For an unforgettable summer break, here are the European music festivals you can’t afford to miss in July.
When it comes to cool sounds and parties where the sun never sets Europe has it all. During summer in the Northern Hemisphere, it is the playground for some of the world’s best festivals.
We have curated a list of the best dance and music festivals, featuring the heavyweights of the music industry as headline acts. Whether you are looking to rave all night at Tomorrowland or dance all day at the Fresh Music Festival, we’ll hook you up. For something a little different, try the bull run in Barcelona and snail races at the Curious Arts Festival.
Feature image: Tomorrowland
READ MORE: European summer festivals in June
READ MORE: Europe summer festivals in August
READ MORE: Europe summer festivals in September
Top music festivals in Europe - July 2017
1. Tomorrowland Belgium | 21-23 July and 28-30 July 2017
Taking place in Boom, Belgium, Tomorrowland is a notable global music event and one of the biggest electronic music festivals in the world. EDM (electronic dance music) fans flock from all over the world to be part of the carnival-like atmosphere and elaborate stage setups.
Festival goers can opt to camp at Dreamville – with a dedicated Marketplace, showers and beauty salons. This year’s headliners include Armin van Buuren, Tiesto, Eric Prydz, Alison Wonderland, David Guetta and Alesso.
2. Bilbao BBK Live | 6-8 July 2017
Bilbao BBK is an annual pop and rock music festival in Spain that’s sponsored by BBK, a local savings bank. The festival is held in the beautiful countryside, atop the Kobetamendi Hill.
The laidback vibe, vacation-like atmosphere and highly energetic live performances have attracted festival goers from all over the world since 2006. The Bilbao city centre and airport is a short bus ride away, with a free shuttle provided.
This year’s headline acts include Depuche Mode, The Killers, Die Antwood and Justice.
3. Wish Outdoor | 30 June - 2 July 2017
Wish Outdoor is a three-day electronic music festival held in Netherlands.
It’s hailed as one of the best music events in the country with festival lovers raving about the lineup each year. It’s also known for its quirky campsite located next to the festival – think colourful tents and your very own swimming pool.
Highlight acts for 2017 have yet to be announced but 2016 featured DVBBS, Headhunterz and NERVO.
4. Fresh Island Festival | 11-13 July 2017
Party it up in this coastal Croatian paradise, where the finest acts in hip hop, rap and R&B come together for one of Europe’s best urban beach festivals.
Choose from crazy boat parties, poolside dancing or have a VIP experience on Croatia’s stunning coastal strip. This year’s lineup includes Rae Sremmurd, Sean Paul, French Montana.
5. Electric Castle | 12-16 July 2017
Electric Castle takes the cake for unique locations, as this annual music festival takes place at the Transylvanian Bánffy Castle in Romania.
The four day event sees the 16th century castle light up and thump with electronic, reggae and other sub-culture genres of music.
Check out alt-J, Moderat, Architects, Nero and Noisia 'Outer Edges' this year.
6. Latitude | 13-16 July 2017
Music, poetry, comedy and all things creative is what you get at the Latitude festival in the UK.
The festival’s huge and diverse offerings are family-friendly and inclusive, making it a popular summer festival choice. Festival goers particularly enjoy swimming in the lake at Henham Park, where the festival takes place.
This year's lineup has yet to be announced, but for an idea of what to expect last year's featured The Maccabees, Chvrches and The Lumineers.
7. Tuska Festival | 30 June to 2 July 2017
The Tuska Festival is bold, raw, powerful and dedicated to the rising names in heavy metal and hard rock.
Staged in Helsinki, Finland, metalheads gather at the industrial-themed stages for a Nordic experience like no other.
The lineup for 2017 includes HIM, Mastodon, Apocalyptica, Suicidal Tendencies and Amorphis. Make sure you check out the legendary after parties as well.
8. Ultra Europe | 14-16 July 2017
The biggest EDM and house music festival in the world needs no introduction.
With some of the industry’s biggest names playing every year, elaborate stages and legendary after parties, fans from all around the world come together for an unforgettable Ultra week in Split, Croatia.
Last year's lineup included Afrojack, deadmau5 and Hardwell. Stay tuned for this year's bill.
9. Rock for People | 4-6 July 2017
Rock for People is one of the largest annual rock festivals in the Czech Republic.
Although smaller than some of its other European counterparts, huge lineups have graced its stage over the years. Festival goers flock here to watch local acts and worldwide stars, such as Muse and the Arctic Monkeys.
The 2017 lineup includes The Bloody Beetroots, Evanescence, Foster the People and Slaves.
10. Secret Garden Party | 20-23 July 2017
Although this English music festival is set in a landscaped garden, it is no boring tea party. Expect live music stages, art, poetry and more creative programming during this four-day festival.
Appropriate for all age groups, this eclectic festival oozes with creativity, fun and colours. Revellers this year can look forward to Crystal Fighters, Metronomy and Toots & The Maytals.
11. WOMAD | 27-30 July 2017
WOMAD is a UK-based festival that allows you to travel the world in four days, with a lineup of artists from around the world.
Take the opportunity to explore new genres of music and art at this family-friendly event. Try out the glamping option to make your WOMAD experience one of a kind.
The WOMAD lineup is specially curated and you never know if you would find a new favourite artist at the festival.
11. Benicassim | 13-16 July 2017
FIB is an annual music festival that takes place in the town of Benicassim, Spain.
Due to its close proximity to the beach, it draws in the coast-loving, younger crowd. The festival showcases a diverse lineup of indie, electronic, alternative and rock acts, featuring rising stars and established ones.
The headliners for this year include Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Weekend, Kasabian and Foals.
Top cultural and food festivals in Europe - July 2017
1. Running of the Bulls | 4-15 July 2017
This centuries-old tradition dates back to 1591, when the fiesta was celebrated to honour San Fermin, patron saint of Navarra.
The annual event now draws in over a million revellers with its energetic parties and the anticipated bull run that typically lasts between three to four minutes.
The bull shepherds, or runners, lead the bulls through the streets and into the bullring as part of the festivities.
Due to the risks involved, only those with a good level of physical fitness can be a runner – so you’re sure to see some fit Spaniards running around.
2. Bastille Day | 14 July 2017
July 14 marks this French national holiday, which is celebrated in a grand fashion in Paris.
From morning to night, the city comes alive with programs and festivities. Highlights include a traditional military parade, dancing at the fire department balls, and a free music concert at the Champs-de-Mars followed by a spectacular fireworks display over the iconic Eiffel Tower.
If you are looking to splurge a little, consider booking a private yacht dinner so you can enjoy the fireworks from the water.
3. Tour de France | 1-23 July 2017
This annual cycling race has been held since 1903 and brings in riders and spectators from all over the world. It’s primarily located in France, but the route does extend to various other places around the globe.
Wherever you see it, the Tour is an iconic event in Europe, with millions of fans camping along the route for the best views of their favourite riders.
Whether you are a die-hard fan of the sport or merely here for the atmosphere, it is an event not to be missed.
4. Siena Il Palio | 2 July 2017
The epic horse race of Palio is one of the most important events held yearly in Siena, Italy. This sporting event has deep religious roots and dates back to the Medieval Ages.
A grand parade marks the beginning of the festivities before the main, 90-second race. The first horse across the finish line (with or without its jockey) is declared the winner.
At the end of the race, everyone parties well into the night with drinking, dancing and a special dinner that’s held out in the open air on long, communal tables.
5. Festival Pucciniano | 14 July - 19 August 2017
The Festival Puccini is an annual summer opera festival in Italy that’s fully dedicated to the composer, Giacomo Puccini.
The prestigious event allows attendees to appreciate the great stars of opera at the grand Great Open Air Theatre.
The venue is the very same place that inspired Puccini, so you can admire his works and the picturesque scene at this one-of-a-kind festival.
6. GREC | 1-31 July 2017
The Grec Festival of Barcelona is a major summer attraction and brings theatre, dance, music and circus acts to the Catalan capital.
World class artists and performers come together in an open-air Greek theatre for a participatory event unlike any in the world.
Prepare to be thrilled by the action-packed programme that’s designed with something to please everyone.
Image: Albert Baruch-Su
7. World Bodypainting Festival | 28-30 July 2017
Dubbed as the “world’s most colourful event”, the World Bodypainting Festival is an annual showcase and competition held in Austria.
Artists from all over the world go head-to-head during this three-day festival, which also features educational programs and workshops. Make sure you stay till the end for the massive after party, featuring 50 bands and DJs.
8. Curious Arts Festival | 21-23 July 2017
The Curious Arts Festival offers a cornucopia of activities, from literature, comedy, and music to opera and kid-friendly activities.
Make sure you try your hand at some of the unique activities here, such as snail racing, or take part in a sonnet-athon.
Set at the breathtaking Pylewell Park in Hampshire UK, festival goers can also stay on the estate, with various camping options available.
9. Montreux Jazz Festival | 30 June - 15 July 2017
This annual music festival in Switzerland is the second largest jazz festival in the world, taking place on the shores of Lake Geneva.
More than 250,000 people attend every year to enjoy the best of this two-week multicultural event. Groove to jazz, bebop, soul and even the blues, with the lake and mountains as your backdrop.
If you love good music and good vibes, you will love Montreux.
10. Zuri Fascht | 5-7 July 2017
The Zuri Fascht Festival in Zurich ticks all the boxes for good ol’ family fun.
It comes around every three years but when it does it packs a punch. With different rides and attractions catering to all age groups, this three-day event includes acrobatic displays and free concerts before culminating in a grand display of music and fireworks. Don’t miss out on this great city festival.