While we may traditionally associate festivals with basking in the sun during the warm summer months, there is still plenty of fun to be had when the weather turns chilly.
Both in the UK and abroad, there are loads of events to brighten up the long winter days – and what better way to experience one than combining it with a holiday?
Here are six ideas…
1. The Ice Snow Festival, Harbin, China
Fancy being wowed? This exciting festival showcases elaborate snow sculptures and full size buildings incredibly carved from blocks of ice.
The largest event of its type in the world, areas of the festival include theme parks such as Harbin Ice and Snow World, Ice Lantern Fair, Songhua River Ice and Snow Happy Valley.
The event begins on January 5 2015 and will be celebrated until February 28 2015.
2. The Patras Carnival
One of Europe’s largest festivals, this historic event takes place over a few weeks and includes parades, balls, treasure hunts and a children’s parade. Colourful and vibrant, the festival comes to a close with the burning at the stake of the King of Carnival and an extravagant parade. Fancy it? Pop the date in your diary – January 17 2015 – February 23.
3. Up Helly-Aa, Lerwick, Scotland
Enter the Vikings! This one day festival in Shetland sees the people of Lerwick dressing up, holding a torch-lit procession and after a series of marches around the town, burning a life-size model of a Viking longship.
The festival is held on the last Tuesday in January every year, with the Wednesday reserved as a public holiday to allow for recovery!
4. Horizon Festival, Bulgaria
Après ski is what it’s all about at this festival held in the Bulgarian resort of Bansko. Held on Sat March 7 to Friday March 13, you can combine a day on the piste with breaks and beats by night.
The resort’s bars and clubs showcase the hottest acts, and if you’re a fan of dubstep and European hip hop, this will definitely be a festival for you.
5. Ibiza Rocks the Snow
Ibiza Rocks, you may well have heard of. But rocking the snow? Perhaps not. From sea to snow, this festival sees some of the best live acts and electronic artists plus ice parties, pool parties, terrace parties and street parties. Held in Meribel in the French Three Valleys ski area, just be sure to reserve enough energy after a day whizzing down the slopes!
6. Altitude Festival, Austria
If snow and dancing isn’t quite your thing, then maybe this comedy festival set in the beautiful Austrian location of Mayrhofen is more up your street.
Attracting big name acts, previous years have seen the likes of John Bishop, Al Murray, Jimmy Carr, Eddie Izzard and Frankie Boyle perform. 2015 will see the festival returning between March 23 and March 27.