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Europe’s best (and quirkiest) Firework Displays

The USA may have the 4th July, but we’d wager that these displays closer to home are more than capable of giving our friends across the pond a good run for their money. Here’s a round up of Europe’s best and brightest firework displays, along with the unique charms that we think make them especially smashing.

Sechseläuten Festival

Zurich, Switzerland
April

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. Winter is officially considered over when the Böögg’s head explodes.

Why it’s special: Did we mention the 11-foot burning snowman effigy?

Where to get the best views: Head towards the Sechseläutenplatz (Bellevue)  for the burning of the Böögg.

More information: www.myswitzerland.com/en-gb/sechselaeuten-in-zurich-zh.html

Bastille Day (or le quatorze juillet)

Paris, France
14th July

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Marking the Storming of the Bastille prison in 1789 and the first major event of the French Revolution, fireworks are almost always on the menu in Paris Bastille Day celebrations. They’re usually launched from the Bassins du Trocadéro, dramatically silhouetting the Eiffel Tower. Vive la revolution!

Why it’s special: Get there a day early and also take advantage of France’s unique – and quirky – tradition of Firemen’s Balls, where firehouses open their doors to the general public on 13th and 14th for live demonstrations and dancing.

Where to get the best view: If you’re too close to the Trocadéro  it can be difficult to see the full effect and crowds can be overwhelming, so it’s worth staking a strategic spot further afield – try the bank of the Seine or along the Boulevard Pasteur.

More information: en.parisinfo.com/discovering-paris/major-events/paris-celebrates-july-14th

Festa del Redentore

Venice, Italy
July

Between 1575 and 1577 a horrible plague swept through Venice, wiping out a third of the city. When the epidemic was halted the Senate started an annual festival to give thanks, which today is celebrated with (amongst other things) a spectacular fireworks display.

Why it’s special: Redentore Celebration – Come dusk, throngs of small boats decked out with balloons and lanterns moor together along Saint Mark’s Bary and Guidecca Canal to share a Venetian feast. Once the fireworks are over, the regatta continues along the Grand Canal to watch the sunrise from the beach.

Where to get the best view: Try to pre-book a gondola if you can to fully take part in the experience. Otherwise, if you can brace the crowds the best views are afforded in the Giudecca or the Riva degli Schiavoni.

More information: www.veneziamarketingeventi.it/page/eventoDettaglio?idEvento=295

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Las Fallas

Valencia, Spain
March

True to its name, Las Fallas is a spectacular riotous pyrotechnic festival with fire aplenty. Lasting for four days, the streets of Valencia become alive with fireworks, music bands, street performances and parades. While there are plenty of firework displays throughout the week, the final evening (La Nit del Foc) offers the biggest and brightest.

Why it’s special: During the festival the Fallas, spectacular giant papier-mâché figures often based on celebrities and politicians, can be seen on display throughout the city. They are then stuffed with fireworks and ceremoniously set alight. Also hard to miss are La Mascleta –audio firework displays which take place every afternoon during the festival and can be heard from all over the city.

Where to get the best view: Almost anywhere. You’re likely to catch a display wherever you are, but for La Nit del Foc head towards the Paseo de la Alameda

More information: www.valencia-cityguide.com/tourist-information/leisure/festivals/the-fallas.html

Japan-Tag (Japan Day)

Düsseldorf, Germany
May/June

Home to one of the largest Japanese communities in Europe, there are few other European cities where the Japanese influence on art, culture, food and drink is as strong as in Dusseldorf. To celebrate this meeting of cultures, every year in May or June Dusseldorf is transformed in to “Japan on the Rhine” for a day, culminating in a grand Japanese fireworks display.

Why it’s special: The day long event offers a diverse and varied programme, with karaoke contests, Sumo wrestling, origami workshops, samurai weapon displays and manga exhibits all in the mix. The fireworks themselves are something out of the ordinary, too. Last year, the theme for the display was “The heart of Japan” which saw fireworks blazing Japanese motifs such as cherry blossoms, Japanese characters, and manga figures up into the night sky above the Rhine.

Where to get the best view:  Stake a spot along the bank of the Rhine in the old town for unsullied views.

More information: www.japantag-duesseldorf-nrw.de

Any others we should have included?

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