Events

February

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Sitges Carnival

Sitges, Spain

Acknowledged by the straight and gay press as Spain's wildest party, the Sitges Carnival entertains even the most demanding visitor. Its most popular days see the streets of the fishing village cum popular gay resort packed with around 250,000 revellers. Catalonians, French, English, Italians and Germans all turn out for the Sitges Carnival, dressed up to the nines and ready to party. Jueves Lardero ("Fatty Thursday") marks the beginning of carnival with a gargantuan celebration of local dishes. There's more to do than eat, though. The busiest days are Sunday and Tuesday, when the local carnival guilds parade down the Rúa del Extermini in decorated carriages, sporting some amazingly kitsch, razzle-dazzle outfits.
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Cologne Karneval

Cologne, Germany

THE event of the year in Cologne. It sets the whole city completely out of normal order for almost a week, starting on thursday morning and ending at early wednesday morning. The classic bar/street-Karneval is to be found mostly in the gaybars around Rudolphplatz / Schaafenstrasse. Brennerei Weiss is a typical 'must' (be early – it is always overcrowded and you have to queue up and wait to be let in!!). Otherwise just walk down Schaafenstrasse and look around (don't forget that some of the bars are just on one of the sidestreets like Ixbar, Champagner or Maxbar) Especially Weiberfastnacht (Thursday) as a nice atmosphear as it is very local and people are still full of energy and expectations. Important Tip: Get rid of your coat or winterjacket before you start serious karnevalling! There is a coat check in the staircase next to ex-Corner!!!
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Carnival Rio

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The world most famous Carnival is creating an exploding vibe along Rio. With different gay club and street parties (Ipanema) and of course the world famous samba parades at the Sambadrome. Make sure you do not miss the big parade at the Sambadrome on Sunday or Monday night. It consists of 700 m stretch of the Marquês de Sapucaí street converted into a permanent parade ground with bleachers built on either side for spectators. Its capacity is 90.000. The performance take many hours, from the evening till early in the next morning. It takes 80 minutes for s Samba school to cross the stadium, it's really spectacular. For tourists some hours is usually enough though. Tickets can be very expensive, few hundred dollars each for good places. Around the stadium you can also buy buy much cheaper tickets at the streets around the stadium for the lower cost grand stands at the beginning or the end of the Sambadrome.

March

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Carnival Gran Canaria

Maspalomas, Spain

The Maspalomas Carnival is an annual, taking place at the infamous Yumbo Center. It's mixed, but due to the dominant gay crowds, as Yumbo is the Gay Centre of Gran Canaria, it has a firm pink element to it. Al lthe gay bars and clubs host special events. The Carnval in Playa del Ingles is a very popular period to visit. Make sure to book a hotel near the Yumbo Center. There is all the action!

April

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Kings Day Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

With Willem Alexander and Maxima becoming King and Queen of Holland in 2013, the traditional Dutch national holiday Queensday, has become King's Day (Koningsdag in Dutch). It will be celebrated on the King's birthday, the 27th of April Kingsday is celebrated in the whole of The Netherlands. In Amsterdam almost the whole city centre is a free market, people selling old things on the street, or home baked caked, music performances etc. At several squares and streets there are big outside parties. If you plan to visit Amsterdam for Kingsday make sure to book your hotel in advance, as hotels are always fully booked that weekend.

May

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Gay Pride Maspalomas

Maspalomas, Spain

Maspalomas Gay Pride has become the second largest gay event of Spain (after the one in Madrid). For a week, different cultural and political activities and drag shows are held on the island. One of the highlight is the main parade on Saturday, which will take thousands of gay men and women trough the streets of Playa del Ingles to the Yumbo Center. At the main square of the Yumbo Center there is a big stage, with big shows, acts and outside dance party. Every day the party continues in the many gay bars and clubs in the Yumbo Centrum.