Visitors have arrived from around the world, and outdoor cafes, beer gardens and beach clubs are hopping. Expect beautiful – even scorching – weather anywhere you go.

Bastille Day

Fireworks and military processions mark France's national day, 14 July. It's celebrated in every French town and city, with the biggest festivities in Paris, where the storming of the Bastille prison kick-started the French Revolution.

Gentse Feesten

The charming Belgian city of Ghent is transformed into a 10-day party of music and theatre; a highlight is a vast techno celebration.

Il Palio

Siena's great annual event is the Palio (2 July and 16 August), a pageant culminating in a bareback horse race round Il Campo. The city is divided into 17 contrade (districts), of which 10 compete for the palio (silk banner).

Montreux Jazz Festival

It's not just jazz: big-name rock acts also hit the shores of Lake Geneva during the first two weeks of July. The cheaper music festival Paleo (http://yeah.paleo.ch) takes place in Nyon, between Geneva and Lausanne, in the second half of July.

Sanfermines (aka 'Running of the Bulls')

From 6 to 14 July, Pamplona, Spain, hosts the famous Sanfermines festival (aka Encierro or 'Running of the Bulls'), when the city is overrun with thrill-seekers, curious onlookers and, yes, bulls.

Festival d’Avignon

In France's lavender-scented Provence region, hundreds of artists take to the stage and streets of Avignon during July's world-famous Festival d’Avignon. The fringe Festival Off (www.avignonleoff.com) runs from early July to early August.