Given its centuries of history and culture, Europe is unsurprisingly jam-packed with tourist-friendly events that span the fields of art, music and sports. Interested in classical music or theater? There are literally thousands of potential shows and excursions you can see over the course of a lifetime. To help you narrow down your options, we’ve taken the liberty of picking five of our favorite European events to share with you.
Who says royal traditions can’t change? Certainly not the Dutch. Since 1890, the Netherlands have celebrated Koninginnedag, or Queen’s Day, to celebrate the ascension of Princess Wilhelmina to the Dutch throne. With the subsequent ascensions of Wilhelmina’s daughter Juliana in 1948, and Juliana’s daughter Beatrix in 1980, the date for the holiday has moved around the calendar, albeit with the same name. However, with Prince Willem-Alexander’s rise to the throne in 2013, following Beatrix’s abdication, Koninginnedag has now become Koningsdag, or King’s Day.
Dubbed the “biggest street party of the year,” Koningsdag features live music,street parties, food stalls and a city-wide flea market, the vrijmarkt (or “free market”), which lets anyone sell second-hand wares in Amsterdam’s Vondelpark. (Even kids are allowed in on the sales action, peddling toys and clothes they’ve outgrown in the last year.). On this day, it is tradition for nationals to dress in Holland’s national color—orange—while the King and the royal family celebrate with visits two locations: Graft-De Rijp and Amstelveen.
Cannes Film Festival
May 13 – 24
Now in its 68th year, the glitzy film festival is sure to attract many high-wattage international stars. Last year, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Winter Sleep won the fest’s big prize, the Palme d’Or, while Bennett Miller won for Best Director (Foxcatcher), Julianne Moore won for Best Actress (Maps to the Stars) and Timothy Spall won for Best Actor (Mr. Turner).
While tickets to any of the festival’s galas will be in short supply, vacationers to the region can indulge in the epitome of A-list Hollywood glamour and sophistication by signing up for tours of the French Riviera or exclusive travel packages that include VIP rooftop celebrations and chats with film historians.
June 24 – 28
England’s annual music and arts fest draws almost 200,000 attendees to Worthy Farm in Somerset each year. Still run by original founder Michael Eavis, and hosted on his privately owned land, Glastonbury is the largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world and has become a must-go for serious music fans. Last year, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum in Cleveland, Ohio even acknowledged Glastonbury by adding one of the festival’s infamous painted garbage cans to its archives. This year’s headliners, Lionel Richie and the Foo Fighters, will be joined by dozens of other musicians and bands who will be announced later this spring.
July 12 – 19
The British Open—one of the oldest and most prestigious of the major professional golf championships—takes place at St. Andrews, a.k.a. “The Home of Golf,” in Fife, Scotland. The tournament pits the world’s best players against each other for the honor of winning the Claret Jug, which was last won by Rory McIlroy in 2014. Louis Oosthuizen was the course’s most recent winner, where he beat Lee Westwood by seven shots in 2010. Officially begun in 1860 at the Prestwick Golf Club in Ayrshire, Scotland, the competition now features some of the best players around.
Venice Redentore Festival
Most travelers to Venice are familiar with the Italian city’s popular Carnevale and Biennale festivals. True insiders, however, often opt to visit during the lesser-known Festa del Redentore, or Feast of the Redeemer, which is held on the third Sunday of July. The multi-day celebration is a menagerie of fireworks, colorful boat displays, a gondola regatta, and a celebratory mass.
The annual festivity dates back to 1577 to memorialize Venice’s recovery from a debilitating two-year plague. To tout that turning point, city leaders commissioned Venetian architect Andrea Palladio to construct “Il Redentore” (The Redeemer) Church, and the city now hosts a spectacular event that celebrates both the religious and the spectacular.
On the eve of the festival participants—fueled by good food and wine—make their way by boat to Saint Mark’s Basin and the Giudecca Canal. The feasting and merry-making continues until 11:30 p.m., when a spectacular 30-minute long firework show lights up the sky. The following day, Venetians enjoy a series of gondola races before making their way to mass on Giudecca Island.
The Cannes Film Festival, the Venice Redentore Festival and the British Open are all 2015 Celebrity Cruises Signature Event Sailings. Find out more information at CelebrityCruises.com.