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Top Festivals in Europe in 2024

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After the infamous world-wide disaster that must not be named started to quieten down, festivals of all kinds have come back in full force. La Tomatina in Spain just got brighter, and all the arts festivals are blooming with fresh new perspectives. And thankfully so, because 2023 was a good reminder of what life was like before. We had a chance to regroup, literally, and music and cultural festivals have come back bigger, better, and a whole lot stronger.

Deprived and absolutely raring to go, good-time chasers around the globe have been foaming at the mouth, banging on the doors. And one by one these magnificent festivals have opened back up and offered some fantastically bold events and line-ups. What. A. Come. Back! And 2024 is just going to get better…

Let’s take a look at what will be conjured up for the rest of the year. 2024, ARE YOU READY?!?!

Music Festivals

1 – Tomorrowland

Where: Belgium

When: 19th to 28th of July

What to expect: If you know anything about Contiki, you know that we rave on about (pardon the pun) social travel: connecting and experiencing things with others from all walks of life.

Well, Tomorrowland is kind of that, executed through EDM madness. 400,000 people are expected to make an appearance across the sets this year. So, strap in for the biggest, most iconic, electronic music festival on the planet and get ready to witness something beautiful, as well as some strange stories to bring home…

2 – All Points East

Where: London

When: 17th 23rd, and 25th of August

What to expect: After a groundbreaking show last year, the APE festival is back, and it’s bigger than ever. This year it’s a big one. The line up will include a full day of artists including Ezra Collective, Jai Paul, The Decemberists, PinkPanthress, and Loyle Carner. This is a party you do not want to miss.

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3 – Primavera Sound

Where: Barcelona, Madrid, Porto, LA, Santiago, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo

When: 29th of May to 4th of June

What to expect:  No, you didn’t read that title wrong. Primavera Sound really does take place in all these locations. Mental, we know. This festival has chosen to release fewer dates this year too, but that doesn’t mean the momentum is low. On the contrary, audiences are teeming with excitement, especially after 2023’s line up that rivalled that of the festival giant Glastonbury.

2024 shows no signs of holding back either. Barcelona and Madrid lineups include Lana Del Ray, Disclosure, Charli XCX, Troye Sivan, and a hell of a lot more. Expect sun, sea, dance music madness and Estella by the bucket load.

4 – Parklife

Where: Manchester

When: 8th and 9th of June

What to expect: PARKLIFE – Ready to return for its 14th year in the UK’s cultural hub of Manchester, Parklife returns with its huge, genuinely HUGE, line-up. We’re starting to feel like there is definitely something in the water when it comes to festival line ups for 2024.

Ready? Ok. Go! Doja Cat, Disclosure, Anne Marie, Rudimental, Beck Hill, Ella Henderson, Kenya Grace, Loco Dice, Barry Can’t Swim. Geeeeeeez!

Expect a full-on party experience that won’t hold back. And, expect a fair few bucket hats… definitely a few bucket hats.

5 – Sziget Festival

Where: Budapest

When: 7th to 12th of August

What to expect: Think chilled out, good vibes, sexy dance festival, along with lots of sun, sand, and sea action. The line-up this year has a little bit of everything for everyone we reckon: Sam Smith, Martin Garrix, Stromzy, Louis Tomlinson, Big Thief – just to name a few, with many more yet to be announced.

Hosted in one of our favourite cities and destinations in the world we can’t think of a better reason to book a trip to Budapest and leave some room in between to explore! It’s a music festival in Europe you don’t wanna miss. 

Sziget Festival

Image source:Contiki

6 – NOS Alive

Where: Lisbon

When: 11th to 13th of July

What to expect: This year,  they’ve  thrown in Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Kenya Grace, Arcade Fire, Benjamin Clemetine and The Smashing Pumpkins. It’s a pop, r&b and rock festival all together.

When it’s not hosting wicked music festivals, Lisbon is still a city to fall in love with and we have just the perfect route to allow you to do that.

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7 – EXIT Festival

Where: Serbia

When: 10th to 14th of July

What to expect: Dancing, and a lot of it. When thinking about what festivals to book next, Serbia may not be at the top of your list, but we’re here to tell you that it absolutely should be! Black Eyed Peas, Gucci Mane, John Newman, Kenya Grace– this line-up is promising one hell of a show.

This award winning summer music festival takes place within the walls of the spectacular Periovarian Fortress in the city of Novi Sad, and has as a motto “Together always” (which we quite relate to here). There’s a real focus on happiness and love here, with more than 1000 artists who play over 40 stages and festival zones, enough to share with everyone.

Bonus fact: founded in 2000, EXIT Festival has snatched up the award for Best Major Festival not once but twice at the European Festivals Award, and to top it off, it was awarded Best European Festival in 2013 and 2017.

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8 – Country 2 Country

Where: London, Belfast, Glasgow

When: 8th to 10th of March

What to expect: Get your cowboy boots at the ready and grab the keys to the pick up truck, we’re calling all country fans! Listen, if you aren’t able to admit that country music absolutely slaps, then that sounds like a problem. We’ll be over in the 02 Arena having the time of our lives.

This is the time of year when country artists from across the USA flee their Texas mansions and hop across the border to the UK to belt out banger after banger for 3 nights.

Kane Brown, Brad Paisley, Brian Kelley, Colbie Callait, and Old Dominion include some of the artists this year and we cannot wait. So, if your heart belongs in Nashville, then this is one festival that you do not wanna miss out on. YEEEEhawwww!

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9 – Sea Star Festival

Where: Croatia

When: 23rd to 24th of May

What to expect: Brought to you by the organisers that started the EXIT festival, Sea Star Festival takes us to a Contiki fan favourite: the beautiful islands of Croatia. Who’s complaining?

Similar to its sister festival EXIT, Sea Star celebrates the best of EDM. We’re talking ArtBat Joker Out, Iniko, and many more yet to be announced. You’ll be able to catch a good sprinkle of house classics and alternative indie tunes as well over the weekend, so there’s something here for everyone.

What we especially love about this festival is the encouragement to go out and explore the lush surroundings of Umag, an island known for its beautiful Mediterranean landscapes and historical architecture. Partying and culture, it’s the best of both worlds, kind of like Contiki dreamt this one up…

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10 – Kala Festival

Where: Albania

When: 5th to 12th of June

What to expect: If you didn’t already know, Albania is an absolute gem of a country. Located just between Greece and Macedonia, it’s beachy and sunny, AND the birth place of Dua Lipa, so… Albania really doesn’t get enough praise, but maybe this festival will finally give it the points it deserves.

Kala Festival is banging, and though you may not initially recognise some of the names on the bill, you won’t regret buying a ticket once you’re there. It’s all about that adventurous spirit baby!

11 – Slam Dunk

Where: UK, France, Italy

When: 25th to 26th of May

What to expect: Emos of the world, unite! It’s our time to have some fun. Come one, come all, and celebrate the early 00’s when bangs, ripped jeans, and MySpace ruled. Break out the Vans and your skateboards, maybe get a fresh scene haircut, some choppy highlights, and jump through this time portal to witness the magic of YouMeAtSix, We the Kings, Boys Like Girls, Waterparks, Pennywise and many more.

This awesome mosh pitting party started off as a small event in the city of Leeds, and grew massively in popularity. It opened for the first time as an open air festival in 2019 and the scene has just been bigger and better since. So much so that this festival is heading over to France and Italy. It’s a revolution.

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12 – Best Kept Secret

Where: The Netherlands

When: 7th to 9th of June

What to expect: I mean… It’s a secret so we can’t talk about it. But, what we will say, is that the line-up is to die for (indie kids get ready): Disclosure, Justice, Bambii, BLCK MAMBA. Wow. It’s giving off serious house party vibes and it’s incredible.

As the name suggests, this festival really keeps it on the down-low, and we’re not ashamed to admit that we hadn’t heard of it before, though we’re absolutely pumped now we have! Take a long weekend with us in the Netherlands, and we’ll party together like one big fam. According to the festival themselves they’re “Here to connect people, cultures and disciplines through music. From sounds to art to food to friendships to all kinds of expressions, we bring them together in the same place to create synergies and magic moments” Ok. We. Are Sold.

See you soon Netherlands…and if you have any sense, you’ll meet us there. 

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13 – Take Off Festival

Where: Greece

When: 27th of June to 3rd of July

What to expect: Who said bigger was always better? Taking place in one of our favourite and most popular travel destinations, this boutique festival offers up just 2000 tickets and invites some of the hottest DJs from the UK to perform at various locations around the island. A dream come true for our island-hopping experts.

Packed with exclusive pool parties, beach parties, and paint raves (sounds promising), with the gorgeous backdrop of white sandy beaches and blue-domed buildings, this is the experience of a life time. It may not be the most cost friendly, but after partying through the most vibrant 6 nights of your life, we guarantee you won’t regret spending a single penny.

According the crew at Take Off the festival is all about “Focusing on both Music and Experience” and will also lean into what is already an incredibly busy period for the Greek Islands. It is giving Contiki Big Weekender vibes…

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14 – Lollapalooza

Where: Chicago, Brazil, Berlin, Argentina, Chile, Sweden, Mumbai

When: Location dependant

What to expect: This is a HUGE one, and depending on where you are in the world you’ll probably end up with a slightly different Lollapalooza experience, but that’s the fun of it. With festivals happening in 8 different countries, you’re bound to find one close to home that you can fly to and go full party mode… and full party mode you will go.

Lollapalooza manages to hook some of the biggest and best names in the business and the 2024 lineup is no different. With genuinely too many names to mention, here’s a quick list just to give you a taste: Halsey, Blink 182, Jonas Brothers, Sam Smith, Arcade Fire etc.

Basically, this is the biggest party on the planet, hands down. Lock the squad and book those flights, you will NOT regret it. A vibrant crowd at a concert, illuminated by mesmerising fireworks in the background, creating an electrifying atmosphere reminiscent of festivals in 2024.

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15 – Mystic Garden Festival

Where: Amsterdam

When: 15th of June

What to expect: As is perhaps quite obvious in the name, the Mystic Garden Festival is indeed held in, drum roll please, a mystical garden! Stunning, and quite unique as well.

Not only that, but Amsterdam and MGF are leaders in the field when it comes to sustainability in the festival world. They organise massive clean ups during the festival, as well as free parking for electric cars, reusable cups, and loads more.

If there’s anything that’ll make us feel less anxious about last night’s antics, it’s knowing that we did them sustainably.

What to pack for Festival header

Image source:Contiki

16 – Hideout Festival

Where: Croatia

When: 23rd to 27th of June

What to expect: Back yet again for 2024 this festival is popular among Brits. Hideout Festival is known for sun, sea, and house DJs galore. Set on the beautiful beach of Zrce on the island of Pag, experience some serious day-partying with antics that’d have your mum on the first flight out to Croatia to drag you home by your ear.

Sam Divine, Eliza Rose, Conducta, A Little Sound… I mean, say goodbye to sleep, and make sure to pack your comfy shoes ‘cuz you’re two stepping all night long baby. 

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17 – Glastonbury

Where: Somerset

When: 26th to 30th of June

What to expect: Now this, this is the Hunger Games of all festivals, and if we’re talking about the largest festivals in the world it’d be rude to end anywhere but here. Glastonbury festival. What can we say that hasn’t already been said? Glastonbury is known around the world for being a festival like no other. Ask anyone who’s been, and they’ll confirm.

The terms biggest and best have been thrown around quite a bit in this article, but when we use them here, we mean them. We really mean them. It’s not about the headliners here (though they are always fantastic), and it’s not about the setting or the time; here it’s all about the atmosphere, the vibes, and the people. And all three go crazy. A cultural festival with music at the heart of it.

Practically a city within a city, Glastonbury is set up across a slightly mental 900 acres of land. 210,000 incredibly lucky ticket holders will visit the site this year and along with these 210,000 over 3000 artists will play across 100 stages spread around the field

Organisation is key here if you want to secure your tickets with over 2.5 million people all grasping for them at the same time. But, if you’re successful, congratulations, you’re in for the treat of all treats. 

Pride Festivals

1. Amsterdam Pride

Where: Amsterdam

When: 2nd to 4th of August

What to expect: A pride celebration like no other (seriously!) 2024 will look back on 26 years of canal parade celebrations. With over 300 events taking place over the course of this period you can expect all things weird and wonderful that excite the senses… This is Amsterdam after all.

What really makes this Pride extravaganza so special is the location: right along the famous Amsterdam Canals. Residents and tourists alike swarm the canals across the city to catch a glimpse of the colourfully decorated boats (and crew members!) as they float down these beautiful and iconic canal routes. Music booms across the city as people navigate their way through the party… it’s a full on, but awesome experience!

If you want to surround yourself with all the positive vibes and love this Summer then get yourself over to the Amsterdam Pride Celebrations!

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2. Mighty Hoopla

Where: London

When: 1st and 2nd of June

What to expect: Time to get the glitter out and turn the festival fashion up a notch. Located in South London’s Brockwell Park, Mighty Hoopla has gained massive popularity within the LGBTQIA+ community and has become a safe space to express yourself exactly as you are, all while rocking out to smashing hits.

Mighty Hoopla is also huge in the female festival market as women from all over attend to dance the night away to the tunes of Britney Spears and the Spice Girls on deck. 2024 will welcome Nelly Furtado to the stage as well as LGBTQIA+ icons Kim Petras, Rita Ora, Agnes, Rebecca Black (did someone say Friday night?) We already know this one is going to be one hell of a party!

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3. Solidays

Where: Paris

When: 28th to 30th of June

What to expect: Back for its 26th anniversary, you will be expected to attend this massive celebration for three thrill-packed days in Paris, France. Bring your best attitude and your best party outfits, because it’s about to get crazy.

Solidays attracts party goers from across the globe due to that certain je ne sais quoi. It has a particularly strong fan following within the LGBTQIA+ community as the festival was able to raise 25 million euros for the fight against AIDs, and we are totally here for that!

With over 160,000 tickets up for grabs and over 150 artists taking the stage playing everything from hip hop, rock, pop, indie, and EDM, you can be sure this will be the most epic weekend of your life.

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Cultural Festivals

1. St. Patrick’s Day

Where: Ireland

When: 17th of March

What to expect: If you know anything about the Irish, you know that the promise of a good time is taken very seriously, and the promise of a good time in Ireland doesn’t look much bigger than St. Patrick’s Day.

Make your way into Dublin during this festive period and expect to be introduced to some of Ireland’s top upcoming musicians performing on every street corner, pub and café in town (also plenty of fancy dress). Grab your Guinness and whisky chaser and embrace this celebration of Irish culture and tradition! 

2. Oktoberfest

Where: Munich

When: 21st of September to 6th of October

What to expect: One of our personal favourites, we’ll take you to Germany to experience Oktoberfest like you never have before. Welcome to the biggest beer festival and travelling fairground on the planet. Have your Steins at the ready and prepare for cheesy tunes, even worse fancy dress, and some footlong hot dogs to get the party started.

3. La Tomatina

Where: Buñol, Spain

When: 28th of August

What to expect: Things are about to get saucy at the world’s biggest food fight. That’s right. Every year, 20,000 people gather to throw tomatoes at each other. At 12 pm, truckloads of juicy red tomatoes arrive at the centre of a small town in Spain and once the water canons hit the streets, the chaos begins. Now that’s one way to paint the town red.

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4. Fasnacht Carnival, or Carnival of Basel

Where: Switzerland

When: 19th to 21st of February

What to expect: The deafening sound of brass and percussion bands at 5 in the morning will wake you up if you happen to be in Switzerland in February. And if you look outside your window, you’ll see about 18,000 active Fasnächtler dressed up in costumes and masks. Yep. This is the Swiss way of celebrating ancestors, fertility and saying goodbye to the cold, dark winter. And honestly, we wouldn’t do it any other way.

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