Top 10: Europe’s Weirdest Festivals

la tomatina festivalThe World is full of wacky festivals and events from joggling (the classic combination of jogging and juggling) to backward cycling there’s always a fun, if a little strange, activity to keep you entertained. Like most of the World, Europe is no stranger to the weird and wonderful. Here are some of the easyJet Holidays team’s favourite weird European festivals.

1. La Tomatina
This fantastically exciting festival is held every August in Bunol near Valencia and thousands of participants throw tomatoes at each other resulting in a pretty messy afternoon. La Tomatina has become incredibly popular attracting new visitors each year. However, no matter how popular it becomes you’ve got to admit – an entire town having a tomato fight is a little weird. Perhaps it’s over the whole tomatoes are a fruit not a vegetable thing?

2. Santa Claus Word Championships
From tomatoes to Santa Claus and this bizarre event has to one of Europe’s strangest. Teams of Santas emerge on the slopes in Switzerland every year to celebrate the start of the winter season (and Christmas). The Santa Championships are held around the end of November every year allowing plenty of time to prepare for Christmas day. No sign of Rudolph though, he’s probably a bit shaky on a pair of skis.

Santa World Championships3. Calcio Storico
One of the most violent events on the European festival calendar has to be Florence’s Calcio Storico. The event is probably best described as football / rugby / bare knuckle boxing and it’s certainly not a game for the squeamish. The event can be traced back over 500 years and now three games are played each year in the Tuscan capital.

4. Cheese Rolling
There’s a fine line between adrenaline inducing fun and plain stupidity and England's Cheese Rolling at Coopers Hill is certainly teetering pretty close to the downright dangerous. The event takes place on a ridiculously steep hill every year in May. A great place to see some Brits 'run' uncontrollably down a hill with the vein hope of catching a large chunk of cheese.

Recent Eurovision Winners5. Eurovision Song Contest
Held dear by millions across Europe, the Eurovision Song Contest allows European countries to enter one act each to sing at the yearly event. All these contestants are then voted for by the European public. It’s not, however, the format of the event that is unusual but the wonderful mix of contestants that makes this such a weird event. Check out what unusual acts this year’s competition will offer in Dusseldorf in May. If you’re tempted to head out and enjoy the fun, read more about Dusseldorf city breaks here.

6. The Cannabis Cup
Judges from around the World converge on Amsterdam every November to judge the best cannabis strain along with the competition come live music and stand up performances. The use of Marijuana in Holland has been decriminalised and many tourists flock to Amsterdam just for the event. Take a look at the Amsterdam breaks travel guide for more details on this top city break destination.

7. Paris Salon du Chocalat
The who’s who of the chocolate world descends on Paris every October to attend this wonderful event. Paris Salon du Chocalat promises ‘chocolate everything’ from chocolate pens to chocolate underwear. If you’d like to indulge in some chocolaty goodness in Paris take a look at the easyJet Holidays Paris breaks guide.

8. Basel Fasnacht
Thousands of revellers march through Basel’s streets in vibrant, elaborate costumes to the rhythm of drums. Participants are expecting to cover their faces and bodies with their bizarre cartoon like costumes. The Carnival of Basel is the largest in Switzerland and takes place between February and March each year. Basel Fasnacht

9. Cheese Rolling
Nothing defines a weird festival better than rolling a wheel of cheese down a really steep hill. The annual cheese rolling festival in Gloucestershire offers just that. The event is held each year during the Spring Bank Holiday, unfortunately due to the introduction of a £20 entry fee the event will not be held this year.

10. Stiletto Run
Glamour’s Stiletto Run was held in Amsterdam earlier this month with a hundred runners sprinting 100 metres in high heels, not an easy feat for anyone. The winner enjoyed a wad of cash, not to mention the glory that comes with winning such as prestigious event.

Share your favourite unusual festivals with the easyJet Holidays Blog below.