What To Expect From The Best Carnival Festivals During February in Europe: Lent Ending = Party Time | TA-DAH.TV

You might think the festive season ended a long time ago. But, let me tell you, the party is definitely underway in Central and Southwestern Europe. 

And, you know us at TA-DAH.TV, if there’s a party going down in Europe – we gotta get there!

It’s Carnival Season across Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Spain – and that’s before we even mention Snowbombing in Austria! 

However, because the biggest European festivals in February all happen so close together, it’s nearly impossible to experience them all in one go.

But, don’t worry if you can’t be there to see it all, we’ve done it for you and brought all our findings back here! 

So, let’s unpack some of the best February festivals in Europe.

What Are The Best European Festivals in February?

Thinking of treating your significant other to a special European odyssey this February? Then there are some incredible festivals taking place that you need to know about. 

We’ve covered some of the best festivals in Europe on our Arts & Culture Channel. But nothing quite beats February in Europe for some good, old-fashioned, pagan pageantry. 

How’s that for a Valentine’s treat to remember?

Our journey takes us from sunny Cádiz in Spain. Then we travel over to cracking Cologne for a whole week of frolics before heading south, across Luxembourg, to Basel. And where better to end than one of the most romantic cities in the world – Venice. 

Cadiz Carnival

Ordinarily known for its golden beaches, stunning North Atlantic coastline and grand baroque cathedral, Cádiz is always a hit with tourists. But in February the city’s ancient streets are filled with crowds for a different reason. 

When you hear “Spanish festivals” you might be forgiven for thinking of tomato throwing or berzerk bulls barreling around the town. How about BIG Festival? Or even the elegant Starlite

Well, Carnaval de Cádiz is built different. 

What To Expect at Carnaval Cádiz

The festivities run for a whopping 10 days, so there’s plenty of opportunity to get out there and soak up the atmosphere. 

Visit in the week for a more reserved view of Carnaval when you’re more likely to spend the day sightseeing around the quaint cobbled streets before partying the night away to the sounds of live DJs

On the weekend it’s a different story. Throngs of people don their best costumes, dressing up as famous cartoon characters or in masquerade gear before lining the streets of the Andalucian centre. 

Like most catholic countries at this time of year, the Cádiz Carnaval is a celebration of Lent ending. So, naturally, after all that fasting everyone is ready for a little indulgence and silliness.

Is Carnival Cádiz Worth Visiting?

Also known as Carnaval, Cádiz en Carnaval or Carnaval de Cádiz, this passionate party is absolutely worth your time. 

During the festival, enjoy all the feasting you can handle. But there’s also a healthy amount of dancing – stomp along to the satirical sounds of the Carnaval Cadiz chirigotas, a type of Spanish choral folksong. 

7 Days of Fun at Cologne Carnival

Moving on from Cádiz and further into Central Europe, we arrive in Cologne for a continuation of Carnival season – also known as the “fifth season” of the year here. 

Running for seven days from The Women’s Carnival (or Weiberfastnacht) on Thursday to Ash Wednesday, this is a whole week of frivolity. 

  • Day 1: Weiberfastnacht: The Women’s Carnival
  • Day 2: Carnival Friday
  • Day 3: Carnival Saturday
  • Day 4: Carnival Sunday
  • Day 5: Rose Monday
  • Day 6: Veilchendienstag: Violet Tuesday
  • Day 7: Ash Wednesday

The first day of the Cologne Carnival sets the tone with many costumed revellers pouring into the streets (and the pubs) for parties in the Altstadt (Old Town). 

Our advice, go for it! But don’t wear a tie, as you might find a woman with scissors comes along and cuts it off! Such is the tradition. 

Through the rest of the days expect a whirlwind of colour, sounds, gorgeous food and great vibes. There’s even a ghost train (or geisterzug)

Aerial shot of Cologne city. Photo by Eric Weber on Unsplash

Carnival of Basel – Basler Fasnacht

Next up, it’s Basler Fasnacht and if you’re quick out of Cologne, and still have some party left in you, head out to Switzerland. 

The largest carnival in Switzerland swings into life on the Monday after Ash Wednesday – giving you ample time to shake off the German festivities before sampling some Swiss pleasures.

What Happens at Basler Fasnacht?

Held across 72 hours, Basler Fasnacht comprises two main parades (called a cortège) of 11,000 carnivalists. Sandwiched between those two main performances, Tuesday is reserved for children with exhibitions and performances to suit younger audiences. 

If you want the full experience, you need to be up with the lark on the first day. The festivities begin at 4 am when the Morgestraich lights up the square with colourful lanterns. Pipers and drummers set the pace of this gorgeous artistic procession

Also, watch out for Schnitzelbanks. These satirical tunes poetically and comically sum up the event of the previous year. Widely regarded as one of the best parts of the festival, the Schnitzelbanks singers are extremely talented.

Venice Carnival

Fans of all things theatrical and masquerade need to experience the Venice Carnival. Undoubtedly one of the best February festivals in Europe, this suitably elegant affair – which began in 1162 – feels like you’re watching one big performance piece. 

In contrast to the scenes we saw at Venice Biennale, if you want the optimal experience we recommend getting a good spot at the side of the Grand Canal for the opening ceremony. 

Running from the end of January through to Shrove Tuesday, you’ll want to catch the Festival of the 12 Marias. Recalling a 10th-century tale of the daring rescue of a woman from pirates. To celebrate, 12 young women are paraded through the city in a lavish procession. 

H3: What to wear at Venice Carnival?

This is the million-dollar question, right?! Truth is, you can go as bold or as understated as you like. A masquerade mask is a must. But, for your outfit, think Renaissance-style looks. Or just go as bold as you can with your colours. 

Performers are bedecked in gorgeous intricate costumes with stunning masks and headpieces. In truth, these outfits alone are probably worth the trip. 

Venice Carnival is one of the best February festivals in Europe. Photo by Graham Guenther on Unsplash

Discover More Incredible Carnival Action on Our Arts & Culture Channel

There’s no doubt that Europe is steeped in legends and ancient tales which all lend themselves terrifically to festival vibes.

But these four celebrations are just the tip of the Carnival iceberg. 

So, if you want to discover more incredible events like this across the continent, you need to be across our Art & Culture Channel

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Grace Solero live on Primrose Hill – Exclusive interview

She grew up in Elba, buys her cowboy boots in New York and rocks around the world – meet Grace Solero, the rock singer/songwriter, who has made London her home! Her arrival in rock is a tad unconventional though: she trained as a gymnast first and past dance training, theatre acting, singing jazz and dabbling in opera, found her visceral voice in rock! Once in London, she felt she wanted to forma her own band, and upon responding to an advert by Dan, the guitarist she plays with on Primrose Hill, the two hit it off and have played together ever since.

To catch Grace during her spur of the moment performance on Primrose Hill was emotional: people were distancing, yet desperate for some great live music under the open skies, as the year 2020 will forever be known as the year ‘without a summer’. No festivals meant no release valve that comes with dancing and summer vibes, clubs weren’t open either, and although a few venues started live-gigging inside, it all took place at the cost of zero atmosphere. Everybody seemed to be trying hard to do something, hence it was a genius idea for Grace & Dan to just grab their guitars and play for whoever was there. It felt liberating and undeniable, as music just had to happen to transform our lives for that hour, on that Sunday on top of Primrose Hill.


Her fate was sealed, when a mate of hers saw her playing live in Rome, and subsequently said that she’s wasting her time there: ‘you need to go to London’, she said! Her past is what makes Grace who she is today: you can definitely sense body consciousness and physical strength (she trained as a gymnast and in dance), she lives every song through her voice (theatre acting), and has a wicked range, that others can only dream of – she actually started singing in jazz, and those lessons from an opera singer deffo paid off.
In meeting the guitarist Dan Beaulaurier, Grace has found a musical soulmate, and once they got together after Dan placed an ad in a London club, they got on straight away – the rest is history. She just loves playing live, creating emotions and letting it rip to wake up the world – it’s no understatement to say that Grace is a (gentle) force of nature.

Chatting to her in person for our exclusive interview here on TA-DAH.TV, she showed us just how a complex, yet utterly free and travelled a character she really is: she loves buying her cowboy boots in New York, is into designers such as Alexander McQueen, Thierry Mugler and Bluemarine, is into Sunday roasts and steak and ale pies (clearly, Dutch pancakes go down well too) and hangs out at Southbank and Camden Market (check out iconic pubs and places like The Dublin Castle and Made In Brazil).
However, underneath all this, she is completely real and appreciative of what surrounds her and the world she’s in, enabling her to live her dream and just be herself. Yet the first lesson for her to be learned in the music biz was: ‘don’t get excited about all the promises…actions speak louder (than words)’. Years later, she’ll give this advice to any budding artist, who is dreaming of a singer/songwriting career in music: ‘Keep being yourself, have artistic integrity and write the music you believe in – you can’t please everyone’ – Grace Solero has clearly found her groove in an industry that is as hard as nails!


Grace’s style is hard to pinpoint: her ballads are sensuous, her voice can cross over into folk, but also grunge and a bit of pop-rock on the edges. Critics have likened Grace’s voice to that of Dolores O’Riordan (Cranberries), Alanis Morissette, PJ Harvey and Skin (fronting the band Skunk Anansie). She possesses this enormous range and adaptability, which is why she manages to bring vocals with such emotional intensity. Her frequent comparisons to the female version of the rising rock star that was Jeff Buckley are not at all surprising, as she can ‘bring it’ full tilt or strip it down – always managing to stay true to her own personal style. No wonder then, that London’s city mag Time Out (also available for cities all over Europe, like Lisbon and Paris, etc) described her voice as ‘Bitter sweet, Buckley-esque’ and Slade’s Noddy Holder felt she has a ‘Raw, dreamy, mercurial voice’.


Collaborations and appearances throughout her career have resulted in her working with the American vocalist Allan Merrill on his show Across The Pond for NY TV channel Jam Music Network (he’s the guy, who wrote Joan Jett’s meg-hit ‘I Love Rock’n Roll, universally known as one of the biggest rock classics for a female vocal)#RIPAllanMerrill.

Stateside, they played The Bitter End in NYC, The Tusk in Philadelphia, down in Nashville they performed at Douglas Corner and when Hollywood beckoned, they played The Piano Bar! Over in Europe, Berlin saw them perform at White Trash, in Hamburg they played the Monkeys Music Club, over in Amsterdam they hit the stage at CCMuzikcafé, in Oslo they performed at Buckley’s, further South in France, they entertained the crowd at Le Pub Forum in Sedan and Le Kilberry in Reims, whilst in Milan they wowed their fans at TNT Club Rome, Radio Londra, Redrum and Ombre Rosso. Back in the UK, they played Bannerman’s Rock & Whisky Bar in Edinburgh, The O2 Institute in Birmingham and back in good old London Town, they feel quite at home at the Union Chapel, Cargo, Water Rats and Camden’s The Dublin Castle.

Grace has also performed alongside Knox, one of the British punk band The Vibrators founder members, as well as Noddy Holder of Slade. Furthermore, Grace and Dan also have an interesting side project going with the pedal steel playing legend that is BJ Cole (who played with Elton John, Björk, R.E.M and Cat Stevens). Looking at the wide variety amongst the musicians she’s worked with, it goes without saying, to describe her voice as ‘just’ versatile is somewhat of an understatement…

Touring is back on the agenda for Grace Solero & band, since they’ve got a new album coming out in 2021 called ‘Metamorphosis’! Grace describes it as a ‘spiritual journey towards healing and the power of love’, so you can expect lots of emotion and personal experience to hit you over 9 tracks. ‘Awake’, the first single has already dropped and is out now, as we’re going into programme release.