Features // Festivals & events

Painting the town red, pink, green and yellow: Holi Festival 2016 in pictures
Painting the town red, pink, green and yellow: Holi Festival 2016 in pictures

Every year, Hindus around the world celebrate Holi Festival: the festival of colours. The event attracts many non-Hindus to take part, too, with hundreds of people gathering to throw coloured powder at one another – a tradition supposedly started by Krishna as a young boy when he used to throw paint over the gopis (milkmaids). The result, of…

13 tips for backpacking India
13 tips for backpacking India

Whether you’re hurtling along in a rickshaw, eating fantastic curries, kicking back on the backwaters or hiking in the mountains, backpacking India will always be an adventure. You’ll need your wits about you, and preparation is key – here are our top tips to making your journey as smooth as possible. 1. Eat where the locals eat Restaurant…

A dog surfing competition took place in Australia this week
A dog surfing competition took place in Australia this week

Plato said every dog has the soul of a philosopher. While that statement is disputable, the wave-riding canines at the Noosa Festival of Surfing are proof that some dogs, at least, have the soul of a surfer. Thousands gathered at Queensland Australia’s Noosa Beach this week to watch The Dog Spectacular, the world’s only surfing event where…

Why London is the world’s most eccentric city
Why London is the world’s most eccentric city

London is celebrated for many things. And rightly so; it’s up there with the most progressive, creative and historic cities in the world. But here at Rough Guides the thing we love most about London is its marvellous eccentricities. While editing the latest Rough Guide to London, Greg Dickinson took note of some of the…

Video: top 5 things to do in Kerala
Video: top 5 things to do in Kerala

We sent Rough Guides editor Rachel Mills to the southernmost tip of the Indian Subcontinent to research Kerala for the upcoming Rough Guide to India. From tea estates in lush green hills to sultry palm-fringed backwaters, plus a host of deserted beaches, she dove beneath the surface and immersed herself in the region’s natural wonders, lavish festivals and heavenly South Indian…

Finding love in the UK’s least romantic city: 7 reasons to visit Hull
Finding love in the UK’s least romantic city: 7 reasons to visit Hull

This year we listed Hull as one of the top ten cities to visit in 2016 – an accolade that had many people surprised. Here, Lottie Gross explains why it made the list. It’s safe to say, most people’s preconceptions of Hull aren’t brilliant. In the past it has been named Britain’s worst city and the least…

What’s new for Cuba in 2016? 10 developments to watch out for this year
What’s new for Cuba in 2016? 10 developments to watch out for this year

Record numbers of visitors have been racing to get to Cuba ‘before it changes forever’ since President Obama’s historic announcement in December 2014 that diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba were to be restored. Since then the relationship has continued to warm, but there has been more speculation than tangible change as a result…

Around the world in 10 literary festivals in 2016
Around the world in 10 literary festivals in 2016

From South Asia’s most inspiring writers speaking in Jaipur to literary heavyweights entertaining crowds at Hay, book festivals are now a truly international affair. Bibliophiles can get their cultural fix across continents and throughout the year, taking their pick between huge extravaganzas and intimate gatherings. Here are some of the highlights in 2016: 1. Zee Jaipur…

Ethiopian Christmas celebrations in pictures
Ethiopian Christmas celebrations in pictures

Today Ethiopia is celebrating Christmas. Following the Julian calendar, this East African, Orthodox Christian nation celebrates Christmas on the 7th January each year. In Lalibela, one of the holiest sites in Ethiopia, tens of thousands of pilgrims gather for mass in the town’s 12 rock-hewn churches. All through the night there’s chanting, singing, swaying and praying…

10 new tourist attractions to visit in 2016
10 new tourist attractions to visit in 2016

Want to travel somewhere new this year? There’s plenty to discover in 2016. Take a look at these new attractions opening around the globe for inspiration for your next trip. 1. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Hollywood, USA On April 7 2016, Universal Studios Hollywood will mark the much-anticipated opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.…

The other Bali: an alternative guide to the Island of Gods
The other Bali: an alternative guide to the Island of Gods

Beyond the mystical sounds of gamelan and the intricate craft of batik, Bali boasts a world of subcultures often overlooked by visitors. The art makes bold statements, nightlife sometimes involves a new tattoo, and music is anything but serene. On an island where locals are often denied entry from bars and clubs, an experience off…

Copenhagen’s best kept secret: Retro Bobby’s arcade barbershop
Copenhagen’s best kept secret: Retro Bobby’s arcade barbershop

Bobby’s mullet blows in the wind as he pilots his dinky motorcycle down Copenhagen‘s cobbled backstreets. Wobbling past kebab shops and contemporary design stores on his way to work, he looks like a living relic from a bygone era: the 1980s. A turtleneck peeks out from beneath his blue denim jacket, which perfectly matches the…

8 things you didn’t know you could do in Ontario, Canada
8 things you didn’t know you could do in Ontario, Canada

There’s more to see in Canada’s most populated province than ice hockey, forests and freely flowing maple syrup – and some of it’s pretty weird. From the world’s largest Elvis Presley festival, to axe throwing ranges in Toronto, here are just a few things you didn’t know you could do in Ontario. 1. Drink Dead Elephant Ale…

6 reasons to visit Edinburgh outside of the Fringe
6 reasons to visit Edinburgh outside of the Fringe

It’s that time of year again: Edinburgh has taken off its Festival face and the Fringe has finally petered out of our social media feeds. After a month-long celebration of all things arts, culture and creativity, the city can go back to sleep. Or can it? It’s not all about the Fringe in Scotland’s capital…

Tomato warfare: Spain hosts the world’s biggest food fight this week
Tomato warfare: Spain hosts the world’s biggest food fight this week

Thousands of people. Truckloads of tomatoes. The world’s biggest food fight. In case you didn’t realise, this is Grade A bucket list material. In the last week of August in the in the Valencian town of Buñol, cheering crowds assemble around a tall greased pole erected in the Plaza del Pueblo. A hoofed leg of pork…

7 things you probably didn’t know about Senegal
7 things you probably didn’t know about Senegal

Say Senegal or mention West Africa and misinformed mutterings of ebola start to spread quicker than the virus itself. Sitting on the western shoulder of Africa, Senegal is frequently overlooked by travellers – but for little good reason. While the excellent birding and beaching in The Gambia – the country that slices Senegal’s coastline in two…

8 things you didn’t know you could do in the UK
8 things you didn’t know you could do in the UK

So you’ve gawked at the guards of Buckingham Palace, hiked up Snowdon and hit the beach – what next? From lethal motorcycle races to mountain towns that look like something out of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, here are 8 unconventional things to do in the UK. 1. Horse about at Scotland’s Common Ridings The Common Ridings of the Scottish border towns of Hawick, Selkirk,…

12 things you didn’t know you could do in Europe
12 things you didn’t know you could do in Europe

Some sights are touristy for a good reason. They’re the ones you go to Europe to check off: a wobbly gondola on the canals of Venice, or a mandatory Eiffel Tower selfie. Europe has countless sights all worth a visit in their own right, but there’s so much more to the continent than cathedrals and beaches –…

Would you get down and dirty at South Korea’s Mud Festival?
Would you get down and dirty at South Korea’s Mud Festival?

What once began as a marketing ploy for a therapeutic mud found near Boryeong, a small city on South Korea’s sandy west coast, has since transformed into a unique festival that draws millions every year. But this is no spa day. Mud Fest 2008 by Hypnotica Studios Infinite (license) The annual Boryeong Mud Festival is where people…

A guide to Sweden’s unforgettable midsummer celebrations
A guide to Sweden’s unforgettable midsummer celebrations

Nobody does midsummer like the Swedes. They down tools and head for their summer houses on the coast for a family gathering lubricated by beer, herring and shots of the local firewater. Whether you’re a builder or a banker, it’s the one day of the year that everyone casts aside their daily routine and goes…

The sandcastle competition to end all others
The sandcastle competition to end all others

Dreaming of a forum for your long-repressed artistic abilities? Hoping to construct a life-size sand-version of Elvis, Jesus or someone else close to your heart, then have it washed away with the afternoon tide? Next week, on June 20th, the annual Sandcastle Contest in Cannon Beach, Oregon, offers just the opportunity – along with the chance…

How Africa became the new music festival destination
How Africa became the new music festival destination

With events to rival America and Europe, Africa is now drawing music festival fiends in their thousands. Harriet Constable finds out more. Demand worldwide for music festivals shows no signs of slowing, and Africa – home to the most diverse cultures, sounds and achingly beautiful locations on earth – is starting to host some of the most exciting…

The best photography on Picfair: festivals
The best photography on Picfair: festivals

With so many different religions, cultures and traditions around the world, on any given day there are a multitude of exciting celebrations. This month we’ve rounded up the pictures that capture them best. From image-sharing website Picfair here are fifteen shots covering everything from a torch-lit procession in Sri Lanka to a music festival in England. Next month’s theme is landscape, so upload your…

In pictures: Holi Festival 2015
In pictures: Holi Festival 2015

Last week saw India celebrate Holi Festival, one of the most well known and colourful festivals in the annual Hindu calendar. Powdered paint of all colours was hurled between friends, families and worshippers across the country as they celebrated the beginning of spring. We’ve scoured GettyImages for the best shots to show you Holi Festival 2015 in pictures. View image…

Dublin: what to see in the Year of Irish Design
Dublin: what to see in the Year of Irish Design

This is the year to discover the Irish capital’s burgeoning creative scene. The country’s designers are stepping into the limelight to celebrate the Year of Irish Design, and Dublin is taking centre stage as 2015’s World Design Hub. Visitors already arrive in their droves for the city’s the literary connections, the Guinness and that intangible…

12 tips for backpacking through Europe
12 tips for backpacking through Europe

Taken from the Rough Guide to Europe on a Budget, these are our top 12 tips for backpacking through Europe. Europe has it all: sprawling cities and quaint villages; boulevards, promenades and railways; mountains, beaches and lakes. Some places will be exactly how you imagined: Venice is everything it’s cracked up to be; springtime in…

13 striking pictures of Venice Carnival
13 striking pictures of Venice Carnival

This year, one of Rough Guides’ roaming authors and photographers, Kiki Deere, returned to northern Italy for one of Europe’s most memorable festivals. Here, she shares 13 stunning pictures of the Venice Carnival. “Carnival has always played an important role in my life, having been brought up in northern Italy“, she says, “but experiencing Carnival in Venice is different…

Nagaland: 15 pictures of India’s most fascinating tribes
Nagaland: 15 pictures of India’s most fascinating tribes

Last year our roaming photographer Diana Jarvis took some time away from her usual stomping grounds in Europe and headed to the far northeastern Indian state of Nagaland to witness the annual Hornbill Festival. Here, she shares 15 pictures of the region’s fascinating tribes. “I’d visited India on several other occasions but my trip to…

9 new tourist attractions to visit in 2015
9 new tourist attractions to visit in 2015

With a whole host of new attractions opening this year, from world-record-beating skyscrapers to whacky amusement parks, there’s plenty to get your teeth into. To help you decide where to visit, we’ve picked the top 9 new tourist attractions around the world.  Shanghai Tower, China A better symbol of China’s continuing march forward would be harder to…

The best places to go in December
The best places to go in December

December might be dark and chilly in much of north America and Europe, but it’s by no means a dull month to travel. There are world-class classical music events, a clutch of colourful festivals and oodles of southern-hemisphere sunshine. Here are our tips on the best places to visit in December:   DIVE THE BLUE…

Exploring Slovenia’s diverse coastline
Exploring Slovenia’s diverse coastline

The third part in our Slovenia In Four Seasons feature sees Senior Web Editor Tim Chester explore the country in August. Check out our trips from the winter and the spring too. Think of the northern Adriatic and you’d be forgiven for thinking of Italy – of Venice, Rimini, and Trieste – or Croatia, whose…

Funeral season in Sulawesi, Indonesia
Funeral season in Sulawesi, Indonesia

Motorbiking around Sulawesi in search of one of the island’s famed funerals, Anthon Jackson attends an intense and bloody ceremony to bid farewell to the deceased. Leashed to a stake in the ground, the buffalo’s entire body squirmed as its broad throat was slit, its knees buckling and its huge torso collapsing onto the grass.…

A first time guide to Edinburgh’s festivals
A first time guide to Edinburgh’s festivals

At any time of the year, Edinburgh is a city of culture, books, and tradition – but in August, thanks to a variety of festivals, all three are amplified to full volume. From the hundreds of theatre, comedy and cabaret shows of the Edinburgh Fringe festival, through the pomp of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, to…

A guide to Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games venues
A guide to Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games venues

For too many years Glasgow has laboured under a negative – and unfair – reputation. Scotland’s second city suffered greatly in the twentieth century from industrial decline, but in the twenty-first it has gained a new lease of life. The Clyde has been cleaned up, the inner city regenerated and the hotel and restaurant scene…

Things to do in Bermuda beyond the resorts
Things to do in Bermuda beyond the resorts

Many of the popular island destinations in this part of the world boast golf course resorts and beautiful beaches, but Bermuda has so much more than the standard things to see and do. While many of the activities can be enjoyed year round, Bermuda’s sub-tropical climate means that May to September is when the island…

Where to watch the World Cup in São Paulo, Brazil
Where to watch the World Cup in São Paulo, Brazil

Local Paulistano Juan Cifrian scouts out the best places to watch the 2014 World Cup in São Paulo, Brazil. Football fans from far and wide will be out in numbers throughout the World Cup, and bars in São Paulo will respond with a slew of specials, especially during the Brazilian national team’s matches, when many are…

The best festivals in Croatia this year
The best festivals in Croatia this year

So how exactly did the Croatian coast become Europe’s favourite festival-going riviera? Much of the credit must go to the Zadar-based Garden organisation, who organised the first ever Garden Festival back in 2006. The Garden’s combination of niche music, small numbers, blissfully unspoiled beaches and slightly bonkers boat parties laid down the template for events…

36 hectic hours at the Great Escape in Brighton
36 hectic hours at the Great Escape in Brighton

It was around 3pm on the Saturday that I had the first Brighton moment. We were upstairs in a local boozer, watching a woman in her underwear recreate the lift scene in Dirty Dancing. ‘(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life’ blasted through a laptop while a gaggle of half cut women raised jugs of…

Ten great things to do in the Cotswolds
Ten great things to do in the Cotswolds

Characterised by rolling views of green countryside and English pubs, hotels and shops, a trip to the Cotswolds shows off a delightfully relaxed side of Britain. It’s the perfect place to simmer down the pace of life and get close to nature, but it’s not just bracing country walks on offer. From kid-friendly farm centres…

12 months of the quirkiest festivals around the world
12 months of the quirkiest festivals around the world

The whole world loves a party, and a good one provides a great excuse to travel. Here’s a whole twelve months of some of the more interesting ways people celebrate during festivals around the world. January: World Buskers Festival, Christchurch, New Zealand Clever street performers: they head to the southern hemisphere this month, where they can…

Why Cape Town deserves to be World Design Capital 2014
Why Cape Town deserves to be World Design Capital 2014

Cape Town has been crowned World Design Capital 2014 – a celebration of a city that has used design as a tool to reinvent themselves and improve the lives of its residents. Meera Dattani went to discover what Cape Town has done to deserve this title. You hear the word “design” and an image forms…

Brazilian football: more than just a game
Brazilian football: more than just a game

Joyous fans, unmistakeable yellow shirts, jogo bonito (“beautiful game”) – Brazilian football evokes many images, but the country’s relationship with the sport is far more complex than the clichés suggest, say the authors of new book Brazil Inside Out. Here’s a quick history. “The English invented it, the Brazilians perfected it” In Brazil, that old saying could…

The best photos from India’s Holi Festival 2014
The best photos from India’s Holi Festival 2014

This week saw Hindus in India and across the world celebrating the Holi Festival of Colours. It marks the beginning of spring and celebrates the legend of Holika and Prahlad in a mass party where participants throw powder in all colours of the rainbow at each other (something said to be started by Krishna as…

The best places to visit in May
The best places to visit in May

May is the perfect time to travel in the northern hemisphere. With the weather warming up, fewer tourists and lower prices than the peak summer months, the beaches of the Caribbean and the Med are prime targets, but there’s plenty going on elsewhere. From New Orleans jazz to a whale shark festival in Australia, here…

St Patrick’s Day, a different way
St Patrick’s Day, a different way

If you’re planning on celebrating your Irishness this next March (or getting yourself adopted for the day), the most obvious place to head is Dublin. But not everyone can get there – plus prices are high, half a million people descend on the capital for the parade, and it’s hard to find a place to…

Page 1 of 3123
20% off ebooks

Subscribe to the Rough Guides newsletter and get 20% off any ebook.

Join over 50,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month.