Europe’s Summer Festivals add Culture to your Vacation

Most of us do not plan our vacations around events, but if you are planning to travel to Europe this summer…you may wish to enjoy some of the great cultural events offered this season.

One of the most popular cultural events is in Croatia and is not to be missed.  The 62nd Dubrovnik Summer Festival is scheduled July 11-August 25th and brings an all-star line up of international performers to the most unique indoor and outdoor venues in the famous walled city and UNESCO Heritage Site.  Zagreb and Dubrovnik in “concert” split the visitor’s card allowing visitors unlimited travel on public transportation between the two cities, along with discounts to most city museums, several restaurants, shops and for a variety of services.

One of the oldest events in the Czech Republic is the Palava Vine Harvest and Wine Festival that takes place in the southern town of Mikulov.  This year’s event takes place from September 9-11th, or you may wish to enjoy the Strings of Autumn, which is a classical music festival event that runs every year from October to November.  It is popular for showcasing links between classical music and jazz.

If jazz festivals are your thing, then Finland might be your choice for travel July 8-10th, so you can hear the music explosion at the Baltic Jazz Festival.  Featured here are internationally distinguished Nordic jazz artists, and this festival is quickly becoming popular with the yachting set that anchors inside the endless coastal region in Southwest Finland.   Another music festival runs between July 28-31st, the Kotka Maritime Festival, which is the backdrop for concert programs ranging from rock to classical music.

Germany’s Berlin Bode-Museum is the festival for art lovers as it presents “Faces of the Renaissance” from August 25-November 1.  This masterpiece event showcases the history of portrait painting in Florence with works from Donatello and Botticelli, among other portrait painters at the Italian courts!

The Jewish Culture Festival in Poland takes place June 24-July 3rd, and has emerged as one of the most important and popular events in the world.  The festival takes place in one of the most fascinating corners of the city…the cobblestoned streets of the Kazimierz district.  A factory on the edge of the neighborhood was used as a setting for the film, Schindler’s List.

Oddly enough, the Celtic World Festival takes place in Spain on the third weekend in July on the slopes of Capelada, Coriscada and Faladoira Hills.  The San Sebastian in Basque county will host an International Film Festival September 16-24th. This is an exciting event, since each year 20 new talents participate with their first or second movies to compete for the Kutxa-New Directors Award.  Of course…Spain offers her own wine festival each fall as well.  Here visitors can participate in the traditional foot-crushing of grapes, offering the first wine to the Virgin de Valvanera, practice a little bull running and see the spectacular parade of floats, enjoy exquisite meals and watch ball games.

Enjoy your summer travels, and I highly recommend participating in these or similar cultural events as much as possible.

Reise-und! ~ Melinda

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