The Netherlands

The eastern Netherlands are in bloom. During the next few weeks, the 5,500-hectare Hoge Veluwe National Park, the largest in The Netherlands, is ablaze with flowering heather. The park, a mix of forests, woods, shifting sands and heathery moors, provides a home base for wild game (red deer, roe deer, wild boar and moufflons - a wild, short-fleeced, Mediterranean mountain goat). It's also home to Europe's largest sculpture park and the Kroller-Muller museum, famed for its vast collection of Van Gogh paintings.

23 - 29 AUGUST


Water-surfing snakes herald the harvest season in the southern Indian state of Kerala. Huge boats shaped like snakes race the backwaters of Champakulam, Aranmula and Kottayam as part of the 10-day Onam festivities, which are also held to honour the ancient asura king Mahabali.

24 - 26 AUGUST


The death of an evil sun-snatching spirit is celebrated in the province of Potosi in south-west Bolivia. The festival of San Bartolome de Huayco has its origins in the legend of Unphurruna, an evil spirit who, it's said, imprisoned the sun and then crashed into a cliff as he was making his escape from some Jesuit priests, leaving a dark green splodge which is visible today. Ever since, a mule-back pilgrimage has been made to the site of the cave, signifying the start of three days of feasting, parades and music.



An evening of 17th-century decadence will be recaptured in Paris this week with Versailles' Fete de nuit. Formerly the lavish pad of Sun King Louis XIV, the Palace of Versailles, set in beautiful, sprawling forest, hosts a night of dancing, fireworks and baroque music. Performances start at 10pm. Call for details (tel: 00 33 1 30 837878).



From Wetzlar to Weimar, Frankfurt to Eisenbach there are celebrations to honour the 250th anniversary of Goethe's birth. The main festivities are to take place where he was born, Frankfurt, where there will be a Unesco-funded party throughout the city. Exhibitions will continue until the end of the year. For information, contact the German Tourist Office (tel: 0900 160 0100; premium rate call).



Get caught in some fruity crossfire as the Valencian town of Bunol celebrates Tomatina. At midday on the last Wednesday in August six lorries carrying more than 100,000 kilos of mature tomatoes arrive in Bunol's market square and what follows is a form of squash that requires a mac rather than a racket, as everyone hurls tons of the overripe fruit at each other. Local shops and houses cover windows and doors with plastic sheets and, for the next hour, teams of throwers begin war atop squishy piles of tomatoes. Bloody Marys all round.

29-30 AUGUST


Time for residents of W11 to bump, grind and wind their bodies in the name of all things Caribbean, as the 35th Notting Hill Carnival brings street parades, soca, calypso and steel bands to wake up west London. This traditional celebration of Caribbean culture includes some of the best jerk chicken and fish patties you are likely to taste this side of the Atlantic. A million sweaty dancing people are expected to grace Notting Hill's streets.