Spain Festivals

Photograph: San Fermin

Festivals in Spain

Narrow the Spain Festivals selection below using the intiutive search box to the right. It works a treat. Bon voyage!

April Fair

April Fair

What began in 1847 as a regional cattle market and later became a popular revolt against foreign culture and habit, has now grown into southern Spain's most anticipated (and attended) cultural event. April Fair or Abril Feria is an Andalusian institution, a round-the-clock extravaganza held annually in the city of Seville where up to a million revellers on any given night gather in a celebration of Spanish culture. Men dressed in traditional 'traje corto' (short jacket, tight trousers and boots) and women in 'faralaes' or 'trajes de flamenca' (flamenco-style dresses) gather in 'casetas' (marquees) to drink sherry, manzanilla or rebujito, eat tapas and dance flamenco until dawn.

More April Fair info...

Europe Spain Seville Traditional Festivals Cultural Festivals April
Baby Jumping Festival (El Colacho)

Baby Jumping Festival (El Colacho)

Ever harboured a secret desire to jump a baby? Then fear not, for you are not alone. In the Spanish village of Castrillo de Murcia near Burgos, men dressed as the Devil (Colacho) leap babies in the street in a time-hounered ritual that forms part of the local Corpus Christi celebrations. Although it's origins are hazy, the ritual of El Colacho can be dated back 1620 and is said to cleanse the unknowing infants (who have all been born in the previous 12 months) of original sin. A balmy, baby baptism if ever we've seen one.

More Baby Jumping Festival (El Colacho) info...

Europe Spain Burgos Bizarre Festivals Religious Events June
Barcelona Guitar Festival

Barcelona Guitar Festival

Finger picker or strummer? Doesn't matter at the Barcelona Guitar Festival where masters of the stringed art descend en masse to fill Barca's venues with genres ranging from rock and indie to classical and Spanish traditional. For more than a quarter of century, the Barcelona Guitar Festival has been attracting big local names and international acts for a programme that kicks off in February and runs through May.

More Barcelona Guitar Festival info...

Europe Spain Barcelona Guitar Festivals February
Barcelona Marathon

Barcelona Marathon

Breathtaking Barca provides the backdrop for the annual Barcelona Marathon or Marathon Catalunya. Runners begin their 42.195 kilometre odyssey below Montjuic Park from where they follow a route that takes in many of the Catalan capital's icons — from the Camp Nou Stadium to La Pedrera, the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau and Sagrada Familia. If you're planning to cheer on the runners, check in with the marathon web site to pinpoint one of the dozens of designated spectator points that dot the course, where entertainment and commentary add to the spectacle. Running the race? Grab a friend and carb load the day before at the marathon's pasta party.

More Barcelona Marathon info...

Europe Spain Barcelona Marathons, Triathlons and Fun Runs March
Batalla Naval de Vallecas

Batalla Naval de Vallecas

Round up your friends, an eye-patch, a peg-leg and a parrott and head to Madrid's Vallecas district come July for the Batalla Naval de Vallecas — Spain's largest pirate-themed water fight. Thousands make up the moist milieu which kicks off at five and goes through to nine — but being Spain, the onset of dusk means the party's just getting started.

More Batalla Naval de Vallecas info...

Europe Spain Madrid Bizarre Festivals July
Benicassim Festival

Benicassim Festival

When the sun gets high in the summer July sky, bolt to Benicassim for one of Europe's biggest rock and indie music festivals, Festival Internacional de Benicàssim, or FIB to its friends. For four days the Spanish Costa del Azahar — between Valencia and Barcelona, though closer to the former — plays host to some of the biggest names in rock. Past line-ups have included Radiohead, Kraftwerk, Oasis, The Chemical Brothers, The Killers, Sigur Rós and The Strokes. The music begins on the Thursday but camping kicks off on the Monday, for those looking to tune up before the big show.

More Benicassim Festival info...

Europe Spain Valencia Rock Festivals Indie Rock Festivals July
Bilbao Live

Bilbao Live

Each July, more than one hundred thousand revellers make the trek to Bilbao in the Basque Country for a three day alternative and heavy rock blowout. Since 2006 Bilbao Live has been serving up some of the biggest names in rock with past headliners including Guns N' Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, Iron Maiden, R.E.M., ZZ Top, The Prodigy, Pearl Jam, Thirty Seconds to Mars, The Black Keys and Radiohead. Its dedicated open air festival grounds at the base of Mount Cobetas, boasts three main stages, a DJs Tent, VIP zone, a food and drinks markets, and a stunning mountain-top camping area to punch out a few zzz's when you're all partied out.

More Bilbao Live info...

Europe Spain Bilbao Indie Rock Festivals Rock Festivals July
Festa al Cel

Festa al Cel

Take up your vantage on Badalona's beaches (about 30 north of Barcelona) and prepare for Festa al Cel, the oldest and largest airshow in Spain. Since 1992, hundreds of thousands of eager spectators have enjoyed two days of autumn aviation action. As well as the action in the air, there's plenty to do on the ground from paper plane competitions to a musical programme.

More Festa al Cel info...

Europe Spain Barcelona Air Shows Family Festivals September
Festa Major de Gracia

Festa Major de Gracia

Barcelona's Gracia district has a bit of a bohemian reputation. Things hang a little looser in Gracia. It has vibrant squares, a bustling bar and cafe scene and a thriving art scene — perhaps part-inspired by Gaudi's Parc Guell, which also calls the barrio home. And each August it has Festa Major. During la festa, Gracia really turns on it's eclectic charm as individual streets vie for the coveted best decorated street award. Festa Major is big news in Barcelona and competition to outdo the neighbouring street is fierce. Grab a glass of Cava and get lost amidst the colourful Gaudi inspired installations and the two story high paper-mache models. Be entertained by the myriad street performers or drawn by the competing rhythms of a hundred street musicians. In the squares keep an eye up for the spectacular castelleres, the Catalan human towers, that can reach staggering heights. Pack light and get ready to party; 1.5 million annual revellers and almost 200 years of tradition says you haven't been to a street party quite like Festa Major.

More Festa Major de Gracia info...

Europe Spain Barcelona Street Parties Traditional Festivals August
Festes de la Merce

Festes de la Merce

During Festes de la Merce, the Catalan capital says goodbye to summer with a bang; literally. For four days nearing the shank of September, Barcelona puts on a street party in honour of her co-patron saint, the Virgin of Mercy. La Merce features free concerts and literally hundreds of events that filter through her streets and out onto her plazas. There are daily parades of synchronised dancing giants. There's the correfoc, literally translated as the 'fire run', a Catalan tradition where participants of questionable sanity dash through a maelstrom of pyrotechnics being chased by firecracker-breathing devils and other unworldly beasts. On a slightly disturbing note, there's even a correfoc for the kiddies, where, you'll be glad to hear, the pyrotechnics are ratcheted down a notch. There's local Catalan folk dancing and the ever-popular castelleres, the human castles which reach jaw-dropping heights.

More Festes de la Merce info...

Europe Spain Barcelona Street Parties Traditional Festivals September
Festival of Near Death Experiences

Festival of Near Death Experiences

Survived a near death experience in the past 12 months? Congratulations, you've earned the right to participate in one of Spain's more bizarre religious pilgrimages; la Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme. And the kicker is, you get to do it in a coffin. Come late July, thousands arrive in the tiny Galician town of Las Nieves to pay witness to a procession in honor of Saint Marta de Ribarteme, the patron saint of resurrection. Those near death survivors are loaded into coffins and travel the procession route borne by loved ones. Older men, those without family, lug their own coffins to Mass before the procession — overseen by a statue of the Virgin Santa Marta — continues on up the hill toward the local cemetery and back down to circle the Church.

More Festival of Near Death Experiences info...

Europe Spain Las Nieves Religious Events Bizarre Festivals July
Festival of the Virgin of Carmen

Festival of the Virgin of Carmen

Join the heaving throngs of devotees at the Festival of the Virgin of Carmen (the Patron Saint of Fisherman), held annually all over Spain and parts of Central and Southern America. At Puerto de la Cruz on the Spanish Canary Island of Tenerife, thousands pay witness to the statue of the Virgin of Carmen along with a likeness of Saint Telmo as they make their journey from the local chapel to the fishing harbour. A fanfare announces their arrival at the waterfront from where they are taken to a decorated boat and sailed along the coast.

More Festival of the Virgin of Carmen info...

Europe Spain Tenerife Religious Events Traditional Festivals July
Fiesta de San Isidro

Fiesta de San Isidro

If Madrilenos needed a reason to fiesta away the majority of May, their very own patron saint — San Isdiro — grants them just that opportunity. For a week or so either side of San Isidro's Feast Day on May 15th, Madrid and it's suburbs are celebration central as concerts and flamenco fill public spaces and party-hardy locals chow down on typical local dishes in honour of the Saint and wash it down with something frío. Keep an eye out for the chulapos and goyescos (locals dressed in Madrid's traditional garb) as they dance the chotis. See some of Spain's finest matadors in action at the Las Ventas bullring during The San Isidro Bullfighting Festival.

More Fiesta de San Isidro info...

Europe Spain Madrid Cultural Festivals Community Festivals May
Fira de Santa Llucia

Fira de Santa Llucia

Get into the Christmas spirit, Catalonian style with Barcelona's annual, Fira de Santa Llucia. With a traceable history dating back to 1786, today's Fira still maintains strong ties with the past featuring parades, performances by choirs and traditional dance. Take in the numerous nativity scenes or learn to create your own at one of the nativity scene courses or workshops. Shop for Christmas trees, knick knacks and decorations. There's plenty of arts and crafts, clothes, jewellery, decorative objects and traditional musical instruments on offer at the numerous stalls that may just make the perfect Christmas gift.

More Fira de Santa Llucia info...

Europe Spain Barcelona Christmas Markets Christmas December
Heineken Jazzaldia

Heineken Jazzaldia

Lover of jazz, seeker of the sun? Get the best of both worlds at Spain's oldest jazz festival, the Heineken Jazzaldia — San Sebastián Jazz Festival. Since 1966, the sun-bathed Basque city of San Sebastián has been attracting thousands of revellers for a series of free and ticketed events held at up to a dozen venues across the city including Trinity Square and Zurriola Beach. The five day festival has attracted big names — Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Charles Mingus, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis Ray Charles, B.B. King — and big numbers — more than 120,000 attendees last time around. A little advice? Book early and pack light.

More Heineken Jazzaldia info...

Europe Spain San Sebastian Jazz Festivals July
Ibiza Closing Parties

Ibiza Closing Parties

Ibiza's legendary closing parties are the last chance for lovers of all things dance to catch their favorite DJs performing on the White Isle before the clubs close their doors until the following May. The very roots of the dance music scene (the Marrakesh Hippie Trail) can be traced back, in part at least, to this little slice of Balearic paradise. Colossal clubs like Pacha and Space are synonymous with dance and have the reputation and pull to attract the world's hottest DJs. Ibiza is to electronica what Munich is to beer. So what can revellers expect? Well if you've been to Ibiza any time during the season, then basically, more of the same. Dusk to dawn dance parties — a little sleep on a crowded beach or a re-charge on a terrace, then the chance to do it all again at another colossal temple of dance. A little tip: if it all gets too much, head to the hills my dancing friend, for a round of fresh mountain air and a little room to move.

More Ibiza Closing Parties info...

Europe Spain Ibiza Electronic Dance Music Festivals September
Jerez Grape Harvest Festival

Jerez Grape Harvest Festival

Sip sherry at old tavernas and experience the passion of flamenco during this 500 year old celebration of Jerez's world-famous tipple. The Jerez Grape Harvest Festival programme kicks off with a grand procession on the Friday in which the Queen of the Vintage occupies the seat of honour and is flanked by Jerez maidens dressed in white dresses and blue silk scarves (representative of the chalky white soil of the region and the blue skies that give life and body to their vines). The procession ends in the Plaza de Arenal, where the townsfolk pay homage to the queen, local bodegas offer wine and the fiesta begins to really gather pace. Bullfights, purebred Spanish equestrian events, and a fireworks finale add Spanish spice to this full bodied offering.

More Jerez Grape Harvest Festival info...

Europe Spain Jerez de la Frontera Wine Festivals Traditional Festivals September
La Tomatina

La Tomatina

On the last Wednesday of August each year thousands of revellers converge on the small Spanish town of Buñol to pick a fight. What began in 1944 as a simple tomato fight between a group of friends in the town's main square — the Plaza del Pueblo — has turned into arguably the worlds largest food fight. The festivities begin in the week leading up to La Tomatina with a celebration of the towns' Patron Saint. Fireworks light the heavy summer sky while street parties warm up at ground level. Rose wine flows and the hefty scent of wood fired paella fills the air. Music plays and people dance. Come Wednesday and the Town Square is awash with travellers and locals alike. Seasoned veterans mix with wide eyed first timers as more rose wine is passed around and the excitement level grows. At around about noon, a number of trucks carrying the edible red grenades rumble their way into the main Town Square to the chant of tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes from the now drunken crowd. Chivalry slinks out of town for a while as everyone becomes fair game. Red missiles are a dime a dozen, no-one escapes. The aftermath looks a little like a latter scene in Carrie. The ground, a fantastic base for the worlds largest Bolognese sauce. As exhausted combatants trudge their way towards temporary showers put in place for the event, the cleanup begins in earnest. And within hours, the Plaza del Pueblo magically returns to its former glory.

More La Tomatina info...

Europe Spain Valencia Bizarre Festivals August
Las Fallas

Las Fallas

Spain puts its hand up repeatedly when you're compiling a list of the world's largest and most exciting festivals — there's La Tomatina, San Fermin, Abril Feria and Semana Santa and that's just for entree. Without doubt the loudest and most spectacular of Spain's offerings to the cultural calendar is Las Fallas in Valancia, where massive floats are constructed for months proceeding the five-day event, only to be burnt to the ground on La Nit del Foc (the night of fire). Las Fallas is celebrated to commemorate St. Joseph's Day, the Patron Saint of Carpenters — hence the mind-blowingly, massive effigies. To add a bang to the burn, each day mascletà are held in the city's main square, the Plaza Ayuntamiento. Think of the loudest bang you've ever heard, turn it up a notch then multiple it by a thousand, that's mascletà. Valencianos love their Fallas and rightly so. It's a wonderful, spectacular and unique celebration carried off in true Spanish style.

More Las Fallas info...

Europe Spain Valencia Street Parades Traditional Festivals March
Lovin' Ibiza

Lovin' Ibiza

Devotees of dance flock to the electronica capital of the universe Ibiza, for three days of thumping beats each May. A mix of the island's best DJs and international acts deliver course after course of house and dance to revellers at a selection of the island's big clubs during Lovin' Ibiza. Come Friday, bone up on your EDM knowledge at a range of complimentary lectures or take in some moves at the Street Dance contest before Saturday's humungous closing party at SPACE. Get rested, pack light and prepare to party.

More Lovin' Ibiza info...

Europe Spain Ibiza Electronic Dance Music Festivals April
Low Festival

Low Festival

More than 60,000 revellers descend upon the Spanish resort town of Benidorm for three days of partying under the Mediterranean sun during the annual Low Festival. Five stages serve up some of the biggest names in local, UK and European rock and indie pop at one of Europe's most sustainable and environmentally-friendly fests. When the action on stage gets a little too much there's plenty of places to chill those jets, grab a feed or even take a dip.

More Low Festival info...

Europe Spain Benidorm Rock Festivals Indie Rock Festivals July
Madrid Fusion

Madrid Fusion

Over three days in late January or early February, Madrid becomes the centre of the gastronomic universe as more than 400 internationally renowned chefs from countries near and far descend upon the Spanish Capital for Madrid Fusión. The finest names in the industry join forces to slice and dice and share their knowledge and techniques through a series of lectures, demonstrations, master classes, tastings and conferences.

More Madrid Fusion info...

Europe Spain Madrid Food Festivals February
Running of the Nudes

Running of the Nudes

In July 2002 in a daring and valiant attempt to promote an alternative to the animal cruelty associated with the Running of the Bulls, 25 streakers ran the famed San Fermin course in Pamplona, tackle out! Today the event has a name, the Running of the Nudes, and a place on the calendar, two days before the setting off of the chupinazo to mark the beginning of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain. Participants, nude or close to it, donned in red scarves and plastic horns bounce and jiggle there way along the half-mile course in an event where organisers aim to highlight the cruelty implicit in el encierro and bull-fighting in general.

More Running of the Nudes info...

Europe Spain Pamplona Nude Festivals Adults Only Festivals Charity Events July
San Fermin

San Fermin

The event draws party-goers from near and far and although Sanfermines entails so much more to the locals, it's the Encierro — the daily running of the bulls — that the majority of the tourists are on hand to see. For a little over half a mile bull runners — clad in all white with red handkerchiefs tied around their necks — battle the cobbles of Santo Domingo en route to El Plaza del Toros whilst in pursuit are six, infuriated, agitated and totally disorientated toros. Injuries are numerous, since 1924 they've proven fatal for more than a dozen protagonists. For seven days and seven nights there's little let-up as Pamplona parties around the clock.

More San Fermin info...

Europe Spain Pamplona Traditional Festivals Bizarre Festivals July
Semana Santa

Semana Santa

Although Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebrations take place over the length and breadth of Spain, Seville's are arguably the country's most spectacular. For eight days, from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday, 115 spectacular processions of pasos — ornate wooden floats featuring scenes from the events of the Passion or recreations of a grieving Virgin Mary — make their way from Seville's churches through the city's streets to the city's main Cathedral. The honoured task of supporting the pasos on their journey — some weighing in at more than two tonnes — rests upon the broad shoulders of some 60,000 hooded men who belong to more than 55 church brotherhoods. The floats are accompanied by Nazarenos — often barefoot, dressed in a habit and and a pointed hood (capirote) who march along with the pasos in silence. Semana Santa climaxes on the night of Holy Thursday, when a number of processions set out to arrive at Seville's main Cathedral on the dawn of Good Friday. Although there's an obvious solemn undertone that pervades Seville during Semana Santa, it is a wonderful time to be in the city and take in the power of the celebrations.

More Semana Santa info...

Europe Spain Seville Religious Events Cultural Festivals March
Sonar

Sonar

Sonar is Barcelona's internationally renowned three-day festival of advanced music and new media art. Its first class reputation as a leading reference for international festivals is by virtue of a carefully balanced cultural offering, combining a playful nature, the avant-garde, and experimentation with electronic dance music's newest trends. Since its inception, Sonar has been divided into two sections — Sonar by Day and yep, you guessed it, Sonar by Night. The daytime offering is located in Fira Montjuic, with concerts, dj's and showcases as well as the Sonar+D area, a place where industry bods can track new talent and link up with reps from creative and technology companies of all kinds. The larger shows take place at Sonar by Night, held at the Fira Gran Via de L'Hospitalet, with shows going through to 8am the next morning.

More Sonar info...

Europe Spain Barcelona Electronic Dance Music Festivals June
Sueca Paella Festival

Sueca Paella Festival

Got a passion for paella? Join lovers of Valencia's most feted fare, at the Sueca Paella Festival held annually over ten days in September in the Valencian city of the same name. Alert your senses, then take a stroll past local master-chefs and some intrepid visitors as they toil over wood-fired, shallow pans of Spain's signature dish. Succulent rabbit, plump chicken, snails in their shells, mussels, beans, saffron, garlic, olive oil and the finest local rice make up the basic ingredients but those competing inevitably have a secret ingredient or two up their sleeve. As is the case with many a fine Spanish Fiesta, there's a religious link to a local patron saint, bull-fighting and the inevitable crack of mascletàs. Make an effort to drink the wine, sample everything that's offered up and talk to the locals. You'll be tipsy, sated and have a wonderful time.

More Sueca Paella Festival info...

Europe Spain Valencia Food Festivals Cultural Festivals September
Tenerife Carnival

Tenerife Carnival

More than a quarter of a million party-goers from all corners of the globe converge on Santa Cruz, capital of the Canary Islands, for their local take on Carnival — two weeks of good times and debauchery in the lead up to lent. Performers take to the streets, music electrifies the air, glitzy costumes delight spectators, and competitions honour high fashion. Costumes and performance groups called murgas, rondallas, and comparsas ensure that each year is somehow even more spectacular than the one before. Dancing dominates the Saturday of Carnival. Tents in town feature Latin music whilst bars and cars blast their own tunes, adding to the cacophony. Lunes de Carnaval or Carnival Monday is a day for feasting, with performances at the main venues, whilst DJs do their thing at the Plaza de la Candeleria. On Carnival Tuesday, the celebration hits top gear with a wild parade known as El Coso. The city streets become a sea of color and writhing rhythms, no-one is spared. Ash Wednesday sees the Entierro de la Sardina — the burial of the sardine — marking the beginning of the end. In a tongue-in-check funeral ritual, a giant sardine made of paper and cloth is buried along with the year's Carnival celebrations.

More Tenerife Carnival info...

Europe Spain Tenerife Carnival and Mardi Gras Street Parades February
The Battle of the Wine

The Battle of the Wine

Like your wine? Fancy a food-fight? Why not mix your hobbies at Haro's infamous, la Batalla del Vino, where wine becomes the weapon of choice? Join 10,000 locals and a growing band of fun-seeking tourists as they trudge up a mountain in La Rioja, Spain before letting loose with the good stuff from water pistols, back-mounted industrial spraying equipment, heck, anything that can hold a little vino tinto that's dispensed from the trucks on site. There's plenty of singing, dancing and cavorting which I guess is par for the course during any fest when free wine is being dispensed by the truckload. Official celebrations kick off the night before, as Haro throws a party that brings the whole town out and into her streets, bars and public spaces — from children to grandparents, it's a multi-generational affair. At the culmination of the battle, combatants take their party back down to Haro again where the main fight seems to be to one to stand upright. A little hint for nothing: keep the good threads at home unless you're looking for a handy lavender dye job.

More The Battle of the Wine info...

Europe Spain Haro Bizarre Festivals Wine Festivals June
Zaragoza Film Festival

Zaragoza Film Festival

For nine days in November, film-lovers and film-industry bods make their way to Zaragoza for the annual Zaragoza Film Festival. The programme includes feature films, animation, documentaries and shorts. Keep an eye out for the festival's gastronomic offering where local restauranteurs offer up a selection of fresh tapas to festival attendees.

More Zaragoza Film Festival info...

Europe Spain Zaragoza Film Festivals Short Film Festivals November

Spain Festivals on the Map