City Breaks

Best Open Air Theatres in Europe

Make the most out of the longer daylight hours, and check out these amazing outdoor theatre venues.

Sit in wonder at the Roman Theatre of Merida.

Now that the daylight hours are longer, we thought we'd help you to make the most of it. A great way to enjoy the warmth of summer for that little bit longer is by paying a visit to one Europe's top open air theatres - a favourite pastime of mine. From the beautiful parks of Paris, to the rustic villages of the Netherlands, there are so many brilliant open air theatres in Europe. So, pack up your bags, pick a destination, and make your way across the Channel today.

Théâtre de Verdure du Jardin Shakespeare, France

Located in the gardens of the restaurant, Le Pré Catelan, in Paris' Bois de Boulogne, this stunning open air theatre is an amazing place to enjoy the longer days. As you wander through the grounds, you'll encounter the main stage, which is part of a circular garden made up of towering trees, flowers and precision-cut hedgerows.

 Paris image
Amongst the bustle of Paris, you can enjoy the beauty of an outdoor performance.

An array of performances are exhibited throughout the spring and summer months, from Shakespeare's captivating tragedy, King Lear , to the charming fairytale Cinderella and hilarious comedy, Valpone . As you sit down on one of the pristine white chairs that face the stage, be sure to take a moment to enjoy your beautiful surroundings, which often feel a world away from the bustling centre of Paris.

Toneelvereniging Diever, The Netherlands

Toneelvereniging Diever, or the Shakespeare Theatre Diever, is a true haven for fans of Shakespearian theatrics. Located in the Dutch village of Diever, this wonderful outdoor theatre runs Shakespearian plays between the months of July and August. Local performers from the amateur theatre group come together to perform in the warm evenings, where they're surrounded by deep woodland. From Romeo and Juliet to A Midsummer Night's Dream , you'll be able to sit back and watch the story unfold, as you relax under the light of the stars. 

During the day, you can look forward to a guided tour of the set, where you can explore the intricate detail of the set design, admire the handmade costumes and find out all about the acting cast.

Roman Theatre of Mérida, Spain

If you're a fan of ancient Roman architecture, you'll love the breathtaking Roman Theatre of Mérida, a UNSECO World Heritage Site in central Spain. The theatre was originally constructed and opened between 16 and 17 BCE, but until recently, was mostly buried beneath layers of concrete. Fortunately, it has since undergone plenty of renovations to keep it in top condition.

During the summer months, the theatre is used as the venue for the annual Mérida Classical Theatre Festival, where the works of Sophocles, Homer, and Plato are performed. On top of the classic theatre, you can also look forward to opera and dance concerts too.

Fancy the cinema instead?

Open air theatres aren't just for live performances, they're also often used for exhibiting films. If you're a true cinephile, head to Bologna in Italy, where Il Cinema Ritrovato will be celebrating their 29th edition between 27th June and 4th July this year. Organised by Cineteca Bologna, and dedicated to the Finnish filmmaker and historian, Peter Von Bagh, this year's festival will see a range of fantastic films being screened in the breathtaking Piazza Maggiore central square.

 Watch films in the Piazza Maggiore square
Watch films in the Piazza Maggiore square

This year's screenings will include restored works of Buster Keaton, as well as the films of Leo McCarey, and Ingrid Bergman. There will also be screenings of Japanese films, which will be used as examples of when the country's cinema embraced the world of colour. And, if you're a jazz music fan, look out for the various screenings of films from between the 1940s and 1960s, which explore the use of jazz in cinema.

Fancy a trip to the theatre?

If this post has inspired you to make the most of the longer days and visit one of these top open air theatres, be sure to make the journey with LeShuttle . It only takes 35 minutes to cross the Channel, so you'll be a part of the audience in no time at all.