Around the world, holidays come in all candy-coated shapes and Christmas tree sizes. But whether you’re watching beach fireworks on our New Year’s Eve tour in Peru or stepping into Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, joining in on these festive traditions on a Special Event Tour is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So where to first? Since celebrations only come once a year, we want to make sure you’re creating memories that last, whether you’re traveling with friends, family, or even solo!
Keep reading for our experts’ top tips on where to travel based on your favorite holiday.
New Year’s Eve
There’s no better way to ring in the new year than with a fireworks show in Lima, Peru. It’s definitely one of the best places to visit for a nonstop party on December 31. Head to the beaches south of the city to see the explosive light show glimmer off the soft ocean waves. Many Peruvians show up in specific colors to signify their biggest wish for the upcoming year. Hoping for love? Slide into a red outfit. How about happiness or luck? Yellow is your go-to shade.
The party goes on until dawn, so follow the crowds to restaurants, bars, and even dance shows. “What a fabulous New Year’s Eve it was!” said traveler Angela. “The folklore show and traditional Peruvian dance display with champagne toast was such a good time!”
Valentine’s lovers, the capital of romance can’t be beat. It’s one of the best places to travel for that stars-in-your-eyes feeling. Whether you’re celebrating all that amour with a partner, family, or friends, dining under the twinkling Paris lights while soaking up the views will do your heart just right. Traveler Sybrina couldn’t agree more about our Paris tours. “Words cannot describe the magnificence of dining at the Eiffel Tower, cruising down the Seine, dancing a minuet in the Hall of Mirrors, and relaxing in Monet’s gardens at Giverny,” she said.
St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day, or Paddy’s Day as you’ll hear the locals say, fills the Emerald Isle with national pride. Every year, the St. Paddy’s parade shuts down Dublin as it struts through the city, and you won’t want to miss it on tour in Ireland. Grab a pint at the Temple Bar after the festivities, and sport your best green getup—the color is a must on March 17.
“Ireland is such a lively and inviting country in general,” staffer Chloe said. “But being there around Saint Patrick’s Day brings out a whole different energy! The locals are so friendly and more than willing to celebrate with you!”
Discover our St. Patrick’s Day Tours >
If you’re looking for an unforgettable Easter experience, Germany’s Oberammergau Passion Play can’t be missed. Every ten years since 1634, the people throughout this German city take to the streets for this moving celebration. Nearly 2,000 locals recreate the entry into Jerusalem and tell the Passion from the Lord’s Supper to the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.
If your travel plans don’t align with the play’s performance, we recommend visiting the actual Christian sites in Israel. You’ll trace Jesus’s journey to Resurrection, just like traveler Beverly. “I thoroughly enjoyed The Wonders of Ancient Israel: Christian Heritage tour,” she said. “So much biblical history came to life. It was incredible to visualize places I had read and heard about.”
Normandy is the place to get a deeper understanding of Memorial Day’s meaning, especially on our American WWII History tour.
Follow in American soldiers’ footsteps as you walk across Omaha Beach and take in the full impact of the war. It’s an experience that traveler Jane said changed her life. “Walking on Juno Beach and Omaha Beach on lovely, peaceful days opened my eyes to the tremendous sacrifices of the generations that came before us,” she said. “I’m sure that I will mark Veterans Day and Memorial Day with a much greater appreciation after this tour.”
4th of July
We’d be hard pressed to find anything more American then celebrating the 4th in our nation’s capital. (Sorry, apple pie.) “D.C. over the 4th of July is so magical!” staffer Sally raved. “It is amazing being in the capital of our country during such a special holiday!”
One of the best parts of being in D.C. on the 4th is the collection of history on display for you to enjoy. We recommend starting the day at the Independence parade on Constitution Avenue, stopping in the National Archives Museum to see the Declaration of Independence after lunch, and finishing the day with the fireworks show over the National Mall.
London or Romania
Halloween is one of our favorite holidays at Go Ahead, so we cheated and picked two destinations for this ghoulish day. They tie for the best places to travel for an eerily fun October 31.
Staffer Maggie loves to celebrate in London on our haunted halloween tour. “Wandering the streets where Jack the Ripper murdered his victims over a century ago or visiting the Tower of London was so interesting—such beautiful, historical places took on such a spooky feel!” she said. So, if your favorite part of Halloween is dark history and murder mysteries, we recommend taking a trip across the pond. Who knows? Maybe you’ll crack the Jack the Ripper case during your trip!
If you’re into monsters and ghost stories, we recommend a trip to Romania. Come see the Transylvania region where Bran’s Castle (better known as Dracula’s Castle) looms large. This was staffer Wesley’s favorite site on our Bulgaria, Serbia & Romania tour. “If you’re a fan of the classic novel, Bran Castle is a stunning sight with beautiful interiors,” he said. “The local guides are incredibly passionate and informative about the castle.”
One of the best parts of Thanksgiving is the abundance of delicious food options, from the turkey and mashed potatoes to green bean casserole and pumpkin pie. Because of that, we recommend celebrating all the food you can eat on our Food & Wine: A Taste of Spain tour. Traveler Angi couldn’t get enough in Madrid. “I LOVED the churros and hot chocolate! What a treat!” she said. “And the Mercado de San Miguel was a very cool experience. Like a massive gourmet ‘food court’ and market!”
From tapas to chocolate-covered churros—all paired with local wines—your taste buds will thank you for the delicacies piled on your Spanish plate.
If you’re wondering where to travel for the best Christmas Markets, Amsterdam is the place. “Seeing Amsterdam for the first time during the holiday season was nothing short of magical,” staffer Angela said. “Walking along the canals with the twinkle lights decorating the railings and surrounding shops, as well as trees decorated in every neighborhood, made for an undeniable sense of cheer throughout the city.”
Step into your own picturesque scene filled with gabled houses and romantic canals as you marvel at the Amsterdam Christmas tree in the historic center of Dam Square. And, keep an eye out for that perfect ornament to hang on your tree at one of our favorite places to shop, the Sunday Market. It’s the perfect spot to find quirky, handmade gifts made by local artists. Top off your winter to-do list with cross country skiing, ice skating, or even a good old snowball fight, and you’ll see why Amsterdam is the destination for Christmas fans on our Christmas Markets of Amsterdam tour.