Despite a distinctly dreary start to the month, there’s a hint of summer in the air and we can’t help but feel excited. Between May and September each year, Europe comes alive! There are vast festivals where days can be spent frolicking with grass underfoot, and quirky events where food stuffs are lobbed around with great abandon. Here we’ve rounded up the celebrations that have us grasping for our passports, wellies and car keys – we thought we’d share the wealth!
La Tomatina – Bunol, Spain
Each August, the sleepy town of Bunol in Spain becomes home to the world’s most famous food fight. Not any old food though! Tomatoes are the thing to be thrown here. Specifically oozing, squidgy, overripe tomatoes that are prone to bursting on impact. To avoid getting pips in your eyes we recommend packing a sturdy pair of goggles, and some tissues to wipe them clean once you’re thoroughly covered. This quirky celebration began in the 1940s but everyone remains unclear on the reason why it started. Whatever it is, we’re very happy that it did! This year’s event takes place on the 28th August and places fill up fast so get booking!
Glastonbury Festival – Somerset, England
Glastonbury Festival is the world’s largest greenfield festival, drawing in over 174,000 revellers without fail each year. We’re lucky to have this expansive festival right on our doorstep. This is an event that brings in some of the biggest acts, The Rolling Stones, Adele and Beyonce have all graced the infamous Pyramid Stage. However, there’s so much more to the festival. You could spend your days whittling wooden furniture, watching circus performances or enjoying massages in the healing fields. There really is something for everyone (who can manage to bag a ticket!).
Tour de France – Belgium and France
The Tour de France is one of the world’s most gruelling cycling races with routes that consistently include uphill climbs in the Alps and the Pyrenees. Add in the beating sun of a July date range, and you’re in for one heck of a sweat fest. Despite the rigorous nature of the race, spirits are always high with spectators coming out to cheer on competitors in every country it passes through. This year’s event runs from the 6th to the 28th July, and will take in scenic surrounds throughout France and Belgium before the infamous final stretch along the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
Notting Hill Carnival – London, England
London is lucky to play host to Europe’s biggest street party – the Notting Hill Carnival. The celebrations take place on the bank holiday weekend each August, and inject a little bit of Caribbean flair into west London. Expect exuberant dancing, flamboyant costumes and more delicious food than you could ever hope for. To enjoy the celebrations to their fullest we recommend following the parade before finishing off your day at one of the many after-parties on offer. There’s a family day with a more chilled out vibe, and then the main day of celebrations, so it’s worth doing your research on what day to visit ahead of time.
Bristol Balloon Fiesta – Bristol, England
Between the 8th and 11th of August, Bristol’s skyline is set to become all the more colourful as hot air balloons ascend to the sky. Over 100 hot air balloons are expected to gather at Ashton Court estate and entrance to the park is free meaning that you can spend your well-earned money on fancy accommodation instead! As well as mass flights, there are night-time glows where the balloons are lit up by the propane burners that fuel them, and an extensive fireworks display to finish off the Saturday.
Budapest Summer Festival – Hungary
The Budapest Summer Festival is a three-month long extravaganza starting on the 1st June, which sees classical musicians descend upon Budapest to perform in open-air arenas across the city. The majority of these performances take place at the Margaret Island Open Air Stage, but there are also shows at the island’s Water Tower and at Városmajor Open-air Stage – all three of these venues enjoy leafy surrounds and a calm atmosphere. We recommend packing a picnic with prosecco and nibbles to really make the most of your evening, or afternoon.
Go ahead and start planning your summer!