European Festivals September – December 2020

Venice Regata Storica Festival, Italy, European Festivals September - December

Venice  Regata Storica Festival, Italy. 1st Sunday in September: European Festivals September – December


Calendar Dates are sometimes unconfirmed and occasionally unreliable, so check before booking. TBC/A = To Be Confirmed/Announced


5 September
(1st Saturday in Sept. )

SCOTLAND, the Braemar Gathering (Highland Games) – traditionally odd Scottish sporting events and massed pipers in a scenic setting in Scotland.

6 September TBC
1st Sunday in Sept. annually

ITALY, Venice, Regata Storica – in a 510 year-old tradition, a vast fleet of gondolas and other historic craft headed by the ornate Doge’s barge, all loaded with Venetians in brilliant medieval costumes parade and race around the canals of this spectacular city. Venice Pictures, Regatta Pictures.

20 Sept – 5 Oct 2019
TBA for 2020

FRANCE, Festival Musica de Strasbourg, an international contemporary music festival.

19 September – 4 October

GERMANY, Munich Oktoberfest mainly about downing vast quantities of beer and bratwurst, then behaving badly with your neighbours, but set in a gorgeous city. Key requirements: 1) Love beer 2) Love sausages 3) Love raucous singing 4) Love drunk Germans.

20 – 24 Sept. 2019
TBA for 2020

SPAIN, Festes de la Mercé, Barcelona – Barcelona’s biggest annual festival to celebrate the city’s patron saint, the Virgin de la Mercé with over 500 activities including a parade of the giants (wooden figures operated by humans), Castellers (the human towers) and fireworks for a week around 24th September (a public holiday).

25 – 27 September

IRELAND, Galway International Oyster Festival – with fun events of all sorts. Ireland Guide


4 – 20 October 2019
TBA for 2020

HUNGARY Café Budapest Contemporary Arts Festival or formerly the Budapest Autumn Festival – music, drama, dance, exhibitions, poetry and kid’s stuff in interesting and attractive  Budapest.

20 October – 1 November

IRELAND, Wexford Opera Festival – a small but creative  and highly regarded event in a brand new Opera House on a new date. Ireland Guide

21 – 25 October

FRANCE, Paris, Salon du Chocolat – every aspect of the brown wonder-drug is explored at this lengthy celebration in Paris’ Port de Versailles.


1 November

ENGLAND, London to Brighton Veteran Car Run (LBVCR) – the world’s longest running motoring event. Ancient car lovers will need to find a comfortable viewing location for this London (Hyde Park) to Brighton (Madeira Drive) event for hundreds of pre-1905 vehicles; it starts at dawn and motors will begin to fart across the finish line from about 10 am.

5 November

ENGLAND, Devon, Ottery St. Mary Tar Barrels – huge flaming barrels are carried around this little rural town. The procession and fireworks are on the Saturday before the 5th of November.

21 November
(same date every year)

ITALY, Venice, La Salute – a religious festival at the beautiful Basilica Santa Maria della Salute.

Late Nov – 23 December
every year

GERMANY, nationwide, Christmas Markets. This chilly winter country has a history of wonderfully warm, colourful and fattening Christmas markets set in spectacular locations.
Some of Germany’s best are: Esslingen (medieval costumes and carols); Wurzburg (snow probable); Berncastel-Kues (arguably the prettiest); Hamelin (Pied Piper’s home so kid friendly! ); Heidelberg (lots of kid’s stuff); Lubeck (UNESCO World Heritage Site); Regensburg (superbly lit and romantic); Rothenburg (medieval Disneyland). . . .


Late Nov – 23 December
(every year)

GERMANY, nationwide, Christmas Markets. See above.

All December

DENMARK, Copenhagen Tivoli Gardens – special events for Christmas celebrations.

5 – 8 December 2019
TBA for 2020

FRANCE, Lyon, Fete des Lumieres – a 3 evening spectacularly radiant Festival of Lights, features 80 light projects and draws 4 million people annually. The whole of city illuminates itself with light shows and curious street lighting along with Christmas decorations.

2 – 22 December

FINLAND, Helsinki, St Thomas Christmas Market – including the Lucia parade on the 13th, crafts, special foods etc. . . mainly at Esplanade Park.

31 Dec – 1 January
(Same days every year)

ENGLAND, London, New Year’s Eve awesome fireworks. The best position is on the north bank of the Thames River, opposite the Millenium Wheel, get there 2/3 hours beforehand.
The New Year’s Day Parade and Festival – the latter one at 12 noon, 1st January. Sadly the best part of the parade is the non-English marching bands and floats! London Photos

30 Dec – 1 January
(Same days every year)

SCOTLAND Edinburgh’s Hogmanay – one of world’s best New year Celebrations, a truly wild and wooly underwear occasion, with a torchlight procession, a Fire Festival, fireworks, concerts and much insobriety, in a city dark yet strangely light. . . Edinburgh Guide, Pictures

31 December

AUSTRIA Kaiserball at Hofburg Congress Center in Vienna– a stunning, glamorous, lively winter Ball at the magnificent Hofburg Palace, every year. Vienna Photos

Festival dates by month