Best Festivals in Europe today combine an offbeat vibe with some of the best arts and entertainment shows.
Most fringe festivals originated as alternative events to major, often exclusive, arts festivals in cities across the globe, offering a chance for anyone to perform or put on a show.
Over the last fifty years, festivals such as the renowned Edinburgh Fringe have become common, but nowhere more so than in Europe.
Table of Contents
Best Festivals in Europe
With many to choose from, here is just a selection of what’s on offer throughout the continent.
In much the same spirit, Dublin launched its own September fringe festival back in the early 90s, the biggest of its kind in Ireland.
Self-styled as a ‘platform’ for the best of contemporary dance, theater and music currently touring the world, Dublin’s Absolut Fringe is also about exposing burgeoning local talent.
With everything from experimental theatre to Irish folk music with a contemporary twist, this autumn festival is hot on the heels of Edinburgh in every sense.
Across the channel, Amsterdam has its own fringe which lasts 10 days from the end of August to the beginning of September.
It’s already gaining a reputation for edgy, offbeat content and is worth going for the high-energy opening party or any of the Fringe FUEL master classes for performers if you’re a budding participant.
Helpfully, around half of the program is either performed in English or can be understood whatever your language.
In the somewhat warmer climes of the Mediterranean, Athens Fringe Live is Greece’s answer to the grassroots festival.
Using artistic exchange and celebration as a force for positive change, Fringe Live emphasizes this philosophy of interaction rather than the comedy stand-up that Edinburgh now leans towards.
So alongside the program of physical theater and exhibitions, social and volunteer events also form the core of what this festival is about.
In Hungary’s cultural center Budapest, the fringe spirit has created a sideline to the more traditional Budapest Spring festival.
Taking place in April, Budapest Fringe crams a wealth of underground talent and upcoming performers into the last three days of the ‘core’ festival.
The fringe festival is centered on Pest Broadway in the inner part of the city east of the River Danube.
Though mostly a showcase for the local arts scene, the fringe here encompasses everything from Hungarian belly dancing to imports such as Irish dance and Afro-inspired music.
With some of Europe’s best fringe festivals timed so that they follow on from each other, it might be worth seeing a few in a row.
See Edinburgh, Amsterdam and Dublin over the course of a few weeks in the late summer and you could do most of the journey by road and ferry, but don`t set off without a route planner if you’re taking the car.
Central and southern Europe is home to many more festivals in places such as Prague and Naples so if you’re going on a road trip don’t forget to get European breakdown.
Edinburgh Fringe Festival
The biggest and best-known fringe remains Edinburgh’s – in a city that’s home to as many as 20 different festivals every year.
In August, Scotland’s capital becomes a mêlée of arts performers and crew members of all kinds, not to mention the crowds that flood the city to watch the shows.
The streets themselves become arenas, flyers are handed out in their millions and the atmosphere is electric from morning until night for a whole month of celebration.
Wading through the throngs on the Royal Mile while stilt-walkers and buskers compete for attention from every corner remains an essential part of the experience.
With thousands of performances in hundreds of venues over a span of 25 days, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a massive arts celebration.
Taking it all in is utterly impossible.
What is possible is devising a sensible plan that makes it possible for anyone to enjoy the highlights that matter most to them.
Planning on attending Edinburgh Fringe Festival Top Tips
If there is a particular show or performer you’re dying to see, make certain to buy tickets in advance.
Actually, it’s possible to buy advance tickets for many events, but it makes sense not to overbook yourself.
One of the most wonderful facets of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is its spontaneity.
Leave yourself some time to relax and talk to people in pubs.
Also, leaving yourself with plenty of free time makes it possible for you to enjoy the impromptu parties and events that seem to spring up out of nowhere without having to worry about sticking to a schedule.
Get your hands on a festival program as soon as you can.
Get really familiar with it so you’ll know which performances are must sees and so you’ll be able to locate venues easily.
The program is free and you can order it in advance to study before leaving home.
Keep it with you throughout the festival to help you plan your days.
While you may have a favorite plan for each day, keep several contingency plans in mind as tickets tend to sell out quickly.
Festival fatigue is a common problem in Edinburgh.
Fight it by wearing comfortable shoes and clothes.
This is not the time to try out sky high heels and miniskirts.
Aim for sensible shoes, jeans, T-shirts and perhaps a raincoat.
Carry a tote with a water bottle and a few portable snacks.
The festival is huge and chaotic, making it easy to lose track of meals and proper hydration.
Those who are attending the festival alone need have no fear of remaining so.
The convivial atmosphere and spirit of inclusion quickly make everyone feel at home.
You’ll meet a few lifelong friends in addition to some temporary drinking buddies.
However, the festival is also welcoming to whole families.
Check out the program to discover a multitude of performances geared specifically toward children.
Attending the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is an unforgettable experience.
By making some plans in Edinburgh, but also leaving yourself open to going with the flow, you’ll get the most out of your time on a UK vacation.
Your Guide To Edinburgh Fringe Festival
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe takes place in August every year and there’s already a packed program of shows, plays and other events that can be viewed and booked on the festival’s official site.
What Is Edinburgh Fringe Festival?
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world and takes place every August for three weeks in Scotland’s capital city.
Every year thousands of performers of all kinds perform on stages all over Edinburgh.
From big names in the world of entertainment to unknown artists looking to build their careers, the festival caters for everyone and includes theater, comedy, dance, physical theater, musicals, operas, music, exhibitions and events.
Tickets & Deals
Although you can buy tickets online already now, it’s worth noting that you’ll be able to pick tickets up from the box offices during the event – assuming they haven’t sold out – and there’s also a huge range of free entertainment in venues and on the streets.
It’s quite hard to escape the fun of the Fringe!
Half-Price Hut and Free events:
If you don’t have any particular plans for the day you can always swing by the Fringe Half-Price Hut during the festival and see what tickets are on offer for half of their usual price that day.
There are also plenty of free shows on offer during the festival, not to mention all the discounted tickets and 2 for 1 ticket deals.
Edinburgh Fringe Festival Accommodation
Unsurprisingly, finding somewhere affordable and cool hotels in Edinburgh to stay during the festival gets more difficult as August approaches.
With this in mind, it’s best to decide when you are going to visit and make bookings as soon as possible.
If you want to stay in style this site has a brilliant hotel in Edinburgh – on a smaller budget?
There are a number of hostels situated in and around the city center which offer great value, some of these even offer private rooms.
Again, these can book up very far in advance during peak season so you’ll need to sort your place now, another option is to stay in apartments in Edinburgh, which we did last time we were there.
Staying outside of the City is an option for those who want to pay less or who have left it too late to find suitable accommodation in the center.
You could choose to stay in the nearby Port of Leith, which is within easy bus and even walking distance of the action.
Or, for a country holiday feel, pitch up at a glamping or camping site outside of the city – this is a great idea for those who want to combine the busy festival life with some wind down time and you can go as basic or glamorous as you like, thanks to specialist facilities like this Wigwam camp.
Other Things To See and Do In Edinburgh
Edinburgh is literally packed with attractions and things to do, and the Edinburgh Pass is highly recommended as you get a lot for your money with free entry to many places.
Here are a few things we recommend checking out when you’re in Edinburgh:
- The Castle
- Mary King’s Close
- National Galleries of Scotland
- Camera Obscura
- Holyrood Place
- The National Museum of Scotland
- The Royal Mile
- Botanical Gardens
Also don’t forget to try the infamous deep-fried mars bars, and in the evening join one of the many haunted tours around the city.
There’s More than One Edinburgh Festival
Edinburgh is often associated with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest art & comedy festival, but it’s not this festival alone that has given the city its nickname as the “festival city”.
In fact there are over 12 festivals taking place in Edinburgh every year.
Rather than shining the spotlight on the already well known Festival Fringe, we’ll share some other great festivals in Edinburgh coming up next month that are well worth checking out …
Edinburgh International Festival (August – September)
The festival that started it all, the Edinburgh International Festival was founded in 1947, with a love of classical music at its heart.
With the first festival taking place just after the horrors of World War II, the event’s founders aimed to “provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit”, and enrich the cultural life of Scotland.
Now staged primarily in The Hub, a truly breathtaking building just next to Edinburgh’s famous castle, it is one of the most famous festivals in the world.
Drawing in the finest purveyors of classical music, opera, theater and dance from all over the globe, it’s helped put Edinburgh on the map, with many repeat visitors wooed by Edinburgh’s jaw dropping architecture and undeniable charm.
This year’s festival looks back to the founder’s original intent, to uplift the human spirit – and with a triple-dip recession looming, we could all use a little of that.
Highlights for 2012 include visionary theater director Silviu Purcărete’s take on Gulliver’s Travels, a chance to catch the dance stars of the future with an exciting triple bill from New York’s famous Juilliard School, a playful and innovative take on My Fair Lady in Meine faire Dame – a Language Laboratory, and a return performance from one of the world’s greatest opera singers, Waltraud Meier.
Edinburgh Art Festival
Despite the International Festival running for over 60 years now, the visual arts tend to have been neglected.
In 2004, the Edinburgh Art Festival set out to change all that, with the help of the EIF.
The vast majority of events and exhibitions taking place as part of the month long festival are completely free, designed to encourage as many people as possible to discover the latest and greatest artists from around the globe.
This year’s festival is the biggest yet, with a series of new public art commissions and more than 45 major exhibitions taking place throughout Edinburgh’s many established and independent galleries.
Alongside exhibitions covering the work of David Hockney, Picasso’s contemporaries and 100 works selected from the rarely-glimpsed Royal Collection, emerging artists take over the city, including a new exhibition from someone you’ll usually catch on the Fringe, comedian Harry Hill.
Edinburgh Book Festival
Britain’s biggest book festival, even more ambitious in scale than the famous Hays Festival, this celebration of all things literary sprang to life in 1983.
Founded by publisher Jenny Brown, its existence earned Edinburgh the coveted title of UNESCO’s first City of Literature in 2004.
From its humble beginnings, where it played host to just 30 authors, today’s festival now offers up more than 800 writers and events.
From encouraging new writing through its commissioning program, to encouraging first-time writers through a fascinating series of talks and workshops with established authors, it’s one of the most popular festivals in the country and sells out sharp.
This year’s event welcomes more authors than ever before, including William McIlvanney, Simon Armitage, Iain Banks and A.L. Kennedy.
Fantastic Food Festivals In The UK
The summer brings with it many delights – the chance to shed a few cumbersome layers of clothing, time to be outdoors, the opportunity to catch up with friends who live just that bit too far away to visit in the blustery depths of winter and of course, food festivals and other UK Celebration!
If you’re anything like us, the latter will be of great importance as you plan where to head to best line your (not so bikini ready) belly with the best mouth-watering treats around.
Here are the food festivals we dare not miss out on this summer…
Llangollen Food Festival, Wales
From Farmhouse made chocolates, to award winning smoked Anglesey wild sea bass, to the finest local honey, you’ll find many expected and surprising nibbles at the Llangollen food festival.
There will also be cooking demonstrations and workshops throughout the day and the chance to pick up a variety of new recipes, to give you some ideas to try out in your own kitchen. website: llangollenfoodfestival.com
Rock Oyster Festival, Cornwall
Taking place over the long midsummer weekend in Rock, north Cornwall, is this fabulous celebration of all things delicious that come from the sea, and more – from the best oysters you’ll taste all year, to pulled pork sandwiches still hot off the spit, to Peruvian cuisine the festival is a true celebration of tasty delights.
Set in the grounds of the wonderful 17th century Dinham estate, you also get a view of the Camel Estuary, which in our view can’t be equaled…
NB – just as an aside – if you’re tempted by the lure of Oysters – The BBC Good Food Guide are offering the chance to win entry to the festival PLUS a 3 night stay in a luxury cottage with Latitude 50 – find the full details here on the BBC site.
Isle of Wight Garlic Festival
As the name suggests, you will find rather a lot of garlic at this friendly and informal food festival.
This is not all though; as the festival also boasts mixed food stalls, baskets of wonderful produce to take home, a generously sized beer tent and more besides.
Falmouth Oyster Festival, Cornwall
Don’t let the name deceive you, as this thriving festival set in the pretty harbor town of Falmouth is a feast for all the senses and there’s more to this one than oysters.
Try oodles of shell fish, lobster and crab fresh from the boats, to the sound of sea shanty singing, warm chatter and boats races.
There are also marquees brimming with crafts and edible produce to take away with you.
This is a jolly affair: we recommend bringing the whole family or plenty of friends to getting involved in the party.
Nantwich Cheese Show, Cheshire
If you’re a fan of the cheese then this festival will send you be right up your avenue.
From Wensleydale, to Cheshire and Stilton, and even some more experimental cheeses, such as chocolate chip cheese(!), you’ll be impressed and delighted by the quality and range of produce on show here.
Many celebrity chefs attend and besides the main event there will be plenty of other produce such as honey, horticulture, floral art and livestock to see, with everything else from shire horses to stunt men!
A truly English day out.
Let’s hope to Great British summer provides the weather!
Though we’re sure you’ll enjoy these fabulous festival come rain or shine.
Stag Weekend Destinations In Europe
Stag Weekend Destinations In Europe Throwing a bachelor party for your friend’s last days of “freedom” is a long tradition dating back to the 5th century B.C, but the ways to celebrate it has changed slightly over the centuries.
Today, it has become ever more popular to have a stag weekend abroad, and in Europe there are plenty of destinations to choose from.
Best destinations to go for a stag weekend
Stag Weekend Destinations In Europe
Riga – For The Experienced
Riga Capital City of Latvia With its sensational selection of stag activities to be pick from, and its pretty girls, it isn’t hard to see why so many choose Riga for their stag weekend.
With many years of “stag party experience”, Riga has begun to attract legendary status for its nightlife and stag parties from all over Europe flock to this Mecca of stag activity.
All the best bars are fairly close to one another, so that you can spend more time at the clubs than going between them all, and the locals are known to party until dawn.
But it’s not just for the nightlife that stag groups choose Riga for their stag weekend.
If you’re looking for some adrenaline activities like white water rafting or mud churning time on quad bikes, Riga has it all.
Brno – For The Budget Newbie
Prague is a favorite among many groups for their stag weekend, but it’s starting to feel a bit “done”, and with its raising prices it might be time to look for something similar but different, which brings us to Brno.
As Czech Republic’s second largest city, Brno is kind of the “off-the-beaten-path” destination for stag weekends.
It’s cheaper than Prague, and still offers a huge variety of things to do for the epic stag weekend.
Besides, being a student city you can count on some great nightlife.
Except for exploring the beautiful city center, you can get your hands on some go karting, machine gun-shooting, off-road four wheeling and other classics.
Ibiza – For The Beach Party
Looking to party all night and day in a place where partying simply never ends?
Ibiza is the perfect place for a sun kissed stag weekend, with beautiful beaches, bikinis and an on-going party vibe with some of the world’s best DJ’s.
Ibiza is actually one of the most popular destinations for hen parties, so don’t be surprised if you end up celebrating with a group on their hen weekend!
Apart from partying 24/7, you can do some of the classic things like go karting, paragliding, cruising and paintball.
Amsterdam – For The Classic
Amsterdam is the classic choice for the party group: there are plenty of bars and clubs, some seriously crazy nightlife experiences, a red light tour and a fun city to explore during the day.
The reason why Amsterdam is one of the best choices is that you’re pretty much guaranteed some weird experiences, and remember:
What happens in Amsterdam, stays in Amsterdam…
If “Hangover” did another movie, I would love to see them ending up in this city!
For more information on hen & stag weekend destinations around Europe, visit Maximise for a great variety of options and deals.
Top Stag Party Destinations In Europe
With its serene setting, delicious cuisine and friendly people, Europe is the perfect vacation destination.
From beaches to palaces, Europe offers a ton of opportunities for stag parties of all kind – here stag party organizers Stag.com offer a low-down on a few of the top stag party destinations in Europe:
Stag Party Amsterdam
Amsterdam is THE party-capital of the world.
Apart from the Red Light District, there is much more to look around too!
The shops inside the Red Light area offer some exquisite gifts for the fairer sex.
The people are very friendly and if you spend a night here, you will definitely end up with a lot of friends and a lifetime of memories.
This is just the perfect stag party destination!
Stag Party Ibiza
Ibiza is home to some of the best DJ’s in the world. The party (literally) never ends here.
It is the perfect spot for one to let their hair down and have an amazing time.
Many clubs are open day and night, meaning that you can go partying straight after breakfast at 9 am, and chances are there will be a world famous House DJ continuing the party on the beach at noon.
Stag Party Dublin
Dublin is home to the Temple Bar and the world-famous Guinness factory.
This is a must-go destination for beer lovers.
Because of its scenic beauty and a thriving night-life, Dublin is one of the few cities which provide calmness while partying.
Dublin is also famous for its many adventure trails spread over vast expanses.
Bars, bazaars and beauties daunt the streets of Istanbul.
There are so many pubs and bars located in the city that you would need a proper guide to visit only the most happening places.
With its ancient setting of monuments preserved over ages, the city adds another interesting flavor to the Eastern Europe state.
The capital of Slovakia offers booze at one of the cheapest prices in the continent and the clubs are always full of people dancing and partying the night away.
Mixing partying with adventure sports, the city is a must-go destination for every party animal and adrenaline junkie!
And lastly, did we mention that Slovakian women are among the hottest in the world?
One of the oldest areas of the world is definitely one of the sauciest too!
From Soho Road to Trafalgar Square, the Brits know how to get it right.
A Bar Crawl should always be on the cards when in London.
We could name one or two of the best clubs in the city, but then it would not be fair to the dozen-odd super talented DJ’s who play day and night!
From strip shows and lap dances to the smooth accent of suave British men, the place has something in store for both the sexes!
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