European festivals that are so worth going abroad for

Leave the wellies at home.

While we’re always partial to a bit of Glastonbury fun or checking out one of the UK’s small festivals, sometimes you just need to get out of the country for some fresh perspective – and great music. Luckily, there’s a number of amazing European music festivals worth checking out this year from places as diverse as Madrid and Copenhagen with all manner of artists to suit your tastes.

Get the gang together, we’re going on a Eurotrip. For more things to do in the hotter months, check out our guide to things to do in London this summer.

Awakenings Festival, Amsterdam

The vibe

For all things electro, head to Awakenings Festival in Amsterdam. As the biggest outdoor techno festival in Europe, it attracts as many as 80,000 people over a weekend and we imagine this year will be the same. Spanning over just two days and over 100 techno DJs, you’ll be able to see the likes of Carl Cox, Adam Beyer, Nina Kraviz, Loco Dice and Ben Clock.

The details

Amsterdam, June 30-July 1

Where to stay

You’re unfortunately unable to camp out at this festival, however there’s a few nearby spots to go. Generator Amsterdam is a step up from your average hostel with luxury apartments for six, which come with a kitchen and gorgeous views over the city.

Roskilde, Copenhagen

european festivals

PJP photos/REX/Shutterstock

The vibe

Bigger is sometimes better and Roskilde is definitely evidence of that. Running for a whopping eight days and with 175 music acts packed into an incredible line up, there’s something for everybody whether you’re off jamming to the Gorillaz and Eminem or feeling the Top 40s with Bruno Mars and Dua Lipa. Plus, the festival hosts an annual naked race – might want to get a few drinks down you before you get your kit off, though.

The details

Copenhagen, July 1-8

Where to stay

Roskilde is a camping festival, so bring your sleeping bag and earplugs. Whether you’re bringing your own tent, bringing a caravan or want to glamp it out in a tent lodge, there’s a number of options available on the site. That said, if you’re not keen on roughing it then you can stay at a nearby hostel like Generator Copenhagen.

Dour Festival, Belgium

The vibe

Dubbing itself ‘five days of love and alternative music’, Dour Fest is not wrong. If you’re in it purely for the live bands (and love camping), it’s time to get acquainted. Last year it was all about the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, this summer, Phoenix are your guys. Oh and beer. We imagine the beer won’t be bad either.

The details

Belgium, July 11-15

Where to stay

There’s different types of camping tiers ranging from regular camping all the way through to The Village, a luxury dedicated area, at Dour. There’s also a number of hotels that they do special packages with.

Mad Cool Festival, Madrid

european festivals

Redferns

The vibe

If you scorn the chart toppers and always head straight for the alternative playlists, you’ll find kindred spirits out at Mad Cool Festival this year. Depeche Mode, Kasabian, Pearl Jam, Massive Attack, Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Tame Impala are just a few of the names in attendance, though those keen on something a little more mainstream will also be treated to live performances by Dua Lipa and James Bay.

The details

Madrid, July 12-14

Where to stay

There’s no camping at Mad Cool, which means you’ll have to find your own accommodation. Generator Madrid is a pretty affordable option priced at £20+ a night, while on the ritzier end of the scale AC Atocha Hotel comes highly recommended by the festival itself from £126+.

Exit Festival, Serbia

The vibe

With over a decade in the bizz, Exit’s kind of legendary – no wonder it was once voted best European Festival. This summer, the beach adventure’s bigger than ever with the aptly-titled ‘Exit Freedom’. With indie, reggae, rock and electronic music dominating the line-up, you’ll be able to see the likes of David Guetta, Martin Garrix, Migos, Grace Jones, French Montana and more.

The details

Serbia, July 12-15

Where to stay

There’s a huge range of accomodation at Exit, whether you’re camping all four days over at their campsite or booking into one of its dorm rooms. There’s also a few hotels that they work with, you can check it all out here.

Way Out West, Gothenburg

The vibe

The woodland setting of Slottsskogen park in Gothenburg – the music capital of Sweden, don’t ya know – is kind of perfect for this festival. Folk flock there as much for the vast range of environmentally friendly veggie food as the stellar line-up which this year boasts  Kendrick Lamar, Arctic Monkeys, Lykke Li, Patti Smith and Iggy Pop. Rock ‘n’ (falafel) roll.

The details

Gothenburg, August 9-11

Where to stay

You’ll have to figure out your own accommodation at this festival, as camping’s strictly banned on the grounds. Instead, they prefer to promote local hotels and hostels in Gothenburg – youth hostel Slottskogens Vandrarhem is a popular choice.

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