There’s nothing quite like a Eurail through Europe in summer; whether you end up joining local people enjoying cold beers and glasses of wine at terrace bars and cafes in continental cities, hiking through sundrenched Alpine mountains or lounging on Mediterranean beaches.
We bet you haven’t even thought about going to a music festival while you’re riding the rails across Europe, and yet getting the train to some of the world’s best festivals is easier than you think.
Here’s our pick of Europe’s top music festivals which are easily reached by train.
Dates: 5th – 7th July
Headliners: The Chemical Brothers, Jessie Ware, Glass Animals, Ziggy Marley, Jamie Cullum
Set on an former airfield 120km from Bratislava, Pohoda Festival has been gaining a reputation for itself over the last few years that sets it apart from its more outlandish European counterparts. The eco-friendly, arty festival offers a bill that transcends the different musical genres, too. Combining that with cheap rail fares on special trains from the capital and reasonably priced drinks, Pohoda is proving itself to be a must-visit festival to tick off your list.
Rock Werchter, Belgium
Dates: 5th – 8th July
Headliners: Pearl Jam, Arctic Monkeys, The Killers, Gorillaz, Queens of the Stone Age
While it continues to be a stalwart of the rock festival scene, Rock Werchter has recently moved with the times to offer more of a musical smorgasbord. That doesn’t mean you won’t see some of the best rock bands on the festival circuit headlining the bill, though. Festival-goers can benefit from free return travel by train (or shuttle bus) when they download an e-train ticket from SNCB (Belgian Railways) with their Ticketmaster booking reference. You can board a train anywhere in Belgium to get there via Leuven or Aarschot station.
Bilbao BKK Live, Spain
Dates: 12th – 14th July
Headliners: Florence + The Machine, The XX, Gorillaz, Alt J, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Set on a mountainside just 10 minutes outside Bilbao, this small, intimate festival is a must for those who want to enjoy a slower pace than the usual frenetic festival experience. Being so close to the city, it also means you can combine culture with a visit to the Guggenheim Museum with some sun worshipping and surfing at the local beaches or getting your fill of pinxtos – the local Basque tapas – alongside live performances by from some of the world’s biggest names.
Dates: 8th – 15th August
Headliners: Arctic Monkeys, Kygo, Kendrick Lamar, Lana Del Rey, Mumford & Sons, Dua Lipa
Unlike many of the festivals on the list, Sziget Festival is not an out-of-town affair. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Set on an island in the heart of Budapest, the week-long festival boasts a staggering 36 stages and venues, hosting big name bands and artists as well as art installations and impromptu performances. While you can camp on the island – which also has its own beach – many choose to stay in one of the many hostels (party hostel, anyone?) in the city and dip in and out of it while visiting some of Budapest’s top attractions.
Dates: 30th June – 7th July
Headliners: Eminem, Bruno Mars, Massive Attack, Dua Lipa, Gorillaz, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
8 days, 8 stages, 175 acts, 130,000 festival goers. In numbers alone, Roskilde is a behemoth of the European festival scene. This year, the ever-popular festival boasts a wide ranging bill, including the likes of rapper Eminem and virtual band Gorillaz. Direct trains run from Copenhagen Central Station, which is just 30 minutes away. If you’re considering getting a ticket, you should also consider Roskilde Road Trip packages, which include bus transfers from a number of Nordic cities (including Oslo and Stockholm) and Copenhagen airport as well as exclusive camping spots closer to the festival grounds.
Super Bock Super Rock, Portugal
Dates: 19th – 21st July
Headliners: The XX, Justice, Stormzy, The Vaccines
Now in its 25th year, Lisbon’s SBSR Festival has somehow managed to avoid the gaze of music lovers around the world. That’s also in spite of it being Portugal’s biggest music festival and hosted in one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. SBSR has for years managed to score exceptionally impressive line-ups to challenge the likes of better known festivals like Glastonbury. Setting up home in Lisbon’s Parque De Nações district, the three-day festival should be on everyone’s list if they’re visiting the Portuguese capital this summer.