Las Fallas, Valencia Spain, European festivals 2024

Europe is home to some of the world’s most epic festivals! From extravagant grand parades to ancient rituals, heart pounding music festivals that will have your toes tapping and hips swaying to immersive cultural celebrations that spotlight the country’s culture and tradition. You’ll find monumental snow studded festivals, wonderfully weird, fun, and funky festivals, and extraordinarily unique festivals!

These are the “best European festivals 2024” and you don’t want to miss out! While this certainly is not a comprehensive list of all festivals in Europe, this list highlights the very best of the best, festivals worth traveling for, and once in a lifetime experiences. Add them to your travel bucket list!

Important note: It is important to note that these festivals are wildly popular. It is essential to book tickets and accommodation well in advance, otherwise you risk the chance of missing out.

Epic European Festivals 2024

Las Fallas, Valencia Spain

Las Fallas is a festival known for its colorful and intricate papier-mâché sculptures called “fallas,” and spectacular fireworks displays. On the night of March 19th, known as La Cremà (The Burning) the “fallas” are set ablaze in a spectacular display of flames and fireworks symbolizing the end of winter and the arrival of spring. Ofrendas involve participants dressed in traditional attire bringing flowers to the Virgin Mary in Plaza de la Virgen. Participants can also expect music concerts, bullfights, paella competitions, and traditional folk performances.

dates: March 1-19, 2024

Las Fallas, Valencia Spain, European festivals 2024
Las Fallas, Valencia Spain, European festivals 2024

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Oktoberfest, Munich Germany

Oktoberfest is a world-famous beer festival and happens to be one of the largest festivals in the world, attracting millions of visitors from around the globe. The fairgrounds in Munch, a destination for beer and fest lovers since 1810, are transformed into a massive beer garden. Festival attendees dressed in traditional costumes are treated to live music of the traditional Bavarian style, and copious amounts of Bavarian beer, brewed specifically for Oktoberfest. Gorge yourself on traditional Bavarian food like bratwurst, pretzels, and roasted meats.

Oktoberfest Germany
Oktoberfest Germany

Dates: Sat, Sep 21, 2024 – Sun, Oct 6, 2024

La Tomatina, Spain

This delightfully chaotic and messy event is known as one of the world’s largest food fights! A spontaneous food fight broke out among young people in Buñol in 1945. The tradition grew over the years, and eventually became an official festival in recent years. During this unruly annual event participants hurl overripe tomatoes at each other, covering everything and everyone in a sea of red pulp! Be sure to pack your goggles and a set of old clothes.

Dates: Aug 28, 2024

La Tomatina Spain, European festivals 2024, tomato throwing festival
La Tomatina Spain, European festivals 2024 (Wikimedia Commons)

Midsummer Festival, Sweden

The Midsummer Festival (“Midsommar”) is an ancient celebration of the arrival of summer. Attendees dress in traditional Swedish garb, and women and children adorn themselves with crowns made of fresh flowers. Popular festival highlights include games, the tradition of dancing around a maypole, and traditional folk music and song. This is Swedish tradition at its finest! For a list of the best places to celebrate Midsommer in Sweden check the Visit Sweden website.

Dates: Friday June 24, 2024 (always celebrated on a Friday between 19 and 25 June.)

midsommar festival Sweden, midsummer
Midsommar (midsummer) festival Sweden, midsummer

Bregenz Festival, Austria

Bregenz Festival (Bregenzer Festspiele) takes place at Seebühne (Lake Stage), a floating stage located on the shores of Lake Constance. The stage itself, one of Austria’s most iconic landmarks, is a work of art. The stunning lakeside setting only increases its appeal. Each year it becomes the location of a renowned performing arts festival, known for its spectacular productions of opera, lavish theater productions, and musical performances.

Dates: Wed, Jul 17 – Sun, Aug 18, 2024

Seebühne opera house and floating theater Austria
Seebühne opera house and floating theater Austria

Hogmanay Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is Scotland’s world-renowned New Year’s festival. The city buzzes with excitement, hosting a torchlight procession, outdoor concerts, and the famous “Loony Dook” where brave individuals take a dip in the freezing waters of the Firth of Forth and get a truly fresh start to the New Year.

Dates: Dec 29- Jan 1, 2024

Hogmanay Edinburgh, best festivals in Europe
Hogmanay Edinburgh (photo: BBC)

Human Castells Barcelona

The Human Castells Towers (Castells) practice the unique tradition of the construction of human towers which dates back over two hundred years when it originated as a dance move in traditional Catalan folk dances. Over time, it evolved into a tower-building spectacle. The most famous Castells event is held every two years in Tarragona. Human impact: Castells were inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Dates: various dates throughout the year, check here for a full listing

Human Castells Spain
Human Castells Spain

Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Scotland

The Edinburgh Military Tattoo is a spectacular showcase of music, dance, and military pageantry, featuring performances from military bands, including the British Armed Forces. The event takes place at the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade, which adds to its allure. Get ready for bagpipers, drummers, highland dancers, and stirring renditions of traditional Scottish music, all choreographed to precision! Stay for the fireworks that light up the night sky above Edinburgh Castle.

dates: August 2 – 24, 2024

Edinburgh Military Tattoo, best European Festivals
Edinburgh Military Tattoo © Crown, Charlotte Hopkins

Krampus Events, Austria and Germany

Krampus is a horrifying horned mythical creature from Alpine folklore. Krampus, or Percthen as he is sometimes referred to, is said to accompany St. Nicholas during the Christmas season, punishing children who have misbehaved. Krampus is popular in the Bavarian region of Germany, and in Austria, where you’ll find the biggest Krampus themed events.

Dates: Munich Krampus, Salzburg Krampus (plus smaller events around Austria and Germany)

Krampus event in the Alps region of Europe, Germany bucket list
Krampus event in the Alps region of Europe

Zotte Zaterdag Middeleeuws Festival, Gouda Netherlands

The Middeleeuws Festival in Gouda (Zotte Zaterdag Festival) transports visitors back in time to the Middle Ages. During the festival, the streets and squares of Gouda’s historic city center are transformed into a bustling medieval marketplace, filled with vendors, artisans, performers, and reenactors dressed in period costumes. Artisans demonstrate traditional crafts such as blacksmithing, pottery, weaving, and woodworking. PLUS juggling acts and medieval combat demonstrations, including sword fighting and archery.

dates: October 26, 2024

Zotte Zaterdag festival Gouda Netherlands
Zotte Zaterdag (photo: Welkomin Gouda)

Malta Carnival

The Carnival in Malta (Karnival Ta’ Malta) is a colorful and lively festival that features parades, costumes, music, dancing, and street performances, street vendors, and festival food. Elaborately decorated floats wind their way through the streets which come alive with a festive atmosphere.

dates: February 9-13, 2024

Carnival of Venice Italy

The Venice Carnival is an opulent celebration famed around the world for its vibrant festive atmosphere, pageantry, elaborate masks and costumes, parades, and masquerade balls…the most exclusive balls! Experience eye popping festival colors against the backdrop of Venice’s historic architecture and picturesque canals, it’s an enchanting experience!

dates: February 3-13, 2024

Malta Carnival, best festivals in Europe
Malta Carnival

Palio di Siena, Italy

Palio di Siena is a bareback horse race, taking place in historic Siena. The square is transformed into a racetrack with jockeys riding at breakneck speeds as they navigate the tight corners and compete for victory. It’s a thrilling spectacle!

dates: July 2nd (Palio di Provenzano) and August 16th (Palio dell’Assunta)

Palio di Siena Italy, festival
Palio di Siena Italy (photo by Janus Kinase)

Bringing the cows home, Austria and Germany

Almabtrieb, also known as Viehscheid or Alpabtriebe in the Allgäu Alpine region of Bavaria, is a traditional event where farmers bring their cattle down from their summer pastures in the mountains to the valley for the winter. The cows are adorned with elaborate headdresses, flowers, and bells. Around 30,000 young cattle are driven down from the mountains in September each year. You can find a listing of events on the Alpine Guide.

Dates: throughout the month of December

Almabtrieb, Viehscheid or Alpabtriebe, bringing the costumed cows home for winter in the alps
bringing the costumed cows home for winter in the alps

La Merce, Barcelona Spain

La Mercè is a festival extravaganza held in honor of Our Lady of Mercy (Mare de Déu de la Mercè), one of the city’s patron saints. The festival takes place at various locations around Barcelona and includes concerts, fireworks displays, traditional Catalan dances (sardanes), human tower-building (castells), correfocs (fire runs) where participants dressed as devils dance through the streets with fireworks. The festivals’ big draw is a street parade that includes giants and big-heads (gegants i capgrossos).

dates: September, see the official site for exact dates

La Mercè (la merce) Spain
La Mercè (photo: Kyller)

St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Dublin Ireland

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin attracts thousands of spectators to the streets of Dublin from around the world. The celebration honors St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. The parade typically follows a route through the heart of Dublin city centre, and passes by many of Ireland’s most famous landmarks. Participants dress in colorful costumes and carry banners and flags celebrating Ireland’s rich history and culture. Expect marching bands, dance performers, live music, food festivals, and a whole lot of wearin’ o’ the green!

dates: March 27, 2024

Tar Barrels of Ottery, St. Marys England

The Tar Barrels of Ottery St. Mary is a unique and centuries-old tradition where towns folk, called barrel rollers, carry large flaming barrels of tar through the narrow streets of the town, creating a spectacular and thrilling spectacle! The event is believed to have originated as a way to celebrate the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, which aimed to blow up the Houses of Parliament.

dates: November 5, 2024

Hot Air Balloon Festival Bristol

The hot air balloon festival in Bristol (Bristol International Balloon Fiesta) is one of the largest hot air balloon events in Europe. It’s a colorful spectacle of hundreds of balloons filling the skies in a synchronized launch. One of the most popular events at the Balloon Fiesta is the Night Glow, where balloons are inflated and illuminated against the night sky in time with music.

dates: August 9-11, 2024

Bristol Hot Air Balloon Festival
Bristol Hot Air Balloon Festival (photo: Andrew M Whitman)

Les Macralles, Vielsam Belgium

“Les Macralles de Vielsalm” is a traditional folklore festival starring the “macralles,” or witches. The event features a parade complete with “witches” wearing scary masks and draped in black hooded robes. You can also expect storytellers, fire eaters, jugglers, magicians, a puppet theater, and medieval musicians. In addition to the Vielsam event, there are others held throughout Europe, with dates in Belgium, France, Germany, and beyond.

dates: events held throughout the year, for a listing see the official website (in French, use Google Translate)

Pust (Carnival) Kurentovanje Slovenia

Carnival is a unique experience in Slovenia, the centerpiece is the Kurent, furry monster-like creature from Slovenian folklore. These creatures are adorned in sheepskin, bells, and a large mask with a long red tongue. and are said to ward off evil spirits and welcome spring. The Kurent perform native dances accompanied by music. The festivities include various culture events and traditional Slovenian food. Similar festivals are the Surva Festival in Pernik, Bulgaria and Busójárás in Mohács, Hungary.

dates: February 3-13, 2024

Slovenia Kurent from Pust carnival Celebration
The mythical Slovenia Kurent

Kings Day, Amsterdam Netherlands

King’s Day, or Koningsdag, is a celebration of the Dutch Monarchy and a national spring bank holiday in the Netherlands. The celebration dates back to the 19th century when it was called Princess’s Day in honor of the birth of Princess Wihelmina. After she ascended the throne, it came to be known as Queen’s Day. When Willem-Alexander, the reigning monarch became king, the holiday was renamed King’s Day. Amsterdam is one of the best places to experience King’s Day. This vibrant and colorful celebration includes street parties, concerts, giant flea markets (vrijmarkt), and canal parades (grachtenparade) where boats are adorned in orange, the national color of the Netherlands. Royal blood not required to enjoy this fantastic celebration!

dates: April 27, 2024 (the king’s birthday)

King's Day festival Amsterdam Netherlands
King’s Day (photo: Vinicius Pinheiro)

Beltane Fire Festival Edinburgh

The Beltane Fire Festival is a celebration of the ancient Celtic festival of Beltane, which marks the beginning of the summer season. Fire is a central element of Beltane celebrations, representing the triumph over darkness. The festival features a series of rituals inspired by Celtic mythology and folklore. “Fire performers” dressed in costumes representing mythical creatures, gods, and spirits are a festival highlight. The ancient Gaelic festival has pagan origins and often includes storytelling, bonfires, drumming, fire dancing, and a procession through the streets of Edinburgh.

dates: Tuesday April 30, 2024

Beltane Fire Festival Edinburgh
Beltane Fire Festival (photo: BBC)

New Year’s Eve London, UK

New Year’s Eve in London is one gigantic party, the highlight, a spectacular fireworks display that lights up the sky with dazzling colors over the River Thames. The celebration includes choreographed pyrotechnics synchronized to music, street parties, live music, DJ performances, food stalls, champagne toasts at midnight, and throngs of revelers. It’s the biggest street party of the year! One of the absolute best ways to watch the fireworks display is from a boat on the river Thames where you’ll get prime views of the fireworks from the water. As midnight approaches, be prepared to join in on the singing of “Auld Lang Syne.”

dates: December 31, 2024

New Year's Eve London England, Big Ben fireworks
New Year’s Eve London England

Tulip Festival Amsterdam

The Tulip Festival in Amsterdam celebrates the iconic Dutch flower, the tulip, my favorite flower! Festival goers delight in the colorful displays of tulips in various locations across the city. One of the most popular places to see tulips during the festival is Keukenhof Gardens, located just outside Amsterdam, which features over seven million bulbs in bloom. While in town be sure to visit the city’s famous flower market, known as the Bloemenmarkt.

dates: March 21- May 12

York Chocolate Festival, UK (York food and drink festival)

York is known for its rich chocolate-making heritage and The Chocolate Festival in York is a celebration of all things chocolate! The festival features a wide variety of artisanal chocolate products and culinary delights crafted by local chocolatiers. It’s a great opportunity to indulge in your love of chocolate with delightful gourmet teats!

dates: March 27- 31, 2024

Up Helly aa Shetland

Up Helly Aa marks a spectacular Viking fire festival where participants, known as ‘guizers’ don ornate Viking costumes and march through the town wielding torches. The celebration culminates in the burning of a Viking Longship.

dates: January 30, 2024

Up Helly aa Shetland

Three Kings Parade Barcelona

The Three Kings Parade is a Spanish holiday known as “La Cavalcada de Reis” and Barcelona is one of the best places to celebrate. The parade, which features elaborately decorated floats, marching bands, and costumed characters, celebrates the Epiphany which is the day the Three Wise Men, or Three Kings, visited the baby Jesus after his birth. The procession starts at various venues around the city, converges in the city center, and culminates in the arrival of the Three Kings.

dates: January 5th, 2024 (Epiphany eve)

White Turf Racing Days, Switzerland

This annual event takes place on the frozen lake of St. Moritz. Witness the unique experience of the world’s top Jockeys racing thoroughbred horses on the snow and ice. It’s a thrilling experience!

dates: February 4th, 11th, and 18th, 2024

White Turf Racing St. Moritz Switzerland
White Turf Racing (photo: CC 3.0)

Snowboxx Snow Festival in Avoriaz, France

This crazy fun festival includes music, skiing, hilarious downhill inflatable races, heated snowball fights, a heated water park, spas, massive amounts of food and wine and a whole lot of fun!

dates: March 16-23, 2024

Ice Music Festival, Norway

Music Lovers can experience the unique and ethereal sounds of Ice Music where concert goers are treated to music from glacial Instruments (instruments made of ice!)

dates: February 19th – 24th, 2024

experience the Sámi culture! Scandinavia

Sámi People are the native people of the northern Scandinavian countries. Norway is home to most Sámi in the world, a people known for their colorful costume and deer herding skills. Sámi Week in Tromsø celebrates all things Sami. Try your hand at reindeer racing, learn to joik, and enjoy traditional food dishes. Also on tap, the national championship in lasso throwing!

dates: Sami Week in Tromsø: February 5-11, 2024

Sami culture of Scandinavia
Sami culture of Scandinavia (photo: Suunda CC)

Guy Fawkes Night (Bonfire Night) in the UK

Guy Fawkes Night commemorates the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, in which a group of English Catholics attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament. On this night, people gather around the bonfires to watch fireworks and enjoy food and drink.

dates: November 4, 2024

Halloween Party at Bran Castle Romania

Bran Castle in Romania, often associated with the legend of Dracula, hosts a “Medieval Halloween” festival with costume contests and spooky events. You’ll likely encounter characters like vampires, witches, and other creatures of the night. The dramatic architecture of the medieval castle is the perfect setting for a Halloween festival!

dates: special events in the month of October

Bram Stoker Festival, Dublin Ireland

Bram Stoker, the mind behind the famous Dracula novel, hails from Dublin. The Bram Stoker Festival includes fun activities such as lighted displays on the river Liffey, a freakshow theater, The Macnas Parade (Cnámha La Loba) on the Eve of Hallowe’en, cemetery tours, theatrical experiences, and a whole lot more!

dates: October 25-28, 2024

The Bram Stoker festival Dublin Ireland, Halloween Travel bucket list
The Bram Stoker festival Dublin (photo: William Murphy, Flickr)

Púca Festival in County Meath, Ireland

The Púca Festival celebrates the ancient Irish festival of Samhain. One of the highlights of the festival is the a parade led by the Púca, a mythical creature from Irish folklore. Other festival highlights include storytelling sessions, fire shows, live music, and dance performances, and plenty of festival food! Add it to your Halloween bucket list!!!

dates: October 31-November 3, 2024

fire dancing is one of the main attractions at the Puca Festival
fire dancing is one of the main attractions at the Puca Festival in County Meath

Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival, Derry Northern Ireland

The Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival is a four-day festival featuring a variety of events, including a haunted house, a fireworks display, a parade, and live music. It’s a family friendly extravaganza!

dates: October 28-31, 2024

Tomorrowland Winter, France

This isn’t your average run of the mill music festival! I’ll cover some of Europe’s best music festivals later in this article, but this one deserves top billing due to its stunning location! The mighty French Alps are the backdrop for this electronic music festival which combines the love of music with winter sports and breathtaking mountain scenery. Electronic music enthusiasts flock to the festival for an impressive line up of top-tier DJs and electronic music artists. Attendees enjoy winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, as well as spa treatments and yoga sessions.

Dates: March 16-23, 2024

Snowbombing (Austria)

Snowbombing is yet another unique music fest extravaganza that’s a fantastic fusion of music, snow-capped peaks, panoramic view, and winter sports. This one takes place in the beautiful Austrian Alps. Attendees enjoy both skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, spa treatments and the festival’s eclectic lineup of electronic music performers. Stages include unique alpine settings such as igloos and mountain huts.

Dates: April 8-13, 2024

Verbier Festival, Switzerland

Yet another music festival with a stunning backdrop that we just couldn’t leave off the list! The venue is nestled in the Swiss Alps and is one of the most prestigious classical music events in the world. The event showcases the talents of internationally renowned classical musicians as well as emerging artists.

dates: July 18- August 4, 2024

Music Festivals

Music lovers will be thrilled to know that Europe is home to some of music’s biggest festivals. These festivals bring to the main stage artists of international fame, including some of the biggest names in the music scene. Every sort of music is represented, rock, indie rock, jazz, European music acts, hip hop, contemporary, and more!

If you missed Europe’s music festival season last year, you’ll want to check out some of the big hitters in this year’s line-up of international artists and big names like: Lana del Rey, the Black Eyed Peas, Imagine Dragons, Dua Lipa, the Foo Fighters, Lenny Kravitz, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and more!

Here is a list of some of the biggest music festivals in Europe:

  • Glastonbury Festival, United Kingdom: five-day contemporary performing arts festival, contemporary music, dance, stand-up comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret, more!
  • Sziget Festival, Budapest Hungary: one of the largest music and cultural festivals in Europe, held every August on a leafy 108-hectare island on the Danube.
  • Rock Werchter, Belgium: annual music festival, huge rock music festival, has been a recipient of the Arthur award for best festival in the world at the International Live Music Conference.
  • Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland: Held on the shores of beautiful Lake Geneva, the second-largest annual jazz festival in the world.
  • EXIT Festival, Serbia: one of the best summer music festivals in Europe, held at the Petrovaradin Fortress, twice won the Best Major Festival award at the European Festivals Awards, and the “Best European Festivals” award at the UK Festival Awards.
  • Boomtown Fair, United Kingdom: This is one of the most visually appealing music and theatrical music and arts festivals on our list! elaborate set designs, diverse lineup of acts including electronic, reggae, hip-hop, punk, and more. This visually stimulating festival gets a wow! from me!
  • Rock am Ring/Rock im Park, Rock Festival, Germany: two simultaneous rock music festivals held annually, while they take place at different locations, they share the same lineup and typically occur over the same weekend.
  • Øya Festival, Norway: Øyafestivalen is an annual Norwegian music festival and one of Norway’s biggest and most important music festivals.
  • NOS Alive, Portugal: music and arts festival held in the Algés riverside, close to Lisbon.
  • Mad Cool Festival, Spain: features pop, rock, and indie music, as well as various DJs and electronic music performers.
  • Roskilde Festival, Denmark: music, activism, camps, freedom activism, much more than just music!
  • Primavera Sound Barcelona, Spain: annual music festival held at the Parc del Fòrum in Barcelona during late May and early June
  • Fez Festival of World Sacred Music (Morocco)
  • Guča Festival Serbia: (Dragačevo Trumpet Festival) is a spirited brass band festival that celebrates traditional Serbian brass band music, known as “trubači.” with performances deeply rooted in Serbian folk. (dates: August 2-4, 2024)

European Festivals 2024: Honorable Mention

While these may not be the best “Europe Festivals 2024” they are certainly worthwhile!

  • Koslapp Sweden: Kosläpp means “cow release. During this annual event the farms of Sweden set their cows free from their barns and stables where they have spent the long, dark, cold winter. Needless to say, the cows go a little crazy with their newfound freedom!
  • Wife Carrying Finland: Watch as male contestants carry their wives around obstacles in Sonkajärvi Finland, home to the World Wife Carrying Competition.
  • Goodwill Festival of Speed London: An ode to speed! This annual motorsport festival features modern and historic motor racing vehicles taking part in various competitions.
  • Cheese Rolling Gloucester: The name says it all! Watch as constants participate in various cheese rolling competitions!

more Europe experiences

Looking for more out of this world experiences in Europe? Consider these:

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