Annabelle Thorpe, Editor of 101 Short Breaks, picks a mix of well-known - and a few unfamiliar - summer festivals in Europe this summer. Festivals have become an integral part of the summer season, and these days whatever your passion - classical music or contemporary, art, food or literature - there's an event to suit. Planning a short-break around a festival is the perfect way to get a hit of Mediterranean sunshine, a dash of culture and the buzz of a complete change of scene, all in one handy package.


The Paxos Music Festival is a summer-long event, rather than a weekend affair, which means you can take in a performance pretty much whenever you visit. The music ranges from classic Greek bouzouki to jazz and classical recitals, and runs from 25 June to 16 September 2017. Performances take place across the island, in various historic venues.
101 Shortbreaks Summer Festivals Paxos

GETTING THERE:Sunvil offers three nights at the Paxos Beach Hotel from £671pp departing 23 June or enjoy a week in a villa with private pool in June from £959pp with GIC The Villa Collection. Flights and transfers included.

For a musical break with a difference, the mountains and cliffs of the Faroe Islands provide a spectacular backdrop for the G! Festival, which takes place from 13 to 15 July. Stages are built all over the island to host a diverse range of acts, from Kris Kristofferson to Austrian R&B and an all-female Icelandic rap collective.
101 Shortbreaks Summer Festivals G1

GETTING THERE: Regent Holidays offers 8 night packages from £1,355pp, including flights, transfers, hotel accommodation and festival tickets.

A unique experience for any opera-lover, the Verona Opera Festival offers the chance to hear truly world-class performances in one of the greatest amphitheatres in the world. This year, the festival runs from 23 June to 27 August, and includes performances of Rigoletto, Madam Butterfly and Aida, with a performance by Placido Domingo on 21 July.
101 Shortbreaks Summer Festivals Verona

GETTING THERE: Kirker Holidays offers 4-night breaks from £2,096pp, including accommodation, tickets to 2 performances, 2 dinners, flights and transfers.

Some jazz festivals can be notoriously hard to get tickets for, but the Malta Jazz Festival (20 to 22 July) has a relaxed vibe, and all performances on the Thursday night are free. All styles of jazz are represented, from Caribbean to smooth piano jazz, with concerts taking place in Valetta and the beautiful Ta Liesse church. Take in one of the spectacular village Festas during your stay for an incredible taste of Maltese tradition with spectacular fireworks, music and parades.
101 Shortbreaks Summer Festivals Malta

GETTING THERE: Classic Collection offers 4-night breaks from £669pp, including B&B hotel accommodation, flights and transfers.

The 2017 Savonlinna Opera Festival (20 to 24 June) includes a special concert to celebrate 100 years of Finland’s independence – Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis will be performed in Kerimäki, the largest wooden church in the world. Two further operas by Verdi and Mozart are included in the tour, as well as visits to the Punkaharju nature reserve, the castle at Savonlinna and a boat trip through beautiful lakeside scenery.
101 Shortbreaks Summer Festivals Savolinna

GETTING THERE: Martin Randall Travel offers a unique escorted break from £2,560pp including return flights, concert tickets, lakeside hotel accommodation, most meals with wine, all tips and taxes.


The elegant lakeside city of Ohrid in Macedonia holds its Summer Festival from 12 July to 20 August, offering the chance to listen to jazz in the city's impressive amphitheatre, take in a ballet recital, classical music performance or play. Between events, take time to discover the atmospheric old town, dotted with open-air ruins, medieval churches and traditional houses.
101 Shortbreaks Summer Festivals Macedonia

GETTING THERE: Regent Holidays offers 4-night breaks from £595pp including flights and transfers.

Few cities can match Dubrovnik for beauty and the city's Summer Festival offers a chance to enjoy a theatre, music or spoken word performance in some of the city's most beautiful buildings. This year, the festival runs from July 10-August 25, and includes a mix of poetry, opera, classical music, folk dancing and painting.
101 Shortbreaks Summer Festivals Dubrovnik

GETTING THERE: Exeter International offers 3-night breaks from £699pp including flights and transfers.


No-one quite does a feria like the Spanish, who love to take to the streets to eat, drink and dance.
Casares - an elegant pueblo blanco (white town) in Andalucia - comes alive in the first week of August, with four days of live music, DJs, cultural events and a giant street party on the Sunday, when a huge paella is cooked up to feed the whole town.
101 Shortbreaks Summer Festivals DDG Retreat

WHERE TO STAY: 3 night breaks at the quirky DDG Retreat, just outside Casares, from approx. £953 per couple. Flights to Malaga not included.

Lavender is the symbol of the Provencal region of France, and the village of Valensole celebrates its most famous plant with a Lavender Festival on 16 July. Visitors can stroll through the lavender fields, visit distilleries, and browse and buy from around 90 local producers. Performances from local bands and orchestras take place throughout the day.
101 Shortbreaks Summer Festivals Lavender Festival

GETTING THERE: Inntravel offers 3 night breaks from £280pp, including car hire.

A great choice for families, the Guernsey Fete d'Etai is a medieval-themed day festival, which takes place on 20 August at the spectacular waterfront Castle Cornet. Costumed performers and storytellers re-create the castle's medieval heyday, with the chance for kids to get involved in activities and try out their archery skills.
101 Shortbreaks Summer Festivals Guernsey

GETTING THERE: Guernsey Travel offers 3 night breaks from £205pp, including ferry travel.

And finally for F1 enthusiasts, you can watch the Italian Grand Prix live in Milan. As part of Citalia’s sporting experience packages with sister company Gullivers, enjoy a break with tickets included and an in-resort concierge for those impossible-to-find restaurant reservations and post-race bar suggestions.
101 Shortbreaks Summer Festivals Milan

GETTING THERE: Citalia offers 3 nights in Milan, in a 4 star hotel, departing 1 September 2017 from £965pp including flights, transfers, Grand Prix tickets and circuit transfers.

June 2017