long event inspires vibrant street fairs, live music from the best of Peruvian musical groups, and spontaneous dancing in the streets.
South Africa’s Knysna Oyster Festival
Oyster lovers rejoice! For ten days in July, you can indulge in oyster eating, oyster shucking, oyster farm tours, oyster recipe challenges, and gourmet oyster-themed dinners, along with wine and champagne tastings in beautiful Knysna, South Africa. Savour your oysters au naturel or cooked in this seaside town located on South Africa’s scenic Garden Route. Once you’ve had your fill of fresh underwater treats, take in the festival’s family-friendly sports and cultural events. The Oyster Festival hosts competitions for cycling, running, trail running, swimming, and paddling, drawing sports enthusiasts of all kinds. The best part is, the Oyster Festival benefits a local charity, so while you’re indulging your palate, you’re also giving back to the community.
For more information on these festivals and destinations visit Goway’s website or call 1.800.557.2841.
Get the latest travel trends & hear about the best deals on vacations around the world.
If you’re a Globetrotter, these are the newsletters for you!