Glyndebourne Festival Opera (May 19August 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.
Festival d'Avignon (July 6July 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.
Edinburgh International Festival (August 13September 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.
Montreux Jazz Festival (June 30July 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.