7 Amazing Spring Festivals in Europe

As winter ends, and better weather is on the horizon, Europeans take to the streets to celebrate with public parties, surprising spectacles, and food, and drink. Dress in head-to-toe orange for King’s Day in Amsterdam, or don a polka-dot flamenco gown in Seville and become a local for the day.

Hochstraße 77, 81541 München, Germany
Paulaner Knockerberg is a local favorite. Guests can sip beer and nosh on Bavarian food in one of the comfortable dining rooms, make themselves cozy around the fireplace, or settle down in the basement. Paulaner Knockerberg is also known for its beer garden in summer. Of special interest is the Starkbierfest (Strong Beer Festival), which takes place for 17 days each year from early to mid March (check the website for exact dates). It’s called “Starkbier” for a reason; the alcohol content is higher than usual, so go easy.
Amsterdam, Netherlands
At no time of the year is patriotism, as well as oranjegekt, more apparent in Holland than on Koningsdag or King’s Day. Formerly Koninginnedag or Queen’s Day, the holiday celebrates the birthday of King Willem, who took the reins when his mother, former Queen Beatrix, stepped down in 2013. Celebrated on April 27th (April 26th if the 27th is a Sunday), this national holiday is a way for the Dutch to express their spirit of national unity and saamhorigheid, or togetherness, by acting as childishly as they possibly can. While Times Square goes nuts on New Year’s Eve, Rio sambas itself silly during Carnaval, New Orleans erupts in magnificent color and costumes during Mardi Gras and Munich parties hard at October beer fests, nowhere in the world do people go crazier in late April than on King’s Day in Amsterdam.
4 Plaza Monteolivete
Even if you can’t be in Valencia for its fiery Les Falles festival, you can view the popular ninots (figures and effigies) at the Fallero Museum. Some ninots are chosen to be spared from the flames by popular vote—and then end up on display at the museum, where visitors can also view photos of the festival’s best falles (the scenery created around the ninots), as well as winning designs from the festival’s annual poster competition.
Edinburgh EH7 5BN, United Kingdom
Climb Carlton Hill with the May Queen, the Green Man and their procession of performers as night falls on April 30th. Watch as they celebrate the end of dreary winter weather with fire, dancing and re-enactment of ancient religious rituals. Just be sure to take a jacket--it gets pretty nippy after sunset.
More from AFAR
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
National Parks