Discover Europe’s best festivals and cultural events

Europe offers a diverse wealth of traditional and contemporary events, from cultural festivals to vibrant carnivals:

Europe’s top cultural events

Rich in art, heritage, and history, here are some of the best European cultural events:

  • Copenhagen’s Vinterjazz – running for three weeks every February, the festival comprises concerts by hundreds of Danish and international jazz artists
  • Hay Festival – running for 11 days in May/June in Hay-on-Wye in Wales, as well as literature and arts there’s also comedians, musical performances and film previews
  • Berlin Culture Festival – every June, over one million people visit the festival and dazzling parade, where traditional meets modern
  • Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo – with the majestic castle backdrop and a host of international artistic and military talent, around 100 million people watch televised coverage, worldwide, but experiencing it in person takes it to the next level

Europe’s best carnivals

Elaborate costumes, singing, dancing, music, eating and drinking – carnivals are a great way to experience Europe:

  • Carnival of Venice – dating back to 1162, Carnivale di Venezia is world-famous for its extravagant masks and baroque costumes
  • Ljubljana Dragon Carnival – Slovenia’s Shrovetide traditions culminate with a spectacular parade through the streets of Ljubljana
  • Notting Hill Carnival – Europe’s largest street festival originated in 1964, as Afro-Caribbean communities celebrated their culture; taking place on August Bank Holiday weekend, over one million people attend this colourful party

Traditional European events

Europe offers a plethora of time-honoured celebrations:

  • St Patrick’s Day – four days of cultural entertainment, from poetry, dance, visual art, filmmaking and literature to music and theatrical performance, in some of Dublin’s most significant venues
  • San Fermins Fiesta – each July, over a million people visit Pamplona to witness the traditional bull run and wild street parties with pyrotechnics and folkloric performances
  • Oktoberfest – originating in 1810 as a horse race, this 16-day annual event combines beer, traditional Bavarian food, and funfair rides, and attracts around six million people to Munich each year
  • Amsterdam’s Tulip Festival – visit in April and May to witness blooming flower fields and the spectacular Keukenhof tulip gardens
  • La Tomatina –  a mass tomato battle, dating back to 1945 and held on the last Wednesday in August, in the town of Buñol near Valencia
  • Battle of the Oranges – based on a historical account which commends the city’s community for defying a tyrant, organised teams take part in the traditional orange fight in the North Italian city of Ivrea

Sharing our expert knowledge of European travel, we’ve been creating bespoke itineraries for over 40 years – if you’d like to discuss a tailor-made itinerary or one of our individual services, please get in touch

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