When it comes to Carnival, the vibrant streets of Rio de Janeiro instantly come to mind. But Carnival is a festival season with rich history and geographic roots beyond the epic party in Brazil. Recently, searches on Shutterstock have soared for locales outside of Rio.

Carnival sees different traditions across the globe, but most festivals have something in common: their wildness. Taking place in the lead-up to Christian Lent, this period is often considered one of role-reversal, where revelers don costumes, dance enthusiastically, imbibe heavily, and enjoy foods that will soon be restricted during Lent.

We’re exploring the top 10 most popular Carnivals around the world, based on Shutterstock search data. Read on to learn about these celebrations, including new regions where global interest is growing, and the symbols and customs that define the festival season worldwide.

1. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

carnival rio de janeiro brazil
Image by StanislavBeloglazov / Shutterstock.com

This is the largest Carnival in the world, usually attracting two million people to Rio de Janeiro. There are lots of familiar customs, like masks, costumes, and floats, but Rio also has the interesting tradition of samba school parades. Samba schools are groups of locals that attend Carnival together, wearing coordinated costumes and dancing choreographed numbers in the parade.

2. Köln, Germany

Pictured: [1] Image by ungvar [2] Image by Anna Nahabed [3] Image by Anna Nahabed

Here, the festival period is known as Karneval, Fasching, or Fastnacht, depending on the region. Searches for Karneval Köln have increased 67% over last year, and for good reason—it’s one of the largest street festivals in all of Europe. The high point is a huge parade on Rose Monday, when shops close and people fill the streets to parade in costumes.

3. Venice, Italy

venice carnival
Image by Tomi Mika

First recorded in 1268, the Carnival of Venice of Italy’s largest festival. It was an extremely popular event in the 18th century, and symbols from that period still remain. Instantly recognizable are the venetian masks, or bauta, which revelers used to pay a fortune for. Now, modern festivities during Carnival revive Venice, fueling interest in its historic roots.

4. Trinidad and Tobago

trinidad tobago carnival
Image by Blacqbook

In the warm Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago, they celebrate Carnival with Soca and Calypso music. From the honor of being the Calypso Monarch to Panorama (a steel pan competition), musical competitions are the heart of its festival. It’s no wonder that this country’s celebrations have also seen a rise in popularity.

5. New Orleans, U.S.

Pictured: [1] Image by FiledIMAGE [2] Image by Mike Flippo [3] Image by amadeustx

While a version of Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday” in French) is celebrated in several counties, it’s impossible to deny its connection to New Orleans. As many as half a million people flock to the Louisiana city, where festivities began in 1699. There are many New Orleans traditions that have influenced festivals across America, like bead throwing, flambeaux, and purple, green, and gold king cake.

6. Notting Hill, UK

notting hill london carnival
Image by Bikeworldtravel

While this August festival isn’t directly associated with global pre-Lenten Carnival, there are many similarities. Brought about by the British West Indian community in the mid 1960s, and fusing with hippie culture, the two-day Notting Hill event has heavy Afro-Caribbean influences. Traditions of Caribbean Carnival, like floats, masquerade, and reggae and calypso music dominate the scene.

7. Salvador, Brazil

Pictured: [1] Image by Rodrigo Garrido [2] Image by Filipe Frazao

In the Bahia state of Brazil is another huge Carnival, taking place in Salvador. It’s here that trio electricos were born – floats with high-powered sound systems and a stage to facilitate mobile musical performances. For almost 16 hours a day during the festival the parade flows through the streets of Salvador, while throngs of locals and tourists party below.

8. Limburg, Netherlands

carnival netherlands limburg
Image by Bas Rabeling / Shutterstock.com

Heavily influenced by Italian Carnival, this southern part of the Netherlands revels in the days leading up to Lent. Open stages are opened up for cabaret, where a jester-like buuttereedner (barrel speaker) makes a satirical speech reflecting on the past year. They also hold a peasant wedding, a fake union followed by a feast and partying.

9. Barranquilla, Colombia

carnival barranquillo colombia
Image by Kobby Dagan / Shutterstock.com

Declared one of the “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO, Colombia’s Carnival, known as Barranquilla’s Carnival, is one of the country’s most important folkloric traditions. The biggest event is the Battle of the Flowers, a six-hour parade of epically decorated floats followed by a spectacle of marchers, costumes, and even fire-breathers.

10. Recife, Brazil

recife brazil carnival
Image by Filipe Frazao

Back in Brazil, the northeastern city of Recife also sees big crowds for its annual Carnival. It’s a real multicultural celebration featuring maracatu beats that blend Indian and African influences. It also hosts one of the largest blocos, or street bands, in the country.

If these trends indicate anything, it’s that the rising interest in Carnival is here to stay, Rio or otherwise.