When you’re exploring Europe’s best festivals this year, you’ll undoubtedly want to take a break from driving to check out some fun and interesting pit stops along the way. We’ve picked some of our favourite festivals happening this year, as well as a few places for you to check out when you’re on the road.
A Summer’s Tale – Luhmühlen, Germany
About 40 kilometres south of Hamburg in Germany, you’ll find the picturesque woodlands of Lüneburg Heath which is home to one of the best European festivals. This part of Germany is home to A Summer’s Tale festival, which features a fantastic selection of musicians, DJs, visual artists, live performances and workshops. There are even some great events for families with children. The festival takes place between the 5th and 8th of August.
Where to stop: Lüneburg Heath is full of things to see and do outside of the festival, and there are some beautiful walks you can enjoy along the Luhe Creek. Just to the north of the festival in Rosengarten, there’s a wonderful medieval museum which shows visitors what it was like for those living before electricity was invented! The Freilichtmuseum am Kiekeberg is great for lovers of history, and makes for a nice pit stop when driving.
Copenhagen Cooking – Copenhagen, Denmark
Between the 21st and 30th of August, Copenhagen hosts northern Europe’s most impressive food festival, which shows fantastic seasonal produce in the form of exquisitely prepared dishes. Emphasising the importance of fresh, local produce, Copenhagen Cooking will celebrate its 11th year, and visitors can enjoy over 100 unique events as well as two massive street feasts.
Where to stop: Beyond the many sights and sounds of Copenhagen lies the pretty seaport of Køge. If you’re on your way to a food festival, it might be nice to mix things up with a visit to the KØS museum of art. This is a particularly interesting art museum as it displays artists’ sketches, models, and notes that were made in preparation for the final piece. Witnessing how the creative process works is an absorbing experience, and it’s a great way to introduce art to kids.
Lumina – Cascais, Portugal
From the 11th to the 13th of September, the beautiful coastal town of Cascais is transformed by night into a festival of lights and sound. Three golden sandy beaches line the town’s coast, and these provide a beautiful place to relax during the day whilst you’re waiting for night to fall. The program of artists is varied and in 2014 works from 26 artists were shown in the festival. Often focusing around themes of the sea, light and people’s connection to where they live, the Lumina festival is an art show with a difference.
Where to go: The Algarve is a stunning part of Portugal and you can spend hours here exploring the many world-class beaches and restaurants. For some breath-taking views of nature however, head to Sintra, an UNESCO World Heritage site due to its many 19th century monuments. Surrounded by the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, this is a beautiful place to stop for a day or two on your way to Cascais, and visiting here is like stepping into a dream.
Café Budapest Contemporary Arts Festival
Spanning the arts, the Café Budapest Contemporary Arts Festival takes place between the 2nd and 18th of October and hosts over 180 different events. These range from live classical music, to opera theatre, and evenings come alive with visual art shows and literature readings. Promoting some of the best live performers in Hungary, there will be a varied line-up of international artists, as well as up-and-coming acts. This is a great event for anyone interested in the contemporary arts.
Where to go: Budapest is on the top of many travellers’ lists when they’re visiting Hungary, but the city of Pécs is a close second. There’s so much to see and do here, from amazing museums to stunning tiled buildings. Pécs boasts long summers due to its microclimate, so it’s great to visit at this time of year. To see the best examples of Baroque-style buildings, head to Király Street, where you’ll find a beautiful church, the National Theatre, as well as restaurants and shops to explore.
With a fantastic range of pick up locations across Europe, it’s never been easier to explore this amazing continent by car, and enjoy the hotpot of cultures to be found.