Arts + Culture

Your Sizzling European Summer

Popping across the pond this summer? You're in luck. The continent has a stonking line up of culture, gastronomy and fun this season, from London to Paris, Copenhagen to Rome. Rachel Beard and Sara D'Souza round up the 10 must-see events.

1

David Bowie in London

The starman is the star attraction in London this summer as David Bowie is, a major retrospective spanning his 50-year career opens at the Victoria and Albert Museum on March 23. Over 300 pieces, including Ziggy Stardust bodysuits, hand-written lyrics and diary entries will be on show in this mash up of music, fashion and art in celebration of the poster boy of pop culture.

2

A Taste of El Bulli in Barcelona

Ferran Adrià, the Michelin-starred mastermind behind the now defunct El Bulli is set to open Japanese-Peruvian restaurant Pakta this spring, next to his hugely popular tapas joint, Tickets. Expect culinary magic tricks galore if the dishes at Tickets are anything to go by: exploding olives, pastry 'air bags' stuffed with manchego cheese and liquid ravioli.

3

The Rijksmuseum Reopens in Amsterdam

Over 8,000 works spanning 800 years of Dutch history get a brand spanking new home on April 13, when the Rijksmuseum re-opens after a 10-year renovation. A striking atrium, Asian pavilion, restaurant and spruced up gardens provide the new backdrop for a mooch around the Old Masters.

4

Alfresco Films in Rome

Swap popcorn and soda for prosecco and aperitivo and catch a movie under the stars in Rome this summer. I'Isola del Cinema is an open-air film festival on a tiny island in the middle of the River Tiber with a line up spanning classic film, blockbusters and indie flicks. This year's program, which runs June through July, celebrates women in film with a program dedicated to female directors.

5

A Hipster Festival in Copenhagen

Described as a cross between an underground rave, a festival and a flash mob, Distortion is a five-day street party that takes over edgy hoods throughout Copenhagen at the end of May. Hipsters flood the streets to join block parties and art exhibitions by day and rooftop raves by night. Think of it as a souped-up Scandinavian SXSW.

6

Floating Gardens in Paris

Paris is a city made for strolling and come spring, you'll be able to walk on water. Kind of. A series of floating gardens will bob next to the Alma bridge on the Left Bank of the Seine in the 7th arrondissement and will be comprised of five separate islands (reportedly Central Island, Bird Island, Meadow Island, Orchard Island and Haze Island), interlinked by footbridges.

7

Designer Berlin

Berlin’s cutting edge art scene is thriving and the city is home to the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, the experimental Autocentre and the brilliant Galerie Max Hetzler. For the ultimate aesthetic fix, check out DMY International Design Festival in June. There’ll be talks on the latest design research and pioneering products from design gurus and architects from across the globe.

8

An ABBA revival in Stockholm

Super Trouper? Take a chance on the new museum dedicated to Sweden's most famous export, opening in Stockholm on May 7. ABBA The Museum will be filled with trivia, costumes and lyrics from the kitsch quartet. Visitors are already projected to number several hundred thousand in the first year, so we recommend booking tickets sharpish.

9

Czech Out Prague's Beer Festival

When a beer costs roughly 50 Czech crowns ($2.50), working your way through the 70+ brews on offer at the Czech Beer Festival this summer isn’t inconceivable. They'll be plenty of Czech dishes from top chefs to help line the stomach. Festivities will carry on late into the night with live music every day and after parties at the weekend.

10

Culture Vulturing in Marseille

Europe’s Capital of Culture 2013 has a new trove of museums and galleries, including the mega MuCem, contemporary art space FRAC, and the impressive Villa Méditerranée, opening in April. The year-long celebration also includes open-air cinema screenings and music concerts by starlight, and you can side-trip to cultural events in nearby Martigues, Arles and Aubagne.