May is the perfect time to visit Spain as there are a number of interesting festivals; the month of May is one of the best times to visit Spain due to the pleasant tempertaures and a prefect time to have fun at one of the many fiestas taking place around the country.
May is a very busy time in Spain when it comes to festivals so be sure you plan and book your holiday early if your idea is to visit at least two.
May's festivals calendar includes the San Isidro Festival Madrid which remembers and honours its patron saint with lots of live concerts followed by nights of dancing and fun along many of the cities streets. The Festimad Music Festival is also part of the Madrid festivities.
Other popular festivals include Malaga’s Noche en Blanca, the Girona Flower Festival, the picturesque flowery courtyards of Cordoba, the unusual Snail Festival in Lleida, as well as the Andalucian Sherry Celebration held in Jerez.
San Isidro Festival 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 visiting to enjoy the huge variety of attractions on offer.
Jerez Horse Fair
The Jerez horse fair goes back some 500 years and is an amazing spectacle whether you are a horse lover or not, the official agreement to hold this festival was signed back in 1491.
The event includes horse parades, street parties and all night song and dance in one of around 200 adorned tents on the Gonzalo Hontorio fairground which covers an area of around 52.000 M2.
The dates do change each year so always best to check before planning your trip.
Festimad Open Air Concerts Madrid
Held in Madrid from mid-April to the first week of May, Festimad brings together the entire city of Madrid to celebrate Spain’s alternative rock music diversity.
The groups that take the stage during these two weeks of musical frenzy come from all over Spain with many international acts getting involved.
Cordoba Courtyard Festival – Fiesta de los Patios
The courtyards festival is held during the first to weeks of May and it where the the local inhabitants open up their colourful courtyards and patios to visitors to the city. Theses are no ordinary courtyards though as these are full of late spring flowers offering an explosion of colours and smells.
The patios and courtyards can be found all around the city although the main areas to visit include the Alcázar Viejo district, between the Alcázar and the parish of San Basilio, around the church of San Lorenzo and near la Magdalena as well as around the Mosque-Cathedral area and the old Jewish quarter.
The town hall organises competitions for the best courtyards which dates back to 1921. There is also a full itinerary of events which surround the festival which include performances by top local singers and dancers.
Cordoba is also well know for its Delicious tapas and local fino sherry wine from nearby Montilla-Moriles, what better way to spend a few days in one of Andalucias most typical of cities.
Noche en Blanca (White Night)
Malaga always offers a warm welcome to all its cultural festivities, and the Noche en Blanca festival is no exception. There are over 160 activities ranging from music, visual arts, street arts, and extraordinary visits planned to happen throughout the city. Past events have received as many as 200,000 visitors and it is believed this number will only grow in the coming years.
Girona Flower Festival
Held during the second week in May in the Catalonian village of Girona, around a two hour drive from Barcelona. The town literally comes into bloom during the Girona flower festival.
This age-old tradition brings large displays of blooming flowers in every space around the streets and buildings in the town’s old section. As far as Spanish festivals go, this has to be the sweetest smelling of them all.
Snail Festival Lleida Catalonia
If you enjoy living life in the slow lane , you will love this. Spain and especially Catalonia consider snails a delicacy. The snail festival is therefore the region’s way of the celebrating one of Catalonia culinary delights.
Indulging in these slippery critters along with a few glasses of sherry is a unique way embrace local culture. The snail festival is held from the 20th to the 22nd May.
May Festival Calendar
May 1st – National Holiday – Labour Day
May 2nd – Dia de Comunidad de Madrid
Variable Dates – Festival de los Patios – local residents decorate their patios with beautiful flowers and visitors are allowed to meander from patio to patio
Variable Dates – May Crosses festival. The Santa Cruz quarter in Tenerife dresses the town with sweet smelling crosses made from flowers. Awards are given to the best displays, the festival also includes local and traditional dancing and games.
Variable Dates – Jerez Horse Fair – here you will find some the greatest horses in the world on parade, quite spectacular. At the same time enjoy tasting some of the best sherries and Brandies in the world at the famous bodegas of Domeque, Osbourne and Gonzalez Byass – Home of Tio Pepe.
Variable Dates – Fiesta de San Isidro – Now one of the largest festivals of its kind in Spain, this is a 10 day mega celebration in honour of the Patron Saint San Isidro, Expect lots of parades, bullfights and much dancing and amusement throughout the celebrations.
Variable Dates – Snail festival Lleida
Variable Dates – Rocio Pilgrimage to El Rocio in Huelva Andalucia
May 30th – Canary Islands Public Holiday
May 31st – Castile–La Mancha Day
May 31st - Corpus Christi
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The top festivals and fiestas 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
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