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Welcome to a festive European Summer

by Siv Palm


If you've always been nostalgic for the great American music festival of the '70s, Woodstock, the Roskilde Music Festival is not a bad substitute. From June 30 to July 3 it’s Denmark's biggest event. This year's program includes everything from Black Sabbath to Snoop Dogg.

The festival is non-profit, and a festival pass for the whole week costs under $200 and includes free camping. Last year more than 100,000 people attended.


The festival creates conditions for the handicapped. Their goal is to give everybody the same opportunity to participate.
Many in the audience stay in tents, eat fast food (there are healthy alternatives), and enjoy each other's company. So bring your camera, and join people from all over the world at the summer's hottest music event.


Oktoberfest, Munich Germany

The Oktober Fest is celebrated all over the world, now, but there is nothing like experiencing the original. Starting Sept. 17 and ending Oct. 2, Germany's Oktober Festival is the biggest public celebration in the world! The first Oktoberfest took place in 1810, at the wedding of Prince Ludwig I and his wife, Therese.

Every year more than six million visitors come to Germany. They consume more than five million litres of beer and 400,000 pork sausages. So if you have the oppurtunity to take a late summer vacation, go join the Wies’n, as the Germans call it. There will be visitors of all ages, and most will be in the many beer tents. The Germans also make excellent chocolate, and the country has cool stuff such as castles, if you’re willing to travel around a bit. In Munchen you can stay at Wombat's City Hostel, where dorms and private rooms both start at $20.

Summer Festival, Dubrovnik Croatia
A decade after the Balkan War was at its worst, Dubrovnic, an idyllic medieval city, plays host to one of Europe’s most impressive festivals. For nearly six weeks every summer, from July 10 to August 25, you can enjoy theater, opera, and dance performances all over the city. The festival was founded in 1950 and is as popular as ever. Dubrovnic Youth Service has dorms from $20, private rooms from $21.50.
Celebrate Norway's independence

“Revolution in Norway!” “King Oscar forced to abdicate!” these are headlinge from Swedish newspapers in the summer of 1905. After 100 year of a forced union with their Swedish neighbor, Norwegians decided enough was enough and declared the union dissolved. The Norwegians partied then and every year since.

This June 7 is the 100th anniversary of Norway freeing itself. Big celebrations are planned throughout the country, starting with the National Day, May 17, and continuing throughout the year, with June 7th as biggest party day of them all.

There will be an official program and a chance to see the royal family, for those who are interested in such things. But the real reason for you to come is the people. It’s a rare excuse to party, an even bigger event than the National Day, when Norwegians of all ages are known for running wild in the streets.

Summer Skiing?

If you get tired of partying and want to experience nature Norwegian styly, maybe Stryn is your thing. It's a summer ski resort up in the mountains that make up most of Norway.

Here you can rent a snowboard, or some skies, and mingle with summer skiers from around the world. Join the party. You’re very welcome.

Edinburgh's Festivals, Scotland

Visit the British Isles, and attend Edinburgh's Jazz and Blues Festival from July 29 to Sept. 4. There’ll be six weeks of festival in the Scottish capital.

After that, there's the Fringe Festival, the Military Tattoo International Festival, the Book Festival, and the Film Festival. These draw more than a million people a year to the city.

The most popular of all the festivals is the Fringe Festival, which incorporates the biggest comedy festival in the world. Globetrotter's Inn will house you for $29 for dorms, private rooms from $45.

Bastille Day Paris France

July 14th is the French National Day, Bastille Day. It commemorates the beginning of the French Revolutions, when the people of France tore down the infamous Bastille prison in 1789, ending the Monarchy and beginning the First Republic.

This is France’s biggest holiday, and Paris is the best place to experience it. Here the festivities begin the night before, around Place de la Bastille. The next day a huge parade marches down the Champs Elysées, and an evening firework display lights up the skies over the Eiffel tower. End your night at one of Paris’ many clubs, sipping a Marie Antoinette.

Friends Hostel offers dorms at $18, private rooms from $25.

Fiesta de la Merce Barcelona, Spain

From Sept. 19 to 25, the city of Barcelona is trasnformed, by the Feast of our Lady of Mercy, into a storm of activity.

Various event, such as the building of “people towers” in the streets, take place all over the city, day and night.

Some of the highlights include a firework display, and an extravagant parade.

Visit the Gothic Quarter

Barcelona is famous for it’s nightlife on regular weekends, so it should be well worth checking out if clubbing is your thing. It is also a very old city, and a trip to Barri Gótic, the gothic quarter and heart of the city, is a must. This was the place the Romans chose to build the city while Augustus was emperor, 27 B.C.E. to 14 A.D.

Here, from the 13th century, you also have Barcelona’s City Hall, Cathedral, and old Royal Palace.

Hóme Guest House will house you in dorms from $29, private rooms from $45.

Prague Int'l. Music Festival Czech Republic

A festival for all musical genres, but concentrating mostly on classical music, is held in Prague from May 12 to June 4.

It’s a great chance to hear all kinds of music performed at various venues around one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.

If music is not your thing, browse the city, nightlife and enjoy the many theatrical performances that also take place during the festival.

Hostel prices, at F.Ex. Golden Sickle, start at $17.50 for a dorm, $20 for a private room.

Amsterdam Pride, Netherlands

From August 4 to 7 you can experience Europe’s most outlandish gay festival.

Highlight of the festival is a parade along the city’s celebrated canals. People literally ride in floats—boats, rather than trucks or cars, custom-decorated for the event. Parade floats abound on the canals all day, and on them are happy, dancing people in some of the most bizarre costumes ever!

This year's festival will probably be especially big, as the Berlin Love Parade has been officially cancelled.

Amsterdam is the place to party and show off for the summer. There are many places to stay, a suggestion is Stayokay Amsterdam Vondelpark where dorms are $26, and privates from $45.

Galway Art Festival, Ireland

From July 11 to 24, you can enjoy the largest explosion of performing and visual arts in Ireland. It’s a two-week event, founded in 1978, that just gets bigger and better every year.

During the school year, Galway, the capitol of Western Ireland, is the home of some 15,000 students. This means there are lots of inexpensive accomodations, and even more in the summer. You can stay in Sleepzone dorms from $17.50, or get a private room for $21.50.

If you have spare time, Ireland has one of the most beautiful countrysides in Europe. Its green hills are famous, and it’s easy to get around to other parts of the British Isles and see Stonehenge and other famous sites.

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