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The world's best fireworks shows

Remember, remember the fifth of November; Gunpowder, treason and plot... Penny Walker reveals where to see the world's best fireworks, just in case you forget

The world's best fireworks (Flickr: Donald Lee Pardue)

It's Bonfire Night in the UK and in case you're missing out on the show we thought we'd take a look at the best and brightest firework displays from around the globe.

1. New Year's Eve

Sydney Harbour, Australia

Sat in a boat with friends while clutching a cold beer has to be one of the best ways to see in a new year. Add in one of the world's most iconic landmarks, some spectacularly grand fireworks over the Sydney Harbour Bridge area and the friendly Aussie atmosphere and you'll find it hard to find anyone that disagrees. If you don't manage to commandeer a boat, there are plenty of spots around Sydney that boast fantastic views of the displays.

Events happen around Sydney all through the day, night and well into the wee hours.

2. Bastille Day

Paris, France

French National Day, or Bastille Day, is celebrated on 14 July each year. If you are an early riser, the largest military parade in Europe can be seen proceeding down Paris' Champs-Élysées in the morning and the spectacular fireworks light-up the Eiffel Tower in the evening.

The event marks the Storming of the Bastille; a day that has become symbolic of the French Revolution and the beginning of the modern nation as we know it.

3. American Independence Day

Macy's Firework Spectacular in New York, US

The US celebrate their Independence Day in style and you can see a fireworks display pretty much anywhere in the country on 4 July. Competition is fierce, but for many, the Macy's Firework Spectacular in New York is the best that the country has to offer. The show can be seen across the Hudson River from numerous points throughout the city. With over 40,000 different types of fireworks, the view is as exhilarating as the name suggests. The sheer size of the display makes the extravaganza worth a look and as one of the world's longest running fireworks displays, it promises not to disappoint.

4. Festa del Redentore

Venice, Italy

Also held in July, the Festa del Redentore is hosted in Venice on the third weekend of the month. The Redentore celebrations began as a feast to give thanks for the end of the terrible plague of 1576 which killed around 50,000 people. If you can grab a spot on one of the decorated balconies or gondolas in St Mark's Basin, you are promised a great show with the fireworks lasting between 45 and 60 minutes. After the fireworks are over, head down to the city Lido with the crowds to wait for the sunrise. If you have the stamina, Sunday afternoon will bring the opportunity to view one of the major Venetian regattas of the year. Festa del Redentore takes place on the 20-21 July in 2013.

5. Las Fallas

Valencia, Spain

True to its name, Las Fallas is a spectacular pyrotechnic festival with plenty of fire. Lasting for four days, the festivities run in Valencia from 15-19 March. Although there are displays throughout the week, the final evening offers the biggest and brightest and should not be missed. During the festival, the Fallas or ninots, giant papier-mâché figures modelled on celebrities and politicians, can be seen on display throughout the city. They are then stuffed with fireworks and ceremoniously set alight. The festival is held in commemoration of Saint Joseph and there is plenty to do around the city aside from watching the fireworks and fires.

6. Omagari National Fireworks Competition

Omagari, Japan

The Omagari National Fireworks Competition is considered to be the best display in Japan, and in a nation of people that love their pyrotechnics, this event is as mind-bogglingly stunning as you would expect. Held on the fourth Saturday of August, the competition is by invite only with 30 of Japan's best firework artists in attendance. The show is held on the dry bed of the Omono-gawa, a river in the city of Omagari, Akita Prefecture. Not only are there the highly anticipated evening shows, but there is also a daytime event that is definitely worth a look.

7. POSCO International Fireworks Festival

Pohang, South Korea

The city of Pohang on South Korea's east coast is home to the POSCO (Pohang Iron and Steel Company) International Fireworks Festival and is known as the "City of Light and Fire". Teams from countries around the world compete with beautifully choreographed displays.

Thousands of firework fans are drawn to the spectacular event that lasts for nine days every July. After the displays, a great sunrise can be seen from Homigot Beach.

8. Bonfire Night (Guy Fawkes Night)


In celebration of a foiled plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London in 1605, Britain is set aflame each year on 5 November. Bonfires with a burning effigy of Guy Fawkes, the man synonymous with the Gunpowder Plot, are lit throughout the nation. While Cardiff, Inverness and Derry boast some fantastic displays, Blackheath in London is the place where it all started and is the most highly anticipated.

If you love some fire with your crackers, the men of Ottery St Mary in Devon roll burning barrels of tar through the streets and in Battle, East Sussex, a torchlit procession of ghostly ghouls and historic figures can be seen. If you like a flare for the theatrical, Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire delivers a new interpretation of the Guy Fawkes story every year.

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