Europe's best Carnival celebrations!
It’s that time of year again where the Carnival season is upon us! This event is celebrated in the most beautiful European cities. Our buses will take you to the most colorful carnival events that Europe has to offer! Get your costume ready and prepare yourself for the craziest bus trip you may ever have this winter. You will discover a new level of fun celebrating the Mardi Gras in Paris, or dressing up in the most outrageous costume at the Karneval in Cologne. Il Carnevale celebrated in Venice is probably the most beautiful in Europe. We have chosen some of the most beautiful and wackiest destinations for carnival celebrations that you should visit in 2017!
Would you like to see how carnival is celebrated in different countries?
Wondering where to go for Carnival?
Take our quiz and find out what your best Carnival destination is!
Carnival in Cologne
Cologne is renowned for its Carnival celebrations, with thousands of locals, visitors, travelers and tourists visiting the city during the Carnival period each year. The main festivities will take place from 4th - 10th February. The parade on Rose Monday is unforgettable; over 10,000 people throw candy from their carriages along a 7km route through the city. Over 1.5 million people visit Cologne during the celebrations – so plan your bus trip before it’s too late!
The Carnival of Cologne will start at exactly 11:11am on Thursday February 4th. Every year at the Carnival there is a virgin, prince and farmer (Jungfrau, Prinz and Bauer) who are seen as representatives of the festivities. The prince is the highest representative of the Carnival, traditionally taking the lead in the festivities, and the virgin is traditionally a man dressed as a female. Cologne comes alive during Carnival so it is the best time to visit and party in the city. During your bus trip to Cologne, you will be overwhelmed by the number of processions through the streets, the impressive bands, hundreds of horses and millions of people cheering!
Carnival in Mainz
“Helau, helau, helau!” That is the traditional greeting in Mainz during the Carnival days. You have until the February 10th to visit West German city, during its famous Fastnacht.
Mainz’s Carnival parade is amazing. Often broadcasted on German television, it extends to no less than 6.5 kilometres! This procession will take place on the February 8th, Rose Monday. Vibrant color, echoes of laughter and non-stop music define the Carnival festivities, which come to an exciting climax during the last week of Mainz’s Carnival celebrations. Book your bus travel with FlixBus today and plan your trip to Mainz during the Carnival season!
Carnival in Aachen
The spirit of the Carnival is fully alive in Aachen and is celebrated throughout the city every year. Also known as “fifth season,” Carnival comes to life in Aachen in February where the city fills up with color, laughter and lots of fun. The main festivities will take place from 3rd - 10th February.
Starting on February 3rd, Aachen embarks on a series of festivities over the course of several days. On Sunday February 7th, a children’s parade takes place in the beautiful market square in the city center. Children and parents are dressed up from head to toe for the occasion along with a beautiful procession of carriages accompanied by laughter and lots of fun for all the family. The most important day of the Carnival is, of course, Rose Monday, when a beautiful parade takes place. Festivities end on Ash Wednesday. So what are you waiting for? Book your bus trip to Aachen and let the fun begin!
Carnival in Venice
The Carnival of Venice is one of the most famous and beautiful Carnivals in the world; but don’t take our word for it – book your bus travel and find out for yourself! Venice Carnival is famous for Carnival masks, where locals and tourists alike will wear masks for the duration of the Carnival. Venice celebrates this event for more than two weeks, this year ending on February 9th.
One of the most important events in Venice during its Carnival is the contest for the most beautiful masks, which is held on the last weekend of the celebrations. Venetian masks are very important in Venetian industry so you can easily buy one once your bus arrives in Venice. The costumes at the Carnival of Venice include ornate cloaks and gowns that can be seen all over the city. Events during the Carnival period include parades, jousts and tournaments, and the Grand Masked Ball. Many musical and theatre performances take place at Piazza San Marco and a great procession of boats and gondolas is a must-see. During your bus trip to Venice, don’t forget to try Fritelle and Galani - typical Carnival sweets which you can only enjoy during this wonderful season.
Carnival in Viareggio
The masked parades of Viareggio start at the sound of the cannon. Then, the party begins. 2016 sees the main festivities of the Carnival of Viareggio taking place on 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th February, and again on March 5th.
The Carnival of Viareggio is a tradition that dates back to 1873. This festivity started as a way of mocking the elected people of Viareggio who were presented as ridiculous dolls. Since then, the Carnival has transformed into an explosion of colors and partying! The residents of Viareggio have preserved the tradition of the giant mocking dolls and nowadays, during its great parade, you will be able to spot different fairy tale characters as well as politicians, both local and international. Some dolls are more than 20 meters high! It is no surprise that Viareggio is considered as one of Italy’s most popular Carnival destinations! Our buses will take you straight to Florence, close to this wonderful city, so make sure you don’t miss out and book your bus trip today.
Carnival in Milan
This year the capital of Italy will celebrate the Ambrosian Carnival, with celebrations that will culminate in the famous Piazza del Duomo. Plan your bus trip and pay a visit to the Ambrosian Carnival from January 24th – February 9th.
The Carnival of Milan is not as famous as the Venetian Carnival, but it is completely different from any other Carnival celebrations in Italy. Milan Carnival doesn’t end on ‘Fat Tuesday,’ but on the Saturday after. Huge parades complete with more than just floats – the procession is full of choreographed groups and music performances. Not to mention an array of concerts and other festivities throughout the city. Travel to Milan with FlixBus!
Carnival in Paris
This year the carnival in Paris will not only see its 18th edition, but also has the unique theme of the “aquatic fantastic world”. In 2016, the parade will take place on the February 7th; beginning at Place Gambetta at 1pm and ending at Place de la République. The party doesn’t stop until hours later though, so be prepared for a day and night of fun and music!
February 7th – save the date! Carnival is happening in Paris and the streets will be filled with color, music and costumes. Thousands of people will gather at Place Gambetta for what will be one of the most celebrated events of the year. We recommend that you dress up for this awesome occasion, and join the colorful parade - the brighter the better! The arrival of the parade at Place de la République is scheduled at 6pm, but the party continues until around 9pm. So book your bus to Paris and join the festivities!
Carnival in Nice
The Carnival of Nice is the most important winter event on the French Riviera. Nice’s carnival is one of the largest in the world and this year it will take place from 13th - 28th February. Numerous parades will take place over 15 fun-filled fays, where over a thousand dancers and musicians will lead the celebrations.
Nice is famous for its beautiful Carnival parades. The main parade, with 18 carefully designed floats, countless music groups and impressive street theatre, is something you simply cannot miss. You should also plan your bus trip so that you do not miss the Flower Parade. During this event, around 100,000 flowers will be thrown towards the crowd from the floats, most of which are produced locally. At night time in Place Massena, the Parade of Lights takes place, with giant screens and illuminated floats lighting up the entire city. Various parades will take place almost every day from the 13th to 28th February, so make sure to book your seats in advance so you can have the best views of the floats.
Our buses to Nice
Carnival in Dunkirk
As a tradition dating back to the 17th Century, the Carnival of Dunkirk is a series of events, festivities and parades taking place during the first two months of the year. In 2016 Carnival will end on February 27th - so plan your bus trip to Dunkirk today!
The Carnival of Dunkirk is one of the most interesting carnivals in France, with celebrations taking place over the whole weekend. Expect to find an array of different bands playing music on the streets. It might be a small town, but this doesn’t mean that its people don’t know how to have fun! The Dunkerquois love celebrating Carnival, and every year several processions and balls take place all over the town. The Carnival events end in the “Trois Joyeuses” on the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday each year. On these particular days, the city is perfect for fun and partying. The locals dress in the most outrageous costumes and carry umbrellas in many different colours. During Sunday’s festivities, you can join the singing and dancing crowd and make as much noise as you want. At the Carnival of Dunkirk you can also see the typical huge puppets called reuzes, which date back to the 1800’s. So, dress up as whatever you want and join the noisy crowd at the Carnival of Dunkirk.
The Carnival of Maastricht in Holland
Carnival is mainly celebrated in the southern Dutch cities. This year it will take place from 7th - 9th February, when the cities will come to life and people will invade the streets celebrating the craziest parties that the winter will see. During the three days of Carnival, Maastricht will be bustling with laughter! Dress up with the craziest costume that you can find. The point of the Carnival in the Netherlands is: the most outrageous, the better!
Once the Prince is chosen, the mayor will give him the keys to the city for the duration of the Carnival. The chosen Carnival Prince will lead all the festivities, bringing everyone together for the greatest party you can imagine! The city will be decorated in red, yellow and green, and bands will be playing on the streets, creating a vibrant Carnival atmosphere. The celebrations officially start on Sunday February 7th, but those who can’t wait until then can start the celebrations on the Thursday before, where many locals and tourists come to begin the annual party. Celebrated by everyone, the Maastricht Carnival is impossible not to enjoy, so get on the bus and join the celebrate Carnival 2016!
The Carnival of Basel in Switzerland
The Carnival of Basel is the biggest in Switzerland, lasting exactly 72 hours. This means you can plan a three day bus trip to Basel: three days of fun, music and beautifully decorated floats. Take a bus trip to Switzerland this year and Celebrate Carnival 2016 from 15th - 17th February.
Every participant at the Carnival of Basel will wear a costume and a mask, and on Monday February 15th at 4am, the lights will all turn off and a group of locals will appear in different spots around the city, with the sounds of drums, carrying lanterns. Tens of thousands of people will be following this procession. That Monday afternoon will be covered in confetti, flowers and candy. On Tuesday the Carnival of the Children will take place, where the festivities are specifically aimed at families with children. These last until Wednesday. Basel is the perfect family orientated city for celebrating Carnival so plan your bus trip to Basel today!