It's easier than ever to take the train around the continent. From capital cities to lesser-known destinations - rail can be a convenient, easy and relaxing way to get to the best festivals in Europe during 2018.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the finest European music festivals taking place this year, together with information on how to get there by train.
Dates: 23-26 August 2018. Location: Darsbury, UK. Headliner: Carl Cox
One of the most prestigious dance festivals on the planet, Creamfields is always full to bursting with worldwide stars. Whatever type electronic music you're into, you'll find more than you could ask for at Creamfields 2018.
Young couple on train, © Sanjeri, All Rights Reserved
How to get to Creamfields Festival
Getting to Creamfields by rail is easy from all over the UK. As an example, from London your journey will be just over 2 hours to Runcorn East and then a short bus journey of around 20 minutes to the event site. Looking beyond London, from the other end of the UK, getting to Creamfields by train is equally easy. From Edinburgh, the journey requires a simple change at Warrington Bank Quay Station. Runcorn East is close to the Liverpool and Manchester area. Tickets for UK rail journeys are usually bookable 3 months in advance to make sure to set-up a booking alert to give yourself the best chance of grabbing a cheap seat.
No blog post about music festivals in Europe is complete without a mention of Glastonbury! However, once every 6 years there is no Glastonbury Festival. This is to allow the local environment to recover from the rigours of hosting over 100,000 revellers each year - 2018 is one of those years (Nooo!). However, there will still be a smaller lower-key festival in the area at Glastonbury Abbey - The Glastonbury Abbey Extravaganza - headlined by Paloma Faith!
How to get to Glastonbury Festival
In terms of getting to Glastonbury festival, the nearest train station is Castle Cary (on the London Paddington to Plymouth line). Transport to Glastonbury Abbey is only a short taxi ride, costing no more than £10, from here. However, during the years when the Glastonbury Festival is on, there’s a free bus service from the railway station to the festival.
Primavera Sound Festival
Dates 30 May - 03 June 2018. Location: Barcelona, Spain. Headliners: Arctic Monkeys, The National and Bjork.
Indie King and supporter of new music, Primavera Sound prides itself on pushing the alternative scene forward. It’s a great festival to attend and city of Barcelona is a welcoming and dynamic host. With a great lineup, Primavera Sound Festival 2018 is set to be better than ever.
Young group of travelling tourists, © nd3000, All Rights Reserved
How to get to Primavera Sound Festival
Travel from the UK to Barcelona is easy by rail. You can speed from Paris to Barcelona in just 6 hrs 30 mins and the journey from London to Barcelona is easily managed in a day. The best option is to take a morning Eurostar to Paris, connecting in the French capital with a high-speed TGV direct to Barcelona. On those days when the direct London to Lyon Eurostar runs there is also a useful alternative route from London to Barcelona, changing just once at Lyon Part Dieu.
Dates: 14-16 June 2018. Location: Barcelona, Spain. Headliners: Charlotte De Witte, Ben Klock and DJ Nobu
Also in Barcelona, Sónar is a three-day electronic and advanced music festival. It was founded in Barcelona in 1994. The festival has been divided into two parts since its inception: Sónar by Day and Sónar by Night, with Sónar+D, a three-day congress dedicated to Creativity, Technology and Business running concurrently since 2013. The 2017 Barcelona edition attracted 123,000 attendees from 101 countries.
Girl drinking coffee while commuting by train, © Kosamtu, All Rights Reserved
How to get to Sónar Festival
See the previous rail route to Barcelona!
Dates: 6-8 July 2018. Location: Split, Croatia. Headliners: Afrojack, David Guetta, Marshmello, Alesso.
Transported across the Atlantic from Miami's glamourous city centre, Ultra Europe wasted no time in establishing itself as a worthy successor to the original UMF. The biggest DJs in the world bring Croatia's stunning Adriatic coast to its feet.
How to get to Ultra Europe
The rail network in Croatia radiates out from the capital Zagreb, connecting most major cities by rail. A notable exception is Dubrovnik, which doesn’t even have a train station (the nearest rail station is Split, a 4 hr bus ride away)! Other coastal cities, such as Split and Rijeka, are easily reached by train.
Fastest trains from the UK to Croatia take under 20 hours with changes in Brussels and Munich. Booking a train ticket to Croatia makes for a truly epic journey by taking in so much of Europe!
Getting to Ultra Europe by train, you’re looking at roughly 20 hours of travel time. It’d be a great idea to spread this out over a few days really making the journey count. Booking with Loco2 will take you all the way to Zagreb. You’ll then find the option of a bus or another train to Split. The transport prices within Croatia are affordable.
Dates: 8-15 August 2018. Location: Budapest, Hungary. Headliners Lana Del Rey, Kygo
Sziget is one of those festivals that could never spend another cent on marketing and still sell out every single year. Its reputation precedes it by almost a decade, and Budapest makes an incredible host city.
How to get to Sziget Festival
Budapest is a bridge between central Europe and the Balkan region. No surprise then that the Hungarian capital enjoys excellent international rail connections. There are a dozen direct trains each day from Vienna, seven from Prague, five from Munich, two from Zurich and one from Hamburg, Berlin and Dresden. There is an impressive range of direct overnight services, with the following cities all featuring on the departure boards: Belgrade, Bucharest, Kiev, Kraków, Warsaw and Zurich.
Getting to the Sziget Festival by train often involves changing in Cologne and Vienna, this gives the festival goer a great chance to explore two of Europe’s most exciting cities to visit.
Dates: 30 June - 01 July 2018. Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands. Headliners: Carl Cox
Awakenings Festival is one of the most well known electronic events in Europe and the largest outdoor techno festival in the world. With 80.000 visitors in a weekend Awakenings Festival is the highlight of Europe’s techno music calendar. The techno music festival welcomes over 100 acts.
How to get to Awakenings Festival
Reaching Amsterdam by rail is easier than ever thanks to Eurostar’s new direct service from London to Amsterdam. From the station a shuttle bus service which commutes back and forth between the Amsterdam Sloterdijk Station and the festival site throughout the entire day (11:00 - 00:30 CET). The Awakenings Festival strongly encourages people not to drive to the event site, so once in Amsterdam, the bus is really the way to go.
Rock am Ring Festival
Dates: 1 - 3 June 2018. Location: Nürnberg, Germany. Headliners: Foo Fighters, Muse, Thirty Second to Mars, Gorillaz.
If rock and metal are your game, then Germany's Rock am Ring needs no introduction. Along with sister festival Rock im Park, it pulls unparalleled lineups year after year, and can lay claim to being one of the best-attended weekends in the world.
Young girl waiting for train, © Structuresxx, All Rights Reserved
How to get to Rock am Ring Festival
The fastest trains from Paris to Nuremberg take around 5 hours and 38 minutes, covering a distance of approximately 640 kilometres. There are frequent services on the rail route between Paris and Nuremberg. From Nuremberg, getting to Rock am Ring is easy with frequent bus services taking you directly to the event.
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