summer fiestas and festivals


Summer Fiestas and Festivals in Europe


“When in Rome,” as they say… What better way to dip your toes into the local culture than at a fiesta? The locals pull out all the stops to organise spectacular events that celebrate their culture, traditions and history. We’ve cherry-picked some of the most sizzling summer events where you’re very welcome to join the party!

Calcio Fiorentino Final, Tuscany 24th JUNE

Join the locals in Florence, Tuscany on the 24th June to celebrate St. John the Baptist’s Day, their patron saint. There are events all over the city, but the one that is waited for with bated breath is none other than the final of ‘Calcio Storico’ – a game of football, rugby and wrestling all rolled into one! It all started in the 16th century when rival teams from the four neighbourhoods of the city would play against each other in two semi-finals and a final, until one team emerged triumphant.
Today, the game is still played in Piazza Santa Croce in front of the church. The square is covered in dirt as a nod to times gone by, with benches set up around the edge for the spectators. The team play in historical costumes with their neighbourhood colours – blue, red, white, or green. Pick a colour and join the good natured frenzy in the crowd.

Saint Paul’s & Saint Peter’s Festival, Rhodes 29th JUNE

If you’ve been to Rhodes you’ll probably know the beautiful St. Paul’s Bay, close to Lindos. What you might not know, is that St. Paul, on his way to preach Christianity to the islanders, was shipwrecked right here. Rhode’s connection with him leads them to commemorate the deaths of he and St. Peter in a festival held every year on the 29th June. Get ready to party from 9pm onwards right through until dawn, accompanied by Greek music and costumed dancers. There are fairground rides, plenty of delicious food, plus drinks to wash it down. It doesn’t sound very saintly, does it?

Pedra Viva - Summer Festival at Líthica, Menorca

Pedra Viva – Summer Festival at Líthica, Menorca

Pedra Viva – Summer Festival at Líthica, Menorca 5th JULY-6th SEPTEMBER

Festival Pedra Viva is a new, up and coming festival of music, theatre, dance and cinema for all ages in Menorca. It’s worth visiting for the setting alone. The ancient quarry, Líthica Canteras de s’Hostal, is utterly surreal. The backdrop of sheer walls, dramatic stone staircases and bricked labyrinths seem to have no place within the lush gardens around it. It’s all going on here every Wednesday throughout July into early September, with activities for all ages. It’s one the whole family will remember.

Pula Film Festival, Istria

Pula Film Festival, Istria

Pula Film Festival, Istria 15th-22nd JULY

Forget the Oscars, the Pula Film Festival is the world’s oldest and it’s celebrating its 64th year in 2017. Pula in Istria is a spectacular location in itself and many venues make the most of the historic, seafront cityscape with a cinema under the stars. The most splendid has to be the Arena, a Vespasian’s amphitheatre dating from the 1st century AD. It’s an incredible sight, so much so that you might have difficulty concentrating on the screen! Don’t miss the chance to check out some of the Croatian and international films being shown, with many other fun events put on for locals and visitors alike.

Feria de Malaga, Costa del Sol 12th-19th AUGUST

The Feria de Malaga is a very grand affair, setting the city apart as the nerve centre of the Costa del Sol. Expect a big bang opening with fireworks, plus a Romeria pilgrimage complete with horse drawn carriages, horseback riders and people on foot. This is party time in Spain, so music and fabulous food go without saying. Walk the streets, drink up the vino and sample the tapas as you stumble across live music and fair attractions.

Assumption Day 15th AUGUST (various destinations)

The 15th August is Assumption Day, a major religious festival to mark the day that the Virgin Mary was assumed to heaven. Whether you’re Catholic or not, you won’t be able to avoid this major holiday, and you won’t want to! Happening throughout many James Villas destinations, you’ll find Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain all have national holidays. Shops will shut down, entertainment cranks up and families everywhere will be enjoying a day together. From feasting and religious parades to music and entertainment all aimed at family fun, check your local tourist office for what’s on – no two towns will be the same!

La Tomatina, Valencia

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La Tomatina, Valencia 30th AUGUST

This is one fiesta where things get messy – literally! La Tomatina Festival is held on the last Wednesday of August in the town of Buñol, near Valencia. It’s about a 1.5 hours’ drive from some of our villas on the Costa Blanca, but surely the chance to take part in this world famous festival makes the journey more than worthwhile? It is a tomato throwing extravaganza where tens of thousands of people come from far and wide to throw over one hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes at each other in the streets! If you don’t want to come away resembling a bottle of ketchup, other fiesta attractions are more typically Spanish – music, parades, dancing and fireworks.

This article is in our Summer 2017 Magazine which is out now and can be ordered for free from our website, an excellent read including travel, food and top tips to get the best from your villa holiday.

magazine-launch summer 2017

summer fiestas and festivals in europe

Marianne Weekes

Marianne Weekes is a Social Media Executive at James Villa Holidays.

Official family holiday planner and expert map reader, I have guided our family up and...

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