8 unique European fall festivals

Woman and her friends at a festival
Woman and her friends at a festival

8 unique European fall festivals

by Tamala Malerk
Stripes Europe

Everyone has heard about the famous Oktoberfest in Germany, but there are many other fall festivals where you can have just as much fun and excitement across Europe. From dancing to food and drinks to art, here is what you need to know about some of the best festivals happening across Europe, from Ireland to Norway to the Netherlands and more.


The first stop is the Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival from Sept. 23 to 25 in Ireland. Celebrating Galway’s annual oyster harvest since 1954, this event is lauded as the “oldest oyster festival in the world.” Enjoy Galway’s best seafood as you listen to live music, gaze at street parades, view food and cooking demonstrations and watch representatives from over 20 countries in the world compete in the festival’s oyster opening competition.


After you’ve eaten all the oysters you can imagine, head on over to Spain for two festivals held in September of each year. La Bienal de Flamenco (The Best of Flamenco) festival is from Sept. 8 to Oct. 1 in Seville, Spain. Since 1980, and held every two years, the city of Seville lauds the “greatest Flamenco event in the world.” Revel in Flamenco’s best dancing, singing and guitar playing at the world’s biggest Flamenco festival.

For the second Spanish festival, make your way to Barcelona for La Mercè from Sept. 23 to 26. Help honor Barcelona’s patron saint, La Mercè, with dancing, music, circus performances and street arts. It is believed that by placing the city in the hands of the Virgin La Mercè, she helped it to overcome a plague of locusts in 1687. It was then that she became the Patron Saint of Barcelona. Since 1871, there has been a festival in the city for her honor in the month of September. You will see human towers, dragons, giants and so much more with today’s festivals centered on Mediterranean culture as a whole.


In dozens of venues across Budapest, Hungary, you can find the different parts of the Cafe Budapest Autumn Festival being held from Oct. 2 to 18. Formally known as the “Budapest Autumn Music Festival,” this festival began in 1992, and now encompasses a celebration of several different art forms such as photography, music concerts, cinema, computers, theater and dancing. This festival features both free and pay-in-advance events, so make sure to do your research beforehand to ensure you get to do everything you want to do.

End your fall festivities munching on an Eastern European favorite food, sausage, at the Csaba Sausage Festival from Oct. 22 to 25 in Békéscsaba, Hungary. The first festival took place in 1997 after years of planning and prepping and has been a recurring tradition ever since. The festival is filled with music, dog shows, competitions, bounce houses and so much more. Bring your own traditional hand grinder and participate with four members of your friends and family in the “International Sausage Kneading Competition” where you compete against others in stuffing sausages. Children can get in the spirit too with the Youth Sausage Stuffing Competition.


Make your way over to Longyearbyen, Norway, for the Smak (Taste) Svalbard Festival from Oct. 5 to 9. Known as the “world’s northernmost food and drink festival,” you can enjoy learning all about the history of Svalbard through lectures and demonstrations while devouring the delicious local cuisine. You can also delight in watching film screenings and concerts, and be on the lookout for pop-up dinners.


As the sun goes down, the lights turn on monuments, buildings and landmarks all over Berlin at the Festival of Lights happening from Oct. 7 to 16. This year marks the 18th celebration of the event with the theme of the year focusing on “sustainability,” with artists from Germany and the rest of the world contributing their ideas and art. Past events have drawn over two million visitors, so make sure to book your hotels early to guarantee yourself the best spots to see the lights in action.

The Netherlands

Shake your groove thing across hundreds of venues at the Amsterdam Dance Event from Oct. 19th through 29 in the Netherlands. With hundreds of artists showcasing their work, there is something for all electronic dance music fans. This combination of a conference and festival lets you not only dance your heart out but also learn what is new in the world of electronic dance music (EDM). According to the Amsterdam Dance Event website, dance music “originated as a way of protest[ing] the mainstream, social injustice and oppression,” and since 1996, this festival has strived to be a global platform for EDM artists.

No matter if you want to gaze at lights, boogie down, chow on superb food or stuff a sausage, there is a fall festival in Europe for you.

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