Europe is fast becoming the world’s best festival continent. Every country has its own unique culture and party attitude, which, when given a huge sound system, a large field or a street full of people, comes out in the form of a massive celebration – and we’re all invited!
People spend hours researching the best festivals in Europe, but the truth of the matter is the exclusive parties — the ones that haven’t reached our ears over here in Britain yet — are usually the most interesting.
We’ve compiled a list of the weird and wonderful European festivals that you should know about if you’re planning an excursion to the continent or its islands this year.
Specialising in house, soul and funk music, this little festival in the mountains of Bulgaria is all about the camping vibes. Bonfires are encouraged, as well as little satellite parties around people’s tents and sing-a-longs late into the night.
Southern Soul Festival is a beach celebration bringing internationally worshipped soul acts to Montenegro for just one weekend in June. This festival is family friendly, so you’ll see babies all over the place, wearing big headphones and bouncing up and down on shoulders.
Head up into the hills of the Dolomites for this laid-back reggae and dub weekender. This place is about more than just the music, it’s about the atmosphere and the activities. There’s a cinema, rock climbing centre and even a skatepark.
Ljubljana plays host to a petite version of the Flow Festival of Helsinki, using the city’s incredible beauty as a backdrop for some of the coolest music you’ll find on any line-up this summer.
In the Basque country of Spain, there are a number of traditional fiestas which make for great memories, and some of which may just freak you out. One of the latter group is certainly Antzar Eguna, or Geese Day, in which competitors battle to tear the head of a goose suspended above a lake.
Carnival season, known in Greek as Apokries, is the liveliest time in the Hellenic calendar. With every island taking part in their own personal celebration, wherever you are in Greece, you can be sure you’ll be treated to free wine, barbecued meats and fireworks.
Secret Solstice is located in Reykjavik, and boasts one of the most impressive electronic line-ups in Europe every year. It’s probably not the best kept secret on this list, but it’s unlikely you’ll have already been.
It’s not just Santa Claus that you need to look out for in Lapland, the Midnight Sun Festival series takes visitors to location after location. Go from blues and jazz, to film showings, theater, and then back to live music. Whatever you’re after, you’ll find it somewhere at the Midnight Sun series.
Festival Med transforms Portugal’s scenic tourist hotspot, the Algarve, into an arts and culture hub for locals and visitors alike to enjoy. The events at Festival Med are inspired by Mediterranean culture and host live music, film screenings, photography exhibitions and talks from both natives and internationals.
To end our list with a bang, we have Semana Grande, the biggest fireworks contest in Europe. Spain plays host to internationally renowned makers, choreographers and judges of fireworks every year for nine days in August. Thousands of people flock to watch the displays, and you certainly wont regret being one of them this time around.