From Swedish limestone quarries, Icelandic lava tunnels and Polish coalmines to epic boat parties and beach raves, these European festivals all boast breathtakingly beautiful settings. Here are seven spectacular party locations to pop on your festival bucket list.
RECOMMENDED: Your complete guide to this year’s music festivals
Seven spectacular festival locations
After taking the reins from the muchloved Garden Festival last year, the idyllically located Love International returns with a world-class line-up of house, disco and techno. By day, board a boat party with the Croatian sun blazing overhead and take the rave to the waves, or make amends for the night before by relaxing on the beach at the heart of the festival site. Then do it all again at the main stages, or venture to off-site openair club Barbarella's. Jun 28-Jul 5, Tisno, Croatia.
After starting life in a disused limestone quarry in central Sweden, Into the Valley is moving location, and country, to an even weirder and more impressive site. This year, the cream of house and techno (Nastia, Dixon, Ricardo Villalobos and more) head to Estonia, where an abandoned Soviet prison on the edge of a submerged quarry will become one of the world’s most unique – if spooky – festival locations for three days and nights. Add this one to your festival bucket list right now. Jun 29-Jul 1, Rummu, Estonia.
Fancy dancing the night away in a lagoon heated by volcanic fire? How about catching an intimate acoustic gig inside a lava tunnel or glacier, or even raving on a boat illuminated by the sun... at midnight? All of this is possible at Iceland’s Secret Solstice festival, held during the region’s annual bout of 24-hour sunlight. Now in its fourth year, the festival doesn’t just offer great locations; Foo Fighters, The Prodigy, Novelist and Anderson .Paak are all on the bill too. Jun 16-18, ReykjavÌk, Iceland.
Taking place over six nights in Sète, a lush town in the South of France, Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Festival enjoys one of the finest sites imaginable for a festival. By day, beach and street parties allow punters to explore the area, before the fun moves to the Théâtre de la Mer, a spectacular seaside amphitheatre. Here, you can soak up views across the ocean before enjoying the sounds of Sampha, Sun Ra Arkestra, Addison Groove and many more. Jul 3-9, Sète, France.
Translating as ‘festival of new music’, there’s more to Polish party Tauron Nowa Muzyka than just a lineup of forward-thinking electronica, jazz and hip hop. The real headliner is the location, a post-industrial cultural area in the city of Katowice, built among the mechanical architecture of an old coalmine. The main festival area is bookended by two towering headframes, with stages in old production halls and warehouses hosting the likes of Róisín Murphy, Fabio & Grooverider, SOHN and Princess Nokia. Jul 6-9, Katowice, Poland.
Held high in the Rhodope Mountains, about a five-hour drive from Bulgaria’s capital Sofia, Meadows in the Mountains is a tiny festival in one of the most beautiful, jawdropping locations you could imagine. The emphasis here is on the attendees and the sense of offbeat community the festival brings together and nurtures. It all means a fiercely underground line-up of DJs and live acts takes second billing to the intriguing on-site production and breathtaking location. Jun 9-11, Polkovnik Serafimovo, Bulgaria.
Festival locations don’t get much sweeter than Punta Christo, a medieval fort on Croatia’s Istrian Coast that houses both Outlook and Dimensions. Dance the day away at beach and boat parties, before heading to the fort’s sprawling moats, courtyards and gardens until dawn. If cutting-edge house and techno from Nina Kraviz or Moderat is your thing, Dimensions has you covered, while Outlook’s soundsystem and hip hop heroes include Goldie, Wiley and DJ Shadow. Dimensions: Aug 30-Sep 3 Outlook: Sep 7-10 Punta Christo, Croatia.