Five of the Best Beach Music Festivals in Europe

With no muddy fields of Glastonbury this year and our favourite London festivals booked, we think a little sunshine is in order. Check out our pick of the best beach music festivals in Europe to party in your bikini...


Les Eurockeennes - France

Dates: 29th June – 1st July 2012

What and where: Taking place on the peninsula of Malsaucy, right on the Swiss border near Belfort in France, Les Eurockeennes is one of the most beautifully located of music festivals in Europe. The festival has been going since 1989 and has built a reputation for diverse line-ups, with three stages - one at the beach and two along the Malsaucy Lake - each offering a different genre. From home-grown French talent to the A-list of the music world, everyone from Jay-Z to Motorhead to the Arctic Monkeys have graced the stages here.


Line-up: The Cure, The Kooks, Lana Del Rey, The Mars Volta, Miles Kane, Cypress Hill and Django Django.

Ticket price: From £35

Where to book:

Where to stay: Given that camping at Les Eurockeennes is free and in such a rural location, we’ll be taking our tents for the weekend.

How to get there: We’d recommend getting a great playlist together and road-tripping it.

The Garden Festival - Croatia

Dates: 4th – 11th July 2012


What and where: After scouring the Croatian coastline, the organisers of the Garden Festival have come up trumps again with a hot new destination, one with its own sandy beach and private bay (both of which are just 10 minutes from the gorgeous town of Tisno). We’ll be kicking off our shoes the minute we get there and heading straight for the Tiki Bar and Beach stage, which is built right on the ocean, meaning you can dance in the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic while listening to your favourite music. In our books a beach festival isn’t really complete without a boat party - and this is something that the Garden Festival excels at. Twice a day the infamous Argonaughty party boat sails into the bay’s very own dock to pick up revellers and take them out to the stunning Kornati islands and back as the sun sets. Just in time for Barbarella’s Discotheque, an open-air island party, where you can dance to some of the world’s best club DJs under the stars.

Line-up: Nicholas Jaar, 2020 Soundsystem, Pillow Talk and Yesking.

Ticket price: £90

Where to book:

Where to stay: If camping mid-summer in the Croatian heat sounds a little too much, then the festival has 80 air-conditioned apartments on site (email: There’ll also be plenty of luxury boutique camping, with 100% breathable Indian Shikar tents which come complete with beds, electric fans and lighting and a separate dressing area and mosquito nets (email: That sounds much more like our kind of camping...

How to get there: Split Airport is a 55-minute drive away and Zadar Airport is a 45-minute drive away. Ryanair, Easyjet and German Wings fly regularly to both destinations and some new routes have been recently added to Zadar from East Midlands Airport.

Gnaoua Festival – Morocco

Dates: 21st – 24th June 2012

What and where: Every year the Gnaoua Festival (dubbed as the ‘Moroccan Woodstock’) rolls into town and shakes the whitewashed walls of the picturesque port of laid-back Essaouira. Shrouded in mystic tradition the Gnaoua brotherhood is a cross-pollination of soulful African beats, jazz, reggae, rhythmic drum sets, the guenbri (a form of lute) and garagab (metal castanets that are played above their heads). The result? A sultry, eclectic mix of music that lets you drift off into your own whimsical world under the beating Moroccan sun...


Ticket price: From £25

Where to book:

Where to stay: If you really want to treat yourself, then check in for a bit of out-of-this-world luxury at the Heure Bleue Palais. Or for more laid-back luxury, check into one of the gorgeous riads Essouaira has to offer. For our pick of the best, try Madada Mogador (5 rue Youssef El Fassi), Dar Beida or Ocean Vagabond (Boulevard Mohamed V, 44100).

How to get there: There are currently no direct flights from the UK to Essouaira, so we’d recommend flying into Marrakech on one of the budget airlines (Ryanair and Easyjet both fly there), spend the night at a gorgeous Marrakech riad, then hop on a bus over to the festival. Buses are regular, cheap and take a couple of hours.

Primavera Sound - Barcelona

Dates: Wednesday 30th May – Sunday 3rd June 2012

What and where: While the stages might not be right on the sand, (they’re in a purpose-built outdoor arena called the Forum), the beach and the rolling views of the Mediterranean are just a stone’s throw away from the action. Most of the acts start later on in the day, leaving plenty of time for catching afternoon rays and topping up your tan, but come sunset it’s all about the music. Many a festival heavyweight has performed here over the years, including an electric performance from Pulp last summer. Once the festival’s over you’ll be perfectly placed to explore Barcelona afterwards.

Not sure what to wear? Check out our street style gallery of Primavera Sound

Line-up: Marianne Faithfull, Franz Ferdinand, The Cure, St Etienne, Black Lips, Beirut and Josh T.

Ticket price: £150 (or £70 for a day pass).

Where to book:

Where to stay: There’s no camping at Primavera Sound (probably a good thing in that heat), but the city centre is a short bus ride away. For a beautifully designed boutique hotel, check in at the 5 rooms (Pau Claris, 72, 08010). For other stylish accommodation at relatively sensible prices, go for Casa Camper Barcelona or Barcelo Raval.

How to get there: Many of the budget airlines (Easyjet, Ryanair and Monarch) fly directly into Barcelona. For the shortest check-in times, you can fly from London City Airport with British Airways. There’ll be regular buses departing from the airport to the festival site.

Spirit of Burgas, Bulgaria

Dates: 3rd – 5th August 2012

What and where: Setting up camp on the flour-white sands of Bulgaria's Black Sea coastline, the Spirit of Burgas is in its fifth year and regularly tops the charts as one of Europe’s finest beach festivals. Plus, with a three-day pass coming in at just £85, it’s also one of the cheapest.The music is an eclectic mix of key headliners - featuring everything from soul and jazz to heavy metal - and this year the festival is bigger than ever with a solar dance arena, chill-out area and, of course, miles of blissed out beaches to dance the night away on.

Line-up: This year’s full line-up is still to yet to be confirmed, but Tinie Tempah, Busta Rhymes and Chase and Status are playing.

Ticket price: From £35

Where to book:

Where to stay: The best place to look for a decent place to stay is on the Spirit of Burgas website, they’ve teamed up with loads of hotels and apartments in the area to offer festival-goers discounted stays. It’ll take the pressure off, as they’re offering shared hotel rooms from £63 per person for a four-night stay. Email for further details and booking.

How to get there: Sofia Airport or Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport are the closest, and both are serviced by many of the budget airlines from the UK. You can get direct transfers by bus from the airport to the festival; they cost £28 each way. Alternatively, you can take a connecting flight from Sofia to Bergas Airport.

Like our pick of the best beach music festivals in Europe, but looking for somewhere a little closer to home? Check out our pick of London festivals.

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