If you think the festival season is wrapping up, you’d be wrong. Skyscanner has compiled a list of the final must-see summer festivals of 2019, in the most popular European destinations. So if you’ve got Europe on your travel radar this month, finish off the summer in style with these unique events…
Reading and Leeds Festival
Reading/Leeds: 23-25 Aug
Twin rock festivals, Reading and Leeds, are held simultaneously every August, sharing the same musician bill. Lots of international pop, indie and metal acts are attracted to the festival and the headliners this year are The 1975, Foo Fighters, Twenty One Pilots and Post Malone. Immerse yourself in the festival spirit and camp on site. The closest campsites to the main arena are the messiest so if you actually want a bit of sleep over the weekend you’re probably best to go further along. The festival has a reputation for hosting multiple parties after the events conclude each day so get your glad-rags on and be prepared to party until the early hours.
Notting Hill Carnival
London: 24-26 Aug
Often termed as Europe’s biggest street festival, Notting Hill Carnival is one of the loudest and most colorful ways to finish off the summer. The festival is a celebration of the capitals Caribbean communities and thousands of colorful dancers parade the streets, entertaining the huge crowds. Get a chance to savor the sights, sounds and tastes of this Caribbean fiesta at this family-friendly event. The magnificent street spectacle is worth a visit for the entertainment, activities and amazing street food stalls.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Edinburgh: 2-25 Aug
As the world’s largest arts festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is unmissable. There’s no shortage of theater shows at this year’s festival – more than 3,500 actually, plus plenty of music and dance shows, children activities, comedy nights and everything in-between. It’s a good idea to book a couple of shows each day in advance, as they can sell out fast. Don’t forget to soak up the festival atmosphere and go for a walk around the city or head to the Royal Mile or the Mound Precinct where you’ll find street performers and visitors from around the world, creating the most electric buzz.
Check out our Top 10 things to do in Edinburgh to make sure you get the most out of your trip!
Valencia: 28 Aug
La Tomatina is a food fight festival that takes place in the town of Bunol near to Valencia in Spain. Thousands of people descend the streets from all corners of the world, to fight in this annual tomato throwing festival and more than one hundred tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the street. After the food fight is over the crowds can enjoy live music, fireworks and cooking contests. No one is completely certain how this event originated but one popular theory is that disgruntled townspeople attacked city councilmen with tomatoes during a town celebration and it was enjoyed so much that it was repeated the next year, and so on.
San Sebastian: 17-25 Aug
Every year in August, more than 100,000 revelers throng the streets for Semana Grande, the largest festival in northern Spain. The city transforms itself into a buzzing epicenter of live music, traditional bull fights, parades and processions, strongman competitions and more. There’s even an international fireworks competition taking place on the beach! Music is at the heart of this folk festival, with many free performances during the week in a variety of venues. You’ll need plenty of stamina to last for the whole festival, as the parties are nonstop and last well into the night.
The Festivals of Gràcia
Barcelona: 15-21 Aug
The streets of Gràcia in Barcelona come to life at this week-long cultural street festival. There’s live music until late into the night, and during the day there’s plenty on offer including food parades, artistic performers, vibrant street decoration competitions and children’s workshops and games. The best way to enjoy this festival is by strolling around and being surprised at every corner. You’ll need to dedicate a good chunk of time whilst you’re here if you want to get the most out of the experience.
Stresa: 14 Jul – 8 Sept
Experience a truly unique celebration of music and local natural beauty and history at Stresa Festival. As one of the best-known European classical music festivals, it showcases performances by internationally famous artists, and take place in churches and historic buildings all over the province. Concerts include a range of music from symphonies and chamber music to instrumental and vocal recitals. However, it’s not just the music itself that you can look forward to here; the locations of the concerts take in some of the spectacular views of the Lake Maggiore landscape as well as local historical sites. The jazz concerts take place on the green of the Promenade La Palazzola, right next to the lake. The enchanting Palazzo Borromeo, holds concerts in the evening in the palace’s Tapestry Room and is not to be missed.
Rome: July 1 – 30 Sept
During the Estate Romana (Roman Summer) festival, the city comes to life with music and dance from local artists and over 150 cultural events happening all over the city. The venues include parks, squares, art galleries and courtyards. You’ll easily find something that caters to your taste. Films are shown on outdoor screens late into the night, and local events such as readings, cooking sessions, concerts, sports, children’s games, and theater performances all can be enjoyed here. Many events are free.
Estate Fiesolana 2019
Fiesole: 20 Jun – 19 Aug
This traditional music festival held in Tuscany during Summer offers over 30 events ranging from music to cinema to theatre, all taking place at the Roman Theatre (and, for the first time ever, at the Roman Thermal Bath) of the Archaeological Site of Fiesole. Spectators can enjoy music concerts from a wide range of genres including classic, jazz, gospel, pop and rock. The beautiful surroundings of Fiesole, a town set on the hills above Florence, makes this festival all the more unique and special.
Rock en Seine
Paris: 23-25 Aug
Rock en Seine is one of France’s biggest music festivals, held each summer in the heart of the city. This is where you’ll find many alternative French music stars as well as more international artists and this year topping the bill are The Cure, Major Lazer and Jorja Smith (and more). If you love eclectic music, you’ll feel right at home here. But it’s not all about music – you can wander the Rock’Art project too, which is full of unique band posters created by illustrators, graphic designers and cartoonists. Ten of these will also feature on the Paris metro.
The Darc Festival
Châteauroux: 11-23 Aug
If you know how to hold a rhythm, you’ll love this next festival all about dance, art, rhythm and culture. The Darc festival is enjoyed by over 65,000 people, who come from all over the world to share their passion for dance.
There are concerts for all ages and abilities with a dance workshop run by internationally famous professionals. Trainees come to learn or perfect their technique in so many dance disciplines including Modern Jazz, Classic Dance, Capoeira, Argentinian Tango, Hip Hop and Salsa. At night, concerts are held. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to show off your moves and strut your stuff – so just dance, dance, dance!
Paris: 30 Aug – 7 Sept
One for the film buffs. For a week at the end of summer, the Silhouette association showcases a free festival dedicated to International and French short films after dark on a giant inflatable screen. Over a hundred short films are presented, making this one of the largest short film festivals in France. The outdoor setting and various live act performances makes this a truly unique movie experience. Get there early – this event is so popular you can struggle to find a space!
New Horizons Festival
Nürburgring: 21-25 Aug
This festival hosts over 150 DJs from across the dance music spectrum. Six different electronic worlds will feature the DJ megastars; Australia’s Alison Wonderland, the Dutch DJ-star Don Diablo and the award-winning duo Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike. Alongside the music, you’ll find creative art installations, quirky performers and many more surprises at this very unique gathering that will stretch your imagination.
Tanz im August
Berlin: 9-31 Aug
Witness breath-taking dance at this family-friendly festival. Tanz im August is a celebration of contemporary dance, where creativity, collaboration and choreography can be experimented and practiced. It features over 65 presentations in eight different venues all around Berlin and there’s performances from over 150 artists from 14 countries. Berlin-based artists present their newest works and numerous German and international premieres are celebrated here.
Long Night of Museums
Berlin: 31 Aug
Whoever thought people would stay up all night to go to museums? Culture vultures will be enthralled at this festival with over a hundred museums linking together in a single event. One ticket offers you access to more than 80 museums and around 800 events. Take in all sorts of fascinating art and history, and enjoy exclusive performances and installations. There are even concerts, discovery tours, exclusive guided tours and entertaining workshops to be part of, throughout the night. Don’t forget the caffeine!
*Updated June 2019. Any prices included correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change and/or availability.