Pick any major European city as your next holiday destination and one thing’s for sure: you won’t be short of things to do and places to see. However, if the thought of spending yet another week-end away museum and market hopping sounds like a bit of a boring, overdone drag, take heart! Surely there’s a crazy festival somewhere you can attend!
Head off to one of our favourite cities at just the right time of year and you could take part in (or at the very least witness in bewilderment of) one of Europe’s weirdest festivals.
Trust us, there’s plenty of wacky stuff out there for you to experience!
Baby-Jumping Festival, Spain
If you thought spending a few hours pelting strangers with over-ripe tomatoes was weird, just wait until you get a hold of this other wacky Spanish festival. To be honest, we’re not quite sure how this could even be considered legal anymore, but if you happen to travel to Barcelona in June, make a detour to the northern town of Castrillo de Murcia. Here, you’ll have the priceless chance of watching grown men, dressed in incredibly regal costumes, jump and leap over rows of newborn babies...all in the name of cultural tradition. The 400 year old baby-jumping tradition, called El Colacho, is supposed to safeguard the vulnerable babes against illness and evil-luck; even though it seems to leave most foreing spectators rather baffled. Still, four centuries is a hell of a long time to uphold a tradition so perhaps we are the ones who are missing the big picture here! Or maybe not...
Stilletto Sprint Festival, Holland
We really do love Amsterdam for all sorts of reasons. Considering it’s a city which flaunts dope and sex with elegant abandon, it’s safe to say it’s pretty weird and wonderful at the best of times. Yet in the first week of March every year, it gets even wackier than usual. This is when the annual stiletto running festival takes place!
The 150m high-heel dash first took place in 2006 and was meant to be a one-off event organized by a popular magazine. What no-one realized, however, was that there was a mysterious void in the European festival world, just dying to be filled. Head to Amsterdam in March and come see hundreds of women wearing vertiginously dangerous high heel shoes race each other to the finish line down the city’s most fashionable shopping street. It’s really as fun as it sounds, especially when you consider the fact that the sizeable prize money (ten thousand Euros) brings out the cattiness in the competitors like nothing else!
Cheese Rolling Festival, UK
We don’t know about you, but we have a soft spot for festivals where food is involved. If you also have a culinary fetish then you’re in for a real treat: between the tomato and grape throwing festivals in Spain, orange throwing festival in Italy and chocolate smothering festival in France (the last one doesn’t actually exist but we’re sure you’d agree that it really should!) your options for foodie-obsessed festivals are plenty all year round. If you have the chance to attend only one food-related festival however, then you really ought not to miss the most hilarious one of all: the cheese rolling festival of Gloucestershire.
Although this is possibly one of the most famous festivals in Europe, and appears to be a modern novelty, it is actually a tradition which dates back over 200 years. The concept behind this insanely popular festival is for competitors to race a humongous roll of cheese down a steep hill. Crossing the line first, and doing so with as few injuries as possible, is the aim of the game. Don’t be fooled by how simple that sounds...the cheese usually has the last laugh.
Head to London in the last week of May, catch a high-speed train connection to Gloucestershire and don’t miss your chance to watch men take on dairy and lose in the most hilarious of fashions.