We’ve compiled a list of some of the finest European music festivals taking place this year, together with information on how to get there by train.
Going to a European music festival can be the highlight of any summer. This year, as many festivals aim to be more environmentally friendly, take the chance to cut your carbon emissions and travel by train to Europe’s top festivals. Here are some of our favourites on mainland Europe. For UK summer festivals that are accessible by train, read more here:
DGTL, Amsterdam, the Netherlands in April, and Barcelona, Spain in August
DGTL won ‘outstanding’ award at last year’s A Greener Festival Awards. Alongside its impressive electronic music line-up, eco practices include reducing plastic, using a smart energy plan and ‘circular’ food practices. Barcelona and Amsterdam also outstandingly easy by train.
We Love Green, Paris, France, June
Rooted firmly in the Parisian hipster scene, We Love Green has quickly grown since its inaugural year in 2011. Over the years, the international music festival has firmly held on to its friendly, sustainable practices, from which it takes its name. From creating all its own energy from renewable resources and celebrating Slowfood to leading the festival circuit with its impressive waste policies, we love what it’s doing. For accommodation, choose from a selection of tents or cabins, located 10 mins from the festival site, all bookable on the festival’s website.
How to get to We Love Green by train: Paris is easily accessible by train from all over Europe. The festival is held in the Bois de Vincennes park located in the east of Paris. Take Metro line 5 from Gare du Nord to the festival site, or rent a Velib city bike as there is a docking station at the festival.
Rock am Ring, Nuremberg, Germany, June
If rock and metal are your game, then Germany's Rock am Ring needs no introduction. Along with its sister festival, Rock im Park, which takes place in the city’s Zeppelinfeld Park over the same dates, unparalleled line-ups are attracted to the Nuremberg year after year. Camping is available at both festival locations.
How to get to Rock am Ring by train: The fastest trains from Paris to Nuremberg take 5 hrs 38 mins, covering a distance of approximately 640km. From Nuremberg, getting to Rock am Ring is easy, with frequent bus services taking you from the central station directly to the event, which is on the outskirts of the city at the Nürburgring race track.
Awakenings Festival, Amsterdam, Netherlands, June
Awakenings Festival is one of the most well-known electronic events in Europe and the largest outdoor techno festival in the world. With 80,000 visitors in a weekend, Awakenings Festival is the highlight of Europe’s techno music calendar. The festival welcomes over a hundred acts. It should be noted that there is no camping at Awakenings Festival but they do offer hotel packages included with your festival ticket. If not, book your accommodation as soon as you can, as this is one busy city at this time of year.
How to get to Awakenings Festival by train: Reaching Amsterdam by rail is easier than ever thanks to Eurostar’s new direct service from London to Amsterdam. During the festival, there is a shuttle bus service from Amsterdam’s Sloterdijk station and the festival site from 11am every day Sloterdijk is on the railway line between Amsterdam Centraal and Haarlem.
Terraforma, Milan, Italy, June
A three-day festival located in the town of Bollate in northwest Milan with both music and sustainability at its core. As well as giving a platform to an eclectic variety of new music from throughout Europe, the festival hosts panel discussions and workshops on how sustainability principles can be adopted in daily life. It is possible to stay on-site at the festival.
How to get to Terraforma Festival by train: Milan is highly accessible by train. As well as many daytime trains, you can also take a sleeper train from Paris Gare de Lyon station. Once in Milan, it’s a short 15 mins ride on a regional train to Bollate from Milan’s Porta Garibaldi Passante or Nord Cadorna stations.
Sónar, Barcelona, June
Sónar is a three-day electronic and advanced music festival and is considered by many to be the highlight of the Barcelona summer calendar. Founded 1994, the festival has been divided into two parts since its inception: Sónar by Day and Sónar by Night, as well as Sónar+D, which is a three-day congress dedicated to creativity, technology and business running concurrently since 2013. You have to sort out your own accommodation in the city.
How to get to Sónar by train: The festival is spread across two central venues. After arriving in Barcelona Sants, transfer to Plaça Espanya train station which is the closest for Sónar by Day. Alternatively, head to Espanya metro station. Sonar by Night and Sónar+D are held close to Fira metro station.
Sziget Festival Budapest, Hungary, August
Sziget is a world-famous music and cultural festival held on the banks of the Danube in Budapest. The festival attracts a truly A-list line-up each year.
How to get to Sziget Festival by train: Budapest enjoys excellent international rail connections. There are a dozen direct trains each day from Vienna, seven from Prague, five from Munich, two from Zurich and one from Hamburg, Berlin and Dresden. There is an impressive range of direct overnight services, with the following cities all featuring on the departure boards: Belgrade, Bucharest, Kiev, Kraków, Warsaw and Zurich. Getting to the Sziget Festival by train often involves changing in Cologne and Vienna, this gives the festival goer a great chance to explore two of Europe’s most exciting cities. The festival location, Óbuda Island, is on the banks of the Danube, a short 20-mins tram trip from Nyugati Pályaudvar train station where many international trains to the city arrive.
Rock en Seine, Paris, France, August
Held in the historic Parc de Saint-Cloud park, this three-day rock festival is one of the biggest music events in France. As well as a generous serving of rock music, you will also be able to find a diverse range of other genres. You can book a package on the festival site and choose between tent pitches, wooden caravans or cottages. There is also a shuttle to the festival site from the campsite.
How to get to Rock en Seine by train: After taking a train to Paris, one of the busiest rail hubs in Europe, head to Boulogne – Pont de St-Cloud on metro line 10.
Nova Batida, Lisbon, Portugal, September
Lisbon is perhaps the hottest up-and-coming city of European tourism. In September, when temperatures are still high, the Nova Batida festival takes over warehouses and disused tram terminals of LX Factory and adjacent Village Underground Lisboa. The line-up features acts from all over the world, and you’ll also have the chance to do some morning yoga and enjoy some beach time. Again, one can stay on-site at this festival.
How to get to Nova Batida by train: Lisbon is well connected by rail. Perhaps the best way to arrive is via the sleeper train from Madrid. The 10 hrs journey brings you into the heart of Lisbon in time for um bica (Lisbon coffee) at one of many chic coffee shops in the city before hitting the festival. Your sleeper train arrives at Lisbon Oriente train station. From there, buy your ticket locally to Alcantara-Mar station which is in the west of the city, and the nearest station to the festival site.
Image credits: Mirror ball in forest iStock ©GeorgeClerk, Festival by Aranxa Esteve, Festival crowd iStock ©gilaxia, Festival by Krists Luhaers, Festival tents iStock ©Jaym-Z,, Crowd by Maxime Lebrun DJ iStock ©Skyther5,
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