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Exit Festival, Novi Sad, Serbia
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The best music festivals in Europe to book in 2023

Looking to make the most of a legendary festival calendar? These are the best European festivals for the ultimate 2023

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

Going to music festivals near where you live is great, sure. But travelling for one? Getting to explore somewhere new and see a bunch of spectacular musical acts, as well as maybe – just maybe – enjoy better weather and cheaper beer? Well, that’s an entirely different kind of thrill.

When it comes to music festivals that are so magnificent that they double up as destinations in themselves, Europe’s certainly in no short supply. From classic ginormous and headliner-packed fests in the UK, France and Netherlands to remote, lesser-known spots in the Faroes and Azores, Europe is brimming with marvellous music festivals. Below we’ve picked out 20 of the most unmissable festival feasts on the continent.

⛺️ The best UK music festivals
🎸 The best music festivals in the world
🎤 The best music festivals in the US

Top European music festivals

Over the past two decades, no festival has consolidated its place amongst Europe’s very best quite like the Barcelona edition of Primavera Sound. Renowned for a marvellously broad line-up that features as many hot-shot newcomers as proper, established legends, it’s all impeccably well-organised. And it’s in a remarkable waterfront location, the Parc del Forum, which is both inside Barcelona itself and a place that seems purpose-built for a continent-leading music festival. Be sure to check out the Primavera editions in Madrid and Porto, too.

Big names: Kendrick Lamar, Depeche Mode, Rosalia, New Order.

Where: Parc del Forum, Barcelona, Spain.

When: June 1-3 2023.

For over a century, Vilnius’s Lukiškės Prison housed some of Lithuania’s most notorious criminals and political prisoners. These days it’s transformed into one of the cities buzziest cultural hubs – and that conversion is typified by 8 Festival. With musical offerings tending to focus on post-punk (especially of the British variety) 8 Fest pairs earthily gritty musical vibes with the grittiest of surroundings.

Big names: Young Fathers, Shame, Anna Calvi and Baxter Dury. 

Where: Lukiškės Prison, Vilnius, Lithuania. 

When: June 16-18 2023.


No list of the best music fests in Europe (or the world, for that matter) is complete without Glastonbury. Sure, Glasto’s line-up this year is getting a bit of a hammering for its lack of diversity, but the rest of the billing is as much of a treasure trove as ever. Whether you’re chanting along with the masses at the the glitzy Pyramid Stage or worming your way into one of the countless hidden zones and legendary secret sets, a few hours at Glasto and you’ll soon know exactly why the ginormous fest sells out so ridiculously quickly ever year.

Big names: Elton John, Arctic Monkeys, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Lizzo.

Where: Glastonbury, Somerset, UK.

When: June 21-25 2023.

As if being out on São Miguel island in the Azores – ie out in the middle of the Atlantic, about 1,400 kilometres off the coast of mainland Portugal – wasn’t adventurous enough, Tremor turns the entire music festival experience into a sort of quest. Performances are at secret locations dotted throughout the island, some reached by raft and/or jungle trek. The music leans towards all things experimental, from folk and punk to electronics, while the limited number of tickets ensures it all remains shrouded in tantalising mystery.

Big names: Lucrecia Dalt, Owen Pallett.

Where: São Miguel, Azores.

When: March 28-April 1 2023.


Croatia (and much of the Adriatic coast in general, for that matter) has become a dance music hotspot in recent years. As ideal for boogieing ‘til sunrise (and long after) and blissing out in the daytime as it is for secret island parties, festivals from Dimensions to Defected have shown just how to make the most of this spectacular setting. Our pick of the bunch is Love International, which consistently boasts the best line-ups of any of ‘em. 

Big names: Call Super, Shanti Celeste, Craig Richards.

Where: The Garden Tisno, Croatia.

When: July 12-18 2023

For years, Polish festival Open’er has confounded with the quality of its line-up. From this year’s Kendrick Lamar headline slot and last year’s storming Dua Lipa set to the return of LCD Soundsystem in 2016, each year it seems to dig out a staggering number of huge names. Oh, and it’s all on an abandoned airstrip near the Polish resort town of Gdynia. So far as festival set-ups go, Open’er is as dramatic and very, very cool as it gets.

Big names: Kendrick Lamar, Lil Nas X, Arctic Monkeys, Lizzo.

Where: Gdynia-Kosakowo Airport, Gdynia, Poland. 

When: June 28-July 1 2023.


The Montreux Jazz Festival has been drawing legends of jazz (and jazz-adjacent music) to the shores of Lake Geneva since all the way back in 1967. Over the past half-century everyone from Miles Davis and Bill Evans to Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone and Frank Zappa has graced the fest – and these days the line-up is more star-studded and varied than ever. Classic rock, modern soul and fiery hip-hop often feature – as well as, obviously, plenty of jazz.

Big names: Line-up yet to be announced.

Where: Lake Geneva, Switzerland

When: June 30-July 15 2023.

A fan of all kinds of music – and we really mean all kinds of music? Rewire’s the festival for you. Priding itself on the enormous range of music on offer, since being founded in 2012 Rewire has put on a programme of avant-garde jazz, industrial rock, ambient pop, orchestral minimalism and much, much more to The Hague. If you’re an adventurous music listener, it’s essential.

Big names: Fever Ray, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Tim Hecker.

Where: The Hague, Netherlands.

When: April 6-9 2023.


Legendary electronic fest Dekmantel is all about pushing beyond the limits of electronic music, offering everything from pounding techno and house beats to ambient space-outs and cosmic jazz. Held riverside on the IJ in the leafy southern Amsterdam suburb of Amstelveen, Dekmantel is as apt for interrogating the potential of electronica as it is for a mad dance sesh.

Big names: DVS1, Lucrecia Dalt, Shygirl, Nala Sinephro.

Where: Amstelveen, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

When: August 2-6 2023.

With all its gardens, fountains and sculptures, the Domaine Nationale de Saint-Cloud near Paris is a mind-bogglingly gorgeous place to visit. But when combined with a music festival at Rock en Seine, it becomes a very special venue indeed. Despite the name, Rock en Seine offers up much more than yer typical guitar-bass-‘n’-drums acts. Over the years ReS has branched out into hip-hop, metal, electronica and all-out chart pop, firmly establishing its place as France’s premier music fest.

Big names: Billie Eilish, The Strokes, Florence and the Machine, The Chemical Brothers.

Where: Domaine Nationale de Saint-Cloud, Paris, France.

When: August 23, 25, 26 and 27.


Exit Festival in the Serbian city of Novi Sad was founded as a pro-democracy student protest movement all the way back in 2000, and while it remains known for its social activism, these days it’s just as renowned for its sprawling line-ups and innovative range of extra stuff. Housed in the hilltop Petrovaradin Fortress, alongside Exit’s 16 stages are sports zones, chill-out areas and even a zipline.

Big names: The Prodigy, Wu-Tang Clan, Nina Kraviz.

Where: Petrovaradin Fortress, Novi Sad, Serbia.

When: July 6-9 2023.

Take a look at the line-up of G! Festival and, unless you’re Danish or Faroese, you’ll likely be left pretty baffled. This fest on the Faroe Island of Eysturoy prides itself on its local and Danish talent – and while that talent sure is brilliant, it’s the setting that truly dazzles. With stages built on the beach and a local football pitch, the horizon is dominated by the Faroes’ dramatic grass-carpeted mountains. And as if it couldn’t get any better, there are saunas and hot tubs on the beach, too.

Big names: Annika Hoydal, Hogni, Byrta. 

Where: Göta, Eysturoy, Faroe Islands.

When: July 13-15 2023.


C2C has been holding raucous avant-pop parties in Turin’s most fabulous industrial spaces for just over 20 years – and they ain’t slowing down any time soon. Originally standing for ‘Club to Club’ (and not to be confused with the country festival of the same name), C2C takes over the likes of Fiat’s towering old production factory in Lingotto and a grand nineteenth century train repair centre. It remains a fascinating display of artists exploring the various ways that pop music warps, twists and thrills.

Big names: Caroline Polachek, Flying Lotus, King Krule.

Where: Turin, Italy. 

When: November 2-5 2023.

Dorset’s End of the Road might be tiny, but it packs a heck of a punch. The focus here is keeping things small but making sure every inch of it is as great as it can be, from the limited but carefully curated line-up (which usually centres around indie folk and rock) to the craft beer vans and the walking trails that wind through the woodland. It’s all just so thoroughly, thoroughly lovely.

Big names: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Wilco, Future Islands, Angel Olsen.

Where: Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset, England. 

When: August 31-September 3 2023.


Considering it has just two stages, Paredes de Coura boasts a lot of quality into its small-ish line-up. Taking place in a valley outside Porto, PdC has been running for nearly three decades and is a rite of passage for Portuguese teenagers. And it’s hard to disagree that this place simply has to be experienced. Not only does the natural amphitheatre provide a spectacular setting, but if you’re flagging you can get yourself a raft and doze off as you float down the river at the valley bottom.

Big names: Lorde, Little Simz, Wilco, Loyle Carner.

Where: Paredes de Coura, Portugal.

When: August 16-19 2023.

Often described as more of a Danish national holiday than just a festival, Denmark’s flagship music festival Roskilde is a titanic cultural event. Combining huge-name headliners with on-the-pulse newcomers and tonnes of installations and performance art, the bill is diverse, vast and caters to an enormous range of music listeners. Plus, it’s all combined with a typically Scandi style of camping and organisation, meaning it’s a little comfier, cleaner and better-equipped than most.  

Big names: Christine and the Queens, Burna Boy, Denzel Curry.

Where: Roskilde, Denmark.

When: June 24-July 1 2023.


How much music can you squeeze into one island in the middle of the Danube? A heck of a lot, it turns out. Sziget, which is on leafy Óbudai-sziget island in Budapest, crams literally thousands of performances (and 60 stages) into its programme and consistently churns out some of the biggest names in world pop music. Each year Sziget somehow manages to get bigger and better, adding party boats, amusement parks and even immersive chill-out domes.  

Big names: Billie Eilish, David Guetta, Florence and the Machine, Imagine Dragons.

Where: Óbudai-sziget, Budapest, Hungary.

When: August 10-15 2023.

Tomorrowland is swarmed by bass-drop-obsessed brosteppers and glitter-doused influencers – but even if you’re neither of those things, there’s so much to admire in this legendary Belgian fest. Tomorrowland’s OG event (near the town of Boom, naturally) has achieved a sort of mythical status – and, thanks to its hundreds of DJs, immersive festival themes, gargantuan scale and eye-bulgingingly OTT stage design, it’s not hard to see why.

Big names: Nina Kraviz, Amelie Lens, Tiësto, The Chainsmokers. 

Where: Provinciaal Recreatiedomein De Schorre, Boom, Belgium.

When: July 21-23, 28-30 2023.


At plenty of festivals the music never really stops – but most slow or at least quieten down a little. But not Home Again Club Festival. Run by Berlin-based label Home Again and based in the RSO Berlin warehouse complex, this one promises 65 straight hours of non-stop music. This being Berlin, you can expect some pounding four-to-the-floor that entire time – but if you do happen to fancy some more chilled-out vibes, there’ll be some talks and ambient sets, too.

Big names: Leon Vynehall, Cinthie, DJ Assault.

Where: RSO Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

When: May 19-22 2023.

Everyone knows that dub and reggae are best heard on the biggest, loudest, bassiest sound systems possible – and few places get that vibe so clearly as International Dub Gathering in Tarragona, Spain. Fuelled by artists from around the world, IDG may well be the finest and most glorious celebration of dub, reggae and sound system culture outside of Jamaica and the Caribbean.

Big names: Jah Shaka, Iration Steppas, Blakamix & Special A.

Where: L’Aldea, Tarragona, Spain.

When: May 25-27 2023.

Check out our full festival calendar

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