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Satisfy Your Wanderlust with The World's Most Fantastical Flower Festivals

With the hope of travel resuming once again, we can't help but reflect on the list of destinations we're just itching to visit. The travel boom for 2021 has already begun, which means many are booking journeys abroad to satisfy a lingering hunger for cultural experiences and wide-open spaces outside of home. So, for those that have caught the travel-bug, why not consider a location that celebrates flowers? Countless countries host their own unique, flower-based festivals that pay homage to the beauty of flowers, as well as the heritage of the celebrants' land and people:

RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW; London, United Kingdom; September 21 - 26, 2021

Organized by the Royal Hospital Chelsea (RHS) since 1912, the Chelsea Flower Show is considered the floral equivalent of London Fashion Week. The posh event, which is held annually on the grounds of the RHS in London, is arguably the most famous flower and landscape garden show in the UK. So famous, in fact, that apart from over 150,000 locals and tourists, the show's attendees regularly include high-profile celebrities—including members of the British Royal Family. Beyond new plant breeds, visitors to the Chelsea Flower Show can view the latest trends in landscape and garden design, all spearheaded by acclaimed designers, plant specialists and nurseries. Awards are also given to the best exhibitors across various categories.

FERIA DE LAS FLORES; Medellín, Colombia; August 12 - 22, 2022

One of the city's most important cultural events, the Feria de Las Flores (Festival of the Flowers) honors Medellín's heritage and rich growing territories. The week-long celebration, which first began in 1957, takes place annually and attracts international visitors. Here, Medellín is turned into a floral paradise, where a sea of regionally grown flowers decorate city streets and festival events. The grand finale is the Desfile de Silleteros; over 500 silleteros (local flower vendors) parade through downtown Medellín with large floral installations—which can weigh up to 150 pounds— strapped to their backs. The tradition of the silleteros traces back to the 19th century, where residents of rural areas used silletas (chair-like devices) to carry people on their backs up steep hills.

BLOEMENCORSO ZUNDERT; Zundert, the Netherlands; September 5 - 6, 2021

Dating back to 1936, the annual Bloemencorso (Flower Parade) celebration in Zundert is recognized as the largest flower parade in the world. The stars of the parade are 20 epic floats, typically measuring up to 30 feet in height, that compete for the honor of most beautiful display. Each features its own character or theme and is built by volunteers from individual hamlets (towns) across Zundert. Not to mention, the floats are only decorated with Dahlias, which have also been grown exclusively by the hamlets participating in the event. Over 600,000 Dahlias from dozens of species are cultivated locally just for the parade!

DUBAI MIRACLE GARDEN; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; November 1, 2021 - May 31, 2022

Launched in 2013, the Dubai Miracle Garden is the world's largest botanical garden (it currently holds three Guinness World Record titles). The garden features over 300 million flowers and plants, situated across 18 acres, that have been shaped into larger-than-life topiaries and floral sculptures. Dubai's Miracle Garden offers a complete sensory experience for its guests, transporting them to a surreal, "Alice in Wonderland" type world—complete with a life-size Emirates Airbus A380 airplane! This colossal growing project is especially impressive in that it exists in Dubai's harsh desert environment. According to property caretakers, the maintenance of the garden's flowers and plants is possible through expansive drip irrigation and water recycling systems.

INFIORATA FLOWER CARPET FESTIVALS; Noto, Sicily; May 15, 2022

A time-honored tradition dating back to 1625, Italy's Infiorata festivals are flower-focused celebrations that usually take place around the Corpus Domini feast (in late May or early June). The main attractions of the Infioratas are the surreal—and incredibly elaborate—flower carpets that adorn select city streets. Crafted by skilled artisans using hundreds and thousands of flower petals, these carpets vary in design annually, but most feature themes relevant to religious icons or famous paintings. The best ceremonies are attended by countless visitors from across the globe and are held in the cities of Noto (Sicily), Genzano (Lazio) and Spello (Umbria). Many consider Noto's celebration, which is held every third weekend in May, to be the most famous of the three.

FESTA DA FLOR DA MADEIRA; Funchal, Madeira; October 1 - 24, 2021

The Festa da Flor (Flower Festiva) in Madeira, Portugal is a month-long tribute to spring and the flowers that flourish in the region. The festival, first observed in 1979, is typically held in April or May and takes place in the city center of Funchal. Its unique cultural exhibitions featuring intricate floral carpets, float parades, live entertainment and farmer's markets serve as popular attractions for international attendees. Yet, the Festa's "Wall of Hope Ceremony," which has taken place for more than 30 years, remains the celebration's highlight event. Here, more than a thousand children parade towards the Prac╠ža do Município (Municipal Square) to place a flower on the "Wall of Hope." The moving experience is meant to symbolize a call for world peace.

CHIANG MAI FLOWER FESTIVAL; Chiang Mai, Thailand; February 4 - 6, 2022

Chiang Mai, also known as Thailand's "Rose of the North," lives up to its namesake with its annual flower festival. The Chiang Mai Flower Festival has grown from its humble beginnings in the 1970s to become a beloved haven for flower lovers everywhere. During the three days of the festival, the city comes alive with dazzling florals, colorful costumes, rich food, and music. The highlight of the event is the grand parade, which features elaborate floats decorated with Damask roses, orchids, mums and other locally-flowers grown. Following alongside each float are dancers performing traditional Thai dances, marching bands, and fabulously dressed flower queens.

FLORIADE FESTIVAL; Canberra, Australia; September 11 - October 10, 2021

Australia's ultimate salute to spring, Floriade, is home to over one million blooms showcased at Canberra's Commonwealth Park. What began in 1988 as a one-time display of bulbs has transformed into the largest flower festival in the southern hemisphere. Floriade, which comes from the Latin word "floriat" (meaning to design with flowers), is a celebration of flowers and art. Each year, the festival attracts droves of flower fans of all ages to Commonwealth Park to see its fields overflowing with bountiful blooms and floral sculptures. Attendees also partake in the event's other activities, including food and wine tastings, live music and entertainment, markets, and horticulture workshops.

BATALLA DE FLORES; Valencia, Spain; July 31, 2022

The finale of the month-long Feria de Julio (July Festival), Valencia's Batalla de Flores (Battle of Flowers) is a rich tradition that's been celebrated since 1891. Held on the last Sunday of each July, the event begins with a procession of enormous floats, which are decorated in the Valencian style of Las Fallas and boarded by ladies in colorful costumes. Once the floats have made a few turns around the city's center, the bloodless battle begins! Parade attendees and float crews mercilessly throw heaps of orange and yellow marigolds at each other, having a ball in the process. To defend themselves against the over one million (yes, million) blossoms flying through the air, the women on the floats are equipped with tennis rackets. What's left on the "battlefield" after the festivities is a fragrant carpet of brilliantly colored petals, once again marking the end of the Feria for another year.

BRUSSELS' FLOWER CARPET; Brussels, Belgium; August 11 - 15, 2022

Held every two years in front of the Grand-Palace, Brussels' Flower Carpet celebration is exactly that—a massive "carpet" made of only flowers. The installation, which showcases a new theme each occurrence, measures about 230 feet long by 78 wide and features over 500,000 intricately placed Begonias, Dahlias and other botanicals. Brussels' first carpet was made in 1971 to acknowledge the migration of Turkish workers to Belgium. Today, it commemorates Belgium's hospitality, attractions, and most of all, its show-stopping Begonias. (Did you know that Belgium is the world's largest producer of Begonias?) Following a prearranged composition, more than 100 volunteers from around the country gather to construct the carpet in less than eight hours! Once complete, it's left open for public viewing for four days.