(La Tomatina, Valencia)

Rhine in Flames

If you missed Valencia's Las Fallas, this German festival is the next best thing in pyrotechnics. On five summer nights the skies above the Rhine Valley are lit up by firework displays to rival any in the world. Bonn to Linz: May 3, Bingen/Rüdesheim: July 5, Koblenz: Aug 9, Oberwesel: Sept 13, St Goar: Sept 20.

May 3-Sept 20

White Nights, St Petersburg
Thanks to the city's northern location, the sun never sets during the six weeks of this festival, which offers an eclectic programme of ballet, dance, opera, jazz and classical music performances.

May 15-June 18

Isle of Wight Festival
Forget Glastonbury: take the ferry over to this festival near Newport, which has re-established itself as one Europe's finest. This year's line-up includes Razorlight, Stereophonics, the Prodigy, Neil Young and the Pixies.

June 12-14

Il Palio, Siena
If you think the Grand National has thrills and spills, you should see this: 10 jockeys (representing the city's 10 districts) ride bareback around three laps of the dangerously tight Piazza del Campo. The race lasts just 80 seconds, but people come from far and wide to be part of the event, and the grappa-fuelled parties.

July 2 and Aug 16

Benicàssim Festival
Think Mediterranean beaches rather than mud baths. Benicàssim serves up a great selection of indie bands, rock groups and DJs. This year's line-up includes the Killers, Kings of Leon and Oasis.

July 17-20

Bregenz Festival
This open-air opera festival, set on Lake Constance, is as much a visual experience as an auditory one. The audience looks out from the shore on to an epic floating stage that featured in the last James Bond film. This year the centrepiece will be a Verdi's Aida.

July 25-Aug 22

Marciac Jazz Festival
This small French town in Armagnac hosts one of the world's best jazz festivals. Among the performers this year are Sonny Rollins, Ray Gelato and Wynton Marsalis.

July 31-Aug 16

Edinburgh Festival
Together with the Edinburgh Fringe this is the world's largest festival of the performing arts, including dance, theatre, opera, comedy, music and film. This year's performances include a giant outdoor production of Faust, a new take on Voltaire's Candide and a dance production based on the music of Iggy Pop, David Bowie and Lou Reed.

Aug 14-Sept 6

La Tomatina, Valencia
On the last Wednesday of August each year, the tiny village of Bunyol stages one of the world's quirkiest festivals. Some 275,000lbs of ripe tomatoes are available for 20,000 people to throw at one another.

Aug 25

Goodwood Revival
See out the summer with a nostalgic journey back to the golden age of racing. Thousands descend on Goodwood dressed in the fashions of the Fifties and Sixties, while E-Type Jags and Ferrari Dinos roar round the circuit, reminding all that there is more to life than Formula One.

Sept 18-20

via Telegraph, UK
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