European Festival Checklist

European Festival Checklist

Europe's summer festivals showcase opera, dance, and theater. But tickets and hotel rooms go fast. Here's what you need to know to score last-minute entrée to four of the most popular.

England

Glyndebourne Festival Opera (May 19–August 27; 44-127/381-3813; www.glyndebourne.com)

Six productions set in the English countryside. Evening dress is customary.
Tips: Lifelong members often snag the best tickets by the time the box office opens, so book yours—including about 40 heavily reduced standing-room spots at $18—as early as possible. A tax-deductible Glyndebourne Association America membership (from $2,500) guarantees you priority booking to all six shows, trip-planning advice, pre-opera cocktails, and other perks.
Where to Stay: Since there are no hotels at Glyndebourne, stay in Brighton, 11 miles away.

France

Festival d'Avignon (July 6–July 27; 33-4/90-14-14-14; www.festival-avignon.com)

Mostly theater, with some music and dance.
Tips: Tickets go on sale June 12; Internet booking is available at fnac.fr (in French only). Avignon Festival Off (www.avignon-off.org) coexists, filling over 700 theaters, clubs, and cafés. Stop by the Maison des Pays du Vaucluse on the Place de l'Horloge for program info and tickets to both festivals, including a "carte spectateur" (last year's card cost $17) for 30 percent discounts on Off productions. Last-minute tickets for the Festival d'Avignon are available at each venue 45 minutes before showtime.
Where to Stay: Avignon fills up fast, so stay in a nearby suburb—try Les Angles, Villeneuve, or St.-Saturnin.

Scotland

Edinburgh International Festival (August 13–September 3; 44-131/ 473-2000; www.eif.co.uk)

International performers star in dance, music, and world-premiere plays.
Tips: Pick up last-minute tickets for $18 at the door an hour before showtime. In years past, the Hub brochure, available at the central box office, has listed discounted tickets for dress rehearsals. To get a jump on advance booking for next year's festival, join the members program (from $90 per year). The concurrent Edinburgh Festival Fringe (www.edfringe.com) features hundreds of independent companies.
Where to Stay: Many Edinburgh residents rent out their houses and apartments to tourists; see edinburgh.org for details.

Switzerland

Montreux Jazz Festival (June 30–July 15; 41-21/966-4444; www.montreuxjazz.com)

One of Europe's oldest jazz fests, drawing big-name performers—everyone from B. B. King to Gilberto Gil.
Tips:
Purchase tickets online and print them before you go. Ciao! Travel in San Diego (800/942-2426; www.ciaotravel.com) specializes in European jazz-festival vacations and can organize both trip and show tickets.
Where to Stay: Montreux has a limited number of hotel rooms, but Lausanne (20 minutes away by train) and Geneva (an hour and a half) have excellent accommodations.

T+L TIP Most European cities sell an all-in-one card that grants you entry into museums, churches, and historic sites. Find five of our favorites at travelandleisure.com/strategies.


Want a primer on a country's cultural landscape or its politics and scandals?Turn to these papers and Web sites for updates—in English—on popular European destinations.

BERLIN Ex-Berliner (www.exberliner.com) covers art and music, particularly in the expat-heavy eastern precincts. The best online cultural guide is www.signandsight.com.

ITALY Milan's leading paper, Corriere della Sera (www.corriere.it/english), publishes an English version online. The States-based US Italia Weekly (usitalia.info) is another great resource.

SLOVENIA The biweekly Slovenia Times (sloveniatimes.com) and Slovene Press Agency (www.sta.si/en/index.php) report the news—cultural and political—from Ljubljana.

ESTONIA, LATVIA, AND LITHUANIA The Baltic Times (www.baltictimes.com) covers the region, as does City Paper: The Baltic States (www.balticsww.com), which also gives advice on topics such as finding a decent tailor.

WARSAW The Warsaw Insider (www.warsawinsider.pl) is a monthly roundup of cultural events. For business and politics, see the weekly Warsaw Voice (www.warsawvoice.com.pl) and the Warsaw Business Journal (www.wbj.pl). —Carly Berwick

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