Unique Festivals around the World

Festivals are the most wonderful way to see a destination, you get to visit a location at its loudest and it’s proudest. The locals are excited and the tourists are there to embrace the festivities and the atmosphere is second to none. We all know and love the mega festivals like Glastonbury, Running of the Bulls and Oktoberfest. These are destination festivals and are sophisticated and attract glamorous people from all over the world. As fun as these mega festivals are, there are a number of lesser known festivals that are so colourful and unique and so worth your time. Wherever you travel, getting off the beaten track and trying something a little out of the ordinary will always result in the most incredible experiences.

Matchmaker Festival in Lisdoonvarna

Lisdoonvarna might not be a town that you have heard but it is home to the Matchmaker festival in County Clare, Ireland. This month long festival has been operating for a few hundred years and takes place in September every year. The man in charge of your matchmaking fate is Willie Daly, he took over the matchmaking business from his father in the 1960’s. This festival has adapted itself very well into the 21st century and attracts thousands from all over Europe. There are dances running from midday every day until the early hours of the morning. These days it’s a lot more about having fun than meeting your future husband/wife, but with Willie looking out for you, you just never know what could happen.

Western Australian Circus Festival

It is everyone’s dream to run away and join the circus when they are a kid and this is the next best thing. The Western Australian Circus Festival is the perfect opportunity to throw away all of your inhibitions and open yourself up to the fun and frivolity of circus life. Set in the idyllic location of Margaret River this three day event has everything including circus shows, comedy, theatre, music and cabaret over the Australia Day weekend. For the more professionals Circus folk there is five days of training leading up to the festival in all disciplines of Circus Arts. Learn to juggle, trapeze and tumble or take a workshop in knife throwing. This festival has something for the inner child in all of us.

La Tomatina

This one is not for the faint hearted, La Tomatina is the world’s biggest food fight in Bunol, Spain. For the tomato throwing to commence a ham is placed upon a pole, and not just any pole, this is an extremely tall and much greased up pole. The tomato fight can only begin when someone is able to climb to the top of the pole and pull down the ham. Who can pull down the ham? Absolutely anybody, that’s who and the result is multiple people climbing on top of each other scrambling to be the victor. Once the fight begins the only way to describe it is total mayhem. You will come out of this food fight covered from head to toe in over ripe tomatoes; it will be in your hair, your ears, your mouth, and parts of your bodies where tomatoes were never meant to go.

Cheese Rolling in Gloucestershire

There is something about this festival that just resonates with everyone. The sheer brilliance yet stupidity of chasing a big old wheel of Double Gloucester cheese down an incredibly steep hill. There is no corporation making money off this event, you don’t need to register and no entry fee to pay. You just turn up on the day, take a very deep breath and once that wheel of cheese takes off you run as fast as you can after it. The chance of injury is always possible, as you would expect with many people running down a steep hill together chasing a wheel of cheese. There’s something just so grassroots about this event that will warm the cockles of your heart.


Festivals are just one of many hundreds of reasons to get out there and visit a new city or country. For any of your travel needs call Travel Design International on 1300 360 809 or email travel@traveldesignint.com.au for a no obligation chat with one of our friendly consultants.