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India | Peru | Mexico | Japan | Bhutan

See a culture in a whole new light

Holidays are already special occasions. Add a cultural festival into the mix, and you glimpse a destination at its most ebullient. You can expect dances, delicacies and dazzling finery as communities come together in celebration. It’s often an especially welcoming time to visit a country, with opportunities to mingle and participate in age-old traditions.

Cox & Kings group tours feature festival departures in destinations around the world, including India, Peru, Mexico and Ethiopia. We can also arrange your tailor-made holiday so that it coincides with a cultural event. Read on for our recommended festival holidays, or speak to one of our travel consultants to find out more.

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Why choose Cox & Kings for your festival holiday

Genuinely small groups

Small groups promise a more personal touring experience. That’s why Cox & Kings maintains a maximum group size of 18 guests on most tours, and an average of just 14.

Worldwide support

Enjoy round-the-clock support – in person, over the phone and online. This is made possible by our well-travelled staff and unrivalled network of offices in destinations across the world.

Your money is protected

Cox & Kings is ABTA bonded and ATOL protected. When you arrange a holiday with us, rest assured that your booking is secure and your money is protected.

Experts since 1758

Cox & Kings is a name you can trust. We’ve been helping the curious traveller explore for more than 265 years – longer than any other travel company.

Where to go for a festival holiday

India festival holidays

Cultural festivals in India are always a colourful affair, and range from town-specific events to national celebrations.

Diwali: The biggest festival in India

Also known as the Festival of Lights, the five-day event transforms the country into a spectacle of diya oil lamps, light displays and fireworks. Garlands of fragrant flowers festoon the markets, doorsteps are decorated with rangoli sand art, and Hindus dressed in their best flock to the temples. Celebrated each autumn, it is one of the best times to visit India.

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Holi: The festival of colours 

Holi dials up the saturation in celebration of eternal love and good overcoming evil. Taking place in spring, the Hindu festival sees revellers play-fight with pigments of every hue – and you can join in the fun.

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Dev Deepavali 

Celebrated in Varanasi 15 days after Diwali and when the sacred banks of the Ganges are illuminated by more than a million lamps.

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Holika Dahan 

This festival sees bonfires lit in honour of good overcoming evil the day before Holi.

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Peru festival holidays

Alongside astounding archaeology, the traditions of the Inca live on in their homeland of Peru. You can experience these for yourself by attending the Inti Raymi Festival.

Inti Raymi Festival 

The Inti Raymi Festival is an annual festival honouring Inti the Sun God. The former Incan capital of Cuzco hosts the largest Inti Raymi festivities, and our Peru escorted tours feature festival departures that place you there, in time to experience the rituals and revelry.

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Mexico festival holidays

Day of the Dead festival 

Mexico’s Day of the Dead festival – or Día de Muertos – is celebrated every autumn across the country. This UNESCO-inscribed festival is both a moment to honour loved ones lost, and for Halloween-esque revelry in the macabre. Oaxaca city is famed for its celebration; visit for colourful sugar skulls, sweet ‘bread of the dead’, marigold-festooned altars, and parades complete with calavera (skull) facepainting.

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Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe 

Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe, a national holiday on 12 December in honour of the Virgin Mary; and Mexico’s Independence Day, a patriotic celebration held on 16 September.

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Japan festival holidays

Hanami

Each year, between March and April, the ornamental cherry trees in Japan’s avenues, parks and gardens burst into a riot of white and pink flowers. Hanami – literally ‘flower viewing’ – is the centuries-old custom of gathering to admire the cherry blossom. This cultural festival is marked with picnics, scenic strolls and day trips. It's one of the best times to visit Japan, so hotels and traditional inns are booked up well in advance.

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Sapporo Snow Festival and Shinto festivals

Other Japanese festivals worth travelling for include the Sapporo Snow Festival, when the city of Sapporo embraces winter with monumental ice sculptures; and the three major Shinto festivals held in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka each year.

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Bhutan festival holidays

Buddhist festivals 

Bhutan is a small kingdom hidden amid the high peaks of the Himalaya. Buddhism shapes its culture, and a calendar of Buddhist festivals (tshechus) brings locals out to the monasteries to enjoy costumed dances, traditional music, and the unveiling of large tapestries called thangkas. These cultural events offer great insight into Bhutanese traditions, and occur across the year, especially in spring and autumn. We can arrange your holiday to coincide with one of Bhutan’s best festivals.

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Begin your journey

Enquire online or contact one of our travel consultants.

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For more travel inspiration, request a copy of the latest Cox & Kings brochure – a comprehensive collection of our group tours.