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Wherever you find yourself in Europe this season, there’s something happening for everyone. We put together some highlights from the far north in Scotland to all the way further east in Turkey to inspire you to enjoy the best of Europe this summer.
A true festival city, the city is abuzz with several grand events in the summer. From 19 to 30 June, the festival season kicks off with the Edinburgh International Film Festival, followed by the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival (12 to 21 July) and The Edinburgh Art Festival (25 July – 25 August).
Later in the summer months is the annual Edinburgh International Festival. Running from 2 to 26 August, one of the world’s most beautiful cities is transformed with the gathering of the finest creators and performers in theatre, music, opera and dance from all over the world.
Running alongside the Edinburgh International Festival is The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo – an annual series of public military events with its roots in Scottish tradition – as well as the world’s largest arts festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Stay: The Fraser Collection is in the heart of it all. Take your pick from Fraser Suites Edinburgh or Hotel du Vin Edinburgh. Prefer returning to a sea view? Relax the night away by the waterfront at Malmaison Edinburgh.
A UNESCO City of Music, Glasgow hosts around 130 music events each week in venues ranging from the multi-purpose indoor arena SSE Hydro to the iconic Barrowland Ballroom.
Not sure where to start? There’s no better way to be introduced to the city’s music than the famed Scottish bagpipes. Begin your exploration with The World Pipe Band Championships. A two-day affair on Glasgow Green, the annual competition showcases the extraordinary ability of 8,000 pipers and drummers every August.
Can’t get enough of the bagpipes? They can also be heard at more venues across the city for Piping Live! from 10 to 18 August. This week-long piping event makes Glasgow the centre of the world stage for piping with events happening throughout the day.
In the summer, the English capital has more than enough to keep one busy. If you prefer the outdoors, London has plenty of green spaces abuzz with activity in the hotter months. Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre summer season runs from 16 May to 21 September, and Shakespeare’s Globe‘s season runs until mid-October with standing tickets available for every show at just £5. For more outdoor drama, Opera Holland Park has performances from 4 June to 9 August.
It’s also hard to miss the Wimbledon Tennis Championships that are on from 1 to 14 July. Across the city, you’ll hear the sound of tennis racquets hitting balls, both on big screens and inspired kids in the parks.
While the Queen is away, take the chance to visit her residence during the Buckingham Palace Summer Opening from 20 July to 29 September. For ten weeks, the public may view the State Rooms, Throne Room, Ballroom and more as well as a special exhibition about Queen Victoria in commemoration the 200th anniversary of her birth.
Tip: Hang on to your entry ticket! It doubles up as an annual pass so you can return as often as you like throughout the season, as well as for the next summer.
To complete your experience of London, stay for the iconic Notting Hill Carnival, happening over the bank holiday weekend of 24 to 26 August. The carnival is Europe’s biggest street party, attracting nearly one million people annually. Expect a multi-sensory experience, with floats and Caribbean music pulsating through west London well into the evening.
If you’re holidaying in France this summer, don’t miss Bastille Day on 14 July. Traditionally considered to be a symbol of the French Revolution, the French National Day is packed with activities and events annually.
Start your morning by viewing the military parade on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées. Often described as ‘the world’s most beautiful avenue’, the parade continues east to Place de la Concorde, a major public square in the city. There’s also a fantastic military flypast during the parade. In the evening, it’s party time with firemen’s balls held in a number of fire stations all over the Paris region.
The day’s celebrations come to an end with a spectacular 30-minute firework display at 11pm. The pyrotechnics are set off from the Eiffel Tower and the gardens of Trocadéro. Grab the best seats at the Parc du Champ de Mars.
Stay: Book a suite at Fraser Suites Le Claridge Champs-Elysées overlooking the Champs-Elysées and watch the military parade from the comfort of your own home.
In summer, visitors and locals alike spend the day on the beaches of Övelgönne and Blankenese or in one of Hamburg’s many parks. Summer is also the time of year when there is a public festival almost every week.
On 28-30 June 2019, around 50,000 bikers will roll into the city for Europe’s largest inner-city motorbike event. Enjoy the Hamburg Harley Day Parade on 30 June starting from Großmarkt at 11am.
Christopher Street Day (CSD) is in memory of the gay uprising in New York’s Christopher Street in June 1969. The Pride Parade is on Saturday 3 August from midday.
If 70s disco is your thing, you’ll love the Schlagermove Parade on Saturday 13 July 2019. Up to half a million party people dress up to enjoy the decorated floats while singing at the top of their lungs to German-language disco pop songs.
Or if you prefer your music to be less mainstream, head to Dockville on 16-18 August where the festival stage is located on Europe’s largest river island on the banks of the Elbe river.
Stay: Step back in history when staying at Fraser Suites Hamburg. The former tax office building dates back to 1907!
Every year on 21 June it’s Fête de la Musique. This imported French festival inspires both amateur and professional musicians of all ages and genres to put on public performances for free.
Raise a glass in Germany’s capital city this summer as it’s the 23rd International Berlin Beer Festival. On from 2 to 4 August, the Festival is held along the 2.2 kilometres between Strausberger Platz and Frankfurter Tor in the splendour and charm of the historically imposing architecture of Karl-Marx-Allee. Just think of it as the longest beer garden in the world. The Festival attracts more than 800,000 visitors each year to the heart of Berlin to enjoy drinks supplied by 350 breweries from 90 countries. There are 19 stages with live music and it’s completely free to attend. You’ll be spoiled for choice with the 2,400 speciality beers on offer!
Berliners love being near the water in the summer and the best way to get to know the Berlin lake landscape is on a boat trip. It’s relaxing and you can sail directly past the tourist attractions.
Stay: Step in to Capri by Fraser, Berlin / Germany to discover our archaeological window located in our lobby – a unique hidden gem in the heart of the city.
Frankfurters too love to be outside during the summer months and have some fantastic annual festivals.
The Opera Square Festival is a cultural celebration featuring foods from across the globe as well as a rich stage programme playing everything from jazz to pop. On from 26 June to 5 July, in one of the most beautiful plazas in the city, this Festival is perfect for culinary delights and entertainment. Open daily from 11am to 11pm, the evening atmosphere is particularly stunning with the illuminated façade of Frankfurt’s Old Opera House bathing the festive plaza in a warm and beautiful light.
Originally a festival for fishermen and boatmen, and was supposedly derived from the consecration of the Dreikönigskirche (Church of the Therre Kings) of 23 July 1340, Mainfest is on from 2 to 5 August. The Friday starts with live music at the Römerberg and an opening ceremony at 6pm in front of the Fountain of Justice which is transformed into a wine fountain for the occasion. This traditional folk festival is for the whole family as it includes children’s carousels, fairground rides, games, tombolas and shooting galleries.
The Museum Embankment Festival, or ‘Museumsufer Fest’, is held on the banks of the River Main, and attracts more than 3 million visitors every year. It’s one of Europe’s largest and most spectacular cultural celebrations. Traditionally held on the last August weekend (23-25 August 2019), participating museums remain open until late into the night, with art, theatre, music, dance and cuisine available along the riverbank on either side of the Main.
Stay: Live like a local at Capri by Fraser, Frankfurt / Germany – simply ask the concierge team for their favourite hotspots.
Swiss National Day is on 1 August. It’s a public holiday celebrated all over Switzerland to mark the founding of the Swiss Confederation. Regular festivities include a parade and a fireworks display.
The Geneva Street Food Festival is in a new venue for June: the English Garden, in the heart of the harbour. On from 27 to 30 June, a special Thursday opening night has the best DJs in the area to have fun, drink and eat without having to wait for the weekend. A second three-day gourmet celebration is from 29 August to 1 September at Promenade Saint-Antoine with food trucks and restaurants, plus brewers’ and winegrowers’ stands.
On Saturday 10 August at 10pm you can see the Grand Fireworks. It’s a 45-minute display in the heart of the harbour and is completely free to watch.
And from 5 July to 22 August 2019, the “Musiques en été” festival is organised by the City of Geneva. It mixes heritage and musical trends through a generous and eclectic programme of jazz, hip-hop, chamber music, opera, soul, classical, swing, reggae and more.
Stay: Fraser Suites Geneva is perfectly located in the old town for exploring the beauty of Geneva and its surroundings.
Spain is always a good choice in the summer and you can see the traditional Greater Festival of the Old Town in Barcelona on 29 June paying tribute to Saint Peter, who guards the gates of paradise.
Música als Parcs (Music in the Parks) offers 44 jazz and classical concerts around 34 green spaces in Barcelona, as well as 11 guided visits, between 31 May and 30 August 2019. It’s a great way to get close to nature in the city and enjoy music. And the entertainment is free.
And don’t forget, 15 August is a Spanish public holiday to celebrate the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Catholics mark the Mother of Christ ascending to Heaven after her death and it is a popular feast day.
Stay: Sun, sea and sightseeing are on the cards when you stay at Capri by Fraser, Barcelona / Spain.
Hungary is a lovely summer destination. The Budapest beaches are usually open from mid-May and stay open until the end of August.
See contemporary dancers, international artists and traditional Hungarian folk dancers at the annual Danube Carnival from 8 to 16 June 2019. In addition to the many dance performances, the carnival’s program includes a Carnival Parade between the Danube Promenade and Vörösmarty tér, an international dance competition and a spectacular gala event.
The river is also celebrated on 29 June for Danube Day. On the same day each year, the 14 countries of the Danube Basin jointly celebrate one of Europe’s greatest river systems and the people and wildlife that rely on it.
20 August is the most important national holiday for Hungarians as it commemorates the foundation of the Hungarian state. The day is also known as St. Stephen’s Day, remembering Stephen I, the first king of Hungary and founder of the Kingdom of Hungary, who was canonized on 20 August 1083 by Pope Gregory VII. The Hungarian flag is raised in the morning and the festivities continue all day, culminating in a spectacular firework display over the Danube. In Budapest, military processions, open-air concerts, handicraft fairs, the cutting ceremony of Hungary’s birthday cake and free museum entry accompany the fiesta.
Stay: Fraser Residence Budapest is located next to the lively Corvin Promenade. If the weather gets too hot, take a dip in the famous baths or take cover at one of the many other attractions you shouldn’t miss in Budapest.
Over to Turkey and the 47th Istanbul Music Festival is on from 11 to 30 June 2019. The Festival is considered the most prestigious classical music event in the country and it has played a major role in building up an appreciation for classical music in Istanbul and Turkey.
15 July is a public holiday for Democracy and National Unity Day. Following the coup d’état attempt of 15 July 2016, it was officially declared a holiday and a series of commemorative events are held throughout Turkey.
At the end of the summer, but worth knowing about the Istanbul Biennial is on from 14 September to 10 November 2019. Organised by The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and the Arts (IKSV), it is considered one of the most prestigious biennials alongside Venice, São Paolo and Sydney.