The Top 10 of Best Carnivals in the World

By Blanca Castillo on Jan. 31, 2016

Carnivals can be big, small, famous or not known at all. But they all have common ingredients: costumes, music, colours and lots of fun! All of these are the perfect additives for the most transgressor party of the year. But, what are the best carnivals in the world?


The Top 10 of Best Carnivals in the World - Carnival of Venice

Carnival of Venice, Italy

When: From January 23rd to February 9th 2016.

Why: It’s the most charming carnival of the world. There is no racket at Venecia, you will find serenity and an elegant carnival in a unique city. From the medieval ages Venetians wear different kind of masks and enjoy the carnival on their boats in the canals. Piazza San Marco became the main point for daily parades and contests.

Tip: Il Volo dell’Angelo is one of the most curious moments where an artist fly along a rope from San Marco bell tower to the middle of the square every first Sunday of Carnival at 12pm.

The Top 10 of Best Carnivals in the World - Carnival of Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

When: From February 5th to 10th 2016

Why: It’s the most famous and largest carnival celebration of the world with more than 1 million visitors. The streets of Rio De Janeiro are brightly coloured during 5 sunny days where you can dance samba in every corner of the city. Samba schools are this carnival’s soul thanks to their dancing accompanied by drums and hand clapping.

Tip: Buy your tickets in advance to ensure your access to the Sambódromo - a competition where samba schools fight to be called the best one of the year.

The Top 10 of Best Carnivals in the World - Carnival of Trinidad y Tobago

Trinidad y Tobago, Trinidad

When: February 8th - 9th 2016

Why: Because it’s the biggest Carnival in the caribbean; a real explosion of colours, music, multiculturality, revelry and creativity. Groups and individuals compete to be named Calypso Monarch - one of the country’s best honours.

Tip: When the party is over there are still tons of things to do! You are in the caribbean!

The Top 10 of Best Carnivals in the World - Carnival of Cologne

Cologne, Germany

When: February 4th - 10th 2016

Why: Although Germans seem to be serious, they host the largest Carnival street festival in Europe. The celebrations start on Weiberfastnacht (Thursday) when the women receive the city keys by the mayor of the city. From that day, it’s all about great light shows, parades and fireworks

Tip: Don’t miss Rosenmontag (Monday, 8th February) when it’s the biggest parade.

The Top 10 of Best Carnivals in the World - Carnival of Maastricht

Maastricht, Netherlands

When: February 7th - 9th 2016

Why: A big parade, street Djs, live concerts and lots of happy faces await you to celebrate this awesome dutch event. During 3 days, everyone comes together regardless of age or nationality for one of the biggest carnivals in the Netherlands. The Prince Carnival proceeds to rule over town with wacky-dressed subjects.

Tip: You would have to experience this carnival in order to understand what is about.


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The Top 10 of Best Carnivals in the World - Canival of Cadiz

Cadiz, Spain

When: From February 4th to 14th 2016

Why: Because it’s probably the funniest and most original carnival thanks to the special humour and unique personality of Cadiz people. You will find Chirigotas groups singing ironic lyrics that talk about politician and other current topics.

Tip: Get an awesome costume and head to the old city’s squares to meet new interesting people whose company you’ll definitely enjoy until the sun goes up.

The Top 10 of Best Carnivals in the World - Carnival of Binche

Binche, Belgium

When: February 7th to 9th 2016

Why: At this UNESCO World Heritage Carnival you will meet the Gilles, unique clown-like performers characterised by their wax masks and wooden footwear that dance at the rhythm of drum music.

Tip: Every Sunday from 7 weeks before the event some parties take place to get ready for the big Carnival.

The Top 10 of Best Carnivals in the World - Carnival of Tenerife

Tenerife, Canary Islands

When: From February 3rd to 14th 2016

Why: Similar to Rio’s carnival, it has been considered the second most famous carnival of the world. Tenerife streets get crowded with beautiful girls wearing elaborate headdresses and heavy costumes. It’s parades are wonderful with unique floats of feathers and sequins, and lively music.

Tip: Don’t miss the Carnival’s Queen election on Wednesday and the big parade on Tuesday (next week)

The Top 10 of Best Carnivals in the World - Mardi Gras, New Orleans

Mardi Gras, New Orleans

When: February 9th 2016 but parades start on January.

Why: With an indisputable French influence, parades are organized by krewes that launch trinkets and beads to the public. Mardi Gras is all about jazz music, Zulu parades, picnics, floats, gold, purple and green colours and excitement. It's the big holiday in New Orleans!

Tip: Costumes really matter here, the more elaborated the better!

The Top 10 of Best Carnivals in the World - Carnival of Notting Hill

Notting Hill, London

When: Sunday 28th August until Monday 29th 2016

Why: One of the London’s biggest event. It invites everyone to dance and enjoy the party without limits with a Caribbean theme. Two days of live music which goes from salsa to dub to reggae or ska.

Tip: Check ahead the route for Monday’s big parade with more than 38 soundsystems, 60 bands and a large number of dancers and floats.


Have you enjoyed any of the best carnivals in the world already? Find the best costume ideas in our Pinterest board.