With so many to choose from around the world, it can be difficult to settle on a carnival destination. One thing is for certain – it’s going to be a party, and Europeans know how to throw them. |
It's a tradition dating back to the Renaissance period, when nobles would throw extravagant celebrations to display their wealth and luxurious lifestyles. Traditionally, vibrant and grotesque masks were made to hide the identities of the revellers to allow them to get up to mischief. Modern Carnivals are a fascinating blend of the old and new, celebrating the past and present.
I’ve thought long and hard about the best carnival destinations I have experienced and settled on my top three recommendations.
Tenerife: Santa Cruz
Arguably the most flamboyant Carnival destination in the whole of Europe, the celebrations in Santa Cruz happen every February and last until March. This is a tradition reaching back to the fifteenth century and forms an extravaganza of costumes, masks, dancing and music. There is fierce competition between revellers as to who can make the most spectacular creations and the results do not disappoint.
If you’re looking for accommodation in Santa Cruz that blends contemporary luxury with a traditional glamour, look no further than the Iberostar Grand Hotel Mencey. If the hotel’s intriguing history wasn’t enough, the private location and beautifully furnished rooms will take your breath away.
For one of the most beautiful celebrations in Italy – and I’d go so far as to say Europe – Sicily is the perfect Carnival destination. The Baroque city of Acireale is the ideal setting for a tradition that celebrates the past; this celebration dates back to 1594. Held at the end of every February, it is one of the most anticipated events of the year. Mask making and float construction dazzle the crowds, displaying symbolic religious and historical images, as well as contemporary depictions of public figures.
For the authentic Sicilian Carnival experience, my favourite place to stay is the Palazzo Failla. This family-run hotel combines stunning Baroque features with a welcome respite from the Carnival chaos, where you can recharge yourself before re-joining the fun.
Malta has been a Carnival destination for over 500 years and this week-long event is unmissable. To represent the defeat of the Turks on the island in the sixteenth century, the celebrations begin with a sword dance, followed by a wide range of musical performances. The main event is the parade of vibrant floats through the streets of Valletta, surrounded by masked balls, dancing and amazing cuisine.
Contrast the mayhem of Carnival with the serenity of the ocean. The Grand Hotel Excelsior is within walking distance of the main street of Valletta; with spectacular views looking out to sea combined with the friendly Maltese service, you’ll be able to relax in peace.
Join the Fun
Without a doubt, Carnival is the event that cannot be missed in Europe. Immerse yourself in the history of the tradition while making new memories, and experience a culture like never before. Our selection of luxury accommodation venues will make sure you’re right in the middle of the action. Contact our expert team of advisors to help you find the perfect party destination.
John Dixon is an experienced world traveller and the Managing Director of Prestige Holidays. For over 30 years, he has been providing luxury accommodation in Sicily, Croatia, Bermuda, The Canary Islands and many other destinations around the globe. If you're travelling to experience the history, culture or the best carnival destination Prestige has the perfect accommodation for you. John tries to visit all the destinations regularly, in order to ensure the quality of his properties, and stay up-to-date about the latest local news and events. He has a taste for the finer things in life and has an interest in arts, history and culture.
Related Articles -