The summer has arrived and with it hot, sunny weather and a full festival schedule. This is a great time for sunning yourself on the beach before the holiday hordes descend and prices skyrocket.

Palio delle Quattro Antiche Repubbliche Marinare, Italy

Historic rivalries are rekindled in the form of boat races between Italy's four ancient maritime republics: Pisa, Genoa, Amalfi and Venice. Before the races, representatives from each city don medieval garb and parade through the host city.

International İstanbul Music Festival, Turkey

Catch a classical concert in a sultan's palace or a jazz jam in a 4th-century church during İstanbul's month-long music fest. In 2012 some 750 performers participated including top orchestras from Berlin and Vienna. See

Estate Romana, Italy

Between June and September, Rome's ruins, piazzas and parks stage events organised as part of this sweeping annual festival. The program is eclectic featuring everything from film screenings to children's concerts, book readings and theatrical performances.

T-Mobile INmusic Festival, Croatia

One of the Balkans' top music festivals, this two-day event near Lake Jarun in Zagreb features a strong international line-up – in recent years Franz Ferdinand, Gorillaz Sound System, Massive Attack, and Lily Allen have all played. Details from

Festa de Santo António, Portugal

On 12 and 13 June, Lisbon commemorates St Anthony with parades, street parties and unfeasible quantities of grilled sardines. The event is part of the wide-ranging cultural event, Festas de Lisboa.

Hellenic Festival, Greece

The ancient theatre at Epidavros and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus are the headline venues of Athens' annual cultural shindig. The festival, which runs from mid-June to August, features music, dance, theatre, and much more besides. See

Oil-wrestling Championship, Turkey

Huge crowds gather in Edirne in late June/early July to cheer greased-up wrestlers as they slap each other around during the Kırkpınar wrestling festival. Dating back to the 14th century, this is the world's oldest wrestling event. Get details on

Festa de São João, Portugal

One of Portugal's top festivals, the Festival of St John sees Porto's streets taken over by crowds of revellers wielding plastic hammers. Celebrations continue through the night of 23 June with fireworks, bonfires and beach parties.