Major events around the world in 2017: Best events for tourists

There's no bad time to travel. Still, you can make the best of your holidays by timing them to coincide with some of the world's great events.

Whether you're into music, sport, religious ceremonies, festivals, or simply drinking huge amounts of beer, we've found the best events for travellers in 2017.

Timkat 
Gondor, Ethiopia
January 19

Devout Christians in the Ethiopian city of Gondor celebrate Jesus' baptism with an almost spooky midnight vigil, during which replicas of the Ark of the Covenant are paraded through the streets towards an ancient bath, where white-robed worshippers gather for a dawn service.  

Go: www.traveller.com.au/ethiopia; www.ethiopia.travel

Winter X Games 
Aspen, USA
January 26-29

You can't gain a true appreciation for just how freakishly talented and insanely fearless the world's elite skiers and snowboarders are until you've seen them competing in the flesh, and there's no better place to do that than Aspen, Colorado during X Games. Come for the sport, stay for the party.

Go: www.traveller.com.au/aspenwww.aspensnowmass.com 

Carnival 
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
February 24 – March 4

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The biggest party in South America – if not the world – is a riot of celebration that takes over Rio for full week. Watch the huge samba parades before indulging in a little rug-cutting of your own at one of the hundreds of samba clubs around the city that are open into the wee hours. 

More: www.traveller.com.au/rio-de-janeirowww.rio.com/rio-carnival 

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras
Sydney, Australia
March 4

While Mardi Gras is mostly about the parade down Oxford Street (and the party afterwards), the 2017 iteration of this world-famous festival will include more than 80 events taking place over two weeks, with everything from comedy shows to concerts, theatrical performances to exhibitions.

Go: www.traveller.com.au/sydneywww.mardigras.org.au

Holi 
India
March 13

Revelers throw colored powders in the air during the Monsoon Holi Festival, in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015. The festival, which is mainly celebrated during the Hindu spring festival Holi in some regions of India and Nepal, has become popular among people in other communities. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

Photo: AP

It's bordering on cliché to describe India as "colourful" – however, during the festival of Holi there's no other label to apply to it. In celebration of the arrival of spring, it seems like almost everyone in India takes to the streets to shower each other and themselves with coloured powder and water. Don't wear your best clothes.

Go: www.traveller.com.au/india; www.incredibleindia.org

Las Fallas de Valencia
Valencia, Spain
March 15-19

What would you do with an enormous, 10-metre high effigy you've lovingly created in the image of a favourite celebrity or figure from history? If you were from Valencia, you'd parade it through the streets during Las Fallas, and then set it on fire. This spectacular festival features hundreds of people doing just that.

Go: traveller.com.au/valenciawww.fallasvalencia.es

Hanami 
Japan
March/April

Each year, Japanese locals and tourists alike go nuts for "Hanami", or cherry blossom viewing. This isn't merely staring at pretty flowers – it's a ritual that often includes full days spent in parks dressed in your best finery, or thousands of photos being taken with a telephoto lens. The people-watching is as interesting as the blooms.

Go: www.traveller.com.au/japanwww.kyuhoshi.com/japan-cherry-blossom-forecast

Masters Golf 
Augusta, USA
April 3-9

Even if you're not a golf fan, this is one of the world's great events, one steeped in tradition and hosted in spectacular surrounds. With spectator numbers severely limited, it's a relaxed, friendly experience, and also one in which you'll have the chance to watch the world's golfing elite.

Go: www.traveller.com.au/usa​; www.augusta.com 

Hana Matsuri 
Japan
April 8

To mark Buddha's birthday, followers take to the streets in many Japanese cities to parade around images of the Buddha, as well as elephants and cherry blossoms, before placing a small replica of their deity in a temple to worship. 

Go: www.traveller.com.au/japan; www.jnto.org.au

Songkran 
Thailand
April 13-15

Songkran Festival.

Photo: iStock

Warning: if you're in Thailand to celebrate Songkran, the solar new year, you will get wet. Whether you want to or not, you will be shot with water pistols, slapped with wet brooms, hit with water balloons, and even drenched with buckets. That's the way this ritual cleansing works. And it's a lot of fun. 

Go: www.traveller.com.au/thailandwww.tourismthailand.org

Cheese Rolling Festival 
Gloucester, England
May 29

There's nothing the Brits like more than a quirky festival – aside from, possibly, bacon sandwiches and arguing about Brexit – and this is one of the quirkiest. Each year hundreds of people gather at the top of the very steep Cooper's Hill in Gloucester, and then run down it at high speed in the pursuit of a wheel of cheese. Chaos ensues.

Go: www.traveller.com.au/england;  www.cheese-rolling.co.uk

Champions League Final
Cardiff, Wales
June 3

The football world's second most prestigious match (after the World Cup Final) this year takes place at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, which is certain to be full to overflowing as the likes of Barcelona, or Bayern Munich, or Real Madrid, or Manchester City, battle it out to be crowned Europe's best.

Go: www.traveller.com.au/waleswww.uefa.com 

Gnoauna World Music Festival 
Essaouira, Morocco
June 29 – July 2

One of the globe's premier world music events takes place each year in the Moroccan seaside town of Essaouira, which transforms for four days as artists from every country you can think of arrive to entertain the masses. As well as the main festival, there are markets and street performances throughout the city.

Go: www.traveller.com.au/moroccowww.festival-gnaouna.net  

Tour de France
France
July 1-23

Le Tour is unique in many ways, but one of the most important is that attendance at this world-renowned event is absolutely free. Just grab a spot in the French countryside and watch as the finest in world cycling whizzes past. The scenery is almost as big a draw as the race itself.

Go: www.traveller.com.au/france;  www.letour.fr

Anniversary of Elvis Presley's death 
Memphis, USA
August 16

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the passing of Memphis's favourite son, Elvis Presley. The King's former home-turned-museum, Graceland, will host a whole week of events around August 16th, including nightly tribute concerts, panel discussions, and a candlelit vigil on the 15th to mark the passing of one of the true greats.

More: www.traveller.com.au/usa​; www.graceland.com

Burning Man
Black Rock City, USA
August 27 – September 4

A Washoe County Sheriff vehicle sits on the playa as attendees explore the Catacomb of Veils art installation during Burning Man at the Black Rock Desert north of Reno, Nev., Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

Photo: AP

Each year, more than 70,000 like-minded souls gather in the Nevadan desert to celebrate one of the world's truly great festivals of alternative and counter-culture: Burning Man. If you're into arts, or crafts, or new-age religions, or soul-searching, or vast social experiments, or sunburn in very interesting places, this is the festival for you.

Go: www.traveller.com.au/usa​; www.burningman.org 

Oktoberfest 
Munich, Germany
September 16 – October 3

MUNICH, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 17: Visitors hold up one-litre glasses of beer to kick off the 2016 Oktoberfest beer festival in the Hofbraeu tent at Theresienwiese on September 17, 2016 in Munich, Germany. The 2016 Oktoberfest is taking place under heightened security due to fears over international terrorism. The fest will be open to the public through October 3. (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

Photo: Getty Images

There are few festivals as famous or as fun as Oktoberfest, the annual Bavarian celebration of beer, glorious beer. Hundreds of thousands of revellers from all over the world turn up to celebrate by drinking beer, eating pork knuckles, riding on roller-coasters, and doing various other things that seemed like a good idea at the time.

Go: www.traveller.com.au/munich; www.oktoberfest.de

Pushkar Camel Fair
Pushkar, India
October 28 – November 4

Camels are reflected in water as they stand tethered at the fairgrounds of the Pushkar Camel Fair in Pushkar, Rajasthan, India, on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. Throw together hundreds of thousands of rural Indians, colorful festivals and throngs of tourists and you get the annual Pushkar Fair. Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg

Photo: Bloomberg

While the large-scale trading of camels might not sound immediately enticing as a tourism experience, this annual market held in the Rajasthani desert is a truly amazing sight, where more than 11,000 camels are haggled over amid a colourful festival atmosphere attended by some 400,000 people.

Go: www.traveller.com.au/india; www.incredibleindia.org

Day of the Dead
Mexico
October 31 – November 2

Residents work on a skeleton representation as part of the Day of the Dead festivities in Mexico City. The capital city will hold its first Day of the Dead parade Saturday, complete with floats, giant skeleton marionettes and over 1,000 actors, dancers and acrobats in costumes.

Photo: AP 

Mexicans mark All Saints' and All Souls' Day by donning ghoulish costumes and make-up and heading out to local cemeteries to celebrate the lives of those who have departed this mortal coil. These parties often go well into the night, and curious tourists are welcome to join in.

Go: www.traveller.com.au/mexicowww.visitmexico.com 

Hogmanay
Scotland
December 31 – January 1

Though the Scots don't typically require a reason to drink and have a good time, the turning of the New Year, known as Hogmanay, provokes a particularly raucous night out. This is a celebration that extends well into the morning after the night before, as revellers take to the streets and pubs and clubs to drink, dance and enjoy themselves with family and friends.

Go: www.traveller.com.au/scotland; www.visitbritain.org

See also: The hottest countries to visit in 2017

See also: Ten countries you (probably) haven't visited - but should

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