List of Famous Carnivals in Europe in 2023

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Carnival in Europe is a time of colorful costumes, parades, and revelry, with each country having its unique traditions. In Italy, Venice's Carnival features masks and elaborate costumes, while in Spain, the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife showcases dancing and music. In Germany, the Rhineland region hosts festive street parties. Here is a list of famous Carnivals in Europe:

1. Carnival of Venice, Italy

Carnival of Venice, Italy - Planet Travel Advisor

The Carnival of Venice is a world-renowned festival that takes place annually in the city of Venice, Italy. It is famous for its elaborate masks and costumes that harken back to the Renaissance era. The carnival lasts for two weeks, with various events taking place, such as masquerade balls, parades, and street performances. Visitors can immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere, enjoying the music, food, and stunning scenery of the historic city. Read more about the best time to visit Italy in 2023!

2. Carnival of Cologne, Germany

Carnival of Cologne, Germany - Planet Travel Advisor

The Carnival of Cologne, also known as the "Fifth Season" is a massive celebration that takes place every year in the German city of Cologne. It officially begins on November 11th at 11:11 am and culminates in a week-long extravaganza in February or March, depending on the date of Easter. The highlight of the carnival is the Rosenmontag parade, featuring elaborate floats, music, and thousands of revelers in colorful costumes. The city is filled with street parties, traditional food, beer, and have the best famous shopping places in Europe making it a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

3. Carnival of Nice, France

Carnival of Nice, France - Planet Travel Advisor

The Carnival of Nice is a popular winter festival that takes place in the French Riviera city of Nice. It features parades with giant floats decorated with flowers, music, and traditional costumes. The carnival lasts for two weeks, with various events such as battles of flowers, where participants throw flowers at each other. The carnival has been celebrated since the Middle Ages and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. It's a celebration of joy, fun, and the arrival of spring, making it a must-see attraction in the South of France.

4. Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain

Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain - Planet Travel Advisor

The Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is one of the largest and most vibrant carnivals in the world, held annually in the Spanish city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The carnival features extravagant parades, music, and dance, with participants dressed in colorful and creative costumes. It lasts for two weeks, with events ranging from the crowning of the carnival queen to the burial of the sardine. The carnival attracts thousands of tourists each year, making it an important event for the local economy. It's a celebration of Canarian culture and a must-see spectacle for any carnival enthusiast.

5. Notting Hill Carnival, London, UK

Notting Hill Carnival, London, UK - Planet Travel Advisor

The Notting Hill Carnival is an annual street festival that takes place in the Notting Hill area of London, UK, usually on the last weekend in August. It is the largest street festival in Europe and celebrates the Caribbean culture of London's West Indian community. The carnival features colorful costumes, steel drum music, and Caribbean British food. It attracts over two million visitors each year and has become a symbol of London's multiculturalism. Despite occasional incidents of violence, the carnival is generally peaceful, and its lively atmosphere makes it a popular event for people of all ages and backgrounds.

6. Carnival of Binche, Belgium

Carnival of Binche, Belgium - Planet Travel Advisor

The Carnival of Binche is a unique festival held annually in the town of Binche, Belgium. It is recognized as a UNESCO Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The carnival is centered around the Gilles, a group of men who wear traditional costumes and masks made of wax. The Gilles throw oranges to the crowd and perform traditional dances. The highlight of the carnival is the procession of the Gilles, where they march through the town throwing oranges and performing their dances. The carnival has been celebrated for over 600 years and is a proud tradition of the town.

7. Carnival of Basel, Switzerland

Carnival of Basel, Switzerland - Planet Travel Advisor

The Carnival of Basel, also known as Fasnacht, is an annual festival held in the Swiss city of Basel. It begins at precisely 4:00 am on the Monday following Ash Wednesday and lasts for three days. The carnival features elaborate costumes, masks, and lanterns, and is known for its unique and quirky traditions. During the carnival, people play instruments and march through the streets in large groups called cliques. At precisely 4:00 am on the third day, the carnival ends with the "Morgestraich" a procession of lanterns through the dark streets. The carnival is a celebration of Basel's culture and community spirit and attracts visitors from around the world.


Carnivals are a beloved and colorful tradition celebrated around the world, each with its unique customs and cultural significance. These festivals offer a glimpse into the rich traditions and heritage of different countries and communities. They provide a chance for people to come together in a joyous celebration of life, culture, and community spirit, creating unforgettable memories for locals and tourists alike.

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