Gion Matsuri is a festival full of elaborate floats and costumes that represent Japanese provinces and the history of the country.

Do you like going to festivals? Are you looking for a holiday idea? The whole world loves a party and a good one is the perfect excuse to travel. Here’s how countries around the world are celebrating with festivals during July of 2014. The celebrations are a mix of new festivals, traditional festivals and some truly unique festivals that are sure to grab your attention and maybe even your imagination. Some of them are dangerous and won’t be covered by your travel insurance policy (ahem, Running of the Bulls, ahem) but all of them are important cultural festivals.

Start your planning now as you read through our top 4 festivals to see in July.

Running of the Bulls, Spain

Location: Pamplona, Spain

Dates: 6-14 July, 2014

Known locally as the fiestas of San Fermin, the Running of the Bulls has gained international notoriety due to the unusual nature of the traditions that go along with this festival. The fiestas are celebrated in honour of San Fermin, the patron saint of Navarra. The religious aspect of the festival has taken a backseat in recent years as it has become more popular around the world and people flock to Pamplona to celebrate and enjoy the fun and joy of it all. The Encierro is the event at the heart of the festival and it was originally born from need: getting the bulls from outside the city into the bullring. It starts at the corral in Calle Santo Domingo at 8am and after two rockets are launched, the bulls charge behind the runners for 825m (the distance between the corral and the bullring). The run only lasts about 4 minutes and is an unparalleled experience for spectators and runners alike. Please note that your Cover-More travel insurance policy will not cover any incidents or mishaps that happen as a result of running with the bulls OR spectating the morning event. To stay covered and stay safe, stick to the San Fermin festivities that don’t involve being in close proximity to loose rampaging bulls.

Wife-Carrying World Championships, Finland

Location: Sonkajarvi, Finland

Dates: 4-5 July, 2014

The idea of the Wife Carrying Competition is Sonkajarvi’s very own. In spite of its humorous aspects it has deep roots in the local history. In the late 1800’s there was a brigand called Rosvo-Ronkainen living in the area. In his troops he is said to have accepted only the men who proved their worth on a challenging track. In those days, a common practice was to steal women from the neighbouring villages but nowadays the ladies volunteer for the competition. This championship has been run in Sonkajarvi since 1992. The number of couples interested in the world-wide-known event is growing steadily so now there are qualifying games, in which physical condition and sense of humour are tested. Besides Finnish couples, contestants will come from Australia, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Estonia and the USA.

Gion Matsuri, Japan

Location: Shijo-dori, Kyoto, Japan

Dates: 17 July, 2014.

Throughout history, Japan has suffered many times from serious epidemics, floods, fires, earthquakes and recently tsunamis. These were always viewed as signs that the gods and goddesses were not happy. To appease the deities and pray for the deceased, goryo-e rituals were held which over time developed into festivals associated with a certain shrine. The Gion Matsuri, one of Japan's oldest goryo-e festivals, is strongly connected with Yasaka Shrine and to celebrate, traditional rituals and events related to this amazing festival are held throughout the month of July in Kyoto.

World Bodypainting Festival, Austria

Location: Portschach, Worthersee, Austria

Dates: 29 June-6 July, 2014

Since 1998, the World Bodypainting Festival has taken place in Carinthia, Austria. Here, artists from more than 40 countries will do their best to impress and entertain visitors. A stroll through bodypaint city will showcase some of this amazing art in person. If you want to learn a few tricks of the trade yourself, worry not because there is a WB Academy where classes for beginners, as well as advanced and professionals are offered during the World Bodypainting Festival. Classes cover topics like classic bodypainting, airbrush, facepainting, special effects and much more. The best teachers in their fields will share their knowledge and secrets in many workshops and seminars.

These festivals are just some of the best of the larger, well-known festivals but you are sure to stumble on smaller fetes, fiestas and parades all over the world at this time of the year, so wherever you end up, keep an eye out for event posters and flyers. When you purchase your trip tickets, don’t forget to consider buying travel insurance. Compare travel insurance plans from Cover-More New Zealand to see what is offered, what you need and find the perfect plan for you.

If you have any concerns about what is or is not a covered activity with your travel insurance policy, please refer to the Product Disclosure Statement that should address any problems your questions you may have. You can also call Cover-More’s customer service line at (0800) 500 225 to clear up any confusion you may be having.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Teruhide Tomori