The Rhine Falls near Schaffhausen, Switzerland, celebrate the Swiss National Day on July 31.

The Rhine Falls near Schaffhausen, Switzerland, celebrate the Swiss National Day on July 31. (iStock)

Along with lakeside gatherings, picnics, and barbeques, American-style Independence Day celebrations are made complete with thundering displays of fireworks. Here are a few places to get your fix of pyrotechnics, not only over the coming weekend but throughout the summer.

Bingen and Rüdesheim, Germany: Rhein in Flammen, or Rhine in Flames, is the name given to a series of five summer events in which locations along the Middle Rhine Valley are made all the more stunning through illuminations in the steep vineyards, displays of fireworks and convoys of brightly lit vessels. As the passengers onboard these ships enjoy wining and dining, live music and general merriment, those remaining on dry land enjoy an atmosphere brightened by entertainment onstage and numerous food and drink stands. Bingen and Rüdesheim host the party July 1; Spay and Koblenz celebrate Aug. 12, Oberwesel’s turn comes Sept. 9, and the last Rhine in Flames event of the season unfolds in St. Goar and St. Goarshausen Sept. 16. Entry is free. Online:

Ludwigsburg, Germany: The expansive gardens of this gorgeous palace north of Stuttgart make a fitting venue for a stunning display of fireworks set to music. From 6 p.m. July 1, visitors can enjoy a stroll through the lawns made to sparkle by the presence of tens of thousands of colorful lights. The evening’s highlight, a fireworks display set to music, starts at 10:30 p.m. and lasts about 20 minutes. Adult admission costs 17 euros, youth ages 4-15 pay 10 euros and those ages 3 and under enter for free. Online:

Darmstadt, Germany: The city’s curiously named Heinerfest is now on and set to continue through July 3. Darmstadt’s biggest annual summertime bash sees the city’s downtown area transform into a giant fun zone complete with rides, gaming booths, stages and beer tents. At 10:30 p.m. on July 3, the festival’s closing night, the skies above town come alive with a sparkling display of fireworks; prime viewing spots include the city’s Herrngarten Park or the green space known as the Mathildenhöhe. Online:

Heidelberg, Germany: Three times over the course of the summer, Heidelberg finds beauty out of tragic chapters of its history. The event known as Castle Illuminations recalls the years 1689 and 1693, when the troops of the Sun King Louis XIV burnt down the castle, leaving behind the ruins that overlook the town to date. The two-part spectacle starts off with Bengali flares bathing the castle in a flickering red light, followed by fireworks shot off over the Neckar River. The Philosopher’s Way, riverbanks and the Nepomuk terrace all offer outstanding views. The spectacle starts at 10:15 p.m. on July 8; the third and last event of the season will take place Sept. 2. Online:

Cannes, France: The swish city on the French Riviera hosts its annual Festival d’Art Pyrotechnique over six summer evenings. The sweeping bay creates a natural amphitheatre for an event which is at once a show and competition. Master firework creators representing their countries put on shows perfectly synchronized to upbeat soundtracks. While a professional jury determines which company and country has put on the best show; the public also has a chance to weigh in. This year’s program features displays from Norway (July 14); USA (July 21); Austria (July 29); France (Aug. 8 and 15) and Switzerland (Aug. 24). Online:

Munich, Germany: On July 15, the city’s Olympic Park plays host to Sommernachtstraum, an open-air event combining concerts with pyrotechnics. German reggae artist Gentleman will be joined by JULI and RAHEL on the main stage. Festival foods from around the world help to keep hunger at bay before everyone gathers around the lake onsite to witness what’s billed as one of the country’s biggest pyro displays. The show includes lasers and is set to music. Tickets cost 49 euros online or 52 euros at the gate. Children must be over the age of six in order to attend. Gates open at 4 p.m. Online:

Monaco: The well-heeled city’s Port Hercule will be bathed in multicolor bursts of light as a pyrotechnical showcase unfolds at 10 p.m. on July 22 and once again on Aug. 5. A mighty sound system ensures no visitor misses out on the show’s acoustic component. Online:

Schaffhausen, Switzerland: The Rhine Falls near Schaffhausen, by some measure the biggest waterfall in Europe, is the setting for a grand show of fireworks on the eve of Switzerland’s National Day. Each year on July 31, thousands gather to take in “Fire on the Rocks,” a spectacle of fireworks and illuminations. The show begins at 9:45 p.m. This year’s edition will be preceded by a Super Puma flying display by the Swiss Army’s PC-7 team. Admission to many of the best vantage points is free of charge. Online:

Knokke-Heist, Belgium: Belgium’s swankiest seaside resort town, known for its casino and high-end shopping street, is the site of an International Fireworks Festival set to take place on Aug. 18, 20, 22, 24 and 26. The shows set to music begin at 10 p.m. and last approximately 20 minutes each. Online:

Hanover, Germany: The city’s stunning Herrenhausen Gardens set the scene for the International Fireworks Competition. Before darkness descends on the baroque gardens, spectators can enjoy a supporting program made up of live music, walking acts, drama and culinary offerings from the country hosting the display. The remaining dates for 2023 include Aug. 19, Sept. 2 and Sept. 16. Entry costs 24 euros for adults, 21 euros for youth and is free for those under the age of six. Online:

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