Countdown to Summer: 9 European fests to attend this summer

Countdown to Summer: 9 European fests to attend this summer

by Courtney Woodruff
Stripes Europe

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Even though you’re likely to find a fun European fair to attend no matter the time of year, summer is considered fest season for a reason. Longer days, ample sunshine, vacation opportunities and fresh produce give everyone a reason to rejoice. It’s a time to count your blessings and celebrate with good food and drink, great music and even better company. If you’ve found yourself overwhelmed with the number of events to choose from, start with this list of nine of Europe’s hottest festivals to attend this summer.

9. Gelato Festival — London, England
June 16-18

Gelato is the epitome of European summer treats. Celebrate this Italian staple by sampling the unique selection of flavors created just for this event, and vote for your favorite one. This traveling fair will hit cities in Italy before stopping in the U.K. in July. Purchase your tickets and find out where else you can catch the gelato trucks on the road by visiting


8. Amsterdam Roots Festival — Amsterdam, Netherlands
June 19-25

Every June, the city of Amsterdam gets down to its roots to celebrate the wide variety of cultures that have influenced its music, cuisine and art over the years. Attend seminars and workshops, catch live music performances, and visit Oosterpark to shop for worldly goods at the international bazaar. Kids will love watching the high-energy circus acrobats as they flip and fly through the air, and they will have the opportunity to play, dance, learn and create their own artwork.

7. Montreux Jazz Festival — Montreaux, Switzerland
June 30-July 15

More than 250,000 visitors flock to the shores of Lake Geneva each summer for one of the world’s most popular music events. Jazz and blues remain the heart and soul of this festival; however, you will find a wide variety of artists on the playbill. You can purchase passes to catch more prestigious musicians at one of three ticketed venues, or enjoy live music on open-air stages for free as you explore this beautiful city nestled in the Swiss Alps.

6. Dubrovnik Summer Festival — Dubrovnik, Croatia
July 10-August 25

If you prefer suits, dresses and classical music over swimsuits and party tunes, put this event on your list. The Dubrovnik Summer Festival pays homage to the tradition, creativity, scholarly achievements and cultural impact of fine arts in Croatia. Attend Shakespearean plays, operas, symphonies, art exhibitions and dance performances at revered locations such as Sponza Palace, Church of St. Blaise and the Museum of Modern Art.


5. Ghent Summer Festival — Ghent, Belgium
July 14-23

As Martha and the Vandellas once crooned, “summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in the streets …” of Belgium! Head to Ghent for 10 days of free concerts, street theater performances, comedy shows, sightseeing tours, special exhibitions, parades and much more. Gentse Feesten has been compared to Munich’s Oktoberfest and is considered one of the largest celebrations in Europe. Enjoy delicious Belgian brews with the tasty festival fare.

4. Five-petalled Rose Celebrations — Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
July 16-18

Go back in time to 1587 and attend the wedding celebration of William of Rosenberg and his blushing bride, Polyxena of Pernštejn. Historical festivities take place at locations throughout Český Krumlov, including the castle, monasteries, taverns and public squares. Witness a fire procession through city streets, visit the military camp at the municipal park, enjoy live music and take in the fireworks from a flatboat on the Vltava River. To save money on admission fees, come dressed to play the part; free entry is offered to visitors wearing gothic and renaissance costumes.

3. Salzburg Summer Festival — Salzburg, Austria
July 21-August 30

The hills are alive with the sound of music in Salzburg every summer. Salzburger Festspiele is a festival honoring the city’s heritage of classical music and fine arts. Attend passionate operas, concerts, dramatic performances and even a gala soirée in the city where Mozart got his start. This program is not just for adults. Children also have the opportunity to participate in special hands-on educational activities.  To purchase tickets and find out more about the variety of programs offered in July and August, visit

2. International Beer Festival — Berlin, Germany
August 5-7

Enjoy a brew in what is considered the longest Biergarten in the world. More than 800,000 visitors head to Berlin the first weekend of August to trek the 2.2-kilometer-long street festival. More than 340 breweries from 87 countries offer a selection of 2,400 beers, and live music is blasted from 20 stages. The fair is open Friday from 12 p.m. to midnight , Saturday from 10 a.m. to midnight and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.  Admission is free.


1. La Tomatina — Buñol, Valencia, Spain
August 30

Have you ever dreamed of participating in an epic food fight? La Tomatina is for you! Legend has it, the festival emerged after a tomato war broke out when a group of young people started a brawl in the village market. Today, more than 45,000 people gather in the Spanish city of Buñol in August to paint the streets (and each other) with 125 tons of ripe tomatoes. This may be the only time you’re ever encouraged to play with your food. Don’t forget to bring goggles, a waterproof camera and a pair of clothes to change into — you’ll be seeing red when the battle is over.

Check back tomorrow for more great content during Stripes Countdown to Summer!

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