The best Carnival destinations in Europe

Traveling during carnival is a great way to learn about other cultures. Discover the 7 European cities you can't miss.

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Carnival is celebrated atthe end of February; a festivity in which humor, originality and fun flood the streets of many cities where this tradition continues. And, if there is one thing you can't miss at Carnival, it's the costumes. However, although Carnival is very popular in some Spanish regions, it is also a very important event in other European cities. Therefore, if you enjoy the customs and costumes of this time of the year, we tell you about some European destinations to see in Carnival.

The 3 Spanish cities with the liveliest Carnivals

We begin, inevitably, by talking about the three regions of our country where the Carnival attracts thousands and thousands of people to their streets year after year.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the destination par excellence to visit during Carnival

If we talk about Carnival, we have to talk about Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and there are few festivals that are enjoyed with such intensity in this region. In fact, in 1980 it was declared Festival of International Tourist Interest and since 1987 it is in the Guinness Book of Records for bringing the largest number of people together (over 200,000) in a street dance. There is also great expectation to know who will be crowned as the new Carnival Queen each year, a tradition that dates back to 1935. Rent your car or motorcycle in Tenerife with OK Mobility and don't miss its Carnival!

Gran Canaria

We continue in the Canary Islands, but in this case, we move to Gran Canaria, another of the cities that has been celebrating Carnival for the longest time. In fact, its origin dates back to the 16th century and, as in the case of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, in the 1980s it turned professional and became an international tourist attraction. Nearly 250,000 people every year choose Gran Canaria as their destination for Carnival. You can also rent your car or motorcycle in Gran Canaria and be one of those people!


Returning to the Iberian Peninsula, the best-known Carnival takes place in Cadiz, a city where it is also declared a festival of International Tourist Interest. In this case, the most popular event is the gran concurso,a contest with four categories: comparsas, choirs, quartets and chirigotas. They spend one month going round the streets of Cadiz and performing their songs and shows to a jury that, in mid-February, chooses a winner.

Where to travel for Carnival outside Spain

If you want to have a different experience of Carnival and want to see how it is celebrated outside our borders, these are some of the best destinations to choose from:

Venice, where a trip for Carnival is spectacular

The city, where masks are worn, has had a great carnival tradition since the eleventh century, making it one of the oldest in the world. The most distinctive feature of these carnivals is that it is very common to see period costumes typical of the seventeenth century, in a very aristocratic style that normally no one varies. This year, it will be held between February 16 and 21.


From Venice we go to Milan, another Italian city where we find the Ambrosian Carnival, whose particularity is that, instead of ending on Ash Wednesday, it lasts until the following Saturday, the Sabato Grasso. The reason for this extension is due, according to Milanese tradition, to the fact that the bishop St. Ambrose, patron saint of the city, being on a pilgrimage, asked his flock to extend carnival until his return and thus celebrate together the beginning of Lent.


The Czech capital celebrates the Bohemian Carnival, which is characterized by allegorical and medieval costumes, regional dances with traditional Czech music, and all kinds of celebrations. In fact, the Masopust (carnival) of the Czech region of Hlinekco, east of Prague, has been recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage.


The last destination to travel to during Carnival is Cologne, in Germany, where it is considered one of the most important events in the country. The big party takes place during the month of February and ends on Ash Wednesday after a big week of festivities. This year 2023, it will start on Thursday, February 16 and end on Wednesday, February 22. Enjoy a driving tour in Germany and end your trip enjoying this Carnival!

Traveling during Carnival? Yes, but with a vehicle that gives you freedom

Whatever European destination you are going to visit in Carnival, your best option is to hire a vehicle directly at the final destination. This way, you will have total mobility to travel around the cities and take advantage of a very interesting time of the year to immerse yourself in other cultures.


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