Top festivals in Spain – Your passport to fun!

Festivals in Spain – Where to find the best festivals and fiestas around Spain

Festivals in Spain


Spanish festivals take place in every city, town and village throughout Spain at some point during the year and are one of the major attractions for peoople visiting Spain.  Some of the best festivals and fiestas in Spain have deep religious and historical meaning whilst others are simply meant for partying and having fun.

Our festival guide offers you information on the most popular and colourful festivals Spain has to offer including the famous La Tomatina, the Three Kings and holey week

A trip to Spain should always include a visit to at least one the top festival, fiesta or carnival, so prepare your holiday calendar and let us help you search the best, brightest, most colourful and bizarre festivals Spain has to offer.

Check out our travel resource page to help with your  travel arrangements, there are plenty of holiday deals to be had if you look hard enough!

 

La Tomatina – Tomato Festival

The Tomatina festival in one of the  most unique and fun in Spain, held on the last Wednesday of August each year in the town of Bunol in the region of Valencia.

La Tomatina has to be the biggest food fight you will ever take part in, This is where hundreds of tons of overripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets by thousands of festival goers.  It is typically a tomato war using ripe squashed tomatoes hurled between participants leaving everyone dripping with bright red sweet smelling tomato juice.

There are no winners just people having fun and enjoying being part of this unusual Spanish festival.  You simply have to grab ripe tomatoes and throw them at anyone running, bending down, standing still, or moving.  There are though a number of rules for participants, the main one being that you have to squash the tomatoes in your hands before you can throw them at someone.

 

 

 

Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife

One of the most famous colourful festivals in Spain are the carnivals of Santa Cruz de Tenerife held during the month of February of each year.

The carnival resembles those held in Brazil and features parades with floats and bands who perform different types of songs during the street parades. The colours and costumes worn during this festival are stunning and are a delight to see.

The parades move through the streets with energetic musical groups and well-dressed performers. The most beautiful scene of this festival is the parade of pretty, well-dressed ladies who enchant spectators with their rhythmic dance moves.

Some of the colourful costumes can weigh well over 100 kilos, taking months to prepare and make as well as the many hours practice required to be able to move in such a huge costume.

 

San Fermin Fiestas Pamplona

This bull running festival takes place from July 6th to the 14th each year. It is a festival that brings the party to every corner of the city of Pamplona. The festival starts by setting off the pyrotechnic Chupinazo from the mayor’s balcony.

The celebration is fun, full of dance, song and location of the famous running with the bulls which takes place each day during the week long festivities. The bull running run starts from the Plaza Santo Domingo and winds through the ancient streets of Pamplona ending at the bullring.

This is one of the most popular festivals and fiestas of Spain and the most represented by visitors from all over the world seeking the undeniable rush you get from being chased by an angry bull.

 

 

Semana Santa – Easter holy week

The  Semana Santa holy week is among the most important festivals in Spain. It is a religious celebration among the Catholics who mourn the final days of Christ on Earth and at the same time sympathise with the grief of the Virgin Mary.

It is held on the week leading to Easter Sunday. Throughout the entire week, processions consisting of big floats are usually paraded all over the streets. The climax of the celebrations is the procession of Good Friday whereby the floats leave the churches in the middle of the night and then carried throughout the night to their final destination: the cathedral.

 

The Fallas of Valencia

The Fallas of Valencia  are visually one of the most spectacular Fiestas you will come across in Spain.  In mid-March, Valencia lights up its streets for an entire week of celebration and parties.  With work officially suspended, the city inhabitants make giant paper mache figures representing notable people as well traditional figures.  These are then displayed in the city during the entire week of celebration before being burned down one of the most amazing bonfires that bring the Las Fallas festival to en enigmatic end.

 

The Great Wine Fight – La Batalla de Vino de Haro

This mighty wine fighting festival takes place each year in the picturesque village of Haro between the 27th and 29th June. The location is the beautiful Rioja wine growing region of northern Spain, for wine and party lovers this is must visit festival in Spain.

The festival is held on St Peters day to honour the local wine production.  Basically the locals and visitors climb a mountain and throw wine over each other, what could be more fun!

The region of Haro is one of Rioja’s top wine producing municipalities with over 40% of the areas vineyards located here.  Producing great quality wine is the mainstay of the local economy and celebrated in style each year.

 

Spectacular Carnivals –  Variable dates

February is the start of the Spanish carnival season which offers some of the best celebrations anywhere in the world easily rivalling those of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The largest and most important carnivals can be found in Tenerife and Cadiz where the street parties are world renowned. Colourful processions and extravagant costumes abound in many cities and usually commence on Ash Wednesday.

 

La Noche de San Juan – The Night of Saint John

If your into an all night beach parties then the annual San Juan fiesta are for you. It is held on the 24th June each year up and down the coastal areas of Spain most notably in Andalucia where the warm temperature makes for a perfect all night party.

This ancient pagan festival is now legendary for its all night long beach party which includes music, dance and fun is had by all. The night is all about fire and water and it where young and old congregate to build fires and enjoy the shortest night of the year.

According to tradition to be cleansed and purified you musts jump over the fires three times.

 

San Isidro Madrid

May is a fun time to be in Madrid as the San Isidro festivals takes over the city for the whole month.  During the day, the local population are treated to live music concerts in city squares, which later culminate in all night parties.  The fiestas de San Isidro are one of the largest festivals in Spain and well worth spending a few days in Spain’s capital to enjoy the huge variety of attractions and activities on offer.

 

San Isidro – Madrid

This  fiesta commemorates the patron saint of Madrid, San Isidro, and are the eagerly enjoyed in spring.  The San Isidro festival lasts for five days in which to enjoy over 50 concerts of varying musical styles, theatre, street dance performers, children’s activities, street processions and lots more!

Madrid’s free pass to drink and fun is granted in the month of May when the whole city celebrates its patron saint. During the day, the city dwellers are normally engrossed in live music concerts in city squares, which later culminate in drinking frenzies that take up the night.

 

La Mercè Festival Barcelona

La Merce festival  is the biggest in Barcelona  and includes numerous live concerts, parades, fireworks and the famous  human towers.  This is Barcelona’s way of ushering in autumn and includes music, arts, acrobatic shows, and street processions among 500 fun activities.

The artists  get to perform amongst the public and this literally takes the fever pitch of the festival to new levels.

The  highlights of this important festival include the amazing Castellers – human towers which takes place at the Placa de Jaume.  Try to get there early as many thousands of people pack out the town square  to watch the Castellers build a human tower and to have a young child climb to the top. This is one sight that will remain in your memory long after you leave Barcelona.

 

Three Kings Day – January 6th

This festival is held between the evening of January 5th and the main event on the 6th which is a national holiday. It probably the  most eagerly awaited January festival in Spain by every child in the land. Whole communities come out and participate in street processions where children are gifted with candy.

There is a general belief in Spanish culture that such gifts come from the three kings who dish it in preparation for the visits they later make to the homes where they give even more gifts.  Traditionally it is when the long awaited Christmas presents are handed around to family and friends. The real fun comes in the form of colourful processions which take place in the early evening. The central streets of each town fill up with decorated floats which meander slowly along the chosen routes and where thousands of kilos of sweets are thrown into the beckoning crowds, a mad dash is and by young ( and old ! ) to pick up the caramelos ( sweets ), collecting as many as they can.

The main float carries the three kings bearing even more gifts which are thrown out at the children lining the streets gathering up the sweets by the bag load.

 

 The top festivals and fiestas month by month

 

Public holiday calendar in Spain

Jan 1st –  New Years Day – Ano Nuevo

Jan 6th – 12th night, The Three Kings  – Dia de los Reyes

Mar 19th – Fathers Day – San Jose

Variable – Good Friday – Viernes Santo

Variable – Easter Sunday – Dia de Pascua

May 1st – Labour Day – Dia del Trabajador

Aug 15th –  Assumption – Dia del Asuncion

Oct 12th – Spanish National Day – Dia de la Hispanidad

Nov 1st –  All Saints Day – Todos los Santos

Dec 6th –  Constitution Day – Dia de la Constitucion

Dec 8th –  Immaculate Conception – Imaculada Concepcion

Dec 25th – Christmas Day – Navidad