The Best Big Summer Festivals in Europe

Festivals worth planning a trip around

Tomatina, Tomatoe Festival, Bunol, Province Valencia, Spain
Juergen Richter / LOOK-foto/Getty Images

Here are some recommended festivals in Europe, the ones you won't want to miss if you're going to be close by. These are the best of the large festivals, you'll find smaller fetes, sagre, fiestas and parades all over Europe most of the year, so keep an eye out for event posters and flyers on your vacation.

July Festivals in Europe

Festa Della Madonna Bruna - Italy
If you're in southern Italy in early July, and you like festivals that have gone on since ancient times, and you miss your Fourth of July fireworks, the Festa Della Madonna Bruna might just be the festival for you.

Festival d'Avignon
If you're into the theater and fine medieval towns, check out the Festival d'Avignon July 8-27 in Avignon.

Ghent Festival
If you're around Ghent mid-July, check out the Ghent Festival, the largest open air cultural and popular festival in Europe.

L'Ardia di San Costantino- Italy (Sardinia)
Also in early July, this Sardinian festival is fraught with danger and meaning for the locals, and a great picture-taking opportunity for tourists.

National Eisteddfod of Wales
From singing, reciting, and dancing to food and football, this is the biggest traveling folk festival in Europe. It all started in 1176. Late July to early August.

Pistoia Blues Festival
Held at the beginning of July in the lightly touristed but quite compelling city of Pistoia, this is one of Europe's top blues festivals.

Palio di Siena
The famous horse race in Siena's central pizza is held once in early July and once in August.

Redentore - Venice
Feast and fireworks on the third Sunday of July, one of Venice's most spectacular festivals.

Roskilde Festival - Denmark
One of the largest rock festivals in Europe. Late June-Early July.

Salzburg Festival
Huge arts festival. Held in the Austrian city of Salzburg in late July-August.

Jazz Festivals
Summer brings lots of Jazz festivals to Europe. The two biggies: Montreux in Switzerland at the start of July, and Umbria Jazz, held in mid-July.

August Festivals in Europe

Edinburgh Festival
One of Europe's best-known fine art festivals, mid-August to early September.

Helsinki Festival
"Finnish and international performing and creative arts, while featuring artists, ensembles, and exhibitions of the highest level." Mid August to early September.

Puck Fair - Ireland
Held without fail on 10th, 11th and 12th August every year with 12 hours of free family street entertainment including horse fair, parade and coronation ceremony of King Puck, open air night concerts, fireworks display, children's competitions, street entertainers and dancing displays.

Tomatina Festival-Spain
The part of the fair and Parties of Buñol in late August, you get to pelt everyone with the excess of tomatoes that appear in August.

For other festival information, check our European Festival Directory.

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