Mardi Gras, Burning Man, Daytona 500 - been there, done that? It's about time you cast a wider net and look at parties all around the world. From Brazil to Thailand, you'll find unique festivities to visit with your best buddies. You haven't really partied until you experience one of these blowout bashes first hand.
Part III - Top Parties around the World
1. Carnival (Carnaval in Portugese)
Rio de Janeiro or Salvador, Brazil - February (sometimes early March
A wild 4 day celebration that takes place in the hottest month of the year, Brazil's Carnival is without question the most widely known and visited in the world. Outrageous costumes, spectacular shows, over-the-top parades, passionate dancing and reckless partying (80% of the annual beer consumption takes place during this time!), Carnival in Brazil is the mecca for any true party animal.
With its amazing beaches, stunning women and whirlwind of parties, Rio de Janeiro sets the benchmark for carnivals worldwide and is the place to be for the debauchery. Alternatively, flock to Salvador, home to Brazil's authentic pagan Carnival and Rio's main rival as the biggest street party in the world. Either way, you and the boys will have one heck of a time.
Munich, Germany - Late September to Early October
Imagine a sexy barmaid in her rather short dirndl eagerly awaiting to serve you one of the numerous 1 liter beer mugs clasped in her arms. That's the picture you'll see at the 16-day Oktoberfest, the world's largest beer festival. So step right into one of the 14 beer tents, clink steins with your fellow beer lovers (six million strong), sink liters of suds all day and scarf your weight in Hendl (chicken), bratwurst and sauerkraut. This fantastic drunken celebration is a party not to be missed.
3. La Tomatina
Buñol, Valencia, Spain - Last Wednesday of August
You've always wanted to engage in an all out food fight, but never had the opportunity to do so without ramifications. Well, La Tomatina, the world's largest food fight, is your dream come true. The quiet town of Buñol comes alive every year at the end of August during its week-long festival in honor of its patron saints, culminating in the monstrous tomato battle. The "batalla" itself lasts a mere hour, as 20,000 to 50,000 revelers pelt each other with 90,000 pounds of ripe, red tomatoes. No one is certain how it all began, but this food fight is surely one big fiesta.
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Edinburgh, Scotland - New Year's Eve
Leave the crystal ball drop to Dick Clark and his gang. To ring in the New Year like a man, head over to Edinburgh to celebrate the Hogmanay with hundreds of thousands revelers. The New Year blowout here last four to five days, including jam-packed street parties, star-studded entertainment and spectacular fire festivals. Since Christmas celebrations were discouraged until as recently as 1958, the Scots save all their mid-winter impulse for rowdiness to Hogmanay. Knock down a scotch or two, admire one of the world's largest New Year fireworks displays (4.5 tons worth!) and join the Loony Dook for a dunk in the icy Firth of Forth at dawn.
5. Ibiza Closing Parties
Ibiza, Spain - Mid September to Early October
With an infamous nickname of "Gomorrah of the Mediterranean Sea," Ibiza is the legendary party island that throngs of thrill-seekers and party goers flock to for a riotous good time. It is no surprise then that the Ibiza Closing Parties, the last chance to go crazy on the island, should be the most hedonistic weeks for debauchery. As clubs like Privilege, Amnesia and Space try to outdo each other to make their party the one to remember until next year, your sole responsibility is to live it up - wake at noon, club all night and disco at sunrise.
6. Full Moon Party
Koh Phangan Thailand - Full Moon Every Month
What started out as an improvised wooden disco party of 20-30 to celebrate the full moon has transformed into a full blown, uninhibited all-night party on the white sands of Haad Rin beach every full moon evening, drawing 20,000-30,000 scantily-clad travelers smeared with body paint. Dance to pumping beats of techno, trance, goa, reggae or house; chill in the sand with Singha beer in hand; chat up a hottie at a bar; and watch the jugglers and fire-eaters entertain the crowd. The paradise blowout has become a required stop for revelers in Asia.
7. Glastonbury Festival
Glastonbury, Somerset, England - End of June
If you're a performing arts lover, how can Glastonbury Festival not be on your itinerary. After all, it's only the largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world, attracting more than 175,000 people and 700 musical acts to the 800-acre Worthy Farm each year. Over the three days, rock out to music from headliners such as U2, Snoop Dogg and Stevie Wonder; meet people from all backgrounds, nationalities and musical taste; drink and be merry. It'll be one of your best weekends of the year, if not lifetime.
8. Fiesta de San Fermin (commonly known as Running of the Bulls)
Pamplona, Spain - July 6-14
Thanks to Ernest Hemingway's novel "The Sun Also Rises," the Fiesta de San Fermin is the most famous of Spain's festivals. For 9 days, the city of Pamplona puts on one heck of a fiesta for the one million people who come, starting with the pyrotechnic Chupinazo at noon on July 6. The daredevils among you can choose to don white outfits and red handkerchief to run with the bulls from their pen to the fighting ring while the meeker ones can watch from behind the fences. No matter how you choose to participate in the Encierro, enjoy the street carnival during the day, free-flowing sangria at night and over 158 programmed performances 24 hours a day throughout the festival for an unforgettably good time.
9. Monaco Grand Prix
Monte Carlo, Monaco - Mid May
Few sporting events in the world, if any, quite compares to the sheer elegance, glamour and history of the Monaco Grand Prix, the "jewel of the Formula One crown." See the sparkling waves of the Mediterranean reflect off super-sized yachts, luxurious apartments and limestone cliffs. Experience the race cars at close range with engines howling, rubber burning and brakes glowing. Hobnob with the super rich, the famous and the royal princesses. This irresistible spectacle is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
10. St. Patrick's Day
Dublin, Ireland - March 12-17
As recently as the 1970s, pubs and bars were required to be closed on St. Patrick's Day. Luckily, the Irish government came to their senses and has chosen to offer a national festival that ranks among the greatest bashes in the world. Instead of a one day blowout, you'll now find six days and nights of festivities of monumental proportions. So make your trip to Dublin, grab a few pints of Guinness, see the jigs and reels and celebrate this oh so special day with the beautiful Irish lasses.
- Queen's Day (Amsterdam, Netherlands - April 30)
- Australia Day (Australia - January 26)
- Songkran (Chiang Mai, Thailand - Mid April)
- Holi (India - Full Moon in March)
- Las Fallas (Valencia, Spain - March)
- Ati-Atihan Festival (Kalibo, Panay, Philipphines - Third Week of January)
Back to: Best Ideas for a Guys' Trip - Part I (Top Activities) and Part II (Top Parties in North America)?