The summer of 2018, is not just a summer of heat and sunshine (so far), it’s also set to be a season of art, music, sport, rad biking tricks and noisy protest marches. To help make the most of it, here’s our A to Z of the coolest things to do and hottest places to be over the coming months.

Attend just about anything at the European Championships 2018

BMX cycling at the new Knightswood Park track? The road cycling finishing line at Glasgow Green? Synchronised swimming at Scotstoun Sports Campus? Rowing at Strathclyde Country Park? The new European Championships 2018, to which Glasgow and Berlin are co-hosts, is set to transform the city over the summer. Think Commonwealth Games mark 2, and be bowled over by how Glasgow is becoming one of the top sporting hosts in Europe. Even if you're not a sports fan there’s always the stunning cultural programme Festival 2018, which kicks off with an opening party on George Square, and includes Orbital live in concert. Glasgow and other parts of Scotland, August 1-12.

Blether over soup at Civic Canteen

If you're looking for a lunchtime chat, during the European Championships, here's the place to go. While Having Soup, part of Festival 2018, will see artists and volunteers play at being Maitre d’ and welcoming "the public to savour a thought provoking confidential conversation with a stranger over a bowl of soup”. The results will be recorded and form a poetic portrait. And it’s free. Civic Canteen, Glasgow, August 9-12

Catch Be Charlotte at Tiree Music Festival

Scottish singer songwriter, Be Charlotte, who earlier this year signed a deal with Sony/Columbia headlines this year’s Tiree Music Festival – and it’s great to see a woman topping the bill. And here’s a festival for those who like things to stay boutique and intimate. Founded in 2010 by Stewart MacLennan and Daniel Gillespie of Celtic rock group Skerryvore, it has always kept to the small is beautiful principle. Isle of Tiree, July 13-15

Dance to big room at Colourfest

Big room, trance, whatever your taste in dance music, it’s here on the five stages at Scotland’s oldest dance festival and amongst the highlights are Showtek, Ben Nicky and John O'Callaghan. At Braehead Arena, Glasgow, August 4.

Eat with the chefs at Foodies

Just as music festivals often seem to now be more about the trendy street food vans than the music, so food festivals are becoming just as much about the line-up of bands on the stage. So, we have the Hoosiers headlining Foodies Festival in Inverleith Park, Edinburgh. Of course, if you’re a true food fanatic you might be more excited to learn that Graeme Cheevers from Martin Wishart and Scott Davies from the Three Chimneys will be there. Plus there’s cream-pie throwing, cheese stretching and chilli eating ¬ all of which makes it sound more like a foodie version of the Highland Games. At Inverleith Park, August 4.

Feel the island at Hebcelt

To visit the Isle of Lewis is thrill enough, but to be there listening to Niteworks or Iain Morrison and the kind of music that has its roots in the Hebrides and Celtic and Gaelic culture. Hebcelt is more than a summertime Celtic Connections – it’s about place. Stornoway, July 18-21.

Groove with the oldies at the bandstand

Kelvingrove Bandstand’s Summer Nights series has its share of young trendy things, but it’s the veteran that are its biggest lure: Chrissie Hynde’s The Pretenders, Bryan Ferry, and oldest of them all, Van Morrison. Nights take place at Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow, July 30 to August 11.

Have a Bollywood moment at Belladrum

It started as a tiny one-day, one-stage event, but it just keeps growing. The lineup, over three days, at Belladrum Tartan Heart includes Amy MacDonald, Craig Charles, the LaFontaines, Lucy Spraggan, and Tide Lines. Plus this year the theme is Bollywood, so don’t be surprised when the festival brings on the Bollywood Gaelic speaking dancers from Skye. At Belladrum, Inverness, August 2-4

Introduce your kids to Texas at Linlithgow

Scotland’s biggest family friendly music festival turns five years old this year and as well as its big headline acts ¬ Texas, James, Embrace and even Gok Wan doing a DJ set – for the parents, there’s plenty for the youngsters, including a funfair. Linlithgow Palace, August 11-12

Join a Trump Protest

Well, you don’t have to. You could join your local Trump welcoming committee. But, given the president’s popularity ratings, we think it’s unlikely to be how you’re thinking. Besides, if mass gatherings are what you love, you don’t get much better and sweatier than a big protest and that’s exactly what’s been planned for Glasgow and Edinburgh next weekend. Scotland United Against Trump takes over George Square on Friday and hits the Meadows in Edinburgh next Sunday.

Kick off the Edinburgh festival with Five Telegrams

The opening night of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival promises to be an epic stunner, lighting up the Usher Hall and featuring a youth chorus. One of the country’s most exciting composers, Anna Meredith, collaborates with and 59 Productions, whose work includes the London 2012 Opening Ceremony, in a work that contemplates those lost in the First World War. Festival Square, Edinburgh, August 3.

Laze on the bonny banks and watch Europe’s fastest swimmers

You don’t have to pay anything to watch some of aquatic sports toughest competitors thrash it out in the Loch Lomond in the open water section of Glasgow European Championships 2018. Head to Balloch if you want a taste of the sports, and a day out by the shore. The loch is also not just host to the swimming, but, on August 11, a festival parade and part featuring Be A Sport, Mike!, a Scottish Opera production aimed at children, sponge wrestling, urban dance and more. August 8-12.

Move on with Jim Kerr and Chrissie Hynde

Decades after The Pretenders lead singer and the Simple Minds crooner split up, here they are back on stage together, proving that time really does heal. KT Tunstall will open their shows at Northern Meeting Park in Inverness on September 8 and Slessor Gardens in Dundee the following day.

Nip along to a Harry Potter drive-in

There could be no better setting than Glencoe in which to watch all – yes, every single one – of the Harry Potter movies. Itison whose Christmas drive-in, Elf was a hit, brings the films right into one of the locations, home to Hagrid’s hut, and adds extra fun, including firepits for toasting marshmallows and “magical chairlift rides”. Glencoe Mountain Resort, August 3-5

Open your heart to V&A Dundee

The end of the summer brings one of the biggest events in the cultural calendar – the much-awaited opening of our V&A, designed by Kengo Kuma, on September 15. “I am very excited,” Kuma has said. Who isn't?

Party like a vegan

V In The Park – no, that’s not a mistype – brings Scotland its first ever outdoor vegan festival, and it is just one of many vegan events in the newly popular meat-free calendar. But it’s not all about the food. There’s also the live music, guest speakers and workshops, at Balloch O Dee Campsite, Newton Stewart, this weekend till tomorrow. And if that’s not enough mheat and veg for you, there’s also Scotland’s Vegan Festival at Hampden on July 14.

Quench your thirst at Banchory Beer Festival

It’s not just beer. but ciders, rums, gins, prosecco and a performance line-up that includes Have Mercy Las Vegas, the Mad Ferret Band and other musical delights. Crathes, August 10-12.

Ride the ferris wheel at Electric Fields

The dramatic backdrop of Drumlanrig castle is, itself, electric. Add in a line-up of major names, from headliner Noel Gallagher through to Young Fathers, Teenage Fanclub, Leftfield. The late Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit = sadly not there this year – last year declared, while onstage, “I hope you will agree with me that this is the kind of festival Scotland needs.” Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfries & Galloway, August 30-31

Swim beneath the stars

Of course, hardy types can take a midnight skinny dip in any bit of sea, but swimming doesn't get much better than a night-time dip in an open air heated swimming pool. The go-to baths forthis is Stonehaven, whose 50m Art Deco pool hosts swims every Wednesday night throughout peak season. Doors open at 9.30pm so you can swim under the stars from 10pm till midnight.

Try parkour at the Youth Urban Games

A derelict site on the banks of the Forth &Clyde Canal is set to come alive with skateboard, parkour and BMX showcases, as the nation’s first urban sports is held in Glasgow. Part of the Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, and not just for kids who can already do an impressive BMX backflip. There’s also a street food village and public try-out sessions. Forth & Clyde Canal, August 25

Unlock ghostly secrets

Lauriston castle feels like the kind of old building where spirits might still lurk, and the venue is the setting for a spooky day event, starting with MR James tales by the fire and finishing up with an evening Victorian séance. Lauriston Castle, Edinburgh, July 28.

Visit Edinburgh’s coolest new venue

The Leith Theatre, home to the Hidden Door festival, and still with an atmospheric, derelict vibe, is the hottest new venue on the Edinburgh International Festival. Go there, take in the peeling walls, the smell of history, and some of the most anticipated festival acts - Alan Cumming, Mogwai, Anna Meredith, King Creosote, Django Django and others. Leith, Edinburgh, August 3-27.

Watch the Bard outdoors

No, not Rabbie, the English fella ¬ Bill. There’s nothing like a bit of Shakespeare in the park, and Bard In the Botanics have been delivering a whole series of plays in the Glasgow Botanic Gardens, of which Edward II and Much Ado About Nothing are still to run/ Meanwhile, a group of women who call themselves The Handlebards are touring the country on bikes delivering Romeo And Juliet in far flung locations from Inverewe Gardens to Brodie Castle and the Edinburgh Fringe.

Xperience the Clyde Tunnel robot invasion

You may feel like you’ve entered some alternative science fiction universe as you walk the 762 metre-long tunnel. A new artwork, by Artist Robbie Thomson and composer Alex Menzies, part of the European Championships 2018 cultural programme, uses robots to transform the walkway. Creatures darting along cables, others emerging from water tanks, in what’s described as a sensory subterranean odyssey”. Clyde Tunnel, Glasgow, August 2-12.

Yell-on those mountain bikers at Cathkin Braes

Not just an amazing location to watch the Glasgow European Championships mountain bikers shed the track– but a stunning spot from which to look down over the city. Lend your cheers to Scots hopeful Grant Ferguson as he tackles the gnarly patches. Cathkin Braes, Glasgow, August 7

Zone out in front of the telly

Sometimes the sofa is the only place to be – and even in the peak of summer there are still some shows on the box that are must-binges. This season brings us, not only the final, on July 30, of Love Island -– blessed relief – but some much-anticipated new dramas. Among them is the British supernatural series, The Innocents, arriving August 24. Touted as Netflix’s next Stranger Things, it stars Scottish actress Sorcha Groundsell, as one of two teens, with special gifts, on the run, and Guy Pearce as a doctor offering a cure. Shut out the busy, summer world and enjoy a good freak out.