Summer Solstice 2023: Top European locations to celebrate shortest night of the year - full list

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These are some of the best places to celebrate the Summer Solstice in Europe, including Stonehenge.

Summer is upon us , and for many, this is a cause for celebration. With the arrival of the Summer Solstice, many people will go to stunning destinations throughout the world, which provide breathtaking landscapes, ancient traditions, and vibrant festivals that capture the essence of the celestial event.

Set to take place on June 21, Summer Solstice is a celestial phenomenon that marks the longest day of the year and the official beginning of summer in the Northern hemisphere. It occurs when the Earth’s axial tilt is most inclined towards the sun, resulting in the sun reaching its highest point in the sky.

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Various cultures celebrate the arrival of the Summer Solstice, as it symbolises the triumph of light and warmths over darkness and cold. If you’re thinking of trying out something different for your holiday this year, these are some of the best places around Europe to usher in the summer.

The list, created by SkyParkSecure travel experts, includes popular holiday spots such as Spain, Latvia, and Sweden. For those who want to celebrate the Summer Solstice on British soil, Stonehenge provides equally, if not more, stunning views.

Popular spots for Summer Solstice celebrations

The Night of San Juan, Spain

The night of San Juan is celebrated all over Spain to celebrate the shortest night of the year. The celebration is usually held on beaches with roaring bonfires, food, and drinks, surrounded by friends and family. It is a memorable, almost surreal scene and one that needs to be experienced.

Spain is a great place to visit in the summer months, and with the whole country celebrating, there is no shortage of areas you could visit – if you want to visit Granada, Almuñécar allows their beaches to be used as a campsite for the one-night, whilst Vigo sees bonfires take place throughout the streets of Berbés.

Jani Festival, Latvia

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Jani takes place in Latvia each year a little bit later than usual on June 24 to commemorate the summer solstice. Many Latvians leave the cities for the countryside to celebrate what is counted as one of the most important Latvian holidays. On this day, Latvians partake in rituals representing rebirth and new life.

Midsummer, Sweden

The Midsummer celebration in Sweden is a cherished tradition that takes place between 19 June 19 and June 25 each year. Family and friends gather together around this time, traditionally wearing flowers in your hair, dancing around maypoles, singing songs and drinking traditional Swedish food and drink. Experiencing the summer solstice in the midnight sun in Sweden is something to tick off your bucket list for sure.

Celebrate the arrival of Summer Solstice at StonehengeCelebrate the arrival of Summer Solstice at Stonehenge
Celebrate the arrival of Summer Solstice at Stonehenge | Getty Images/Tetra images RF

With celebrations lasting for a whole week – spending Midsummer in Sweden could be a great summer trip. If you’d like to be in the heart of it all, make sure to visit Dalarna in central Sweden, which hosts some of the biggest Midsummer celebrations in the country.

Mountain Fires, Tyrol Mountains, Austria

Every year on June 18, to celebrate the summer solstice, the Tiroleans put on an amazing spectacle for all to see, a tradition that goes back to the Middle Ages.

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Large shapes are burnt into the side of the mountain. Visitors can expect to find breathtaking images and motifs such as crosses, hearts, and the Tirolean eagle blazing on the alpine slopes high above the valley floor.

Mountain Fires, Tyrol Mountains, AustriaMountain Fires, Tyrol Mountains, Austria
Mountain Fires, Tyrol Mountains, Austria | Getty Images/Westend61

Stonehenge, UK

Stonehenge is believed to have been built in 2500 BC to align with the sun on both the Summer and Winter Solstice. So, it’s no wonder many people gather here yearly to celebrate the seasons. People come in their thousands to conduct rituals and ceremonies, watching as the sun rises together perfectly through the stones.

Whilst the UK may not celebrate the Summer Solstice to the same extent as some other countries – watching the sun rise behind the Heel Stone is truly a magical experience and a great way to celebrate without leaving the country.

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