Winter in Europe is full of celebrations. With a wide range of events to discover, this time of the year is as fun as summer. Although cold, the festivals and celebrations are definitely worth braving the weather for. Here are a few events to check out if you’re in Europe in the coming months.
Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival, Bruges, Belgium
While there are a number of ice festivals in the United Kingdom, the Snow and Ice Festival in Bruges is probably the most distinguished. What makes this year’s special is that the festival will be celebrating the 90th anniversary of Mickey Mouse. On display, will be a fantasy world of magic, starring the most-loved heroes of Disney Classics, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars. The sculptures are created using only ice and water.
When: November to January
Amsterdam Light Festival
Amsterdam is known for its canals – there are around 165 canals, totalling 50 kilometres, overpassed by a little over 1,250 bridges. During the Light Festival, the city’s streets and waterways are decorated with light displays of every kind, shape and form. Each year, there are hundreds of submissions by designers, architects and artists from around the world (the past years have included submission by prominent artists such as Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei). A selection committee then chooses about 35 artworks, which make up the festival’s installations.
When: November to January
Winter Solstice, UK
Witnessing the sun rising over the 5,000-year-old megalithic structure of Stonehenge has always charmed travellers and locals alike. While there are quite a few stone circles in the UK, Stonehenge deserves the top spot for being the densest area of Neolithic monuments. The reason why this site is so popular is that from here you can glimpse the sun’s rays shine through the stones, which are perfectly aligned with the path of the sun. .
Rise, Les Deux Alpes, France
A six-day snow, music, adventure and wellbeing event, the Rise Festival is set on the slopes and both the indoor and outdoor arenas in the French town of Les Deux Alpes, 70 km south-east of Grenoble. With a firm focus on winter-themed adventures as well as music, Rise Festival offers a wide range of experiences to a generation of ski holiday lovers. By day, Rise takes over an impressive range of mountain-high après ski venues with panoramic views for bespoke parties.
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, Scotland
Hogmanay sees over 140,000 revellers from all around the world joining the vibrant street parties, concerts and celebrations over three days. Some of the highlights this year include the Torchlight Procession through the city centre, the traditional concert in the gardens and firework display. You can spend the first day of the New Year leaping into the freezing waters of the Forth river or take a journey through Edinburgh discovering its fantastic cultural heritage.
When: December and January