Best Festivals in Europe
Looking to experience a bit of festival culture without the inevitable mud and damp that comes with a UK festival experience? Maybe it’s time to head overseas to one of the incredible festivals cropping up all across Europe. There’s an enormous variety to choose from, but we’ve rounded up some of the biggest and best festivals in Europe for your delectation. Whether your taste is beach-side chilling or forest parties, Portuguese punk or Serbian Psychadelia, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Primavera Sound is one of Europe’s biggest festivals that has attracted some massive names over the years. Like Reading & Leeds in the UK, Primavera takes place twice, once in Barcelona and once in Porto. Because Barcelona and Porto are both by the coast, the festival has a large beach area. All this within earshot of several stages gives you the chance to chill out and take a dip in the sea between sets. Also, like Reading and Leeds, Primavera caters for a wide range of music, having featured artists including Kendrick Lamar, Wu-Tang Clan, Lorde, Franz Ferdinand, Radiohead, LCD sound system and many others since its origins in 2001. The wide variety of music and arts on display create a uniquely chilled out atmosphere where people from all walks of life are welcome. Unsurprisingly, it’s one of the most popular destinations amongst global festival goers.
Dates: 30 May-1st June (Barcelona), 7th-9th June (Porto)
Price: 180 Euros
Britain’s favourite over-seas festival! Last year Benicassim attracted over 150,000 visitors in four days. 98% of them came from the UK or Ireland, so you won’t need to worry about any language barriers! Like Primavera, Benicassim also has a beach area which is a great way of catching a break from the music, especially in the heat. Generally, there’s an emphasis on indie rock, pop and dance, with some of the biggest names in these scenes performing recently. Ed Sheeran, the Stone Roses, the Foals and the Chilli peppers and many more massive names have all put on sets here in the last few years. Having said that, there’s a huge range of music available here so you’re guaranteed to have a great time, no matter what you’re into.
Dates: 18-21 July
Tickets: £110 (early bird)
Sziget attracts over 1000 performers every year making it one of the largest music and cultural festivals in Europe. This week-long city festival gets its name from the Hungarian word for “island”, as it takes place on the Óbuda Island in the Danube in Budapest. Whilst there is every type of music available at Sziget, the festival is particularly famous as a rock and electronic music festival. With loads of unique features, including its psychedelic amusement park, Sziget has been compared to Nevada’s burning man festival. Artists such as Fatboy Slim, Pendulum and the Stone Roses have all played there – so it’s certainly not to be missed. There is music there for everyone to enjoy though, and with Ed Sheeran headlining in 2019 you should have plenty of reason to bag yourself a ticket!
Dates: 7-13 August
Not only is Tomorrowland the biggest EDM festival in the world, but it’s increasingly seen as one of the best festivals in Europe – if not the world. Every year, over 400,000 sesh-heads flock to Boom, about 35km north of Brussels, for this world-renowned festival. Although it’s been going since 2005, Tomorrowland really put itself on the radar in 2011, when it was nominated for the Best Music event at the International Dance Music Awards. The following year it won the category – having attracted some of the biggest names in EDM to headline that year. Swedish House Mafia, David Guetta, as well as many others, have since graced its stages. This vibrant and colourful festival has been gaining popularity ever since – it should be on the bucket list for all dance music fans.
Mad cool – Madrid
A must-visit for any fans of indie and rock music! Whilst Spain has a fair number of festivals that are very popular amongst British tourists, Mad Cool is the first to hit Madrid. It’s still fairly unknown despite hosting some very impressive performances in its short lifetime. The festival ran for the first time in 2016, and 2018’s 3rd edition featured Arctic Monkeys, Tame Impala, Pearl Jam and many more, combining a nice mix of modern and classic indie rock bands. This stellar line up has since led to a massive increase in interest in Mad Cool festival. Organisers have promised that 2019’s festival will be much bigger than this year’s (despite it already attracting 80,000 people last time around!). Still, because this festival is only in its infancy, tickets remain very reasonably priced considering the top tier performances. Get in there before it gets too mainstream!
Dates: 11-13 July
Tickets: 135 Euros (early bird)
Exit – Novi Sad
This festival is seen as one of Serbia’s biggest and most famous cultural events. Taking place in the student city of Novi Sad, Exit attracted an average of 50,00 people per day in 2018. The festival originally started as a student protest for democracy against the Yugoslav government in 2000 but has gained so much popularity over the last 18 years and has twice won awards for being the best major European festival of the year. Because of its roots, Exit has a heavy focus on freedom and individuality, meaning the type of music isn’t restricted to one particular genre or style. You’ll find an amazing mixture of local underground artists and DJs, alongside some of the biggest names in music – from Guns n’ Roses to Stormzy. Exit’s many stages are able to cater for anyone, no matter what you’re into. The festival also boasts stunning views and extremely affordable ticket prices – making it an unmissable event for any festival-goer.
Dates: 4-7 July
Tickets: £97.90 (early bird)
This beachfront festival attracts hundreds of thousands of people every year to the city of Pula in northern Croatia. It originally started as a spin-off from a club event in Leeds, and now hosts some massive names in British hip hop, drum and bass and reggae. Because of Outlook’s growing popularity, the local town has allowed it’s 2000-year-old Roman amphitheatre to be the setting for Outlook’s opening party. If the idea of Damian Marley and Lauryn Hill in a Roman amphitheatre doesn’t get you going, then Outlook’s boat and beach parties surely will. Fancy heavy basslines on a sunny beach? Get yourself down to Pula this summer!
Dates & tickets: TBC
Imagine the EDM from Tomorrowland in the setting of Outlook and you’ve got Ultra-Europe. Ultra festivals take place in several places around the world, and the European chapter takes place in the stunning Dalmatian city of Split. The first three days of the festival are made up of loads of DJ sets, all performed in the Poljud Stadium. The last day is an all-day beach party on Hvar island. If some of Europe’s biggest DJs doing sets in a packed out 3,400 capacity stadium doesn’t sound like enough, then sun-soaked setting surely will! Be warned though – you’ll need to book your tickets and accommodation early – Ultra festival totally takes over the coastline during its time in Split. At the end of the day, it’s all with good reason – Ultra might be one of the best festivals in Europe.
Dates: 11th – 14th July
Paleo – Nyon, Switzerland
This six-day festival along the banks of Lake Geneva is Switzerland’s biggest rock festival – and one of the biggest in Europe. What officially started out as a Swiss folk festival gradually gained recognition and was first billed as Paleo festival in 1997. It attracted big names from the start – including Placebo and Simple minds in its first year. Since then, some of the biggest names in rock music have performed there. Arctic Monkeys, Gorillaz and the Red Hot Chilli peppers all doing sets in the last 5 years to crowds of over 230,00. Paleo takes place in the town of Nyon, which is just a short train ride away from Geneva so there’s no reason why any rock fans can’t get there this summer!
Dates: 23-28 July
Tickets: CFH 375
Hellfest – Clisson, France
Created in 2006 Hellfest Open Air festival has become the biggest rock music festival in Europe. The festival lasts three days and welcomes more than 150 000 festival-goers every year. Hellfest takes place annually in Clisson in France, and loads of international artists have already performed on the main stage at the festival – including Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Aerosmith, Linkin Park and Kiss. If you want to experience a different type of festival – or if you’re a heavy metal music fan – then Hellfest is the place for you!
Dates: 21-22-23 June
Boom festival- Idaho-a-Nova, Portugal
If you’re looking for something that’s far away from your main music festivals, Boom festival in Eastern Portugal might be what you’re after. Taking place once every two years, Boom festival is officially listed as a transformational festival, focussing on the transformation of a person – and of wider society – to become more sustainable. If, like me, you didn’t know what that means, read on…
Apparently, it means that – as well as the 5 stages showing the best in psychedelic and trance music – the festival also has art exhibitions, street theatre, fire performances and many meditation areas as well as having a strong emphasis on the festival being environmentally friendly. Boom Festival has been closely compared to Burning Man in Nevada, meaning that it’s quite far from your standard music festival. So if you fancy adding some art and culture to your festival experience and trying something different to any festival you’ve tried before, Boom is the festival for you!
Dates: 22 – 29th July 2019
Want to make your experience more than just a wild weekend away? Why not design a whole trip around one of the best festivals in Europe! Experiencing summer in Europe wouldn’t be complete without hitting up some of our best celebrations, so why not incorporate your favourite festival into a longer trip? Just make sure you sort your accommodation well in advance, and you can combine the experience with city hopping around Europe. Want more info? Head to www.euroventure.com/custom and send us an enquiry. We’ll be happy to help you arrange your trip!