Move over Cannes: 10 of Europe’s best summer film festivals

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Annecy, France

13-18 June
The annual animation festival in France is ideally scheduled for combining sunny visits to the lake and castles of this pretty French mountain town with film screenings. By night, they show new and classic movies in the open air. This year, the opening film is Minions: The Rise of Gru and special screenings include Disney and Pixar’s Lightyear and the Netflix animation title The Sea Beast.
Festival pass: from £63. Stay: Ibis Annecy Centre Vieille Ville, doubles from £175 or check the official website for camping options

Mediterranean film festival, Split, Croatia

16-25 June 2022

The outdoor cinema on Bačvice beach in Split.
The outdoor cinema on Bačvice beach in Split. Photograph: Maja Prgomet

Croatia’s second largest city has plenty of historic sights, museums and nightlife, and its stunning coastal setting makes for a particularly scenic film festival. During the day, screenings are at a cinema inside the walls of the 1,700-year-old Diocletian’s palace, a perfect base for sightseeing. As the name suggests, they focus on Mediterranean films that might be hard to access elsewhere. This is a festival that prides itself in its positive, friendly vibe and its parties, many held at the open-air cinema on Bačvice beach.
Festival pass: tba. Stay: the sustainable Hotel Slavija near the waterfront, doubles from £145

Transylvania international film festival, Romania

17-26 June

The Moonwalk One documentary
The Moonwalk One documentary will be screened at the Transylvania film festival. Photograph: TCD/Prod.DB/Alamy

Nicknamed the “treasure city”, historic Cluj-Napoca has a creative buzz year round, but really comes to life when the film festival is in town. Screenings take place in a range of stunning venues, from castles to open-air museums to churches. On 21 June it’s screening the 1972 documentary Moonwalk One, with live musical accompaniment from French band Invaders. It will also be supporting Ukrainian film-makers with special screenings of films, including Valentyn Vasyanovych’s powerful Reflection.
Festival pass: from £29. Stay: one of many good-value options is the funky Lol et Lola hotel, doubles from £6


Munich film festival/Filmfest München, German

23 June-2 July

Munich film festival
About 200 films are shown at the Munich film festival. Photograph: Filmfest München / Christian Rudnik

Berlin may be the best-known film festival in Germany, but for sunnier weather head to Munich in June. First held in 1983, it shows about 200 films and attracts starry guests such as Melanie Griffith, Michael Caine, Emma Thompson, Ralph Fiennes and Antonio Banderas. The Kinderfest strand welcomes young people to special screenings. As a city, Munich has more than enough to keep you busy, from 80+ museums to the famous beer gardens – perfect for discussing a day’s movie viewing.
Festival pass: details announced soon. Stay: Hotel Buddy, in the town centre, doubles from £129

Karlovy Vary international film festival, Czech Republic

1-9 July

Karlovy Vary hosts one of the world’s oldest film festivals.
Karlovy Vary hosts one of the world’s oldest film festivals. Photograph: Josef Kubes/Alamy

This gorgeous town in the Czech Republic plays host to one of the oldest festivals in the world and is a favourite with film fans. The festival pass gives discounts to selected tourist sites in the Karlovy Vary region until the end of 2022 – plus free transport via festival buses, and free bike rental, so you can explore the surrounding area. It shows about 200 feature films from around the world and supports new talent. This year’s schedule has yet to be announced; last year it premiered the excellent Boiling Point, starring Stephen Graham.
Festival pass: from £27. Stay: Grandhotel Pupp was the inspiration for Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel; from £130, or camp in the “Tent Village” in the Rolava recreational area


Locarno film festival, Switzerland

3-13 August

Locarno film festival
The open-air Piazza Grande at Locarno film festival. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Situated between the lake and the mountains, the Swiss-Italian city celebrates international cinema in stunning locations each August. The open-air Piazza Grande can seat 8,000 – it’s the biggest open-air screening venue in Europe and can be a breathtaking experience. Locarno has a great reputation for quality arthouse films: this year it will honour the terrific indie director Kelly Reichardt (First Cow) and has numerous special events for its 75th anniversary.
Festival pass: From £30 a day, keep an eye on the website. Stay: Casa Elisabetta, doubles from £103, or look for B&Bs in nearby Ascona, Losone, Minusio, Tenero or Gordola

Venice film festival, Italy

31 August-10 September

Kirsten Dunst at Venice film festival
Kirsten Dunst arrives at last year’s Venice film festival. Photograph: Marc Piasecki/Getty Images for Netflix

One of the most accessible and elegant of the world’s major film festivals, Venice is the one to book if you’re getting serious Cannes Fomo. The main screenings actually take place on the small Lido island, where many industry folks also stay, but those based in Venice and enjoy a beautiful boat trip over to watch top-quality films, most available to the public. Last year guests included Penelope Cruz, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kristen Stewart and Kirsten Dunst.
Festival pass: tba.
Stay:
Hotel Villa Orio on the Lido, doubles from £83, or Albergo Marin in Venice, from £86

San Sebastián film festival, Spain

16-24 September

Donostia San-Sebastian in Spain
San-Sebastian bay Photograph: Eloi_Omella/Getty Images

Held in the Spanish city of San Sebastián (Donostia), the international festival is known for its wide range of film screenings, stunning beach views and incredible food scene. You might also spot the likes of Al Pacino and Tarantino propping up bars, and film fans love to hang out at the María Cristina hotel, where the stars stay. The exhibition “Imagine a Film Festival” will celebrate the event’s 70th anniversary.
Tickets: 2022 prices tba, on sale from 11 September; (in 2021 prices ranged from £1.50 for the kids’ screenings to £80 for the opening and closing galas). September. Stay: affordable options include Hotel Avenida, doubles from £100

Zurich film festival, Switzerland

22 September-2 October

The Kunsthaus art museum
The Kunsthaus museum in Zurich. Photograph: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

If Cannes and Venice are the grandmothers of the European festival scene, ZFF is the trendy teenager. It popped up in 2005 and quickly became established, with thousands of industry folk visiting the Swiss city to see work from emerging film-makers. Zurich is attractice, sophisticated and easy to explore, with lots of arty corners and funky bars. Check out the Kunsthaus and the Rietberg museums, and don’t miss Chagall’s stained-glass windows in the Fraumünster. Festival pass: from £30 for a day pass, for up to four screenings a day. Individual tickets go on sale in September. Stay: the stylish Hotel Marta in the old town, from £112

Evolution Mallorca international film festival, Spain

26 October-1 November

Palma de Mallorca
Palma de Mallorca, where this year’s festival includes a drive-in cinema. Photograph: Alexander Spatari/Getty Images

One of the fastest-growing film festivals in Europe, showing a culturally diverse mix of features, shorts and virtual reality projects, EMIFF has been one of MovieMaker’s “TOP 50 Film Festivals Worth The Entry fee” five years in a row. Everything’s centrally located so you can easily explore cultural hotspots such as the cathedral. This year’s festival is set to include a drive-in cinema showing contemporary classics, a “made in Balearics” programme that spotlights local talent from the islands, and live podcast recordings such as Girls on Film. Day trip options include the seaside Port Soller, the sleepy mountain town of Fornalutx and the Ses Rotes winery in Esporles.
Festival pass: from £85, which includes all films apart from closing night. Stay: Hotel Saratoga, in the heart of Palma, from £112