Find out where you need to be to have the European summer trip of a lifetime.
The European summer is knocking on our doors and if you’ve got a trip planned or you’re thinking about making a last-minute booking, then you’ll also want to consider adding a few festivals to your travel itinerary.
These are the best cultural and music festivals opening the European summer and we’ve also got details on where you can snap up a pair of tickets.
Even at the very last moment. Because we all like to travel spontaneously, yeah?
Top music festivals in Europe - June 2018
1. Primavera Sound | 30 May - 3 June 2018 (Spain)
One of the first festivals to kick off the summer season is Primavera. This travelling music festival tends to come around late-May to early-June and starts in Barcelona, Spain then moves to Porto, Portugal (where it is called NOS Primavera Sound) the following weekend.
The lineup across both locations is similar, with pop, rock and electronica commanding stages. This year we're stoked to see Arctic Monkeys, Bjork, CHVRCHES, Grizzly Bear, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Lorde on the list. The venues are also smack bang in the heart of each city, making this an accessible and crowd-pleasing festival. Now all you need to do is choose where you experience it.
2. Isle of Wight Festival | 21-24 June 2018
What started off as a counterculture event in the 1960s has grown to become one of the biggest music festivals in the UK. Hosted on the largest island in England, the festival is a four day bender that features some of the biggest names in the biz.
This year's headliners are Kasabian, The Script, Depeche Mode, Liam Gallagher, The Killers and Manic Street Preachers - just to give you an idea of the calibre of talent bustling around the island over this weekend.
The luxuries at the festival are glorious as well, with mobile charging stations everywhere so you can keep up on social media and outdoor hot tubs and saunas to sink into when the day is done.
3. Glastonbury Festival | 26-30 June 2019
Quite possibly THE BIGGEST FESTIVAL IN THE UK, if you haven’t heard of Glastonbury before, get off this page. That’s right, git!
Traditionally it's an annual event though this year the festival is having a fallow year but it'll be back up and running in 2019.
For a little more insight into the event, every October hundreds of thousands of tickets are released to the public and every year, without fail, they sell out within minutes. At this point, no one even knows who’s in the lineup but nonetheless, they all want in. And yeah, the talent never disappoints. 2017's headliners were Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran, The XX, The National, Billy Clyro and Katy Perry.
We'll be waiting with bated breath for news of 2019's return.
4. Ibiza | June-September
Ibiza is one of those big parties that any music love, festival fiend or sun worshipper HAS to attend. It's not just one festival but heap of parties that are hosted by basically every bar and club on the island. Boat parties. Did we mention boat parties? There are HEAPS.
The best bit about this festival too is that you don't have to block out one specific day to attend as it runs throughout the European summer across multiple venues.
5. Download Festival | 8-10 June 2018
Black t-shirts, piercings, tattoos and heavy boots: rock fiends will feel at home at Download Festival. Held in Donington Park, Derby (the home of British motorsport), the grounds are as ample as they come and ready to accommodate the thousands that flock to this weekend festival.
Big names worth shouting about this year include . Some old school punk has also made it on the list with Korn, Limp Bizkit, Mastodon, Prophets of Rage, Good Charlotte, NOFX and Neck Deep pulling our nostalgic strings.
Yup, this one’s not for the faint hearted.
Bring your best mohawk and rockfist to the mosh pits.
Timing not right? Head to Clisson, France for Helfest 22-24 June instead.
6. Roskilde Festival | 30 June - 7 July 2018
Roskilde Festival has a history that's as interesting and as rich as Woodstock. It was created in 1971 by two students as a festival for hippies and has since grown into one of the largest music festivals in Europe.
Held over a week on an island west of Copenhagen, you can expect big numbers from this event. This includes 130,000 (that’s the number of festival goers that attend each year) and 180 (that’s the number of bands that perform on stage, on average.)
This year the festival management has secured Eminem, Bruno Mars, Gorillaz, Nine Inch Nails and Cardi B for the event.
Timing not right? Head to Paris for We Love Green for something a little more chill.
7. Sónar Barcelona | 14-16 June 2018
Music, creativity and technology come together in this sensory festival experience. If an easily digestible music festival is what you’re after, Sónar probably shouldn’t be your first choice.
However, if you’re the kind of person who thrives in creative communities and all things electronic and experimental, then Sónar is where it's at.
8. Meadows in the Mountains | 7-10 June 2018
Meadows in the Mountains is one of the most magical festival experiences you can have in Europe.
Held in the wilderness of the Rhodopes Mountains, Bulgaria it's a dance festival that's split between live and DJ sets over two summer days. Splurge on a pool party ticket and you’ll get access to spa facilities, outdoor pools, a shuttle to and from the festival and accommodation.
Picture rustic Bulgarian mountain houses where you’ll stay with the owners and receive a true Bulgarian welcome.
9. Rock Am Ring | 1-4 June 2018
Germany's answer to the heavy rock music festival is Rock Am Ring. Black shirts and metal meet at the Nürburgring Grand Prix Grounds in Nürburg in Rhineland Germany.
The festival itself has been around since 1985 and has cemented itself in history for many reasons, including creating a science experiment in 2007 where it tested the effects of mass bodies of people jumping simultaneously.
Combined with its sister festival Rock im Park, 150,000 punters attend yearly, making it one of the largest music events in the world. Already announced to play in this year's showdown are Alt-J, Avenged Sevenfold, Foo Fighters, Good Charlotte, Gorillaz, Marilyn Manson, Muse, Rise Against, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Stone Sour and Taking Back Sunday.
10. Tinderbox | 28-30 June 2018
Starting the festivities at lunchtime each day and running into the early hours of the morning (2:30am curfew, folks) is Denmark’s Tinderbox Festival. Red, Blue and Magicbox stages are what you’ll have to decide between at this music festival, which features major artists from around the world, across various musical genres.
Think Steve Aoki, Billy Clyro, Kato, Will Sparks and Zookeepers to give you the full scope of the musical variety here.
Yeah, it pretty much picks all the best bits from the other festivals and smushes them together into a heady three-day music binge fest. Drink up.
Top cultural and food festivals in Europe - June 2018
1. Art Basel | 14-17 June 2018
Quite possibly the most famous art festival in Europe, Art Basel brings hundreds of international galleries and their modern and contemporary works to the public space.
Throughout the year, the festival travels between Basel (June), Hong Kong (March) and Miami Beach (December), coupling 20th and 21st century art with exhibitions and cultural events that are reflective of its host city.
Exhibitions for the works are split between private dates (invitation only) and public dates, the latter of which is usually after the private viewings.
2. El Colacho (Baby Jumping Festival) | June 2018
For something completely out of the box and left of centre, you’ll need to hightail it to Castrillo de Murcia, Spain.
The official website couldn’t explain this cultural event better if they tried, saying: “Brave babies undergo an aerial baptism by leaping lucifers in this boisterous festival that could only be found in Spain”.
The specific date of this year's event hasn't yet been released but if you're planning a future trip, the dates generally fall on the first Sunday after Corpus Christi, a Christian event celebrating the belief in the body and blood of Christ.
Although not officially sanctioned by the Church, the ritual is believed to act like a baptism, blessing the newborn babes and relieving them of original sin.
3. Lajkonik Festival | 7 June 2018
Known as the horseman parade, Poland’s Lajkonik festival is a feast for the eyes. Hosted by the country's second largest city, Krakow, it sees a colourfully-dressed, bearded mogul ride the streets of the city on a decorative hobby horse, collecting "ransoms" for various homes along the route.
Behind him is a sea of men wearing similarly colourful outfits, who play music and dance every now and again.
Similar to El Colacho, the date of this ritual performance is dictated by Corpus Christi and is held the Thursday after the religious date. Despite this, the festival pays no relation to the religious date and is speculated to be everything from a pagan ritual to the commemoration of a Medieval fight.
4. Holi Fusion Torino | 10 June 2018
The name will already sound familiar but did you know the Holi Fusion, the Indian festival of colours, travels the globe?
For those of you travelling Europe in June and wishing to get in on all the colourful action, head to Torino AKA Turin.
Here, colour, music, dance and all manner of wicked fun is bound to go down. Don’t forget your white t-shirt. Priorities. We’re big on priorities.
5. Stonehenge Summer Solstice | 18-21 June 2018
Stonehenge is one of those phenomenons you have to view at least once in your life. Want to amp up your experience from extraordinary to exceptional?
Then visit during the summer solstice. The pagans go all out to celebrate the northern hemisphere’s shortest night of the year, with druids, hippies and new age prophets all gathering together around the mystical stone sculptures.
On this special day, access to the stones is absolutely free and, while there’s no climbing on the stones, you can get up-close-and-personal with them unlike on other days.
6. Secret Solstice Festival | 21-24 June 2018
The not-so-secret Secret Solstice Festival is part summer solstice celebration, part music festival. In its five short years on the circuit, it's quickly become a staple event on the Icelandic calendar and now attracts some of the biggest players in indie-dance music, a spectacular Nordic backdrop and a sun that never dips below the horizon.
That’s right: endless sunlight.
As Iceland sits above the Arctic Circle, during summer it experiences a Midnight Sun, which means that you're getting 24-hour daylight.
Bad if you want to sleep, but good if you want to party hardy for three days straight.
This year's lineup has gotten bigger and better featuring the likes of Slayer, Steve Aoki, Bonnie Tyler and Death from Above.
7. Bloomsday | 16 June 2018
Literary buffs will want to mark this date on their calendars: it’s a day when the life and times of Irish writer James Joyce is celebrated. Sure, it’s not his birthday, but for those of you playing at home it IS the day on which his classic novel Ulysses was set.
The whole of Europe (and beyond) celebrates his works today but if you must choose one celebration, it’s got to be in his hometown of Dublin, Ireland.
Festivities in the city occur throughout the week, with Bloomsday breakfasts, walking tours, readings and a “Poetry Brothel” after party capping off the week’s proceedings. View Dublin Literary Pub Crawl tours
8. Batalla Del Vino | 29 June 2018
Literally translated to mean "wine fight", Batalla del Vino is the place to be with a cheap, white t-shirt and a ripping good thirst.
Each year, thousands of people make the pilgrimage from the township of Haro, Spain up the mountain in La Rioja (five kilometres away) to battle it out armed with of buckets, pistols and all manner of containers filled with red wine.
The party doesn’t stop there, with the wine-covered players heading back to town afterwards to dance the day away. And drink more wine, naturally.
9. Mozartfest | 25 May - 24 June 2018
The Austrian-born composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is, oddly enough, best celebrated in the halls of the UNESCO World Heritage Würzburg Residence in Germany.
Over the course of a month, this impressive baroque venue hosts over dozens of concerts and events in honour of Mozart.
These span classical, chamber, symphonic, vocal and world music genres in an attempt to bring a modern experience to his music for the 25,000 ears in attendance.
10. Taste of Amsterdam | 1-3 June 2018
The Amsterdam leg of the "Taste of" food festival series is very similar to those hosted here.
It’s a four-day showcase of the best foods the city’s restaurants, cafes, bars and producers have to offer, with food tastings, cooking demonstrations and workshops that introduce you to the city's finest and upskill you in the kitchen too.
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