In Europe, summer is the season for merrymaking and festivals! The months of July to August are always jampacked with fests, celebrations, and other fun activities that are sure to satisfy the most avid of party-goers.
Here are seven of the top summer festivals in Europe you need to try out:
A traditional annual celebration that dates back to the 15th century, this festival celebrates the graces of the city’s patron- the Madonna della Bruna. The event starts in the early morning, with residents carrying the statue of the patron on a float throughout the streets of Matera and back to its home in Cathedral Square. The procession concludes with some very impressive fireworks display in the evening.
Are you a fan of the theater and the arts? Then Festival d’Avignon is the perfect festival for you. This event, which was started in 1947 by French playwright Jean Vilar, showcases theater performances by both local and international acts. Most of these take place in the courtyard of the historic Palais des Papes, a medieval Gothic palace that used to be the residence of popes in the 14th century.
The Edinburgh International Festival is among the largest of its kind in the whole world. For three weeks in August, performance artists, dancers, musicians, and singers congregate in some of Edinburgh’s most prominent performance halls and theaters (which include Usher Hall, The Edinburgh Playhouse, and the Royal Lyceum Theatre) and celebrate their art for the public. If you’re a fan of opera and classical music, this festival is a must-see.
An eisteddfod is a Welsh celebration for literature, music, dance, and the arts. There are several that are celebrated in Wales throughout the year, but the National Eisteddfod of Wales (commonly held every first week of August) is the largest. This event is a showcase of Welsh pride, where poets, writers, musicians, perform and compete to keep the spirit of Welsh culture strong. There are no set venues since the festival moves from place to place all over the country, so it’s best to check on the date and venues before joining.
The Puck Fair is considered as the oldest of Ireland’s festivals. The fair, which takes place in Killorglin, County Kerry for three days starting on August 10, starts on an unusual note: a goat is taken from the nearby mountains and is proclaimed as king of the town for three days! The capture of “King Puck,” as the goat is lovingly called, marks the start of the festivities. These can include horse and cattle fairs, traditional Irish music, busking competitions, and concerts.
As the name suggests, this quirky festival is all about one thing- tomatoes! Held at the town of Bunol in Valencia, this event is basically one big tomato fight where participants relentlessly pelt each other with tomatoes (be sure to squash the tomatoes first before throwing to prevent injuries). There’s also a “palo jamon” event, which involves people climbing a greasy pole to knock a piece of ham off the top.