The Top Carnival’s in the World

There is no better party atmosphere than Carnival. The celebration leading into Lent can last for more than a week in some cities. There are cities all over the world that celebrate Carnival. Most of the best places to spend Carnival are in Latin America, but there are a few notable exceptions. Follow this guide to the best places in the world to celebrate Carnival, brought to you by the guys from Cruise1st. For last minute cruise bookings, check out their official website. And now, on to our top five carnivals from around the world!


Any list of the best cities in the world to spend Carnival has to start with Rio de Janeiro. No place on Earth has a bigger or better party atmosphere for Carnival. The city has spent many years perfecting the art of celebrating Carnival. Rio de Janeiro has been holding Carnival celebrations since 1723.

More than 2 million people flood the streets for the massive parades that the city runs to celebrate the festival. In all, more than 4.6 million people come to Rio de Janeiro to celebrate Carnival. To put into perspective what a massive party this is in Brazil, consider the fact that 80% of Rio de Janeiro’s annual beer consumption takes place during Carnival.

The parades are led by groups of dancers and musicians from samba schools throughout the city. Their energetic music and festive costumes make this one of the most exciting spectacles on the planet.

Barranquilla, Colombia

While not quite as large as Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival celebration, Carnival in Barranquilla is an amazing party in its own right. The city compete shuts down during Carnival. Parades and dances take over the streets. The whole city becomes one gigantic party. Carnival in Barranquilla begins four days prior to Ash Wednesday.

One of the best parts of Barranquilla’s Carnival scene is the wide variety of music styles that can be heard. There is African conga, Spanish paloteo, indigenous musical styles and the many homegrown Colombian sounds. The Colombian musical style cumbia is the most prevalent during Barranquilla’s Carnival. Cumbia combines African drum beats with Spanish guitar and accordion to create a wonderful sound.

New Orleans, USA

Carnival is not a big celebration many places in the United States, with the most notable exception being New Orleans. Carnival is known as Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The city has been celebrating Mardi Gras since 1830. There are lots of parades, costumes and masked balls.

The biggest day of the celebration is the last day of Carnival, known as Fat Tuesday. This day sees hundreds of thousands of people line the streets to enjoy the parades and music. In all, more than a million people attend Mardi Gras annually.

One of the more colorful things about Mardi Gras is that it has become a tradition for women to bare their breasts in exchange for beads being thrown to them. Needless to say, Mardi Gras is more of a draw for adults than families.


Outside of Rio de Janeiro, no place in the world attracts more visitors to Carnival than Veracruz. The city builds the world’s largest temporary stadium every year for the event. Over the nine days that the stadium is open, more than 3 million people will pay for the privilege of coming through the gates to celebrate Carnival. The stadium is capable of seating more than 400,000 people. The seating is tiered with lots of boxes for people to host their own exclusive bashes.

Veracruz also has lots of celebrations outside of the stadium during Carnival. Every day there is a parade that winds through the city’s streets. The parades have floats, musicians, dancers and performers. The biggest parade is held along the Oceanside on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday.

Venice, Italy

The first Carnival celebration in the world was held in Venice all the way back in the 12th century. For centuries, the city was known for having the grandest Carnival celebration in the word. Venice may no longer have the biggest or best Carnival celebration, but it is still a great place to enjoy it.

Nearly 3 million people come every year to celebrate Carnival in Venice. The biggest part of the celebration is the wearing of masks. The biggest event is a competition for the best mask that draws the best costume designers in the world.