• 2 December 2022

Gather round ladies and gentlemen! What better way to experience a country than by taking part in one of its exciting festive events? Europe is home to a number of countries; each with its own unique mix of languages, traditions and cultural events. From the green-tinted revelry of St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland to the famous Carnival of Venice, attending one of the annual Europe events below is sure to be some of the most fun you can have during a European trip!

Planning to travel abroad in the coming year? Excellent! That means you have plenty of time to tailor your trip to include a few of the famous European festivals. Expat Explore has put together our top 18 picks of annual Europe events in 2023:

1. Carnival of Venice: The floating city’s masked fete

Location: Venice, Italy

4 February – 21 February 2023

Venice Carnival, Europe Events 2022
Delight in the magic of the Venice Carnival in 2023!

The Carnival of Venice takes place each year, just before the six-week Catholic religious observance of Lent. Locals and visitors can dress up, wear masks and parade fabulous costumes. What can you look forward to? Street parades, theatrical events, masked balls and shows on the city’s famous waterways to name a few!

2. Vinterjazz: A 3-week-long musical feast 

Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

2 – 26 February 2023

Vinterjazz, Copenhagen, Europe Events 2022
Vinterjazz is a must-attend event for jazz and music lovers.

Vinterjazz is a must on the Denmark music calendar. Imagine 600+ concerts, 100+ venues and 25 independent organisers throughout the country. It’s no wonder the festival draws countless guests from far and wide! It’s the ideal opportunity to enjoy live jazz in the historical streets of Copenhagen. The city has been known as one of the jazz capitals of Europe since the 1950s, so these musicians are the best of the best!

Related: Here’s how to spend 24 hours in Copenhagen!

3. St Patrick’s Day: The feast of Saint Patrick 

Location: Ireland

17 March 2023 

St. Patrick’s Day, Europe Events 2022
Don your best green attire and join in the St. Paddy’s festivities!

St Patrick’s Day is an official Irish holiday. It celebrates the passing of the patron saint of Ireland. Today, St. Paddy’s is now celebrated by many countries! What will you see? A lot of shamrocks, leprechauns and green-tinged beer. In the capital city Dublin, the festival takes on a whole new meaning. Here, Lá Fhéile Pádraig (St Patrick’s Day in Irish), means parades, concerts and even treasure hunts!

Related: Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with these traditional Irish recipes.

4. Keukenhof: A colourful Tulip & Flower Festival 

Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands

23 March – 14 May 2023

The Netherlands is famous for its tulips.

Keukenhof is also known as the ‘Garden of Europe’. In the space of eight weeks, more than 500 flower growers and bulb purveyors show off what they have in Amsterdam! The Keukenhof garden dates back to the 15th century. It was previously known as the gardens of the Countess Jacqueline of Bavaria. Today it is over 200 hectares and hosts the annual tulip festival. Are you a flower enthusiast? This is a bucket-list event for you!

5. King’s Day: An all-day citywide street festival

Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands

27 April 2023

King’s Day, Amsterdam, Europe Events 2022
A full day of festivities guarantees plenty of fun on King’s Day!

A day-long festival in the capital of the Netherlands, King’s Day celebrates the birthday of King Willem-Alexander. Locals, expats and tourists dress in orange from head to toe to honour the Dutch royal family. The family visits a different municipality or town each year. Between 600,000 to a million people head to Amsterdam for King’s Day each year! The events usually start the night before King’s Day (King’s Night) and continue until the eve of King’s Day. The canals are full of different coloured boats (with parties onboard) all day or even week long. You can make your pick from at least eight King’s Day dance parties in the city centre of Amsterdam! King’s Day also hosts the biggest flea markets in the world. Everyone, young and old, trades second-hand goods. Click here to see more of what’s on during King’s Day in 2023.

Related: Find out everything you need to know about celebrating King’s Day in the Netherlands!

6. Chelsea Flower Show: Englands’s horticultural showcase 

Location: London, United Kingdom

22 – 27 May 2023

Chelsea Flower Show, United Kingdom, Europe Events 2022
We always look forward to seeing the avant-garde pieces at the Chelsea Flower Show!

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show, also known as the ‘Great Spring Show’, is a large scale flower and landscaping expo. Gardening enthusiasts travel from around the globe for this five-day event in the United Kingdom. What are the highlights of the event? Many show gardens are designed by the UK’s best landscaping artists. These include avant-garde pieces that would be at home around futuristic structures or historic castles. Some even show how to garden if you have very little space – that could be useful!

7. Fiesta de San Isidro: Madrid’s largest traditional festival 

Location: Madrid, Spain

15 May 2023

Enjoy the traditional sights and sounds of the Fiesta de San Isidro in Madrid.

The Fiesta de San Isidro in Spain commemorates the patron saint of Madrid, San Isidro. It’s the highlight of the city’s springtime calendar. Each year, the festival starts with a procession of giants and cabezudos (giants and bigheads). Then, an opening speech in the Plaza Mayor. Over the next few days, the city becomes a festive riot of Latin culture! 50+ music, theatre and dance concerts take place in indoor venues and alfresco locations throughout the Spanish capital.

Related: Discover more of Spain’s top annual festivals!

8. Ultra Europe: Multi-venue outdoor electronic music festival

Location: Split, Croatia

7 – 9 July 2023

Ultra Europe, Split, Croatia, Europe Events 2022
Ultra Europe boasts a roster of top EDM artists and DJs every year!

EDM or house music fan? Ultra Europe should already be on your radar! This is one of the world’s premier dance music destinations. It’s a three-day, multi-venue outdoor electronic music festival in Split, Croatia. Ultra Europe offers stadium shows, beach gigs and boat parties. All of this takes place on the stunning Adriatic coast. Recent headliners include David Guetta, Deadmau5 and Steve Aoki. That’s what we call a high calibre of artists!

Related: Dance the summer away at some of Europe’s top music festivals!

9. Sanfermines: Running of the bulls

Location: Pamplona, Spain

6 -14 July 2023

Sanfermines, Spain, Europe Events 2022
The Festival of San Fermín attracts over a million people every year!

San Fermines festival is a week-long festival hosted in Pamplona. It’s one of the biggest Spanish festivals hosted every year and sees over a million people flock to Pamplona annually! It honours Spain’s first bishop Saint Fermín. What can you look forward to? The well-known daily running of the bulls (encierro). Hundreds of men and women run for their lives in the narrow streets of Pamplona! They dress in white clothes and red sachets.  Anyone older than 18 can run and it’s completely free of charge. There’s so much to see and do… Live bullfights, flamenco music bands, fireworks, fairs, markets and parades. On 7 July everyone joins in a parade, walking with the 15th-century statue of the saint.

10. Zagreb Folk Fest: Croatia’s rural culture festival 

Location: Zagreb, Croatia

19 July –  23 July 2023

folk festival, zagreb, Europe Events 2022
Discover fascinating Eastern European folklore at the Zagreb Folk Festival!

The Zagreb Folk Fest is Organised by the KULTUR-NIK tourist agency. This annual folk festival shows the music and culture of Croatia and other European countries. There are open-air stages and concert halls all around the city. Who will be performing? Groups and ensembles from Slovakia, Czech Republic, Turkey and more. This festival is a great way to get a taste of each country’s singular folklore!

11. Cambridge Folk Festival: A long-weekend folky fete

Location: Cambridge, United Kingdom

27 – 30 July 2023

Cambridge Folk Festival, Europe Events 2022
Enjoy the melodic tunes from the world’s top folk artists at the Cambridge Folk Festival.

The whole family can look forward to the Cambridge Folk Festival. Where do the folks get together? The village of Cherry Hinton. The festival has famous folk entertainers from around the world. Dating back to 1964, the first-ever line-up included the likes of Paul Simon. Visitors are invited to camp out for the weekend and make the most of this long-weekend festival.  Your options span over more than five stages and entertainment areas.

Travel Tip: Tickets go fast for this event! Make sure that you get yours well in advance.

12. Øya: Norway’s international music festival

Location: Oslo, Norway

8 – 12 August 2023

oslo music festival, Europe Events 2022
Rock out at Oslo’s biggest music festival!

The annual Øya Festival is one of Oslo’s (the capital of Norway) largest music festivals. It draws 60,000+ music lovers to the city’s vibrant east side each year. The event takes place over four days. The line-up always includes big local and international bands and musicians. They also give newcomers the chance to perform.

Related: Here are some more reasons to visit Oslo!

13. Sziget Festival: The all-encompassing cultural party 

Location: Budapest, Hungary

9 -14 August 2023 

Sziget music festival is one of the biggest in Europe!

The Sziget Festival in Budapest is a weeklong rock festival and is probably the biggest music and culture festival in Europe! Is it really that big? Each year there are more than 1,000 performers and up to half a million people! The fans come from up to 100 different countries, mainly Eastern and Western Europe. You can expect a real multi-genre line-up with renowned artists such as Rihanna, Pink, David Guetta and Muse performing in previous years. The event takes place on Óbudai-sziget island (Island of Old Buda) in north Budapest. It’s a dream location for a music and art festival. The island, known as Freedom Island,  becomes a world of art projects, visuals and interactive installations, created by local artists by using mostly recycled materials.

14. Oktoberfest: One of Europe’s largest folk festivals

Location: Munich, Germany

16 September – 3 October 2023

oktoberfest, munich, Europe events 2022
Oktoberfest is an iconic celebration of Bavarian beer and culture!

Drink a toast along with the 5.9 million guests that will be at this year’s 188th Munich Oktoberfest! There is so much German beer to choose from that, during the festival, as much as 7.7 million litres is enjoyed each year! The festival also promotes Bavarian culture. You can dress up and join a parade, or enjoy brass band performances and concerts. Prost!

Related: All you need to know about Oktoberfest

15. Advent Markets: Austrian Christmas festivities 

Location: Vienna, Austria

November – December 2023 (various dates)

Vienna, Austria, Christmas markets, Europe Events
Vienna is renowned for its exceptional Christmas markets.

If it’s Christmas cheer you’re after, look no further! Vienna has all the twinkles and lights you could wish for. Advent Markets are an age-old tradition dating back to the Middle Ages. Not sure what to get your loved ones? You’re sure to find something with over 20 official Christmas markets. They sell all sorts of seasonal gifts and traditional Viennese treats. You can even choose the location…The City Hall, Belvedere Palace and Christmas Village Maria-Theresien Platz… the list goes on!

Related: Vienna is home to some of the best Christmas markets in Europe!

16. Lord Mayor’s Show: A classic piece of British pageantry 

Location: London, United Kingdom

11 November 2023

royal mayor show, London, UK, Europe Events 2022
The whole family will enjoy the Royal Mayor Show’s carnival-like procession.

The Lord Mayor’s Show is a piece of British heritage which dates back to the 1500s. The role of Lord Mayor of London is separate from the elected mayor of London. It refers to a position at the head of the City of London – not Greater London. In the 16th century, it was ‘The Procession to the Royal Courts of Justice and Presentation of the Lord Mayor to the Chief Justices’. Basically, the newly elected Lord Mayor had to go present himself to the royals. This has become a light-hearted British tradition, just like a carnival!

17. Sinterklaas Procession: Amsterdam’s Christmas Parade 

Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands

13  November – 5 December 2023

sinterklaas, Amsterdam, Europe events 2022
Get into the Dutch festive spirit with Sinterklass!

The Sinterklaas Procession is a delightful Dutch tradition that takes place from mid-November to the beginning of December. Sinterklaas (the very Dutch version of Santa Claus) arrives in Amsterdam in style. He has no less than 600 Pieten (mischievous assistants) with him and he brings plenty of pepernoten (small spiced biscuits). Sinterklaas sails down the Amstel River along its canals to the Scheepvaartmuseum. There, he is greeted by the Mayor! The parade then continues on foot through the city. You can enjoy a children’s musical programme at Dam Square. The day out ends at the Leidseplein where Sinterklaas delivers a message from the balcony of the Stadsschouwburg. All in all, it’s a beautiful look into the Dutch festive traditions.

18. Hogmanay: Edinburgh’s roaring NYE Festival 

Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

31 December 2023

Edinburgh, hogmanay, Europe Events 2022
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay festival is definitely one of the best ways to ring in the New Year!

Hogmanay in Edinburgh is a world-famous New Year’s Eve festival. It’s three full days of fun! There are loads of bands and events hosted by artists from around the globe. You can enjoy street parties, fireworks and concerts with partygoers from around the world. What a way to bring in the new year!

Related: Don’t forget to add these Scottish Events to your 2023 calendar!

What an awesome lineup, right?! We’ve brought you all the popular Europe events! And it’s easy because Europe always delivers when it comes to putting on big and exciting festivities.  Here’s to giving in to that niggling FOMO and joining in on the fun in 2023!

Questions & Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I’m planning to visit Europe alone this coming February. It’s good to know that I will witness the Copenhagen Jazz Festival. I love Jazz music. Actually, I participate in New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. I’m looking forward to joining that festival. But I have to fix my visa first. Luckily here in the Philippines, its easy to process your visa because of there are visa consulting firms that are willing to help you with regards to your visa.

    • Expat Explore says:

      Hi Keith, That is so exciting – we hope you enjoy the festival! It’s great to hear that visas are made a bit easier in the Philippines.

  2. All of them look so colourful and bright. I didn’t know about half of these festivals, thanks for sharing!

  3. I like traveling and I want invitation from every event will happen in new year

    • Expat Explore says:

      Hi Naveed

      Thank you for your message

      I’ve added you to our mailing list, you will be receiving regular emails regarding our tour.

      We look forward to travelling with you.

  4. i like the traditionel festivals and i hope can i visite them all

  5. wonderful days are coming !

  6. I love traveling and I want visit Europe this time . I need an invitation letter and travel plan for the month of November or December. Kindly guide me
    Best regards

  7. Mr.Chandrashekhar Middya says:

    Dear Sir/Madam,
    Greetings from India,
    In the name of our Lord Jesus I hope this mail will find you in the best of health as i am same here.
    I would like to inform you that i love to visit
    19. Sinterklaas Procession: Amsterdam’s Christmas Parade (Netherlands)..
    20. Hogmanay: Edinburgh’s roaring NYE Festival (Scotland)
    31 December 2021
    kingly send me all details and quotation on further email id.

    i am looking forward and waiting from your side.
    C N Middya

    • Expat Explore says:

      Hi Mr Chandrashekhar Middya

      Thank you for your comment. We have send you an email and looking forward to your response

      Best regards,

  8. Mia Williams says:

    The festive experiences that you shared in your blog are amazing. I loved your pictures and the pictures of various places that you visited. I am planning to make a trip to Portugal in May or maybe June. Accordingly, I will be applying for a Portugal Visa Online. I hope that I get my visa without any issues so that I and my wife can visit the gorgeous city of Lisbon and relish its beautiful attractions.

  9. Ghulam Farooq Virk says:

    Dear Sir,
    I am from Pakistan
    In the name of ALLAH I hope this mail will find you in the best of health as i am same here.
    I would like to inform you that i love to visit
    19. Sinterklaas Procession: Amsterdam’s Christmas Parade (Netherlands)..
    20. Hogmanay: Edinburgh’s roaring NYE Festival (Scotland)
    31 December 2022
    kindly send me all details and quotation on further email id.

    i am looking forward and waiting from your side.
    Ghulam Farooq Virk

    • Expat Explore says:

      Thank you for your message Mr Virk! You can take a look at our selection of festive season tours and tour prices here:https://expatexplore.com/tours/festive-tours-multi-country/
      The UK & Ireland Christmas & New Year, Great Britain Christmas and Great Britain New Year visit Edinburgh, while the Europe Taster Christmas, Europe Taster New Year, Europe Escape Christmas & New Year and Europe Jewel Christmas & New Year tours include stays in Amsterdam.
      You can book directly online or chat to one of our helpful Customer Service team members via the live chat on our website for more information.
      Be sure to book soon as seats for 2022 tours are filling up. Happy travels!

The best summer festivals in Europe for music lovers

As a music lover, there is nothing better than watching your favourite artists perform live! Much like travel, concerts and festivals were put on pause for mon ...

Best time to travel anywhere and everywhere! A guide on seasons around the world

Are you ready for your next adventure but not quite sure if it’s the best time to travel to your chosen destination? Expat Explore have you covered! In this ...

Join the Expat Explore family!

We’ll deliver top travel tips, insider info and travel inspiration right to your inbox.

By submitting this form you agree to our Privacy Policy.

Secured by thawte

256 bit SSL encrypted security

Mastercard Visa