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Classic culture: Traditional festivals

Had enough of that blasting bass to last you a lifetime?

Don’t discount Europe’s more traditional festivals, where you can soak up a little culture while you party…


Glug it from pint glasses, bottles, tankards or steins bigger than your head – it doesn’t matter as long as you get the maximum quantity of the amber nectar down you during one of the world’s most popular drinking festivals. 

When: Munich’s Oktoberfest runs September 21-October 6.

La tomatina

The one time and place where it’s OK to waste 125,000kg of food: La Tomatina is one giant tomato fight, held every year in the Spanish city of Bunõl.

Every inch of the streets and participants ends up covered in squishy tomato goo – it might not smell great but it’s definitely an experience.

When: The last Wednesday of August (this year the 28th).

St Patrick’s Day

It’s up to you how much culture you take in on St Patrick’s Day.

Wrap an Irish flag around your shoulders and then drink as much Guinness as you can, or get over to Dublin for the event and enjoy traditional Irish music and the People’s Parade, among other cultural festivities.

When: St Patrick’s Day is March 17, but festivities in Dublin run March 14-18.

Running of the bulls

This long-standing event in Pamplona involves a hair-raising chase where brave locals – and tourists – in traditional outfits run from the city centre to the bullrings, chased by a herd of bulls. It’s adrenaline-pumping stuff, even if you’re just a spectator.

When: Daily between July 6-14.


Photos: Getty;  Stephen Flad


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