Forgot to organise your summer plans? You're not alone! If you're looking at at the next few weeks with nothing in the travel calendar, let us inspire you with a host of entertaining (and sometimes downright strange) July events happening around the world this month.
1. Boryeong mud festival, South Korea
Looking for a chance to get nice and grubby, and enjoy world-class K-pop at the same time? You’re in luck! The Boryeong Mud Festival offers plenty of both. Head to the coastal South Korean city for 9 days of mud-themed events including a mud marathon, mineral-rich mud beauty treatments, giant inflatable games and once the sun goes down, live K-Pop concerts. If the mud all gets too much you can head into the nearby ocean and wash everything away; Boryeong is home to one of South Korea’s most popular beaches, Daecheon. The mud festival runs from 19th-28th July 2019.
Unleash your inner child at the Boryeong Mud Festival © Yochicka photographer/Shutterstock
2. The Festival of Near-Death Experiences, Galicia, Spain
Held every year at the end of July in a small town on the border of Spain and Portugal, the Festival of Near-Death Experiences (official title: Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme) is one of the most unusual July events anywhere in the world. The festival celebrates those who’ve had a brush with death over the preceding year – and lived to tell the tale. These fortunate souls are paraded around the town in open coffins carried by their relatives in veneration of Santa Marta de Ribarteme, the patron saint of resurrection. The parade is followed by a firework display and the chance to hear different tales of escaping death’s clutches. The Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme takes place on the 29th July every year.
Celebrants are carried through the streets at the Festival of Near Death Experiences © Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribaterme
3. Underwater Music Festival, Key West, Florida
Glastonbury might be over, but that doesn’t mean you’ve missed the chance to hear your favourite artists. The Underwater Music Festival in the Florida Keys promises a unique take on the traditional festival experience. A fixture on the local scene for 35 years, the event is the brainchild of Bill Becker, who started the festival to draw attention to the plight of coral in the area. Festival goers head to Looe Key reef on Key West to listen to a carefully curated water-themed playlist and see diver-musicians in shark costumes playing specially created underwater instruments. Both divers and snorkelers are welcome to attend. The Underwater Musical Festival runs from 12th-13th July, 2019.
4. World Wife Carrying World Championships, Sonkajärvi, Finland
How close are you and your spouse? Close enough to cling together over a 250m obstacle course? If so, the World Wife-Carrying Championship could be for you! Held in Sonkajärvi, Finland, this bizarre event has its roots in 19th century local folklore. The story goes that local antihero Ronkainen the Robber tested the mettle of his troops by forcing them to complete obstacle courses while carrying animals or sacks of grain, and the unusual sport was born. Of course, Finland is no stranger to strange events – the country also hosts the World Air Guitar Championships and the Beer Floating Festival – literally floating down a river in an inflatable dinghy drinking beer. The World Wife Carrying Championship takes place on the 5th and 6th of July. If you can’t make it this year, at least you’ll have plenty of time to train ahead of next year’s contest!
Wife carrying World Championships water pool by VisitLakeland is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
5. Fête des Vignerons, Vevey, Switzerland
Only held once every 25 years, the Fête des Vignerons in Vevey, Switzerland is a must-visit for wine lovers. The event was inaugurated in 1797, yet this is only the 12th edition of the festival. Local wine producers compete to win coveted prizes at the three-week-long event, which also features plenty of chances to taste the local Lavaux and Chablais varietals. The highlight of the event is a huge live show with over 1,000 musicians and choristers and 5,000 local amateur actors, held every night during the festival. Specially created for the event, the show tells the story of a year in the life of a vineyard through music and choreography. Parades, stalls offering Swiss cuisine and family-friendly events round of this monumental celebration of Swiss wine-growing and culture. The Fete des Vignerons runs from 18th July to 11th August.
Vineyards growing Lavaux grapes near Vevey, Switzerland © pixhound/Shutterstock