Festivals & Events

Europe’s calendar is full with festivals and events every month of the year. Europe has some of the oldest and most memorable festivals and events in the world, from the renown Oktoberfest in Munich to the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. There are events that recreate famous events or ceremonies of their remembrance. Festivals to celebrate what cities or regions are famously known. Food festivals for beer to olives to cheese to tomatoes. Events celebrating industry, engineering, mining and technology. Music, film and art festivals that remember those great artists who left us so much to appreciate and enjoy. Whether it be a Wagner opera, attending a film festival  or taking in a special exhibition, you will never be bored or out of something to do.


Not what we in the US normally call carnivals but, these are the origins of our Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Rio’s Carnival. Originally a celebration fixed to the liturgical calendars of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox church, prior to the Lenten season. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday six weeks before Easter. It is a time in which fasting and the refraining from eating rich foods, meat, drink, parties and celebrations was prohibited by the church. Carnival is a time for many to indulge prior to the six weeks of pius behavior dictated by the church. Historians believe many of the carnival rituals actually have pagan influences that may have started before the church itself. There are records that show some cities in Europe had carnivals as early as the 12th century. Cities like Venice, Cadiz,  Cologne, Nice and Düsseldorf are known for their carnivals. With the influx of immigration from the Caribbean, communities like London’s Notting Hill now celebrate a carnival in the summer.

Village store decorated for Christmas Market.
Village store decorated for Christmas Market.

 Christmas Markets…

These occur during the ushering in of Avent, the 4 weeks prior to Christmas,  by many European towns in their city centers and open markets.  Origins seem to have started in German speaking areas of central Europe and Vienna’s Christmas Market dates back to 1294. Open air markets sell a range of consumer goods for gift giving and unique Christmas decorations. Serving of foods as gingerbread, cookies and hot alcoholic beverages are also sold. Many towns are decorated with lights outlining the old gabled medieval buildings and are a must to view in the evenings. Performances of Christmas music and carol singing are done regularly. The markets can also have rides, fireworks and light shows. Today markets occur from eastern Europe to the British Isles and Iberia to Scandinavia. Some of the best know Christmas markets are in Nuremberg, Strasbourg, Cologne, Dresden, Augsburg, Frankfurt, Dortmund, Stuttgart and the famous Esslingen.

Religious Observances…

Because of the influence and dominance of the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church throughout most of Europe for centuries,  there are many holidays, events and festivals held in recognition of religious events or commemorating Saints. In addition to Christmas and Easter, Pentecost Sunday, Assumption Day, Epiphany, Ascension Day and the Immaculate Conception are national holidays in many countries. St. Stephan’s Day the day after Christmas, the Monday after Easter and the Monday after Pentecost are observed with many business’s and services closed.

May Day…

May Day is celebrated in most European country’s and its their equivalent of our Labor Day. You can also expect special events and closures on this holiday. For legal holidays by country go to the the country’s page and its holidays are listed on the very bottom of the page. The following list consists of the most famous and well known festivals and events. There so many more and you may locate them at the web site links at the bottom of this page.

1/1/2019 London New Years Day Parade London, England New Years
1/1/2019 Grand Parade Paris, France New Years
1/29/2019 Up Helly Aa Lerwick, Shetland Island, UK Cultural
1/19/2019 San Anton Festival Canillas de Albaida, Spain  Religious
1/23-27/2019 Kiruna Snow Festival Kiruna, Sweden Winter Festival
12/30/2018-1/1/2019 Hogmanay Edinburgh, Scotland, UK New Year’s Festival
12/31/2018-3/30/2019 Vienna’s Glorious Ball Season Vienna, Austria Music & Dance
1/19-20/2019 La Tamborrada San Sebastian, Spain Cultural
2/16-3/5, 2019 Carnival of Venice Venice, Italy Cultural
2/16-3/3/2019 Lemon Festival Menton, France Cultural
2/16-3/2/2019 Nice Carnival Nice, France Cultural
2/5-18/2016 Copenhagen Winter Jazz Fest Copenhagen, Denmark Music
2/10/2019 Chinese New Year London, England Cultural
2/1-28/ 2019 Cologne Carnival Cologne, Germany Cultural
2/26-3/5/ 2019 Stiges Carnival Barcelona, Spain Cultural
2/7-10/ 2016 Düsseldorf Carnival Düsseldorf, Germany Cultural
2/28-3/10/2019 Cadiz Carnaval Cadiz, Spain Cultural
2/28-3/5/2019 Virago Carnevale Virago, Italy Cultural
3/2-5/2019 Carnival of Ivera Ivera, Italy Battle of Oranges
3/4-5/2019 Binche Carnival Bunch, Belgium Cultural
3/14-18/2019 St. Patrick’s Festival Dublin, Ireland Cultural
3/15-19/2019 Fallas de Valencia Valencia, Spain Cultural
3/15-4/6/2019 Starkbeirzeit Strong Beer Festival Munich, Germany Cultural
3/22-4/22/2019 Hamburger DOM Spring Hamburg, Germany Cultural -Fair
3/26-27/2016 Rouketopolemos Chios Island, Vrontados, Greece Cultural
4/21-5/5/2019 Easter Pläerrer Augsburg, Germany Cultural- Beer
4/8-13/2019 Snowbombing Festival Maxyrhofen, Austria Music
4/14-20/2019 Semana Santa Seville, Spain Cultural
3/30-4/22/2019 Budapest Spring Music Festival Budapest, Hungary Music
4/21/2019 Scorpio del Carro Florence, Italy Cultural
4/21-22/2019 Natale di Roma Rome, Italy Cultural
4/25-11/3/2019 Chaumont Intl. Garden Festival Loire Valley, France Horticultural
4/27-5/5/2019 Baumblütenfest Werder, Germany Cultural-Volkfest
4/27/2019 Koningsdag Kings Day Amsterdam, Netherlands Cultural
4/30/2019 Beltane Fire Festival Edinburgh, Scotland, UK Cultural
4/30-5/1/2019 Walpurgisnacht Throughout N. Europe Cultural
5/1-6/2019 Cheltenham Intl. Jazz Festival Gloucestershire, England Music
5/4-25/2019 Rhine in Flames Linz to Bonn,Germany Cultural
5/5-11/2019 La Feria de Abril Seville, Spain Cultural
5/4-26/2019 Brighton Festival Brighton, England Arts
TBA/2019 Combat des Reines Martigny, Switzerland Cultural
5/12-6/4/2019 Prague Spring Intl Music Festival Prague, Czech Rep. Music
5/14-25/2019 Festival de Cannes Cannes, France Film
5/23 – 7/29/2019 White Nights Festival St. Petersburg, Russia Arts & Music
5/17/2019 Constitution Day Oslo, Norway National Holiday
 5/22-25/2019 RHS Chelsea Flower Show London, England Horticultural
5/11-27/2019 The Bath Festival Bath, England  Music
5/24-6/9/2019 Ages Salisbury Intl. Festival Salisbury, England  Arts
5/27/2019 Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling Brockworth, England Cultural
TBA/2019 Le Doudou, Ducasse Ritual de Mons Mons, Belgium Battle of Lumecon
 6/2-4/2016 Primavera Sound Barcelona, Spain Music
6/6-17/2019 Hay Festival Hay-On-Wye, Wales, UK Cultural
6/7 – 17/ 2019 Bergkirchweih Erlangen, Germany Cultural
6/7-10/2019 Salzburg Whitsun Festival Salzburg, Austria Cultural
5/28-6/7/2016 Isle of Man TT Races Isle of Man, UK Motorcycle Race
6/17/2016 El Colacho Castillo de Murcia, Spain Cultural
6/25-7/2/2016 Roskilde Festival  Roskilde, Denmark Music
6/9-12/2016 Isle of Wight Festival  Isle of Wight, England Music
6/24-26/2016 Donauinselfest Vienna, Austria Music
6/10-12/2016 Download Festival  Donington Park, Derby, England Music
6/23/2016 Festa de Sao Joao Porto, Portugal Cutlutral
6/29-7/3/2016 Fusion Festival Mecklenburg-Vorpommen, Germany Cultural
6/22-26/2016 Glastonbury Glastonbury, England Music
TBA/2016 Haro Wine Festival  Haro, Spain Cultural
TBA/2016 Infiorata di Genzano Genzano, Italy Cultural
6/18/2016 Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Festival Edina, Turkey Cultural
6/10-19/2016 Oerol Terschelling, Netherlands Cultural
6/21/2016 Stonehenge Summer Solstice Wiltshire, England Cultural
6/18-26/2016 Kieler Woche Kiel, Germany Cultural
6/23-26/2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed Chichester, England, UK Auto Show and Race
6/24-8/28 /2016 Arena Opera Festival Verona, Italy Music
6/25-7/16/2016 Biberacher Schützenfest Biberach an der Riss, Germany Cultural-Volkfest
7/1-31/2016 Grec Festival  Barcelona, Spain Arts & Music
7/1-3/2016 Zuerifaescht Zurich, Switzerland Music & Dance
7/2 & 8/16/2016 Il Palio Siena, Italy Horse Race
7/1-2/2016 Wife Carrying World Championships Sonkajarvi, Finland Cultural
7/1-10/2016 Schützenfest Hannover, Germany Cultural-Volkfest
tba/2016 Manchester Intl. Festival Manchester, England Cultural
7/6-10/2016 Henley Royal Regatta Henley-On-Thames, England  
6/33-7/3/2016 Rock Wercher  Wrecker, Belgium Music
7/4-13/2016 Copenhagen Jazz Festival  Copenhagen, Denmark Music
7/8-8/6/2016 Savonlinna Opera Festival  Savonlinna, Finland Music
7/1-16/20 Montreux Jazz Festival  Montreux, Switzerland Music
6/30-7/19/2016 Festival Aix en Provence Aix-en-Provence, France Music
7/6-24/2016 Festival d’Avignon Avignon, France Arts
7/2-24/2016 Tour de France France Bicycle Race
7/7-14/2016 Los Sanfermines Pamplona, Spain Bull Running
7/10-12/2016 Festival of Giants Douai, France Cultural
7/7-10/2016 Exit Festival Novi Sad, Serbia Music
7/8-10/2016 North Sea Jazz Festival  Rotterdam, Netherlands Music
7/8-10/2016 T in the Park Gelneagles, Scotland, UK Music
7/11-24-2016 Galway Intl. Arts Festival Galway, Ireland Arts
7/14/2016 Bastille Day Anywhere in France but, especially in Paris French Independence
7/16-17/2016 Luminary e Palio di San Ranieri Pisa, Italy Religious & Cultural
7/14-17/2016 Latitude Southward, England Arts & Music
7/14-8/14/2016 ImPulsTanz Vienna, Austria Dance & Arts
7/15-24/2016 Kinderzeche Dinkelsbühl, Germany Cultural
7/16-17/2016 Festa del Redentore Venice, Italy Cultural
7/22-8/31/2016 Salzburg Festival Salzburg, Austria Music
7/15-9/15/2016 Proms London, England, UK  
7/19-24/2016 Paléo Festival Nyon Nyon, Switzerland Music
7/28-31/2016 WOMAD Charlton Park Malmesbury, England Music
7/28-30/2016 Santa Marta de Ribarteme As Neves, Spain Cultural
7/23-25/2016 Pflasterpektakel Linz, Austria Cultural & Arts
7/22-23/2016 Wickerman Festival Dundrennan, Scotland, UK Music
7/22-26/2016 Rutenfest Ravensburg, Germany Cultural-Volkfest
7/26-8/25/2019 Hamburger DOM Summer Hamburg, Germany Cultural-Fair
7/15-8/13/2016 Puccini Festival Luca, Italy Music
7/25-8/28/2016 Bayreuther Festspiele  Bayreuth, Germany Music
7/27-8/16/2016 Marciac Jazz Festival  Marciac, France Music
7/28-8/27/2017 Hamburg DOM Hamburg, Germany Cultural-Fair
7/27-30/2017 Cambridge Folk Festival  Cambridge, England Music
8/9-13/2017 Guča Trumpet Festival Guča, Serbia Music
8/11-21/2017 Gäubodenvolksfest Straubing, Germany Cultural
8/22-27/2017 Creamfileds Daresbury, England Music
8/4-28/2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Edinburgh, Scotland, UK Cultural
8/15-17/2017 Frequency Vienna, Austria Music
8/18-22/2017 Bad Kreuznacher Jahrmarkt Bad Kreuznach, Germany Cultural-Beer
9/1-10/8/2017 Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival Lisdoonvarna, Ireland Cultural
8/26-28/2017 Notting Hill Carnival London, England Cultural
8/9-16/2017 Sziget Budapest, Hungary Cultural
8/27/2017 World Bog Snorkeling Championships Llanwrtwd, UK Cultural
8/23-25/2017 Air Guitar Championships Oulu, Finland Music
8/23-9/8/ 2019 Autumn Pläerrer  Augsburg, Germany Cultural-Beer
 8/25-28/2017 Barthelmarkt Ingolstadt, Germany Cultural – Music
9/7-10/2017 Bestival Isle of Wight, England Music
9/1-3/2017 Electric Picnic Laois, Ireland Music & Arts
9/7-10/2017 Festival Number 6 Portmeirion, Wakes, UK Music & Arts
9/2/2017 Braemar Gathering Braemar, Scotland, UK Highland Games
9/3/2017 Regata Storica Venice, Italy Cultural
9/8,12,15,18/2017 Weinfest der WeltWurstmarkt Bad Dürkheim, Germany Cultural-Volkfest
9/16-10/3/2017 Oktoberfest Munich, Germany Cultural
9/22-25/2017 Mercé Barcelona, Spain Cultural
9/22-24/2017 Galway Intl. Oyster Festival Galway, Ireland Cultural
9/16-24/2017 London Design Festival London, England Cultural
9/22-10/8/2017 Oktoberfest  Hannover Hannover, Germany Cultural-Beer
9/22-10/8/2017 Cannstatter Volksfest  Stuttgart, Germany Cultural-Volkfest
9/29-10/8/2017 Kramermarkt Oldenburg, Germany Cultural-Volkfest
10/2-18/2017 Budapest Contemporary Arts Festival Budapest, Hungary Cultural
10/7-11/26/2017 Alba White Truffle Fair Alba, Italy Cultural & Food
10/19-11/5/2017 Wexford Opera Festival Wexford, Ireland Music
10/28-11/1/2017 Salon Du Chocolat Paris, France Food
11/21/2017 Festival of  La Salute Venice, Italy Cultural
12/2/2017 Brussels Light Festival Brussels, Belgium Cultural
11/5/2017 Ottery Tar Barrels Devon, England Cultural
11/5/2017 Veteran Car Run-LBVCR London to Brighton, England  Vintage Auto Race
11/5/2017 Lewes Bonfire Lewes, England Cultural
Early December /2017 Krampusnacht Festival Various towns in Austria & Germany Cultural
11/21-12/25/2016 German Christmas Markets Multiple Cities Seasonal Culture
All December Christmas Celebrations Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen , Denmark Seasonal Culture
12/6-21/2016 St. Thomas Christmas Market Helsinki, Finland Seasonal Culture
12/7-10/2017 Fete des Lumieres  Lyon, France Seasonal Culture
12/10-17/2017 Melvana Whirling Dervishes Konya, Turkey Cultural
12/21/2017 Burning the Clocks Brighton, England Cultural
12/tba/2016 Kaiserball Vienna, Austria Seasonal Culture
 11/10/2017-1/6/2018 Budapest Christmas Fair Budapest, Hungary Cultural

You may find more festivals and events listed in the follow web sites.