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Event Category: Festivals in Europe

Given the diversity of the continent, it will come as little surprise that there is a breadth and diversity amongst the festivals in Europe celebrated each year. Some of our European Festivals are world-renowned, but others featured in our pages, such as the White Nights Festival in St Petersburg and the Dour Festival in Belgium might need an introduction.

Music Festivals in Europe

Each summer, the whole continent seems to explode into a festival of music, with everyone taking to the outdoors to enjoy the music. One of the largest and most popular European music festivals is the Sziget Festival in Hungary, held each August. Other events include Tomorrowland Europe, Pukkelpop in Belgium and Zurich Tanzt, a celebration of music and dance. If you are a fan of jazz, then Jazz Brugge or Vinterjazz in Copenhagen could be just the ticket for you. Or, why not try the Tallinn Music Week in Estonia?

Beer, Wine and Food Festivals

If you wish to want to avoid the crowds at Oktoberfest then perhaps you should head to Belgium for either the Bruges Beer Festival or Zythos Bier Festival. Wine lovers looking for something a bit different could try the National Wine Day Moldova in the capital city of Chisinau, or for a food festival with a twist then how about the Onion Market in Weimar, in Germany, or Spain’s Gran Festa de la Calçotada, if spring onions are your thing.

Carnivals in Europe

While you might be forgiven for associating the carnival with South America, Europe has many a carnival that predates Rio. One of the oldest is the Venice Carnival, although the Nice Carnival and Cologne Carnival (Fastelovend) are also well worth a visit. Or if you like your carnival descending into a historical food fight then the Battle of Oranges in Italy is a must. Alternatively, try the typically Belgium quirky Carnaval de Binche.

Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals

In the build up to Christmas, most of Europe is a frenzy of Christmas Markets and Winter Festivals. Salzburg Christmas Market provides a typically Austrian take on the festive occasion, while Dresden Christmas Market and Vienna Christmas Market are equally steeped in tradition. Alternatively, if you are not in a festive mood then you can always visit the Amsterdam Lights and watch the capital of the Netherlands major winter festival turn the city on.

And don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten that the UK is part of Europe, as we have a separate page for Festivals in the UK.

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May 2019

Venice Biennale 2019 (La Biennale di Venezia)

May 11 - November 24
Venice Venice,Italy
Venice Biennale Italy

From May to November, the Venice Biennale (la Biennale di Venezia in its original Italian, and in English also called the Venice Biennial) is one of the world’s most prestigious cultural happenings, famous for displaying new trends and launching the international careers of many an artist and architect. For every new edition, the management of the Venice Biennale select top curators from all over the world to organise the Biennale's pioneering art exhibitions. The first Venice Biennale was held in…

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September 2019

Turner Prize 2019 at the Turner Contemporary

September 28, 2019 - January 12, 2020
Margate, Rendezvous
Margate,CT9 1HGUnited Kingdom
+ Google Map
Turner Prize at the Turner Contemporary Margate

The prize and the gallery that were both named for artist J M W Turner will be brought together in 2019, when the Turner Contemporary Gallery...

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October 2019

Ilkley Literature Festival, Yorkshire, 2019

October 4 - October 20
Ilkley Ilkley,YorkshireUnited Kingdom + Google Map
Ilkley Literature Festival

Actors, writers, poets and even a few journos will descend upon the West Yorkshire Victorian spa town of Ilkley in October for the Ilkley Literature Festival. The county might be noted for its Yorkshire brass bands, but this 17-day bookish fete is the second oldest in the UK, as well as the leading one of its ilk in the North. Expect authors, politicians and philosophers to be drawn to the town, and its wonderful scenery nestled by Ilkley moor immortalised…

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November 2019

Tallinn Restaurant Week 2019, Estonia

November 1 - November 7
All over Tallinn Estonia
€10 – €30
Tallinn Restaurant Week

Estonia’s capital becomes a foodie heaven in November during the twice-annual Tallinn Restaurant Week when you can celebrate gourmet food and dine at some of the city’s...

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Tenby Blues Festival 2019, Wales

November 8 - November 10
Tenby Tenby,PembrokeshireUnited Kingdom
Tenby Blues Festival

Southwest Wales will be getting deep, down and meaningful when the Tenby Blues festival comes to the Pembrokeshire town between 8 to 10 November, 2019. Tenby Blues Festival 2018 Line-up This year the Malone–Sibun Band, featuring Marcus Malone and Innes Sibun, will play De Valence on Friday night, supported by the Grainne Duffy Band and Big Joe Louis. The following day, Sugaray Rayford will headline the same venue, with Crawlback and Whiskey River also featuring on the bill. Finally, the Wales'…

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Vienna Christmas Market 2019

November 14 - December 26
Vienna Vienna,Austria + Google Map
Vienna Christmas Market

It’s the season to be merry, but one Christmas Market stands out from the crowd – well it is the original one after all. Not that the Vienna Christmas Market is a single market, but rather a series of some 20 fares across the Austrian capital. Nor for that matter was the original market strictly a Christmassy affair, as the first December market held in Vienna was a meat market granted by Albrecht I in 1298. But we will let…

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EFG London Jazz Festival, 2019

November 15 - November 24
london London,United Kingdom + Google Map
EFG London Jazz Festival

A highlight in UK capital’s music calendar, the EFG London Jazz Festival is held each November. This year’s festival pays homage to the Windrush Generation...

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Winchester Christmas Market 2019

November 21 - December 22
Winchester Cathedral Winchester,United Kingdom + Google Map
Winchester Christmas Market

A highlight of the festive season, Winchester Christmas Market opens on 17 November. Since 2006 the market has been recognised as one of the leading Christmas Festivals...

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Salzburg Christmas Market 2019

November 21 - December 26
Salzburger Christkindlmarkt, Altstadt Salzburg
Salzburg,5020Austria
+ Google Map
Salzburg Christmas Market

If you are planning to take a trip to a Christmas market this year, you could do far worse than travelling to Austria’s world-heritage city Salzburg, home of Mozart. Alongside the Vienna Christmas Market and stemming back to the 15th century, Salzburg Christkindlmarkt as they call it in Austria, is one of the oldest advent markets in the world. History of Salzburg Christmas Market In the 15th Century, the festive fare was called Tandlmarkt, but by the 17th century it had…

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Dresden Christmas Market 2019: Striezelmarkt

November 27 - December 24
Altmarkt Dresden,Germany

This year, once more the Dresden Christmas Market, or Striezelmarkt, will take over the Saxon Baroque city for the 585th time. Originating in 1434, Striezelmarkt is one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany, and alongside the Vienna Christmas Market, one of the must visit Christmas markets in Europe. Striezelmarkt and the Stollen Parade Meaning stollen market - striezel is another word for stollen - the Striezelmarkt will see a giant stollen sliced up and then paraded through town and offered to revellers. 2017's cake…

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Amsterdam Light Festival 2019

November 28, 2019 - January 19, 2020
Amsterdam Amsterdam,Netherlands + Google Map
Amsterdam Light Festival

The streets and canals of Amsterdam will once more become illuminated with the seventh Amsterdam Light Festival this winter...

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Brno Christmas Market 2019, Czech Republic

November 29, 2019 - January 1, 2020
Brno Christmas Market

Just like Christmas is not just about the Vienna Chritstmas Market, the Czech Republic is not all about Prague, especially at Christmas time. The Brno Christmas Market takes place in the country's second city from 29 November. The festival has two centres. The first is around Freedom Square which has a very modern vibe, focusing on virtual reality displays as well as live gigs and even a designer market. Sample special city drinks from a white cupola while resting at the Winter…

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Brussels Christmas Market 2019-2020

November 29, 2019 - January 5, 2020
Different squares and streets including the Grand Place Brussels,Belgium
Brussels Christmas Market 2018

The Brussels Christmas Market is no doubt one of the best in Europe for food and atmosphere. Winter Wonders – as the market is dubbed – runs over two kilometres through the Belgian capital’s historic town centre. Think cobbled streets and medieval market squares home to snow-dusted market stalls, cosy brasseries, lively pop-up cafés and bars. A covered ice-skating rink, an illuminated Ferris wheel, merry-go-rounds, brass bands, free performances, ice sculptures, a fun Christmas parade and a magical light and…

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December 2019

Padstow Christmas Market & Festival 2019

December 5 - December 8
Padstow Padstow,CornwallUnited Kingdom + Google Map
Free
Padstow Christmas Market & Festival

Foodies should head to the Cornish coastal of Padstow this December for the 12th Padstow Christmas Market & Festival. Master chefs Rick Stein (they don't call is Pad-stein for no reason), Paul Ainsworth and Nathan Outlaw will fly the Cornish culinary flag from 5 to 8 December. Paul Ainsworth, one of the star chefs at the Padstow Christmas Market & Festival Padstow has long been regarded as the culinary capital of Cornwall, but Padstow food festival is much more than…

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Antwerp Christmas Market 2019, Belgium

December 7, 2019 - January 5, 2020
Antwerp historical city centre, Groenplaats
Antwerpen,Belgium
+ Google Map
Free
Antwerp Christmas Market, Belgium

The medieval city of Antwerp makes for a stunning background to its famous Christmas market. Expanded now into several of the city’s prime historical locations, the Antwerp Christmas Market guarantees a unique experience embellished with ancient buildings while offering contemporary fun, traditional food and soul-warming mulled wine. Antwerp’s medieval city centre will fill up with hundreds of Christmas stalls offering handicrafts, original trinkets and local winter delicacies – including small fried potatoes with bacon called “spekpatatjes” and hot Belgian chocolate,…

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Beverley Festival of Christmas 2019

December 8 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm GMT
Beverley Beverley,United Kingdom + Google Map
Free
Beverley Christmas Festival

The hugely popular Beverley Festival of Christmas, in East Yorkshire, has grown from a small market to one of the largest festive celebrations in England. Held on 8 December from 10am to 4pm, join in the festivities. Staged each year since 1995 around the town centre of the medieval Minster town of Beverley, at its heart will be three traditional Victorian Christmas Markets selling everything from festive food and drink to arts and crafts. The historic market town with its two…

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Hanukkah 2019 Festival of Lights

December 22 - December 30
Israel and other countries
Hanukkah Festival of Lights Israel

Hanukkah, also known as Chanukah or the Festival of Lights, is one of the most popular and beautiful Jewish festivals around the world. Taking place annually towards the year-end, participants light candles, enjoy special fried food and give presents to children. Although only a minor festival in a religious sense – its story doesn’t appear in the Torah or Hebrew bible – the eight-day-long Hanukkah Festival of Lights has grown into the most popular of Jewish holidays, partly because of…

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February 2020

Bruges Beer Festival 2020 Belgium

February 1, 2020 - February 2, 2020
Different locations in the city centre Bruges,Belgium
Bruges Beer Festival Belgium

Since its first edition in 2007 the Bruges Beer Festival (“Brugs Bierfestival” in Flemish) has earned itself a reputation as one of Belgium’s best beer festivals, and that is saying something ...

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Valentine’s Day 2020 around the World

February 14, 2020
Various
Valentine's Day

It’s that time of the year again that love birds look forward to, many singles dread, and some brave souls try to ignore. The least that could be said about Valentine’s Day is that it triggers a range of emotions. So, are you bored with chocolates, roses and the obligatory candle-lit dinner? Travel Begins at 40 has put together a list of Valentine's Day traditions around the world to help you decide to which places to go on Valentine's Day…

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March 2020

Carnaval de Binche (Carnival of Binche) 2020, Belgium

March 23, 2020 - March 25, 2020
All over town Binche,Belgium + Google Map
Carnaval de Binche

Eerie, identical wax masks, colossal ostrich plume hats, confetti in churches and orange throwing: the medieval Carnaval de Binche (or Carnival of Binche) is like no other in the world. In the land of René Magritte, the Carnaval de Binche definitely lives up to Belgium’s long-time love affair with surrealism. In this tiny town in French speaking Wallonia, hundreds of local males – from toddlers to grandfathers – come out at dawn and roam the streets like the undead woken…

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