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Top 4 quirkiest festivals in Europe

Travelling through Europe is often considered a rite of passage; where else could you discover jaw-dropping historical sights, stumble happily from gigantic beer halls, fall madly in love with the world’s most romantic cities or yodel yourself hoarse on green pastured mountain peaks. With festival season just around the corner, there is no better excuse to start planning your European summer trip!

1. LA BATALLA DEL VINO


Image: www.hoy.es

Where? Haro, La Rioja, Spain
When? 28-30 June
Why? We’ve always been told wine is too precious to waste, and if you are going to waste it – do it wisely. However, in the small town of Haro – a battle to end all battles takes place to celebrate the Spanish wine festival. This is not the kind of wine festival where people stand around swirling glasses, scoffing camembert whilst discussing bouquets and undertones. This is rioja-soaked carnage involving the entire town throwing over 50,000 litres of red wine all over each other. Rest assured, the wine is no Gran Reserva – so grab a jug and get stuck in. With no rules, teams, winners or losers – why not celebrate St. Peter’s Feast Day with the locals, get a bit drunk and turn a beautiful shade of purple.

2. LA TOMATINA

Where? Bunol, Spain (close to Valencia)
When? 31 August
Why? There is something strangely enticing about a festival dedicated to throwing squashed tomatoes! That’s why thousands flood in to Valencia each year with the specific intent of taking part in the world’s biggest food fight. The fight begins at 11am when a loud firework will go off, and then participants are left to stand their own over the next chaotic hour as the streets and the people turn into a sea of red, until the second firework goes off to indicate the end. The fun doesn’t stop there, the palo-jambon event will see people climbing a soap-covered pole to reach the prosciutto on the top, with the first person to grab it claiming victory and the ham! So if you are a bit of a foodie, be sure to get a ticket to this event.

3. HALLOWEEN


Where? Translyvania, Romania
When? 29 Oct – 4 Nov
Why? We know Halloween is worldwide, but there’s something about Transylvania that sends an icy chill down the most fearless adventurer – would you be willing to spend the one of the most haunted days in the year in Dracula’s castle? You can attend a Halloween party in an authentic, gothic castle and rave the night away to the monster mash. While you’re there explore Romania’s haunted castles, Gothic architecture and enchanting forests. You might even meet some lovely locals.

Fact: Dracula was based upon the Transylvanian villain known as ‘Vlad the Impaler’.

4. OKTOBERFEST

Where? Munich, Germany
When? 19 Sep – 4 Oct
Why? Oktoberfest is the German beer folk festival held once a year in Munich. It celebrates the anniversary of the wedding between Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and his wife. Oktoberfest takes place in giant beer tents, serving the best German beer and food you’ll enjoy for a long time! But it’s not just about the beer, each tent has a brass band playing everything from chart hits to traditional classics. All you have to do is grab your mates, don the lederhosen, pick up a pint glass and party German style…worry about the hangover tomorrow.
Fact: Bavaria does not run out of lederhosen. For cheap outfits try C&A in Neuhauserstrasse at Marienplatz. A one litre Stein costs about £8.

Europe has got some wicked festivals, let’s just say it’s going to be a great summer!

60 Day Adventure Week 4: Wine & Cheese & Tubes, Oh My | 60 Day Adventure | STA Travel

This week started out with a trip to the Hunter Valley for a wine tasting day. Picked up nice and early again by our very friendly tour guide, Ronnie, and off we went. Unfortunately it was a rainy start to the day, but a perfect day to taste some wine at the cellar door! As my wine knowledge was zero, I was especially looking forward to learning all the tips and tricks to tasting and knowing about wine.

Travelling north from Sydney, our first stop was the McGuigan Winery. On entering we were treated to a quick tour of their wine-making facilities and then escorted through to a lovely bar where the tasting commenced. What a beautiful selection of wine we had, very spoilt indeed. I learnt the proper way to judge the alcohol content – the “legs” as they say – and how to get the most flavour out of it when sipping. My dad would be very proud!

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From the Kiwi’s Mouth: The Kiwi Experience Driver’s Guide to New Zealand

Have you heard of Kiwi Experience? We wouldn’t be surprised if you have, especially if a trip to New Zealand is on your travel wish list. At a basic level, it’s a hop on hop off bus that can take you all over New Zealand, to hard to reach spots and party hubs, and help you meet like minded travellers on your journey.

But Kiwi Experience is more than that. In their own words: “We know when to stop the bus and soak it in, and when to keep on driving and leave the tourist traps behind. We’ll show you New Zealand’s big highlights, and incredible places so hidden even Peter Jackson couldn’t find them.”

At the heart of Kiwi Experience are their amazing driver guides who are passionate about sharing the best of New Zealand with you. We asked one of them to spill the beans on their top tips for New Zealand travel, their favourite overnight stops and what where to find the best pies. That’s right, we ask the right questions.

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Fiji FAQ

Today’s blog comes from STA Travel’s Sarah Hickey who can be found either curing her wanderlust in various parts of the world, or wishing she was back in the backpacker bubble.

I went to Fiji on a wing and a prayer! I booked it a couple of days before and all I was expecting were desert islands, excellent snorkeling and blue skies. Even though I was right about all of these things, if I’d have known what else was on offer I would have been more prepared, and I may have had a more exciting experience. Here’s what I wish I’d known before I left.


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Cave Cruising, River Crossings and Cheeky Monkeys – On the Road in Southern Laos

Today’s blog comes from Rick who recently returned from a trip to Laos with Stray Asia – a hop-on hop-off bus which is one of the only ways to travel through the remote region.

When most people think of Laos, they think of Luang Prabang, the old French colonial capital, Vientiane, the current capital, and Vang Vieng, the party capital. When my partner and I set out to travel Southeast Asia we wanted to venture into the south of Laos, to really experience a relatively untouched part of the world. We certainly got our wish…

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