Europe's coolest concert venues
When it comes to excuses to go abroad, watching an act elsewhere in Europe is as tempting as it comes. Choose well, and it means you can see your favourite arena acts and make it a break to remember – with the highlight already worked out in advance.
It’s especially worthwhile as with hundreds of years of history to call on, some of the buildings are attractions in themselves.
With this in mind the Flexicover team has picked out five venues you may want to check out, whether it's to see your favourite band performing there or maybe you just want a holiday with a difference.
Originally built as a church but converted into a meeting hall until 1965, when it became a music venue, the Paradiso is an important venue for acts. That’s not only because of its beautiful surrounds - with stained-glass windows and rows of pews in the balcony - but also as it’s known as a litmus test for growing international bands. The likes of The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and Adele have all appeared here on their way up, so it’s an easy way to identify if their music has a buzz in Europe. In a convenient location and a favourite for locals, it’s the go-to stop for music fans visiting Amsterdam.
The horrific terrorist attack, and subsequent reopening of the Bataclan in Paris is only the latest chapter in its long history. Built in 1864, it’s associated with the legendary Edith Piaf, famed for classics like La Vie en Rose - it took a very brave Jeff Buckley to cover Je N'en Connais Pas La Fin and Hymne A L'Amour here, for his live album. The famed venue has also attracted the likes of Prince (who performed one of his legendary extra-long sets here), The Clash and Lou Reed. After the 2015 attack, the unique venue, known for its brightly coloured exterior, was reopened with a performance from Sting – and long may its cultural significance continue.
The Grey Hall, Copenhagen
Located in Christiania, the area of Copenhagen governed by its own, near anarchic system, the Grey Hall is its hub for art and music. Originally built in 1891 as a riding venue within the army barracks, once the area was taken over by the free-thinking community, the large, airy hall was refurbished: think impressive graffiti murals on the outside, a stage and sound system on the inside. The unique venue has since attracted performances from the likes of Bob Dylan, Rage Against The Machine and Green Day. Recent years have seen fewer acts play, but the unique location and style of the venue means it’s just as big an attraction for the culturally curious.
In a city full of hidden warehouse venues and unassuming locations buzzing with activity, the Columbiahalle is a particularly famous venue. First used by the US army as leisure facilities in the post-war period, once it became vacant in 1994, the spirit of enjoyment continued with the main hall changing into a concert venue. The most recent refurbishment took place in 2014, when its new improved style and sound attracted critically-acclaimed acts like Hozier, Foals and Alt-J. In addition to excellent sound and facilities, the location also has a garden used for open-air shows in summer, and a social space to mingle before and after the main acts.
Royal Albert Hall, London
You know an act has ‘made it’ when they perform under the domed roof of the Royal Albert Hall and while a visit here means you won’t have to travel abroad, the capital is always a buzzing place for a short break. Associated with only the most prestigious names in entertainment, its reverence began with the German composer Wagner, who led a series of concerts here soon after the venue opened in 1871. The venue has continued to host genre-defining acts, as well as being home to the BBC Proms. Today the spectacular Hall certainly retains a sense of majesty so it’s not hard to see why it has the royal seal of approval.
Wherever you plan to head on your travels it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.