Lifestyle & Culture

Europe and beyond: Dispatches’ 2019 list of the best Spring Break, summer destinations

(Editor’s note: If you want your event listed, send the details to: terry@dispatcheseurope.com or cameron@dispatcheseurope.com. Also, see our list of EDM events/parties here.)

Spring break begins (semi-officially) with the Easter Break, with Easter itself on Sunday, 21 April. With schools out from the United Kingdom to Italy, it’s no coincidence the biggest ski/music festivals and the first of the sun/fun parties are in late April into early summer. (Here’s the full school holiday list for Europe.)

As we’ve said before, there are way more festivals and parties than talent. So in 2019, finding your Spring Break/summer fun destination comes down to deciding which acts/DJs you want to see playing the genres you like in the locations you’re willing to spend time and money to reach.

The good news is,  the festivals that sold out instantly last year don’t seem to be selling out quite as quickly this year … with the exception of Wildeburg (see below). Is it over-saturation? Is it Brexit? Don’t ask … just plan. And don’t be bored.

• MARCH

Cauterets, France – Garosnow: This ski/music event 29 thru 31 March is in the Pyrénés, not the Alps. It’s the winter version of the larger Garorock Festival (see below), but instead of summer in a French meadow, Garosnow is a ski all day, party all night thang in a charming resort. Expect House, techno and disco at late-night apres-skis. 

Actually, this is one of three Garosnow parties and the only one not sold out, as far as we can tell.

Caurterets is divided into two ski areas:

• a freestyle park, perfect for snowboarders

• conventional ski runs

Musical guests (as they say on teevee) are all French and included DJ Khalid, Alpha Wann and Small Ghost.

Performances are at two clubs and entry starts at 27 euros per night. You can get tickets here.

• APRIL

Chamonix, France –  Chamonix Unlimited: From 2 April thru 7 April, Chamonix Unlimited heats up the slopes below Mt. Blanc, the highest peak in Europe. Unlimited has some big names including veteran American DJ Jeff Mills, German/Turkish Berghain house DJ Len Faki and the Baron of Techno, Dave Clarke.

This is a multi-site event that includes a stage below Mt. Blanc as well as clubs and even a pool party. In April. In the Alps. That’s right ….

There’s both music on the slopes and in the clubs of this giant French resort. You can see the full lineup here.

Tickets start at 25 euros and you can see your options here.

If the parties aren’t exciting enough, there’s “wild skiing” every morning to get your blood flowing. There are also a variety of package deals offering everything from bunking four to a room to luxury digs with a heated pool.

Zermatt – Zermatt Unplugged: As much as we love EDM, this is a yearly (and welcome) break from all the dubstep and deep trance. Acoustic music in the Alpes. Sort of like a contemporary “The Sound of Music,.”

This year, Zermatt Unplugged has Michael Kiwanuka, and oh yeah, we’re promoting him as a personal favorite. There’s also Boy George and Culture Club, James Bay, who’s racked up like 300 million PVs on Youtube for “Let It Go,” and lots more.

Finally, you’d be chillin’ in Switzerland.

Full passes start at about 1,100 Swiss francs, but this is Switzerland and these are the hottest pop acts. So we say, “Splurge.”

You can get tickets here.

Mayrhofen, Austria – Snowbombing – This is epic. The 20th Anniversary year for Snowbombing in Mayrhofen, Austria  8 thru 13 April is epic on every possible level …  epic scale, with 100 artists. Epic names including Stormz, Fat Boy Slim, Denis Sulta, Horse Meat Disco, and Mall Grab.

(You can see the lineup here.)

Snowbombing has kind of a quirky vision about what people are willing to venture to the Alps for. This year, Snowbombing organizers promise “butcher’s shop parties, igloo raves, enchanted forest parties, Austria’s largest fancy dress street party and luxury spas.” What do all those things have in common? Hell if we know.

Packages start at 269 pounds that includes five-nights accommodations. You can get yours here.

Ibiza – Spring Break Ibiza: This isn’t an event per se. Spring Break for uni students in Europe typically is in late April to May. (Universities here don’t have the same semester schedules as their counterparts in the States.)

Multiple companies offer package trips to this Spanish island designed for college students, so this is an affordable way to trade the pressure of school in cold, damp Europe for the beaches and raves of warm, sunny Europe. Stoke Travel has two separate package dates – 12 thru 15 April and 19 thru 22 April – starting at 240 pounds and both will sell out. You can get your tickets here.

If you’re a student already in Spain, there’s this boat-trip package from Valencia through Unitrips.

But those in the know say Ibiza is changing. Mixmag has a long post/graphic about all the changes around this island including new noise restrictions designed to keep the partying to a dull roar in consideration of 12-month residents who maybe aren’t that crazy about hearing trance music blasting at 4 a.m.

Top clubs and resorts on the island include:

Amnesia

Clockwork Orange

Ibiza Rocks Hotel/Club Paradiso

Ibiza Underground

 Lío

O Beach

Pacha

Privilege

Ushuaï

There’s got to be something you like on this list, so feel free to create your own Spring Break experience. Ibiza isn’t the cheap paradise it was in the 1960s, but it remains a destination that tries to cater to all budgets, from wealthy Europeans to British kids trying to have the maximum amount of fun for the minimal outlay.

If you want to understand the allure of Ibiza and how the party scene came together, read this BBC story

Algarve, Portugal – Spring Break Portugal: A sun-and-fun alternative to Croatia, Spring Break Portugal is a more diverse event than, say, Zrce Beach.

Ischgl, Austria – Top of the Mountain: This is the closing event in Ischgl for the snow/ski circuit. For 2019, the season will close with a 30 April concert by legendary American rocker Lenny Kravitz. And who knew this guy is 54 years old? He looks like he’s 24. Party on, bro’.

Tickets with lift tickets are 115 euros. You can get on the pre-sale list here. 

Be sure to read the website because there are details you need to know before you go. And it says right on the website, “Be there or be sqaure.” Which we haven’t heard since high school.

Kaunertal, Austria – Snowboard Spring Break: This is another major stop on the British snowboarder calendar, 28 April thru 2 May.

SSB brings together snowboarders, retailers, brands, media, industry and pros – basically, the people who create the products and the people who use them – in  Kaunertal, Austria. So this is part industry event, part party.

You can get tickets yet, so follow their Instagram feed here to get details as they’re released.

• MAY

Malta – Annie Mac Presents: Lost & Found : We have the first of the major EDM festivals for 2019.

The Radio 1 DJ/personality celebrates her fifth anniversary Malta season 2 thru 5 May with four days and four nights on this Mediterranean party island.

This year’s AMP L&F lineup includes regulars and newbies –  Mall Grab, Horse Meat Disco, Denis Sulta, RAYE, The Black Madonna, Peggy Gou, Chase & Status and Honey Dijon all join the bill. We count at least 50 acts announced so far for all the events including castle raves, boat parties and pool parties. Yeah, it’s a lot of stuff packed into a few days.

General Admission starts at 109 pounds, and VIP tickets start at 149 pounds.

You can get tickets here.

PS – We really liked the bingo video from last year, but can’t find it.

Ibiza – Amnesia.  On 11 May, the legendary Amnesia opens in Ibiza, and tickets are already on sale here.

Swiss/Chilean DJ Luciano, who’s strongly influenced by the Latin American beat, is the act that takes Ibiza’s most famous club into what is shaping up to be memorable summer.

You can get tickets to all Amnesia parties here.

Barcelona – Primavera Sound: Primavera Sound is one of The Majors, an 11 on the Glastonbury Scale.

The festival attracts crowds of 200,000-plus music lovers. Everyone has played Primavera from the Pixies to Radiohead to Kendrick Lamar. Dozens of acts each day.

This year, the festival’s nineteenth, Primavera runs from 27 May to 2 June. The big names include pretty much every act on the planet – Names and newbies – from every genre including Nina Kraviz, Cardi B, Tame Impala, Solange, James Blake, Mac DeMarco, Denis Sulta, Guided by Voices, James Blake and a hundred acts we’ve never heard of.

The format is a bit confusing, with three nights (27 through 29 May) at one venue,  la Ciutat, then the main festival acts 30 May through 1 June at a different venue, Parc del Forum. Then back to la Ciutat for 2 June. (Here’s the full daily schedule.)

Full-day tickets start at 195 euros and you can get yours here.

Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki, Poland outside Warsaw – Instytut Festival: This is the second year for Instytut Festival and we don’t know that much about it. But the concept is cool – a techno party at a humongous 19th-century fortress (check out the vid above) 50 kilometers outside Warsaw, and overlooking the confluence of two rivers. What’s not to like?

Now, throw in top acts such as Ben Klock and Tommy Four Seven from Berlin, and the far, far out Richie Hawtin and boom! You have yourself a fun couple of days – 21 and 22 June, to be precise. Again, see the video for the full list of DJs/live acts announced so far.

Tickets start at 170 Polish zloty (zlotys? zloties?), or about 40 euros.

You can get tickets here, but you have to go down to the bottom of the page and find the English section, then click on the appropriate links.

Marmande, France – Garorock: Another mega summer festival with Name acts, Garorock runs from 27 thru 20 June in Marmande southeast of Bordeaux.

Let’s get right to the Names (live acts and DJs), which are semi-huge in the 12th year for this festival: DIMA, Marshmello, Charlotte de Witte, Vici Vici, Ben Harper, Macklemore and DJ Snake, with some to-be-announced acts.

This is one of the “the experience is the thing” gatherings, with camping, yoga in open spaces, pop-up performances, rides, pickup football games, picnicking with veggie food offerings and lots of socializing. Bring your extroverted self.

Tickets start at 160 euros without camping and you can get them here.

The website has a lot of detailed info, but it’s translated from French to A Language Kind Of Like English. Still …..

Zrce Beach, Croatia – Zrce Spring Break: If your ideal Spring Break is drinking pìna coladas and getting caught in the rain, this is seriously NOT where you want to go.

This is the big one … the Mother of All Spring Break Parties. From 30 May thru 2 June, an amazing number of pasty but buff kids from Liverpool, Manchester and Coventry join kids from Italy, Turkey and the rest of Europe at Zrce Beach for four days of drinking, partying, hooking up and music. Or as one of the marketing websites puts it, “hedonistic mayhem.” ZSB is held at two different clubs … the Aquarius and the Kalypso.

The only two acts announced so far are German rapper Bausa and Dutch DJ Head Hunterz, so more as we know more.

Tickets start at 99 euros, and there are hotel packages starting at 132 euro. You can get yours here.

• JULY

Zrce Beach – Hideout Festival: Tickets are already selling out for this summer fav at Zrce Beach, scheduled for 1 July thru 5 July. Hideout promises 150 artists, and some of the more than 100 names announced for 2019 include Camelphat, Barely Legal, Charlotte de Witte and Horse Meat Disco. Tickets are on sale here for the moment, with Early Birds gone, Tier 2 tickets going for 159 pounds, and Tier 3 tickets are on sale.

This has been a sellout since 2011, when The Telegraph posted Hideout on their list of best festivals. Flight packages are also available, with options flying from London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Dublin to Zadar and Split and at very competitive prices. More info here.

This is one of Croatia’s mega-festivals with beach parties, boat parties and pool parties. Hideout just sent us word the beach party is back and FISHER, Danny Howard, Melé, Dom Dolla and Franky Wah are the headliners.

Lake Balaton, Hungary – Balaton Sound: From 3 July to 7 July, a huge lake in rural Hungary is the setting for what is arguably (we’re arguing with ourselves because we tend to call every big festival “the biggest”) the biggest festival of 2019.

We’ve hesitated to recommend Hungary this year because of the politics. But this 12-year-old festival has the strongest 2019 lineup of anything we’ve seen.

That lineup includes:

• Armin van Buuren

• Tiësto

• The Chainmokers

• J. Balvin

• Marshmello

• Sean Paul

You know when Camelphat and the Martinez Brothers are buried down in the list that the stages will be filled with stellar talent.

Tickets start at 179 euros for a three-day pass. (Remember, there are five days.) You can get them here.

And this is kind of cool … you can grab a special Balaton Sound bus from the Netherlands and Belgium.

The festival is staged on a huge piece of property with multiple stages and there are lots of options when it comes to places to stay including beach camping. Check out the details on the website.

Figueira de Foz, Portugal – RFM SOMNII: RFM Somnii, scheduled for 5 thru 7 July, bills itself as “the largest beach festival in Europe.” And there are seriously big names for 2019 including Afrojack, Radical Redemption, DJ Snake, Jay Hardaway and American rapper Tyga (assuming he’s not in jail) to break up the Dutch monopoly.

This 8-year-old festival, sponsored by RFM Radio, is heavy on trance and hardstyle, and it usually draws more than 100,000 fans. Because it’s on a beach. In Portugal. Tickets start at 26.50 euros per day, and you can get them here.

Remember, camping goes fast, so if you’re gonna’ go, reserve yours quickly.

Wildeburg, Netherlands – Wildebrug Festival: This is on us. Even though it’s 12 thru 14 July, we’re still telling you about Wildeburg too late to get tickets for 2019 (though not to get on the waiting list). This outdoor festival north of Amsterdam is a favorite of all our Dutch friends, and have been going for years and years. It’s that cool. (Check out the vid above.)

This year, Wildeburg features at least 70 acts on four stages. There’s camping, food and bands playing during the day in what is essentially a small village in the middle of nowhere. And strictly speaking, this isn’t an EDM event – the music is from lots of genres.

You can get on the waiting list here … and there’s always next year.

Tisno, Croatia – SuncéBeat Festival Croatia 2019: Is your life missing something? Is EDM really enough?

If not, here’s a festival in the sun  (as the name suggests) from 24 thru 21 July offering more musically. Not just underground House, Disco, and Techno, but Soul, R&B and Funk. All we can say is, “Turn that Beat Around.” Not many ticket levels are left, and they start at 175 pounds. You can get tickets here.

SuncéBeat just announced more acts …check out the website for that info and new info about camping for 2019.

Also, there are multiple accommodation options including tents, a hostel and Airstream trailers on the beach.

Coming up later in 2019:

Portimao, The Algarve, Portugal – Afro Nation Festival: Portugal seems to be taking on Croatia this year in the battle to have the most music festivals. Afro Nation Festival, scheduled for 1 August thru 4 August, is the latest entree. This time it’s the “biggest urban beach party in Europe.” This debut event celebrates afrobeats, hip-hop, UK rap, reggae and dancehall.  If you’re into these genres, you need to know BBC Sound of 2019 winner Octavian is on the bill, as are Busy Signal and other reggae and dancehall stars. Check it out … for next year. It looks like it’s already sold out, but you can see if there’s second ticket issue here.

Ypsigrock Festival 2019: This is an intimate, boutique festival in a medieval Sicilian mountain village. Which sounds sooo cool right off the bat. From 8 thru 11 August, Castelbuono becomes a multi-stage destination for music and art lovers. So far, the only musical act announced is The National from our unofficial hometown of Cincinnati. Tickets are on sale now here starting at 89 euros.

Loveland Festival: Big Names at a Big Festival in Amsterdam, the new capital of House and Techno. Carl Cox and Solomun will be joined by Jamie Jones, Maceo Plex, Maya, Stephan Bodzin, Marco Carola, Âme and many more. This summer, the festival will be a full weekend event on 11 & 12 August.

Tickets start at 35 euros and you can get them here. We wouldn’t dilly-dally.

W-festival 2019 : W-Festival runs from 15 thru 18 August in Waregem, deep in rural Belgium and close to … nothing. All the better to have four days of New Wave bands and ’80ties Synth pop, along with DJs, on multiple stages. Oh, there’s also a Woodstock 50th anniversary event marking a half-century since we were starlight and golden. (We were there! No, we weren’t, but about 10 million people claim to have attended that most iconic festival, which actually drew 500,000.) Tickets are about half-way sold out, and you can get them here.

Dimensions Festival: Another big week in Croatia. Dimensions Festival is 28 August to 1 September at Fort Punta Christo. We just got the final list of artists and they include Nina Kraviz (the woman at every festival), Jeff Mills/Tony Allen and Objekt. In February, they added U.S singer and rapper Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals as 2019’s headliner.

This is an interesting festival in that it covers multiple genres from house, electro and techno to acid, DnB, ambient and jazz. The full list runs more than 100 acts. And organizers say this is the last year for the festival at the abandoned fort overlooking the Aegean. You can get tickets here.

Outlook Festival  2019: One of the final summer mega-parties in Croatia. Ten stages, 300 acts. You get the idea. Outlook runs for a week, from 4 thru 9 September at Fort Punta Christo. Acts include Chase & Status, Bugzy Malone, Goldie (live) and Ghetts, Tickets start at 120 pounds and you can get them here. Outlook is the sister festival with Dimensions above, and this will be the final year for both at the fort.

To Top

Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the latest news and updates from Dispatches Europe. Get lifestyle & culture, startup & tech, jobs and travel news dispatched to your inbox each week. Keep up with what's going on in Europe. Everything Expat.

You have Successfully Subscribed!