This summer football fans will flock from all over Europe to see their teams competing on French soil. As is customary, you can expect 24/7 TV coverage of every kick for the month of June and early July.
But for those who aren’t so keen on the beautiful game, there’s never been a better time to find out what other family-friendly gatherings are happening on your doorstep – and even further afield.
So if you’re #notatthefootball this summer, why not check out the best of what’s on offer across the rest of Europe.
16th and 17th June
On the eve of his feast day, locals take to the riverside to honour St. Ranieri, the patron saint of Pisa and protector of travellers. Back in 1688 the decision was made to transfer the hallowed Ranieri’s ashes into a new and more stylish urn. The locals celebrated the news by filling their windows in the streets along the river Arno with candles, and lighting them at night to create a spectacular visual effect.
Each year since then the ‘Luminara’ tradition has continued, with special white wooden frames being attached to the riverside buildings, which are then filled with candles and lit at night. All along the river Arno, the streets glow with pride, and there’s an amazing fireworks display to cap off the evening.
The next day, you’ll find the town alive with colour and song as the annual Ranieri regatta gets under way, with specially-commissioned ships sailing along the Arno to celebrate the feast day.
18th – 26th June
Free entry to most events
The world’s best sailing talent meets a festival of fun and excitement on the seas of Kiel for this annual event, regarded as the largest regatta in the world. For more than 130 years the seas have been given over to a week of sailing competition during June, which has since been joined by music concerts all over the city from star names as well as up and coming performers.
This year’s event promises to be something special, as the national team sets sail for Rio this farewell event will celebrate their achievements and give its proud representatives the opportunity to show off their skills to enthusiastic fans.
Alongside with the bursting maritime programme, the town puts on events for visitors both young and old, with a Children’s Festival promising days packed full of arts, crafts and games.
And for those keen to indulge, the International Market promises food and drink from all over the world. Sample local delicacies or try something completely different – you can easily spare the time for a wander between the big sailing shows.
20th – 24th June
All over the Pyrenees and Catalonia, this time of year is greeted with fervour by the locals. In these small towns and villages the tradition is to make special torches called fallas, then descend from the highest point together and light a bonfire in the square. Whether celebrating the feast of St John or the arrival of midsummer, this night of fire-dancing and song is a sight to behold.
In Alicante, the Bonfires of St John are the biggest celebrations of the whole calendar year; since 1928 they’ve combined the Valencian tradition of ‘falles’ – a week-long festival – with the Bonfires lit around the region.
Each morning, the locals are given their 8am wake-up call by a brass band parading through the streets, while at 2pm the Plaza de los Luceros hosts a mascletá – a symphony of fireworks and bangers intended musically rather than just to create noise. At night on the 24th the burning of bonfires and specially-made wooden figures brings in the real party.
24th June – 3rd July
Ticket prices vary by event, selected events are free entry. http://hebdenbridgeartsfestival.co.uk/
The Yorkshire town of Hebden Bridge prides itself on its individuality and diversity, boasting a high number of independent shops and some stunning scenery. The Art Festival is a great chance to take in the town and enjoy the fruits of its local labours – Hebden Bridge is home to a thriving arts scene which is celebrated every summer.
With events, exhibitions and concerts held at venues all over town, this year’s highlights include poet Simon Armitage reading a selection of his water-themed work to raise money for flood relief; Craig Charles spinning funk and soul classics at his legendary club night; and Arthur Smith looking back on his award-winning career as a playwright, broadcaster and comedian.
The first weekend in July also promises to be a fun-filled time, with the annual Street Fair bringing performers, dancers and musicians together to put on a show along with arts and craft stalls and the finest food Yorkshire has to offer.
28th June – 13th July
7-night season tickets from 170 €
With the tournament taking place in France, it’s the non-football fans here who will be the most relieved for an alternative – and at the annual Jazz in Vienne event you’ll find a programme of music from the world’s best jazz musicians.
By the time the festival gets into full swing just half an hour from Lyon, there’ll only be one game left to play at Stade de Gerland, so you can focus on enjoying great music from the likes of Diana Krall, Seal and Nile Rodgers.
The festival is programmed at several venues around the town – each offering both new and established music talent in a variety of different forms. The Roman Theatre is where you’ll find the headline acts, while the JazzMix after parties at Magic Mirror offer visitors a new take on the popular genre with diverse electronic and funk acts among those on the bill.
Didn’t get a ticket? Don’t like sport? Your significant other taking over the TV for a whole month? Don’t worry if you’re #notatthefootball - with so much happening off the pitch this summer, it’s time you checked out the finest non-soccer events on offer across the entire continent. There’s more to life than kicking a spherical object around for 90 minutes.