From ancient traditions to sporting spectacles – there’s a lot to keep us entertained in 2024.

Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games, France

There’s something special to mark the start of the Paris Olympic Games on July 26 next year: for the first time, the Games’ opening ceremony will be held outside a stadium, right in the middle of the city. Rather than march along a track, athletes will be introduced in Paris by boat, as they float down the Seine, watched by as many as 600,000 spectators. Paris’s most famous sites will form the backdrop for many of its events too, with beach volleyball in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, equestrian events at the Palace of Versailles, the Hotel des Invalides hosting archery, and Place de la Concorde featuring skateboarding, BMX, and 3×3 basketball. The Paralympics, beginning August 28, will take place in many of the same venues. See paris2024.org

Garma Festival, Northern Territory, Australia

Given the recent referendum result, there has surely never been a better time for non-Indigenous Australians to connect with the history and culture of First Nations peoples, and this is an ideal way to do it. Garma Festival is Australia’s largest Indigenous gathering, a four-day exhibition and celebration of Yolngu culture held each August in north-east Arnhem Land. The festival is hosted by the Yothu Yindi Foundation, an education hub and advocacy group, and showcases traditional Yolngu art, song, dance and story-telling. Festival-goers stay onsite for the full four days, camping on Yolngu land for a full immersion into the life and culture of those who call this part of the world home. See yyf.com.au

T20 World Cup of cricket, US and West Indies

Cricket is heading Stateside. You read correctly: the Twenty20 World Cup is being hosted next year by the US, with help from its more traditionally cricket-crazy neighbours in the Caribbean. This is a jointly hosted tournament, with T20 matches in Texas, Florida and New York, as well as Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago. The tournament runs from June 4 to 30, and though the bulk of matches will take place in island paradise, there’s a lot to be said for witnessing cricket played before a potential new audience of millions of Americans, who will surely be happy to swap baseball fandom for cricket mania for a few weeks. See t20worldcup.com

Timkat, Ethiopia

There are plenty of religious festivals around the world that are worthy of a visit for interested tourists: Semana Santa, or Holy Week, in Spain; the Hajj in Saudi Arabia; Songkran in Thailand, to name a few. One that’s not often spoken about, though equally fascinating, is Timkat in Ethiopia. This is a celebration of the Epiphany, marked by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church every January 19, and features a ritual re-enactment of the baptism of Jesus. These mass baptism events, always filled with colour, music and song, take place across the country, though are at their most impressive in Lalibela, Gondar and Addis Ababa. The festival might not be your sole reason for visiting Ethiopia, but it is worth planning a trip around. See visitethiopia.travel

UEFA Euro 2024, football, Germany

Anyone lucky enough to have attended the FIFA World Cup in 2006 understands that Germany really knows how to put on a football tournament. And Euro 2024, a month-long meeting of European powerhouses next June and July, promises to be just as enjoyable, with matches from Berlin to Munich, Leipzig to Hamburg, Cologne to Dortmund. The German national team’s first match will be in Munich on June 14; however, there will be so many huge matches to attend, even in the opening group stage. See uefa.com

Day of the Dead, Mexico

Here is another religious festival unlike any other. Dia de los Muertes, or Day of the Dead, is a vibrant and deeply cherished celebration in Mexico of the lives and memories of those who have passed on. Though Catholic in its timing – set around All Saints Day, on November 1 – this festival is deeply rooted in Indigenous beliefs, with traditions going back to the time of the Aztecs. During Day of the Dead, people decorate their homes, dress in costumes, dance in the streets and make pilgrimages to cemeteries to honour deceased loved ones. Perhaps the country’s most colourful celebration is in Oaxaca City, and a visit here is something you will never forget. See visitmexico.com

Tour de France Femmes, France

Groups of lycra-clad men have been riding their bikes around France for 120 years now, beginning with the first Tour de France in 1903. So, finally, it’s time to celebrate women too, with the Tours de France Femmes, which launched two years ago and will take place again in 2024. The race will be held over eight days in the gap between the Paris Summer Olympics and the Paralympics, from August 12 to 18, beginning in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, before calling through two stops in Belgium, and then working its way down eastern France, ending in Alpe d’Huez. Spectating is free, so if you’re in France for the Olympics, this will make the perfect break between Games.See letourfemmes.fr

Diwali, India

Warning: if you’re sensitive to loud noises, this may not be your ideal event. Diwali is the Indian festival of light, celebrated across the country, and it involves a lot of lanterns, tea lights, candles, sweets and feasting and … a lot of fireworks. As in, small firecrackers, that are set off indiscriminately. If you’re happy with loud bangs, this is one of the most enjoyable times to be in a country that really knows how to celebrate. Diwali is a universally loved festival that will begin in 2024 on October 31, the 15th day of Kartika, the darkest month on the Hindu calendar, and run for five days. That’s five days of light, five days of joy, five days of food, and five days of firecrackers. See incredibleindia.org

Kings Day, Netherlands

April is the best month to visit the Netherlands. Don’t even think about summer, when Amsterdam gets absolutely chockers, and prices go through the roof. Don’t battle with winter, when it’s dark and rainy. April is the driest month in the Netherlands. Temperatures are pleasant, if not exactly hot. Crowds are low. And at the end of the month you get Koningsdag, or Kings Day, a national holiday every April 27, when the whole country dresses in orange and comes out to party. You’ll find open-air concerts, a huge nationwide flea market, and plenty of Dutch people out drinking orange drinks, enjoying the sunshine (hopefully), and celebrating their Dutchness. See holland.com

Lunar New Year, worldwide

One of the great things about Lunar New Year is that you don’t even have to be in China to enjoy it. You can be in Singapore, which hosts a huge celebration; you could be in New York, where festivities are similarly outsized; you can be in Hanoi, London, Vancouver, Tokyo, or even Sydney or Melbourne. Though of course, for the full experience, the chance to be in China next February to see in the Year of the Dragon should not be passed up. Whether you choose Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, or somewhere further afield, you are guaranteed a riot of fireworks, dancing, feasting on festive cuisine, the passing of red envelopes and much more. See travelchina.org.cn

– traveller.com.au

Share.