Consider adding an autumn itinerary to your running list of European vacation ideas. During this time of year, the crowds have thinned and your photos will pop with all that fall foliage framing the attractions.
In addition to taking in the sights and leaf-peeping, you’re also privy to some intriguing events that you might otherwise miss. These snippets of local flavor help ensure you’ll have the absolute best shoulder season travel experience. Below are a few quirky festivals to check out in various countries around Western Europe, where Diamond Resorts and Hotels has a number of stunning properties that will serve as a great home base.
Since 1987, the Fuerteventura International Kite Festival fascinates visitors from all over the world during the second week of November. Held on the Playa del Burro, the three-day kite-flying fête features all manner of styles and designs. Although some competitions take place — including fighter kites and kite dances set to music — the festival is devoted mostly to artistry. Many participants make and proudly fly their own kites, and for visitors who want to join in, craftspeople offer a wide selection to buy. The variety of shapes and hues stun against the backdrop of the Canary Islands’ vivid blue skies, where Diamond Resorts has incredible properties like Santa Barbara Golf and Ocean Club located on Tenerife and Club del Carmen on Lanzarote.
If you love EDM (electronic dance music), the Techno Parade in Paris is for you and about 399,000 of your closest friends. Held during mid-September, more than 200 DJs — both famous and emerging — roll through the streets on mobile platforms while blasting beats. The route changes every year to add diversity and showcase different neighborhoods, but the enthusiastic crowds never wane.
Also in Paris, on the first Saturday in October, you can view the city in a different light — literally. Nuit Blanche is an all-night event that allows all manner of artists to install public art, stage concerts and set scenes that illuminate neighborhoods using neon, natural light or anything else they devise. Public transportation stays open all night, so you can plot your own path through the streets and return to Diamond’s Royal Regency in Vincennes after the festivities wind down.
The best European vacations involve food, and there’s no shortage of fine fare in Italy. Even unconventional items are celebrated in this sensory destination — take, for instance, the humble chestnut.
On the first two weekends of October, a Chestnut Festival takes place right in the center of Soriano nel Cimino, where Diamond Resorts offers two luxe properties: Palazzo Catalani and Palazzo at Soriano. The fruit (that’s right — chestnuts are a fruit!) has been celebrated here for so many centuries that a cooking contest devoted to it, the Convivium Secretum, calls for entering Medieval and Renaissance-era recipes. Other events include historical reenactments, a parade with hundreds of participants dressed in Medieval outfits, jousting, archery tournaments and, of course, plenty of chestnut-infused fare.
In Salzburg, only an hour from Schladming (home to Diamond Resorts’ Alpine Club), you can join in the traditional celebrations at Rupertikirtag — the St. Rupert’s Day Fair. In the third week of September at Residenzplatz Square and Residence Fountain next to the Salzburg Cathedral, you can dizzy yourself on antique carnival rides, partake in culinary delights, browse a farmers market, learn about local crafts and watch regional folk dancers and singers.
Get ready to be dazzled. In Faro, just a 30-minute drive from Diamond’s Vilar do Golf, the LUZA Festival, also known as the Algarve International Festival of Light, falls every mid-November. Spectacular displays all over the region range from high-tech art installations to large LED broadsides on buildings to moving holograms. For three nights, it feels like you’re living in artistic renderings of disco balls, electrified lunar landscapes and captured lightning.
A unique kind of art awaits at the Perth Festival of Yarn. As its moniker suggests, this September event celebrates all things felting and weaving. Attend a class or the keynote lecture. Browse the marketplace vendors for everything from hand-dyed fibers to crafting tools to finished products. Converse with other knitting enthusiasts, who converge on the festival for a day of like-minded engagement.
Only slightly more renowned, the Perth Accordion & Fiddle Festival is 70 years old and still going strong. Competitors of all ages and from all over the country enter to win various honors during the last weekend of October. After a full day, retire back at the Kenmore Club with music still resonating in your ears.
When looking for family friendly entertainment, stop by the annual Autumn Festival in Staffordshire (home to Diamond Resorts’ Wychnor Park Country Club). Sponsored by the National Memorial Arboretum, this two-day affair introduces visitors to birds and animals via games and talks. It also holds tastings of autumnal foods and drinks, as well as other events meant to appeal to a wide variety of age groups who want to appreciate the season.
If you’re looking for something a little more zesty, the Medieval town of Market Drayton holds the Ginger & Spice Festival at the end of September. In addition to piquant, locally produced and sourced food tastings, visitors can partake in costumed walking tours, performances, demonstrations, talks and stand-up comedy. Locals call this a fringe festival, and it proudly promotes itself as out-of-the-box.
Attending one of these quirky, character-filled festivals is a way to experience some of the more authentic and unique elements of local culture. Book your shoulder season European vacation today by perusing Diamond Resorts properties online.
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