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22 June 2016

Festival season is upon us. But for savvy travellers such as yourself, finding a free festival or party whilst on holiday is an altogether more satisfying experience. The plus side is you get a little taste of the city’s culture, learning what really makes it tick whilst there. 

Below are four of the biggest street parties Europe has to offer. Enjoy.

 

CSD Berlin

CSD (Christopher Street Day) is Berlin’s answer to Gay Pride. The street parade takes place on 23 July, it starts way out in the west of the city near Kurfürstendamm U-Bahn stop. A roughly half hour train ride from easyHotel Berlin Hackescher Markt, this is well worth getting involved with. It kicks off at 12pm and moves east through the Tiergarten until it reaches the Brandenburg Gate. This is the end point of the march and what follows is a party up and down Straße des 17. Juni.

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Multiple stages will be hosting everything from political speeches, to world-class DJs and entertainers. Berlin, a very accepting city, has an out and proud gay community. Its ex-mayor Klaus Wowereit is famed for, in the run up to election, stating “Ich bin schwul, und das ist auch gut so” [“I’m gay, and that is a good thing”].

 
Notting Hill Carnival, London

The yearly celebration of all things Caribbean takes place on the August Bank Holiday weekend. The self-acclaimed (and justifiably so) biggest street party in Britain runs over the 28-29 August.

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The carnival is split into two distinct parts; the procession and the surrounding party. The procession circles around the Notting Hill area, expect flamboyant attire and rumbling sound systems. The party is a free for all of bass heavy dancehall, reggae and dance tracks.

Notting Hill is in the middle of easyHotel London Paddington and easyHotel London South Kensington. Make a weekend of it…

 
St Stephen’s Day, Budapest 

St Stephen’s Day takes place annually on 20 August and is a celebration of the inception of Hungary. No matter what day it falls on that is the holiday, Monday, Thursday or Sunday. There’s a ton of stuff to be seeing and doing if you have chosen the easyHotel Budapest Oktogen as your place to stay.

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Traditional dress seems practically a necessity for Hungarians, including some rather outlandish straw man outfits. The celebration is basically about the first martyr of Christianity, so it’s a pretty big deal in the Christian calendar. Whether that floats your boat or not, it doesn’t really matter, because everyone likes fireworks, right? Hopefully, because there is a huge display to bring the day to a close. It’s one of those where literally everyone will be out on the street with you. Soak up the atmosphere.

 

The Festival of Saint Joan, Menorca

If the Bull Run and La Tomatina have taught us anything, it’s that Spain knows how to have a right royal knees up. This lesser known street party is no different. A band of horsemen dressed in traditional attire lead the celebrations. They lead their horses bucking and rearing into the crowds (Spain is not known for its health and safety, exhibit 1: The Bull Run.), followed by a call from the flautists.

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Expect gin and tonics, hinted with fresh lemon juice. Not to mention barefooted men carrying docile one-year-old sheep over their shoulders. The aim of most residents is to touch the sheep, this is said to bring luck. The festival ends with a roaring bonfire in the evening. bars and clubs will be keeping the party alive into the small hours.