Temperatures start to peak as schools break up for the long summer vacation. The coastal resorts are pretty busy by now and there are any number of festivals to check out.

Festival d'Avignon, France

Avignon's renowned arts festival is the oldest of its type in France and one of Europe's most famous. A month-long feast of drama, music, dance and poetry, it runs alongside the alternative fringe festival, Festival Off (www.avignonleoff.com). See www.festival-avignon.com.

Baščaršijske Noći, Bosnia & Hercegovina

Dance, music and theatre take to the streets of Sarajevo for the month-long Baščaršija Nights festival. All tastes are catered to with everything from ballet and opera to film screenings, book readings and kids' events.

Zagreb Summer Evenings, Croatia

Zagreb's Upper Town buzzes to the sound of music and drama for much of July. The city's traditional summer festival showcases a range of musical forms from classical to blues, jazz and world music.

Ljubljana Festival, Slovenia

Thousands flock to Slovenia's capital, Ljubljana, for the country's most important arts festival. Held throughout July and August, it has something for everyone, with world-class concerts, dance performances, lectures, children's workshops and exhibitions. Check out the website, www.ljubljanafestival.si.

Il Palio, Italy

Siena's legendary horse race Il Palio is held twice annually, on 2 July and 16 August. Accompanied by great pomp and medieval festivities, it's a ferocious affair, contested by jockeys riding bareback around the city's central square. For more information see www.ilpalio.org.

Sanfermines, Spain

The Fiesta de San Fermín (Sanfermines) is the week-long nonstop festival and party in Pamplona with the daily encierro (running of the bulls) as its centrepiece. Anything can happen, but it rarely ends well for the bull. The anti-bullfighting event, the Running of the Nudes, takes place two days earlier.

Dubrovnik Summer Festival, Croatia

Dubrovnik's beautiful streets set the scintillating stage for Croatia's biggest summer arts festival. Local and international musicians, actors and artists perform at venues across the city throughout July and August. Get details at www.dubrovnik-festival.hr.

Festa del Redentore, Italy

On the third weekend in July, gondola regattas serve as the build-up to a spectacular fireworks display in Venice. The much beloved festival was inaugurated in the 16th century to give thanks for the end of a plague epidemic.

Mostar Bridge Diving Competition, Bosnia & Hercegovina

Crowds throng the rocky banks of the Neretva River to watch daredevil divers leap off Mostar's iconic bridge, Stari Most, and plunge into the green waters 21m below.

Nice Jazz Festival, France

International jazz greats lead this week-long party on the French Riviera. Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and BB King have all headlined here, and the festival is a key date on the European jazz calendar. See www.nicejazzfestival.fr.

Umbria Jazz, Italy

Music aficionados flock to the medieval town of Perugia mid-month for Italy's premier jazz festival. A winter edition is also staged in the last days of December in the cliff-top town of Orvieto. Check www.umbriajazz.com for details.

Split Summer Festival, Croatia

Music, drama and dance enjoy top billing at Split's annual culture fest, held from mid-July to mid-August. Shows cover the full range from classical music concerts and opera to experimental theatre performances and puppet shows.

Bastille Day, France

Fireworks, balls, processions and a military parade in Paris mark France's national day, 14 July. Celebrated across the country, it excites much patriotic fervour and plenty of festive feasting.