HomeAway travel expert
The 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 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 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 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 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 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
Beesknees self catering cottage sleeps up to 4 people in a king size room and twin bedroom. Both with wooden exposed beams. Including a kitchen and open plan dining area and spacious sitting room. The cottage is a semi detached recently converted...
Craiglea is the perfect location for family holidays, corporate events, celebrations and special occasions. Craiglea opens its doors for exclusive or partial use to enjoy the calm and isolated Highland treasures. Craiglea is a 4 star Scottish High...
Set in La Cerquilla, an exclusive residential area of Nueva Andalucía on the Costa Del Sol, this desirable address is located just a few minutes away from the vibrant Puerto Banús and there are a fantastic selection of amenities situated within cl...
The Cherry Tree trullo was constructed in 1903 and has 8 cones (conical rooftops). It is found at the end of a lane, 15 min drive from Alberobello, Martina Franca and Locorotondo. The trullo is set in the middle of a 3.7 acre cherry orchard, inter...
Large 7 bed, 5 bath villa, 12 kilometres from Marbella centre. 1,700m2 flat plot. Private garden, sea views. Sat TV, DVD and CD player. Located next to Cabopino 18 hole golf course, opp. beautiful Cabopino Marina & award winning beach. Large pool ...