Travel inspiration and insider tips


4 years, 9 months ago

Fantastic Holiday Fireworks all Summer long

Brilliant firework events all over Europe for family holidays and romantic breaks this summer.

  1. Bonn
  2. Paris
  3. Venice
  4. Edinburgh
  5. Bilbao

Inside every firework lover lives the eternal child. Which is very sweet and endearing until you’re standing outside freezing while the ‘eternal child’ attempts to recreate Sydney Harbour New Year 2006 with five sparklers and a pile of damp kindling?

Time to accept a hard truth: huge, organised firework displays are amazing, garden fireworks are almost always rubbish – especially the ‘jumping frog’.

The jumping frog never jumps, never going to jump. It smoulders threateningly and you eventually have to douse it with water. And sparklers are fine, if you’re three!

So let’s put away the DIY this year? Relegate the dodgy and disappointing. And go visit some places where deep pockets and seasoned professionals are doing fireworks and you don’t have to do anything but marvel.

Here’s where we want to see the sky lit up big style over the next few months.

Rhine in Flames, Germany – May to September


Real firework fanatics, the eternal child and true romantics should head for the Bonn bit of the mighty Rhine this summer. Between May to September, the 30km stretch of the river between the city of Bonn and Linz hosts a series of cultural festivals. The celebrations vary in size and style, but the general idea is fantastic food, wine, music, dancing and fireworks. The displays are incredible and best from the water. So it’s handy that there’s a fleet of beautifully lit passenger boats at every festival with no other purpose in the world but to let you sail on the Rhine and see the fireworks. Bonn’s also brilliant for beer gardens and just 20km from Cologne and that amazing cathedral, you know the one.
Rhine in Flames

Bastille Day, Paris – 14th July


There isn’t a hamlet in all of France doesn’t celebrate Bastille Day on July 14th. But the epicentre of the festivities is Paris, naturally. The French capital’s where the Bastille was stormed in 1789 and isn’t about to let anyone forget it. Military parades and aerial displays go on all day all over the city. Everyone’s on holiday. And anyone who isn’t cheering and clapping as if they’d just been freed from tyranny yesterday is either dead or a direct descendant of Marie Antoinette. If you’re just here for the pyrotechnics, head to the Champs de Mars (or as close as you can get) in time for sunset. The full National Orchestra of France is playing, the Radio France Choir is serenading and for 40 minutes the sky over the Eiffel Tower blazes with the world’s most extravagant fireworks. It’s spectacular, so go early. Over half a million people usually have the same idea on Bastille Day.

Festa del Redentore, Venice – 18th & 19th July


Thousands of celebrating Venetians, hundreds of wildly decorated boats and hours of fireworks over St. Mark’s lagoon, can we tempt you to Venice this July? In a city known for its festivals, Redentore is stand-out. And the sight of locals and visitors eating, drinking and revelling on beautifully lit-up boats as the sun sets is one of those big, romantic moments you remember always. But then Venice goes one better. Because everyone, whether they’re on the water, quayside, balcony or rooftop, is waiting for one thing: the fireworks over the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. Unforgettable doesn’t even begin to describe the experience.

Edinburgh International Festival Fireworks – 31st August


The world’s most famous arts festival runs from 7th to 31st August and basically consumes Edinburgh from end to end. But whatever the new and groundbreaking, the odd or whimsical and the just plain weird, one thing never changes: the fireworks. Every year without fail the most fantastic display takes over Princes Gardens and the entire Edinburgh skyline on the last evening of the festival. You can buy tickets for the accompanying concert. Or you can just be in the city when the fireworks are happening, you can’t miss them.
Edinburgh Festival Fireworks

Aste Nagusia, Bilbao – 22nd – 31st August

Celebration of traditional Basque culture? Or big, mad, over-excited, anything goes party? The 9 days it takes Bilbao to thoroughly pay homage to everything that’s brilliant about Bilbao and being Basque is almost enough to keep you going until next year’s Aste Nagusia. This festival doesn’t limit itself to one firework display, perish the thought of such restraint. No, there are firework competitions every night for nine nights, culminating in the madre of all outrageous pyrotechnics on the evening of August 31st. So if want to really indulge, go Aste Nagusia. Word of warning: it’s all insanely good fun but very, very, very busy, so be prepared.

If you’re a firework expert and we’ve missed somewhere spectacular this summer, be sure to get in touch and let us know.

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