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The Best Festivals in Europe You Don’t Want to Miss

In this blog post, I’m going to share with you my top 3 best festivals in Europe, and you can decide which one is right for you!

Tomorrowland

Belgium
what it is

Tomorrowland is one of the largest music festival in the world, catering to lovers of Electronic Dance Music (EDM). It is often tops the list of the best festivals in Europe, and probably even the world. I attended the festival in 2018, where a whopping 400,000 people accompanied me. Digital Spy described the event as “the most elaborate festival on earth”, and I’d have to agree. Every year, Tomorrowland creates a magnificent dream world with a unique theme for “The People of Tomorrow” to enter. The theme in 2018 was called “The Story Of Planaxys”, which gives light to a mythical underwater world, full of awe-inspiring colors and structures.

What to expect

You have the option of choosing a day pass or a 3 day pass, which is what we opted for. 3 day pass prices range from around €260-535 depending on what you select. There are add-ons such as shuttles, lockers, food, and parking. We booked a hotel that was in partnership with Tomorrowland, and offered a shuttle to and from the festival. I highly recommend doing this, as it saves you the hassle of trying to flag a taxi at the end of the night. One thing however that I wish I knew was how long the walk from the festival back to the shuttle at night would be. It’s roughly an hour long walk, so wear comfortable shoes! I would also recommend prepaying for your food and drinks. You can do this by topping up the balance on your bracelet. That way you don’t have to worry about carrying around cash or credit cards.

Atmosphere & Environment

Tomorrowland is held towards the end of July every year, so the weather is relatively warm. We did experience some rain during the first day of the festival, but it didn’t last long. 10/10 for organization, cleanliness and crowd control. We felt very safe here, despite the staggering number of festival goers. Everyone was very friendly, well-mannered and well behaved. Even at the end of the night on our long walk back to the shuttle, there was no funny business. Our walk took us through suburban neighborhoods, where residents had posted signs out front to “please be quiet”. To my surprise, our walk back was nearly radio silent! Not exactly what you’d expect from a bunch of people heading home after a long day of partying. There was also no littering, vandalism or fighting. Like I said, well behaved!

Check out my video below for a more in depth look

Rolling Loud

Portugal
the best festivals in Europe
what it is

Rolling Loud is the largest hip-hop festival in the world. When booking, you have a few locations to choose from. These locations include Miami, New York, Toronto, Portugal and the Netherlands. We opted for Portugal because honestly, some sunshine sounded phenomenal. The festival takes place on Praia da Rocha beach in Portimão, The Algarve, Portugal, and is about an hour drive from Faro International Airport. Unlike Tomorrowland, I would not classify this festival as unique or glamourous. It’s much more laid back and casual.

What to expect

We chose to go with 3 day pass VIP tickets, which in hindsight was not worth the money. You don’t get any special benefits for having VIP tickets, so don’t waste your coin. We stayed at Hotel Dom Joao II in the neighboring town of Alvor, which is about a 10 minute taxi ride from Portimão. This ensured we were able to avoid the crowds and the noise, and maintain a relaxing holiday experience outside of the festival. We found it pretty easy to get an Uber home at the end of the night, we just had to walk down the street away from the festival a bit. The biggest downside of Rolling Loud was that it was extremely disorganized. Festival bracelet collection was a 30 minute walk away from the festival. This was not made clear to festival goers, as it was not included in our map or admission instructions. This caused a lot of chaos, as everyone was turned away upon entry, and instructed to walk down the road to an alternate location for our bracelets. Like Tomorrowland, you can top up money on your bracelet to avoid having to carry cash or credit cards in with you.

Atmosphere & ENvironment

When I say the festival takes place on the beach, I mean ON the beach. In the sand. Keep this in mind when choosing your footwear! I wore boots and sneakers, which I would recommend if you are worried about your toes being stepped on. It’s a little awkward trudging through the sand (it is not packed down flat), so expect to get a good workout in. Like I mentioned above, we had opted for 3 day VIP pass tickets. We’d heard stories of how rowdy Rolling Loud Miami could get, which initially made us nervous. We figured if the crowd did get rowdy, we’d have a place to escape to if we had a VIP section. This ended up being totally unnecessary, as much like Tomorrowland, everyone was friendly, well-mannered and well behaved. I did not witness a single fight, or any overly intoxicated people in the three days I was there. There was however quite a bit of littering, and the beach was covered with thousands of plastic bottles by the end of each night.

OKTOBERFEST

Germany
wHAT IT IS

Oktoberfest is the world’s largest Volksfest, which features a beer and carnival style fair. For 16-18 days every year from mid September to the first Sunday in October, more than six million people flock to in Munich, Germany to attend the festival. It has been held annually since 1810, and is a very important part of Bavarian culture. Today, visitors still dress in traditional Bavarian attire. The men wear lederhosen, and the women wear dirndls. We purchased our outfits in Munich in one of the many shops catering to Bavarian attire.

what to expect

Be prepared for a full day of drinking beer, eating traditional German cuisine, and meandering about the carnival grounds. This festival is much more laid back than the previous two I shared, which makes it a great place to go with family or a group of friends. We had a blast trying the various food stands and going on the rides with our friends. We did not find it nearly as crowded as other festivals, despite the large number of people attending. This was great because we didn’t have to worry about losing each other in the crowd. It was also easy to get a taxi or public transit back to our Air BnB.

Environment & Atmosphere

The majority of the grounds are outdoors, although you have various covered tents you can enter for food and drinks. The weather was pleasant during the day, and only a little chilly during the evening. Wear comfy shoes because you will be doing plenty of walking! I wore flat ankle boots which ended up being perfect. The crowd was fairly relaxed, and everyone basically kept to their own groups. We felt very safe and at ease here.

Still looking for more? Check out my blog post on the Most Popular Food Festivals in Dublin!

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