Lifestyle & Culture

Spring Break Europe: Dispatches’ 2020 list of best destinations for snow/sand, sun and sin

(Editor’s note: Some of these Spring Break Europe events are also listed on our best ski/music festivals post, which you can see here.)

March and April are when most of Europe goes on Spring Break, with millions of of kids headed off to find sin in the sun … on the snow or in the sand. And yeah, if there’s some music, skiing or yoga thrown in, why not?

So, why are we posting about Spring Break in January? Because demand exceeds supply for tickets to the best events and many sell out in days after the first ticket release.

We know. Dispatches has been doing these lists for our expats since 2017 and Spring Break has always the hottest topic.

Because Spring Break is getting more expensive and more crowded whether you’re talking about Pag, Chamonix or Amsterdam, we’re always on the lookout for that alternative experience that might be a bit more intimate and affordable.

If you have an event, send us the details at: [email protected]


Barcelona – Abroadfest: This eight-year-old festival has a simple, yet admirable goal: Bring together all college students and visitors abroad in Europe for a weekend of electronic music. In Barcelona.

We’re down with that.

Each day of the 3-day festival will include one night event, one afternoon event and one daytime event, each in a different location in what is a pretty huge city.

Abroadfest has been a must-play event for the EDM A-listers such as Tiësto, Chainsmokers and Marshmello. But for this 8th edition – scheduled for 5 thru 7 March– there are only a few acts announced with seven acts including Mike Williams. Then there’s a black square with “coming soon” on it.


Tickets start at 46.59 and you can get yours here.

AntwerpRampage: Maybe you were thinking more of beaches or ski/music festivals. Well, Antwerp is one of our favorite cities, so lots to do before and after the event. Organizers of this mega-event on 13 & 14 March promise the 2020 show will be updated with “the very latest technology, animations, lights, visuals, and lasers. “

From the release:

The five acts who are bringing custom audio-visual shows have the very best possible platform on which to blow your minds and drench you in multi-sensory delights.

The 30 or so drum n’ bass/dubstep acts include Pendulum Trinity from Australia via the UK, Noisia as part of their farewell tour, DJ Marky and Black Sun Empire.

Tickets start at 57 euros and you can get yours here.

Alpe d’Huez, France – Tomorrowland Winter: Tomorrowland organizers made a huge splash with its 2019 debut, renting out the entire ski resort of Alpe d’Huez, France last March. And this one is all about the music.

There was the whole weird Buddhist motif, but huge names – mostly top Dutch DJs including Afrojack, Armin van Buuren, Kölsch and Martin Garrix as well as non-Dutch veterans such as Steve Aöki.

Well, Tomorrowland Winter is back for 2020 with those guys and more, including Charlotte de Witte, Veni Vici and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike. The dates are 14 through 21 March.

Oh, yeah … there’s skiing. Alpe d’Huez has 250 kilometers of slopes for all levels.

One-day packages start at 175 euros and you can get yours here.

A note: For whatever reason (money?), organizers require you to stay at their lodging in the Grand Domaine Ski area to get access to the festival.

Obertauern, Austria – The Ski Week: This is partially sold out for 2020, though they’ve added a week, now running from 14 thru 28 March.

The Ski Week is one of the increasingly popular one-price Beautiful People events, with accommodations, lift tickets, events and even a guide, for one low, low price. Well, not all that low, starting at about 1,050 euros, which is a pretty good deal all in all.

This is one of several ski weeks at chi-chi settings around the world including Canada, Japan and the United States.

You can get your ticket here.

Avoriaz, France/Portes du Soleil on the France/Switzerland border – Rock the Pistes: This is one of the big ones of the season – two countries, 30,000 people, five live concerts and more than 30 après-ski concerts in the Portes du Soleil resorts.

For 2020, the 10th edition of Rock the Pistes runs from 15 thru 21 March high up in the Alps. And it is the complete package, with an incredible setting atop a mountain, surrounded by alpine vistas.

Skiing? Check. Live music on multiple stages? Check. Partying with internationals? Check. And all pretty much going on at the same time.

Tickets/lift passes start at 57 euros per day and you can get yours here.

Avoriaz, FranceSnowboxx : Snowboxx has revealed the full line-up for its 2020 edition as it returns to the Avoriaz 21 thru 28 March with headliners Andy C, Dennis Sulta, Annie Mac, DJ EZ and special guests The Sugarhill Gang confirmed.

Which OMG takes us back. Quick, what’s the first rap song? Look it up …

The lineup is pretty good this, year, but the skiing is world-class in the Les Portes Du Soleil region which boasts the largest connected ski area in the world. 

The resort is vehicle-free, so party people can ski in and out of their chalets to the nearest lift, walk to any of the festival stages … Snowboxx’s open-air main stage is walking distance from the festival’s accommodation.

You can see the full lineup here.

Tickets start at about 239 pounds.

Orcières, France – Fresh Mountain FestivalLike Tomorrowland Winter, Fresh Mountain debuted last year. It, too, is back, brought to you by the same company that does Fresh Island Festival in Croatia.

Fresh Mountain, from 21 thru 28 March is billed as the first urban/hip-hop festival on snow. Filling a giant void we didn’t even know existed. We sort of lost touch with hip-hop when Tupac brought it back riding around Vegas with Suge Knight in ’96, but here’s the full lineup.

Fresh Mountain Festival will have four “party arenas” spread across the French resort of Les Orres, in the French Alps equidistant between Nice and Grenoble. Tickets start at 80 euros for three-day tickets for the music, and 100 euros for lift tickets. You can get tickets here.

The Orcières ski area reachs 2,700 meters, and there are 51 slopes including green, blue, red and black, one boarder-skier crossing, a downhill slope and a slalom course.

Passes start at 190 euros.

You have to sign up to find out the current ticket prices and you can do that here.

Saalbach-Hintergelemm, Austria – White Pearl Mountain Days: This is a freebie (sort of), but you won’t be partying to Martin Garrix. In fact, WPMD hasn’t posted its 2020 lineup other than to say “international DJs” because the food/lifestyle activities are really the show, here.

TwentyTwenty – from 20 March to 5 April – is the sixth year for White Pearl Mountain Days, two weeks scheduled for late in the ski season and dedicated to music, sun and partying at Saalbach, one of Austria’s largest ski resorts amid a truly spectacular section of the Alps.

Obviously, you have to pay for lodging and skiing. But the music and vibes are free, and the theme is “learn to live for today.” And if you really want live for today and go to the White Pearl Mountain VIP lodge, get ready to fork out 399 euros. (Includes champagne and a shuttle service.)

There are 113 slopes and 70 lifts. Lots of high-end cafes and restaurants. And, of course, beautiful people. And wherever there are beautiful people, there are fitness events, yoga and what-have-you. (This is sponsored by Hublot ($20k watches favored by NBA players), Mercedes-Benz and Moët & Chandon, so this is not the ski-bum crowd.)

White Pearl Mountain Days is near Kitzbuhel, east of Innsbruck, and just south of Munich. So fairly easy to get to.

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