If you thought February had to be all about Valentine's Day, think again and get yourself over to Cologne in Germany. Every year the city hosts its carnival; this it will run from 16-22 February.
One of the biggest events in Germany, it draws locals from all corners of the country as well as tourists from all over the world. Resembling the beer festival of Munich, carnival-goers are expected to drink as much as possible, dance as much as possible, and all that whilst wearing the most ridiculous outfit you can find in the back of your wardrobe! There will be lots of street events happening all over the city, including food stalls, music DJs playing out of make-shift bars and so on, but there is a main line-up of events that includes Women's Carnival Day on the first day at the Alter Markt from 11:00am. Carnival Sunday is the traditional 'Funkenbiwak' at the Neumarkt, which is a colourful gathering of Corps troops and there are a number of street parades planned throughout the city centre. On Rose Monday, is when the entire party comes to a climax with the official street parade at 11:00am. The carnival continues through to Ash Wednesday, when fish dinners are served all over towns in pubs and restaurants, as the tradition goes.
The carnival is an extremely popular event, so make sure you arrange your accommodation in advance, and flights will also get more expensive closer to the date, so try and book early if you don't want to be out of pocket before even arriving at the carnival.
Image: courtesy of the Tourism Office of Germany.