Everyone knows about the Mediterranean’s eye-catching beauty, rich history, and vibrant cultural heritage. But while travellers flock to the Mediterranean for summer vacations on Greek islands and for artistic city breaks in gorgeous coastal cities, there is another side to Europe in the summer that is worth exploring.
When summer rolls around and things start to heat up, a whole host of extraordinary music, arts, and cultural festivals pop up in almost every corner of the Mediterranean, not to mention a plethora of fascinating traditional celebrations too. These festivals offer extraordinary experiences, showcasing some of the best musicians, artists, and entertainers in the world, as well as a wealth of rich cultural traditions that amaze and inspire.
So if you are considering a trip to explore some of the must-visit islands in the Mediterranean next summer, why not think about trying to catch one of these remarkable cultural happenings as well! It’s a good idea to book well ahead if you intend to travel during these periods as these are some of Europe’s most popular festivals.
La Feria, Malaga
Malaga’s La Feria is an extraordinary spectacle. It’s a veritable whirlwind of colour, noise, and chaotic energy which dates back to 1491, when the city was taken from its Moorish rulers by Isabella and Ferdinand during the Reconquista.
By day, the streets are filled with locals and tourists enjoying live music, traditional flamenco performances, and parades that wind their way throughout the city. When night falls there are fairground rides, open-air discos, and plenty of food and drink to get stuck into.
Nit de Foc, Palma de Mallorca
Mallorca prides itself as a place that knows how to throw a good party, and summer on the island is a lively time all round. The culmination of the summer celebrations is the Nit de Foc, at the height of midsummer, to mark the solstice.
Nit de Foc shys away from too much organization or formal plans, relying on the vibrant energy that surges through the city. Revelers dress in garish costumes (mostly as angels, demons, or some variant of the two), and race through the streets from the cathedral holding lit torches and firecrackers as part of the infamous correfoc. This is a remarkable sight to behold, like something from an older, less regulated era, and well worth experiencing.
Barcelona is the birthplace of some of the great European music festivals, from Primavera to Cruilla, but chief amongst them is Sonar. The oldest festival in the city, Sonar combines three festivals into a single event to create one of the world’s greatest musical festivals.
Sonar first began in the 1990s and has been going strong ever since, showcasing the best in EDM (electronic dance music), as well as video, digital art, and technological innovation. Barcelona is a fabulous city to visit at any time of year, but it’s extra special if you can time your trip to coincide with this vibrant city festival.
Fête de la Musique, Saint-Tropez
Saint-Tropez is known as the playground of the rich and famous, a place of high fashion, exclusive art, and expensive tastes. It is no surprise, therefore, that one of the most elegant music festivals around the Mediterranean is held here every June.
It’s a dazzling, luxurious affair that brings together artists from almost every single style and genre of music to perform in the winding streets and on the famous boardwalk overlooking the sea. Despite the opulence of the audience, the Fête de la Musique is completely free, with even the artists donating their time for the love of their craft. It’s a great way to get a taste for the high life without having to remortgage your house for the privilege!
Fiera del Tartufo, Alba
What champagne is to Champagne in France, and iberico ham is to southwestern Spain, truffles are to Alba, Italy. For foodies, gourmets, and fans of haute cuisine, the Alba International White Truffle Fair is unmissable.
The centerpiece of this unique event is the White Truffle World Market, where connoisseurs and aficionados can taste and buy the best white truffles in the world. For a unique taste (literally!) of world-beating regional cuisine and culture, la Fiera del Tartufo is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.