Mardi Gras: World's greatest carnivals

Hit the road for the planet's wildest parties

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Ronnie McCluskey

Ronnie McCluskey
HomeAway travel expert


New Orleans Mardi GrasThe rapturous Mardi Gras is a captivating and sensory feast of colour and noise wherever in the world you choose to experience it. Originating from a Christian festival marking the last meal before the fasting of Lent, Mardi Gras – Fat Tuesday and Shrove Tuesday, as it is known in France and the UK respectively - has always been a cause for momentous celebration. Although religious connotations have all but dissipated, the jubilant elements of the festival, the feasting and exuberance, have continued to grow by the year across America, South America and much of Europe.


Today, Mardi Gras parties around the world vary hugely. The most famous, including the Rio de Janeiro, Venice and New Orleans events, are marked with elaborate masked balls, engrossing carnivals and vast street parades where the colourful costumes are almost as loud as the music. By contrast, more traditional celebrations can be found in certain corners of Europe including Spain, France and Italy. With such a wealth of options to choose from, you are guaranteed the experience of a lifetime regardless of destination. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best to help you decide. When your mind is set, take a look on HomeAway to find your ideal rental accommodation from a plentiful selection. 

 


 

Top five Mardi Gras holiday destinations


   

New Orleans New Orleans Mardi Gras

The swinging southern port of New Orleans has over time become synonymous with the festivities of Mardi Gras. The parades here are the largest of them all, with thousands upon thousands of visitors flocking each year to witness the staggering number of floats weaving their way through the streets of the famed French Quarter, from Uptown to Slidell. Purple, green and gold are the traditional colours of the carnival, but the city explodes with every shade imaginable for the duration. Be sure to sample the famous King Cakes, even more famous live music, and the utter lunacy of the recently added Colour Run.

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Venice Venice Mardi Gras

The Mardi Gras celebration of Venice, unsurprisingly better known as the Venice Carnival, is the spiritual home of the famous masks that have become an integral part of the worldwide events. This is perhaps the most grandiose of all the global events that mark the occasion, with masquerade balls and feasts featuring most prominently. For the duration of the Carnival the streets and waterways of the famous old city take a step back in time as everyone enters the spirit, donning the aforementioned masks and costumes from a bygone era.

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Binche Binche Mardi Gras

Belgium is scarcely credited as party capital of the world, but when it comes to Mardi Gras, the town of Binche more than holds its own. Situated in the Wallonia region, the town is home to the UNESCO accredited Carnival of Binche, an exuberant Mardi Gras celebration that sees over a thousand dancers fill the streets from 4am until well into the evening. Anyone who suffers from coulrophobia (a fear of clowns, who knew?) may want to give this one a wide berth; the unsettling wax-masked “Gilles” provide the centrepiece for the celebrations. Otherwise, you can enjoy the outlandish parades and the oddity of the controversial orange-throwing event.

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Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro Mardi Gras

The most vibrant city in South America is rightly hailed as one of the world’s party hotspots, but in the build up to Easter Rio de Janeiro, it’s more effervescent than ever. Aside from New Orleans, this is the most renowned Mardi Gras celebration, fusing a dazzling array of colourful floats and performers with the samba style that is so extrusively affiliated with Brazil. Even for those watching from the sidelines it is impossible not to find yourself dancing along to the contagious rhythm of the relentless drums.

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Nice Nice Mardi Gras

The Nice Mardi Gras is revered as one of the most spectacular events in the annual calendar of France. The flower strewn parades and evening light shows are a joy to behold, whilst the fantastic range of street theatre, concerts and parades are enough to keep anyone entertained over the course of the ten-day schedule. The origins of the Nice Carnival can be traced as far back as the 13th century, making it amongst the oldest and most established celebrations of its kind in the world. When all is said and done, you can also spend some time in one of the most picturesque settings on the Mediterranean.

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New orleans image by Infrogmation of New Orleans (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:KosmicFrenchmenPurpleFaceMardiGras2009.JPG)

 

 

Properties for Mardi Gras Holidays

Casas Rurales El Salero

A group of four renovated houses, two of them in 1997, the third in 2000 and the fourth in 2005, situated in El Salero de Zacatín, 4 km from El Sabinar, part of the municipality of Moratalla, in the north-east of Murcia, next to the source of the...

Casa Santa Ana

The rural house Santa Ana is the ideal destination for a well earned rest. It is hidden away in a village that still preserves many of its traditions but which is being transformed into a new village, looking towards the future, without losing the...

Secluded and Peaceful, Beach and Restaurants Within 5 to 10 Minutes Drive.

Exclusive, secluded and peaceful villa, with own private infinity swimming pool in Kefalas, overlooking onto Almyros Gulf Bay on the Northeast of Chania region. Closest beach Almirida, Kalives and Georgioupoli, 15 to 20 minutes drive. Closest Airp...

Peaceful well established area, 20 Mins walk to Papagayo Beaches

Casa Blanca is a private detached villa located in the peaceful outskirts of Playa Blanca. The villa is well equipped with all modern conveniences to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. There is a private solar heated pool, which is child fri...

Cosy Open Fires, Beautiful Contemporary Living, Large Enclosed Gardens Which Front Onto The Loch

Stronachlachar Lodge is well equipped and decorated to a high standard. Traditional features like the real log fires in the snug room, living room and kitchen/diner have all been restored and are complemented by modern conveniences. The lodge has ...
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