Europe & Britain | Destination Guides

6 European spring festivals you can't miss

Recently updated on October 3rd, 2022 at 11:53 am

A patchwork of countries, counties and neighbourhoods, Europe has as many cultures as May Poles have streamers. This is a continent, after all, that teems with carnivals, festivals and fairs as soon as the weather warms up. To celebrate Europe’s reputation for fun, we’ve rounded up six of the best spring events.

Óbidos International Chocolate Festival, Portugal

10 March – 2 April 2017

Known mostly for its fame among book-lovers and its medieval fair, Óbidos (situated north of Lisbon) is also cocoa-crazy. Wander around culinary classes or stalls laden with chocolate animals, sculptures, macarons and workshop creations, before savouring delicacies from every latitude and longitude. Wherever it originates and whatever the concept, you’ll certainly want more!

Events in Europe

St Patrick’s Festival, Dublin, Ireland

16 – 19 March 2017

First taking place in 1995, but with roots that stretch almost 1,500 years, St Patrick’s Day honours the achievements of the Irish both at home and abroad. The good news for visitors is that the celebrations usually involve plenty of Guinness, Irish whiskey, traditional music and high spirits, especially in big cities like Dublin. Visit for guaranteed laughs, top-quality conversation and lots of dancing.

Events in Europe

Lucerne Festival, Switzerland

1– 9 April 2017

Some of the world’s greatest orchestras, conductors and solo musicians head to Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne in the springtime for the Lucerne Festival. Established in 1988, the musical extravaganza, which takes place two weeks before Easter, attracts more than 110,00 annually.  A special focus is given to sacred music, leaving enraptured listeners feeling blissful and serene after a fortnight of culture.

Events in Europe

Cannes Film Festival, France

17 – 28 May 2017

Possibly the most famous town in cinematographic history outside of America, Cannes Film Festival is all about big stars, even bigger business deals, miles of red carpet, and generous servings of glamour. Although tickets to sweep up the steps of the Palais des Festivals aren’t available to the public each year, spectators can enjoy the town’s carnivalesque atmosphere.

Events in Europe

Chelsea Flower Show, London, UK

23 –27 May 2017

The pinnacle of the horticultural calendar, London’s Chelsea Flower Show, is back this spring. Armed with nine show gardens, five fresh gardens, nine artisan gardens and more than 100 floral displays, highlights, include The British Ecological Society’s ‘Delight in the Dark’ plot, which showcases shade-tolerant plants. The organisation’s ‘Greening Grey Britain’ campaign, urges the nation to transform paved areas into vibrant and beautiful urban spaces.

Events in Europe

Festa della Sensa, Venice, Italy

28 May 2017

An ancient tradition that honours the relationship between Venice and the sea (upon which the city-state historically projected its power), the Festa della Sensa is an incredible sight to behold. Festooning the rippled lagoon with bright boats and colourful uniforms, keep an eye out for the Doge’s boat – the 20-man Bucintoro – not that it’s easy to miss! Always finishing with Holy Mass at the Church of S. Nicolo (at the nearby Lido), this annual spectacle is one of Venice’s most exuberant.

Events in Europe

Check out the Best of Switzerland, Best of Portugal, Iconic Ireland, Great European, London Explorer or Best of Italy if the festivals and countries referenced have piqued your curiosity.

Image Credits: Bon Bon Brigadeiro © iStock/jantroyka. St Patrick’s Day © iStock/levers2007. Lucerne © iStock/rudybalasko. Lush Garden © iStock/magmark76. Venice Historical Regatta © iStock/maxpetr.

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