The 12 Best European Festivals To Go To This Summer

european festivals

by Ellie Wiseman |

For us Brits festival season is the best time of the year. If you're done with UK festivals - bored of waking up in a muddy swamp and having to wear wellies and anoraks - jetting off to a sun-soaked festival abroad is the next step for you.

Spend a long weekend in a party bubble, stretched out on sandy beaches and hopping onto boat parties covered in glitter, sipping on icy beverages and dancing from sunrise to sunrise. Overseas festivals are the best part of a holiday (the weather) and a festival (the music) rolled into one - everything us Brits cherish.

We've rounded up 10 of the best European festivals to visit this summer and what they have to offer. Get booking!

1. NOS Alive Festival, Lisbon

european festivals

Where: Lisbon, Portugal

When: 6th - 8th July

Line up: The Weeknd, The xx, Phoenix, Alt J, Foo Fighters, Depeche Mode

Why you should go: With temperatures reaching 30 degrees in the day, the music scene at NOS Alive sensibly comes to life after 5pm in the cool evening breeze, giving sun-worshippers time to relax in the heat and explorers a chance to roam the dizzyingly beautiful city of Lisbon.

2. Primavera Sound, Barcelona

european festivals

Where: Barcelona, Spain

When: 31st May - 4th June

Line up: Frank Ocean, Bon Iver, Arcade Fire, The xx

Why you should go: People from all over the world flock to Primavera Sound each year to experience a heady, exotic assult to their senses. The creative and eclectic festival shines its spotlight on more alternative artists, and while this year's headliners might not seem like the most upbeat, the atmosphere promises to be europhic.

3. Outlook, Croatia

european festivals

Where: Fort Punta Christo, Pula, Croatia

When: 6th - 10th September

Line up: My Nu Leng, Giggs, Wiley, Dizzee Rascal, DJ Shadow

Why you should go: If you're after a week of the most intense, unadulterated partying, and you have a penchant for drum and bass especially, Outlook is where you need to be. Located on the Mediterranean Sea with stages set within ancient Roman ruins and amphitheatres, the festival boasts a unique experience, and its guests return year on year.

4. Flow Festival, Helsinki

european festivals

Where: Helsinki, Finland

When: 11th - 13th July

Line up: Frank Ocean, Lana Del Rey, London Grammar, Sampha, Flume, The xx

Why you should go: Experience a Nordic parallel world at Flow Festival. Rather than standing in field with hundreds of thousands of people, this festival feels like you're in an actual city. And it's not just the music that Flow focuses on either - there's a heavy influence on art and food also.

5. Roskilde Festival, Denmark

european festivals

Where: Roskilde, Denmark

When: 24th June - 1st July

Line up: Solange, The Weeknd, Arcade Fire, Foo Fighters, Bonobo, Bryson Tiller, Blink 182, Lorde

Why you should go: Located near Copenhagen, Roskilde redefines the festival experience. It boasts a strong line up of rock and indie artists, but aside from the music there are organised campsite events such as walks, tribute nights and open mic jams, which gives it the ultimate community feel.

6. Exit Festival, Serbia

exit festival


When: 6th - 9th July

Line up: The Killers, Liam Gallagher, Rag'n'Bone Man, Duke Dumont, Robin Schulz, Years and Years, Lost Frequencies

Why you should go: Exit Festival sits atop Serbia’s second capital of Novi Sad, and is one of the world's most international festivals, catering to more than 60 nationalities. It has moved more towards the dance scene in recent years, and entices young and energetic audiences.

7. Mad Cool Festival, Madrid

mad cool festival

Where: Madrid, Spain

When: 6th - 8th July

Line up: Foo Fighters, Green Day, Kings of Leon, Foster the People, M.I.A., SBTRKT, Kodaline, The Lumineers, Foals, Ryan Adams

Why you should go: Touted as Europe's version of Coachella, complete with Cali-vibes and a big wheel, Mad Cool festival is gaining traction, and fast. It combines classic and 90s bands with alternative and more commercial music - something for everyone.

8. Øya Festival, Oslo

øya festival
©Pål Bellis

Where: Oslo, Norway

When: 8th - 12th August

Line up: Lana Del Rey, Chance the Rapper, The xx, Pixies, Sampha, Lars Vaular

Why you should go: Oslo doesn't stand still, and neither does its festival Øya, which has defined the term 'Scandi-cool'. Whereas some festivals feel manic, Øya is relaxed and run slickly; it prides itself on being one of the greenest festivals in the world.

9. Hideout Festival, Croatia

hideout festival

Where: Zrce Beach, Croatia

When: 16th - 30th June

Line up: Major Lazer, Stormzy, Diplo, MK, Hannah Wants, Eats Everything, Marco Carola, Jamie Jones

Why you should go: Located on the gorgeous Zcre Beach in Croatia, Hideout was once described as 'the biggest party to date.' It features over 150 of the world's best electronic music artists and a record number of boat parties setting sail.

10. Fresh Island, Croatia

fresh island festival

Where: Zcre Beach, Island of Pag, Croatia

When: 11th - 13th July

Line up: Rae Sremmurd, Sean Paul, French Montana, Krept and Konan, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Lady Leshur

Why you should go: Renowned as 'one of the best hip-hop & urban music festivals in the world,' Fresh Island Festival brings the best of hip-hop, rap and RnB to the sunny shores of Novalja's Zrce Beach on the beautiful island of Pag.

11. Pukkelpop Festival, Belgium

european festivals

Where: Hasselt, Belgium

When: 16th - 19th August

Line up: Chance the Rapper, Clean Bandit, Bastille, Joy Orbison, Cashmere Cat, Elbow, Flume, George Ezra, London Grammar, Mumford & Sons, Oh Wonder, Sampha, Stormzy

Why you should go: Located near the city of Hasselt, Belgium, Pukkelpop festival has become one of Europe's biggest open air festivals. It is internationally recognised as a musical trendsetter, showcasing the best of contemporary and alternative music, and this year's line up is its best yet.

12. Rock Werchter, Belgium

european festivals

Where: Werchter, Belgium

When: 29th June - 2nd July

Line up: Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire, The Chainsmokers, Imagine Dragon, Lorde, James Blake, Radiohead, Royal Blood, Birdy, Blink 182, Bonobo, Foo Fighters, Alt J

Why you should go: Regarded as 'the best festival in Belgium', Rock Werchter is well worth travelling to. Every year it attracts the biggest names in music, meaning there is no clear headlining act. The atmosphere of this festival promises to be exhilarating, which is why guests return year on year.

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