Do the winter holidays have you looking for more ways to celebrate this year? We’ve gathered some of our favorite, less traditional winter festivals around the world for you to include in your winter travel. This article originally appeared on Ker & Downy on October 29, 2013. It has been updated to reflect festival dates for 2017.


Madrid Christmas Markets – End of November – December

What better way to celebrate Christmas that at one of the many Christmas markets all over the world? With over 100 stalls selling holiday treats and Christmas wares in Plaza Mayor, located in the heart of the city in the largest square in Madrid, the Madrid Christmas Market does not disappoint. The market dates back to 1860 and in addition to traditional Christmas gifts like nativity sets, the market also sells costumes, wigs, and accessories in preparation for Spanish Fool’s Day on December 28th.



The Taste of Tasmania – December 28th, 2016 – January – 3rd, 2017

Each year Hobart’s waterfront plays host to the Taste of Tasmania, the largest food and wine festival in Tasmania and the most anticipated event of the year. The annual festival celebrates local Tasmanian produce with various food stalls, live entertainment, and an exciting New Year’s Eve bash which includes fireworks over Sullivan’s Cove.

Luxe travel - Hobart Gourmania Food Tours - Sous chef at work at Smolt restaurant by Jonathan Wherrett

United Arab Emirates

Dubai Shopping Festival –¬†December 26, 2016 – January 28, 2017

For Dubai, the new year signals the beginning of the month-long Dubai Shopping Festival which attracts bargain hunters from all over the world and as many as 3 million people a year to the city, seeking out deals and discounts on clothing and electronics. As many as 6,000 retailers participate in the event, which includes film promotions, concerts, sporting events, and a wide array of children’s entertainment such as puppet shows, face painting, and photo-booths.

ferris wheel

New Zealand

World Buskers Festival – January 19th – 29th, 2017

Street performers have no greater stage than at the World Buskers Festival in Christchurch, New Zealand. Each year Hagley Park comes to life with musicians, acrobats, jugglers, stand-up comedians, and contortionists for the ten-day street party which plays host to over 300,000 visitors.


Muscat Festival – January 19 – February 11, 2017

If you are looking for a festival that has a little something for everyone in the family, consider traveling to Oman for the Muscat Festival, a major cultural event and celebration of Omani society. Events include just about everything one could hope for in a festival: concerts and music events, laser shows and fireworks displays, fashion events, Omani food, and the Tour of Oman, one of the largest cycling events in the Middle East.


Jaisalmer Desert Festival – February -8th – 10th, 2017

Head out to the sandstone city of Jaisalmer in February for the colorful Jaisalmer Desert Festival. The annual festival celebrates the region’s rich culture and heritage with camel races and quirky competitions including a turban tying contest and an award for the best mustache. The three day event culminates in one spectacular musical performance by folk singers under the stars in the Sam sand dunes.

Jaisalmer Fair

For more information contact your travel professional.