Sponsored Content

7 Epic Mediterranean Festivals and the Best Places to Stay

From Costa del Sol’s Málaga Feria to Tuscany’s Mercantia, these palatial estates, romantic hideaways, and other fabulous onefinestay villas make the most of warm-weather celebrations.

7 Epic Mediterranean Festivals and the Best Places to Stay

Aside from the Mediterranean’s jaw-dropping beauty, when temperatures rise, an exciting lineup of fêtes honoring art, music, and heritage draw visitors from around the world. And with onefinestay’s curated collection of spectacular homes, every fairytale stay in a private villa or palatial estate is as memorable as the sights and as impressive as the performances.

Each home undergoes the most rigorous vetting hospitality has to offer, and a dedicated concierge delivering personalized services means every vacation is tailored to the guest. Plus, 24/7 support ensures travelers will want for nothing. So, whether Amalfi’s Music and Art Festival or the film festival in Cannes, here are some of the Mediterranean’s most travel-worthy events paired with the perfect home-away-from-home, guaranteed to turn your holiday up to 11.

1. The Feria de Málaga

Costa del Sol, Spain

It’s easy to lose your heart to Spain’s Costa del Sol, a seaside haven where old-world sensibility meets spirited cosmopolitan vibe. In August, the energy soars with one of the country’s largest and most significant spectacles, the Feria de Málaga. This multiday extravaganza dates to the 1491 reconquest of the city by Catholic Monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand and has evolved into a joyous excuse to spend time with loved ones.

During daylight hours visitors and Malagueños flood the city center throughout the day. Musical performances, flamenco dances, parades, and merchants, selling an endless feast of tapas and wine, fill the streets. Come nightfall the party moves to the Cortijo de Torres’s fairgrounds, where a massive amusement park, teeming with more food, wine, and fun, awaits.

Other events include the Bienal de Arte Flamenco de Málaga, extraordinary presentations of more than 200 artists dancing every Flamenca discipline that runs from July through September, and the Virgen del Carmen Festival, kind of a “Málaga Feria light” taking place in towns throughout Andalucía in July.

Villa Andalucia

open-uri20220111-49-1xsi7ow

Located in the small resort town of Marbella, Villa Andalucia sits between Puerto Banú, home to yachts and high-end boutiques, and Málaga. It’s a prime spot for seclusion-seekers who want the best of both worlds with lush gardens and mature olive trees surrounding this four-bedroom house.

Inside, a palette of cream and beige graces Scandinavian design, enriched by traditional Spanish details. The spacious chef’s kitchen comes stocked with regional delights, which will give you a head start if you have your concierge arrange for you to learn to cook authentic Andalusian cuisine from a local chef. Toast to your success with a meal on the terrace under a canopy of stars.

You can also have your concierge book a chauffeured car to enjoy the Feria to the fullest or make your way to Calle Larios’ marble-lined street high-end shops. Culture hounds will appreciate a private tour of the Picasso Museum or the ruins of the Roman theater, built during the reign of Emperor Augustus. Nearby is Bar El Pimpi in a converted 18th century Roman home, recognized for its boisterous atmosphere and impressive wine list.

Close to the villa, Playa de Venus’ sand and surf make for a great afternoon, or if you want something a little different, take a buggy safari deep into the Sierra de las Nievas Mountain Range. Not to be missed is a meal at José Carlos Garcia, Málaga’s Michelin-starred restaurant overlooking the harbor, known for its bold take on Andalusian cooking.

Book Villa Andalucia, which sleeps eight and starts at $546 per night.

2. Fête de la Musique

Saint-Tropez, France

Since 1982, on June 21 France has celebrated the summer solstice by transforming the nation into a sublime open-air venue. Nowhere is the occasion more dazzling than in Saint-Tropez. Its winding streets and fabled boardwalk are awash with every style of music imaginable, from classical and jazz to contemporary hits and traditional folk. In a city known for jetsetters and wealth, the Fête de la Musique is free, with every artist donating their time.

Villa Ocean Parcs

open-uri20220111-48-1woznzg

Located on a peninsula as part of the prestigious gated community of Les Parcs, this elegant five-bedroom home is ideal for family gatherings or friends seeking to reconnect. Guests can focus on what’s most important: the experience––practically effortless when you have a staff butler and chef included in your stay.

Cozy elegance best describes the clean lines of the interior’s silhouettes paired with plush fabrics and neutral tones dotted with turquoise. Contemporary art hangs on the walls, illuminated by floor-to-ceiling glass doors. Take a chaise lounge by the pool and decompress, aided by panoramic coastal views. Five ensuite bathrooms (the master has two) afford ample guest space. Access to a private helipad and landing jetty means no transportation headaches, and the villa has a guest apartment for additional privacy.

This spectacular property is a short drive to the three-mile expanse of pristine sand called Pampelonne Beach, studded with fashionable clubs and gourmet restaurants. A jet set favorite, the café Loulou à Ramatuelle is named after Yves Saint Laurent’s bohemian muse, Loulou de la Falaise.

On Tuesdays or Sundays, head to the Place des Lice for the outdoor market. Sit back, absorb the city’s ebb and flow, and savor pastries and produce. Leave room for a Tarte Tropezienne, a cream-filled brioche sprinkled with pearl sugar confection named by Brigitte Bardot and save some euros for antiques, paintings, or arts and crafts.

After the festival concerts, the city’s exceptional nightlife is yours for the taking. Les Caves du Roy has been a nightclubber’s nirvana for decades.

Check out Villa Ocean Parcs to learn more about the property that sleeps 10 and starts at $8,083 per night.

3. Festival de Cannes

Cannes, France

In May, the French Riviera welcomes the Cannes Film Festival. Filmmakers worldwide compete in hopes of walking away with the Palme d’Or in recognition of their work. Although you must be an accredited film professional, journalist, or cinephile to get a pass, there’s plenty of glitz, glam, and red-carpet premieres. For movie buffs, a selection of documentaries, shorts, and features are shown at Cinema de la Plage during the Directors’ Fortnight.

Other events in the area include The Festival d’Art Pyrotechnique, an international firework competition that lights up the Bay of Cannes in July, and Cannes Lions, the world’s most important gathering of professional creatives each June.

Villa Katia

open-uri20220111-49-igg9f3

Villa Katia’s six-bedroom, four-bathroom dwelling conjures the Golden Age of Hollywood with sweeping views, meticulously manicured lawns, a clay tennis court, and a turquoise pool encircled by medieval stone walls. Blossoming flowers help make the garden a hidden refuge for meditation and quiet conversation.

Step inside and find vaulted ceilings soaring over a sitting area with a stone fireplace worthy of Citizen Kane. Thanks to arched windows and doors, the entire villa is bright and airy. Would-be chefs will appreciate the sleek, fully equipped kitchen and on summer days, there’s an outdoor kitchen and dining area on the terrace for entertaining.

A sojourn into Cannes is a quick 15-minute drive from the villa. The heart of the celebration stretches the length of Cannes’ coastline on the Promenade de la Croisette. If the red carpet makes you feel sartorially challenged, a trip to the Rue d’Antibes boutiques with a personal stylist, arranged by your concierge, should help.

Explore Villa Katia and how it accommodates 12 and starts at $2,182 per night

4. Nice Jazz Festival

Nice, France

open-uri20220111-49-yriweb

The town of Nice, France

Photo by Daniel Van Den Berg/Unsplash

Some say the 1948 inaugural Nice Jazz Festival was the first in the world. At the very least, it’s the first to give France a solid international reputation for the artform. The first show featured three European jazz artists and three from the U.S. with Louis Armstrong & His All Stars stealing the show. Since then, greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Herbie Hancock, and John Lewis, among others, have played. Over the years, the festival has grown to include multiple stages over five days.

Villa Olarc

open-uri20220111-48-1y5rl34

A double-height living room with floor-to-ceiling windows, a rooftop deck with a pool, and epic views of the Mediterranean are a few of the many features that make Villa Olarc in St. Jean Cap Ferrat so special. This five-bedroom, five-bathroom residence combines linear design with curved features to create a bold yet serene setting.

Expertly groomed gardens frame paths leading to a second pool and relaxing gazebo, a two-bedroom guest house, and a secluded ribbon of lawn where daybeds await. Several seating areas with seaside views, a cozy cinema, and a professional kitchen make this house ideal for family gatherings or entertaining.

To get a real feel for St. Jean Cap Ferrat, start the day with the tour of Cap-Ferrat, a 7.7-mile loop trail with coastal views and options for all skill levels. A laid-back afternoon, arranged with the help of your concierge, might entail a visit to view the Musée de Chagall’s 17 paintings with biblical themes, exploring the city with a private guide, or soaking in sun and scenery on a boat.

On the more exhilarating side, there’s snorkeling or scuba diving off Cap Ferrat or paragliding in Valdeblore, about 50 miles outside Nice. After sunset, grab a bite in Place Rosetti in Nice’s Old Town from an assortment of charming restaurants serving delicious traditional cuisine.

Discover more about Villa Olarc, which sleeps 10 and starts at $12,504 per night.

5. Pride

Ibiza, Spain

The small island of Ibiza is a hub for Pride celebrations come June. It‘s a high-octane mix of entertainment and cultural programs ranging from theater and movie screenings to art exhibitions, followed by beach and club parties. At the end of the week-long festival, it closes with a street party on Calle de la Virgen, affectionately known as the “gayborhood.” On the last night, the Great March for LGBT+ Rights parade closes the week with a raucous-slash-glamorous good time.

Los Amigos

open-uri20220111-49-1yasncm

The secret to surviving a week of 24/7 parties is a therapeutic escape where you can recharge with friends and family. Twenty minutes from the revelry, the sleek, boho-chic Los Amigos, an understated six-bedroom, six-bathroom retreat, is in Sant Llorenc de Balafia.

It’s designed in Scandi-style with minimalist concrete floors and communal spaces illuminated by large glass windows and sliding doors. Multiple dining areas inside the house and out, plus a chef and housekeeper on staff, beg for entertaining, and a fully equipped gym is only a few steps away.

Off the party path and the gastronomic and cultural center of the island, the small resort town of Santa Eulalia isn’t far from Los Amigos. Start with the soft white sands of Santa Eulalia’s beach, sunbathe for a spell, then hit the beach restaurant Chiringuito Blue for salads, fresh seafood, and Viennese-inspired desserts.

History buffs will enjoy Puig Des Molins’ Monographic Museum, a 7th-century BC necropolis and UNESCO World Heritage Site. For a little excitement, take a quad tour or Jet Ski adventure. Or consider a day trip to Ibiza’s sister island Formentera, a one-hour ferry ride away, where you can explore nature by bicycle or scooter.

Learn about Los Amigos where 12 can sleep starting at $6,264 per night.

6. The Amalfi Coast Music and Arts Festival

Vietri sul Mare, Italy and cities throughout the region

open-uri20220111-48-15ooa5l

Ceramics created during the Amalfi Coast Music & Arts Festival

Photo by John Menard/Flickr

The Amalfi Coast Music & Arts Festival will hold its 25th season this July, produced by the Center of Musical Studies of Washington in partnership with the Accademia Jacopo Napoli Artis international. An academy drawing international music, visual arts, and writing talent for a summer-long program, the festival also puts on a month-long series of free concerts, art exhibitions, and workshops. Daily performances feature chamber music, piano recitals, vocal performances, and opera. Though Vietri sul Mare is the festival’s home base, productions take place in towns along the coast including Ravello, Salerno, and Amalfi.

Villa Rondinaia

open-uri20220111-48-1dreyld

The grandeur of the 1930s Villa Rondinaia (Swallow’s Nest) is staggering. Clinging to Ravello’s jagged cliffs, 1,000 feet above the Mediterranean, its bird’s-eye view beholds the Amalfi Coast and the Gulf of Salerno. Acres of gardens, scented by lemon and olive orchards, lead to a private pool set within a marble terrace.

The interior is no less opulent. All six bedrooms have en suite bathrooms––two with verandas. The living areas boast vaulted ceilings, arched windows and doors, magnificent limestone fireplaces, and ornately tiled floors. For thirty years, Rondinaia was a refuge for writer Gore Vidal who entertained guests there such as Paul Newman, Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, Tennessee Williams, and Hillary Clinton.

Going out and about, Ravello’s location along the coast gives day-trippers plenty of options with drives to Positano, Pompeii, and Sorrento all more or less an hour away. But before taking off, explore Ravello.

As captivating as Amalfi and Positano, Ravello is significantly less crowded. Piazza Vescovado and the 11th-century Duomo Ravello museum are a 10-minute walk from Villa Rondinaia. Across from the Duomo is Villa Rufello, a 13th-century marvel renowned for extensive grounds, cascading gardens, and historical significance. And in July and August, it’s the venue for the Ravello Music Festival. Venture down Via Rufolo to several small shops that sell gorgeous, handmade ceramics, a regional, centuries-old artform.

Get inspired by Villa Rondinaia where 12 can sleep and which starts at $8,892 per night.

7. Mercantia

Certaldo, Italy

open-uri20220111-49-1ey8mqo

Mercantia performers on the streets of Certaldo

Photo by Niccolò/Wikimedia

For five days a year, the small town of Certaldo transforms with the sunset into an ancient Medieval fairytale. In this immersive theater experience, the entire village becomes the stage. Hundreds of actors and entertainers—from storytellers, dancers, and acrobats to mimes, musicians, and tightrope walkers—don Medieval-era costumes and take to the streets for hours of carnival pageantry. It’s said that no space worthy of performance is ignored.

Villa Tulip

open-uri20220111-48-10yeqbn

Situated in the southern hills of Florence, the 15th-century Villa Tulip is an oasis from the city. The seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom home, built for entertaining, is one of the world’s most over-the-top places for an unforgettable family reunion or special occasion. The ground-floor walls are adorned with spectacular frescoes, including a grand entrance hall fit for royalty.

The dining room seats up to 20 guests; the ballroom accommodates far more. A generous kitchen with a Tuscan fireplace and bread oven comes with a chef and out of the eight en suite bedrooms, one contains a kitchenette for more solitude. The estate includes 27 acres of rolling hills complemented by a central courtyard, olive groves, and a pristine lake. A large swimming pool lies in the Porcinai Garden, named for the famed landscape designer Pietro Porcinai, and one of two on the estate.

The drive to Certaldo from Villa Tulip is 40 minutes. For Mercantia, it’s worth arriving before nightfall to get acquainted with the town before the evening unfurls. Embrace a dose of culture with stops at the Museum of Holy Art and the Palazzo Pretorio, originally Conti Alberti’s castle.

In Florence, a 15-minute drive from the house, the options are limitless. A good first step is a visit to San Miniato al Montes church overlooking the city. Other impressive views include Giorgio Vasari’s fresco within the Duomo di Santa Maria del Fiore and Boboli Gardens behind Pitti Palace where paintings by Raphael and Titian hang.

For something more hands-on, cooking classes beginning with local market foraging deliver an immersive experience. Of course, no one should depart without seeing Michelangelo’s David or indulging in the creamiest gelato in town at Perché no!

Click through to see more of Villa Tulip and its accommodations for 14 that start at $5,820 per night.

It’s clear. No matter the occasion or the location, with onefinestay’s curated collection of one-of-a kind homes, your Mediterranean dreams are destined to become a reality.

To book your stay, visit onefinestay.com or contact reservations at advisors@onefinestay.com or +1-855-553-4954 in the U.S.

onefinestay
More From AFAR