Europe’s 13 Best Firework Displays

Make this year one to remember by exploring one of Europe’s best firework displays.

Every year on Bastille Day, the Eiffel Tower is spectacularly lit up by a kaleidoscope of colours, fired into the night sky to symbolise the birth of France as it is today, a modern European country. Photo by Karen Corby via Flickr

1. Bastille Day
Paris, France – 14th July

Why go? Each year Parisians celebrate the 1789 storing of the Bastille and France’s subsequent revolution. For the best action, head to the Champs Elysees and watch the fireworks lighting up the Eiffel Tower.

2. Sechseläuten Festival
Zurich, Switzerland – 3rd Monday of April

Why go? Each spring the people of Zurich celebrate the changing of the seasons in the best way possible: with a medieval parade and the burning of an 11-foot tall snowman effigy (known as a Böögg) packed with fireworks.

3. Prague New Year
Prague, Czech Republic – December 31st

Why go? A lovely city with a real sense of history, Prague is also a brilliant place to celebrate the New Year. Head out on a Party Boat or Jazz Cruise and drift along as fireworks paint the sky above.

The final night of Las Falles, where sculptures burn and flames dance in the night sky. Photo by Keith Ellwood via Flickr

4. Las Fallas
Valencia, Spain – March

Why go? Each day ‘las fallas’ (20 foot tall sculptures of famous personalities) are paraded through the streets of Valencia as fireworks erupt overhead. However, the real excitement begins on the final day with La Cremà when the fallas are set alight, one by one.

5. Saint’s Day
Malta – Year-round

Why go? Each village in Malta has its own saint, therefore there are no shortage of Saint’s Day festivals throughout the year. During big festivals such as Easter or Christmas villages across the island compete to have the best firework display. Celebrations (and fireworks) are in full swing from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep.

6. Walpurgis Night
Scandinavia – 30th April

Why go? In German folklore, witches would meet every year on the eve of May Day to await the arrival of spring. There aren’t too many witches at Walpurgisnacht now, but if you’re feeling brave enough you can venture into the woods to look for them. For everyone else, there’s dancing and bonfires all across Scandinavia.

Berlin; arguably the current epicentre of European counter culture. Photo by Sascha Kohlmann via Flickr

7. St. Sylvester’s Day
Berlin, Germany – 31st December

Why go? Join over a million partygoers at the biggest open-air party in the world. Celebrations stretch over 1.2 miles from Brandenburg Gate to Victory Column and include lasers and over 2000 fireworks.

8. Edinburgh International Festival
Scotland – 8th-31st August

Why go? Since 1947 the Edinburgh International Festival has featured a free bagpipe concert and a spectacular display of 100,000 fireworks over the castle. Make sure you get there early the day before as people regularly camp out all night for a top spot.

9. San Bartolome de Pinares
Spain – January 9th

Why go? On the eve of St Antony’s Day horsemen take their lives into their own hands and ride through bonfires to offer homage to the patron saint of animals. Probably one to watch from a distance.

10. Battle
East Sussex – 5th November

Why go? As well as being the scene of the 1066 battle of Hastings, the town is also home to an epic bonfire night featuring a huge procession through the streets. The night cumulates in the blowing up of a giant effigy. Last year it was Sarah Palin.

One of the more romantic settings to watch the sky ablaze, Venice hosts the Festa del Redentore every July. Photo by _topo_ via Flickr

11. Festa del Redentore
Venice, Italy – 20th-21st July

Why go? Every year Venice celebrates the end of the 1576 plague which killed 50,000 people. Stay up and watch the fireworks over St Mark’s Bay, then head to the Lido to wait for the sunrise.

12. Japan Day
Düsseldorf, Germany – May / June

Why go? Every June Dusseldorf’s huge Japanese community celebrate their culture with events such as origami displays, sumo wrestling and musical performances. However, the best part has to be a seemingly never-ending fireworks display that stretches far into the night.

13. New Year’s Eve
Amsterdam, Netherlands – December 31st

Why go? From 6pm you can watch the fireworks over the Amstel River while eating delicious Appelflappen (apple fritters) and Olliebollen (sugar coated doughnuts).