Spain famous festivals: 10 Popular Festivals in Spain

10 Popular Festivals in Spain

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Spain has a rich history and diverse culture, and many centuries-old festivals and traditions are upheld today. From dazzling firecrackers and bonfires at Valencia’s Las Fallas festival to open-air street concerts at Fiesta de San Isidro in Madrid, here are some of the most popular festivals and events in Spain. If you time your trip well, you might be lucky to experience some of them for yourself!

1. Las Fallas

Las Fallas is Valencia’s biggest festival. It’s celebrated every March in honor of San José (Saint Joseph), the patron saint of Valencia, and also to mark the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Valencia is a fairly quiet city compared to Madrid and Barcelona, but not during Las Fallas. Expect a whole week of fun, frivolity and extensive late-night partying featuring a sizzling cacophony of colorful firecrackers, smoky bonfires, roaring rockets and massive effigies.

2. La Tomatina

Every August, the usually sleepy city of Buñol welcomes 20,000 people into its streets for one of the world’s biggest food foods with, you guessed it, tomatoes. Truckloads of them! La Tomatina draws in locals, travelers and tourists from far and wide to pelt tomatoes at friends and strangers. Mad, (very) messy and memorable, La Tomatina is undoubtedly one of Spain’s most unique festivals.

3. Semana Santa

As a predominantly Catholic country, Easter is a huge deal in Spain. But even if you’re not a believer, the Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is a fascinating event to experience. Each region has its own unique traditions, but they all involve lavish processions, incredible outfits and indulgent spreads of food including torrijas (fried sweet bread).

4. Sitges Carnival

The coastal city of Sitges is one of Spain’s most LGBT-friendly destinations. Every February, 250,000 people flock to Sitges to enjoy a week-long extravaganza including parades, drag shows and colorful street parties where you can eat, drink and dance into the night. It’s one of the oldest carnivals in Catalonia, and one of Spain’s most beloved events. Rock up in your most outrageous gear – anything goes at Sitges Carnival!

5. Fiesta de San Isidro

Fiesta de San Isidro is Madrid’s largest festival to honor San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of Madrid who was believed to be a miracle worker in the 12th century. Over the years, the festival has evolved into an all-encompassing celebration of Madrid’s traditions and modern culture, from folk music and dancing to delicious street food. Locals embark on a pilgrimage to the Hermitage of San Isidro, people dance the chotis in traditional costumes, and friends and family gather at open-air street concerts to party long after the sun goes down.

6. Feria de Abril

Fiera de Abril, or the April Fair of Seville, is a week-long fair featuring a dizzying display of everything Andalucía is famous for. It started in 1847 as a livestock fair, and has grown into one of the most anticipated events of the year. Expect lots of sherry, flamenco dancing and horse-drawn carriages carrying people dressed in traditional costumes. There are also lots of casetas, or tents, set up where locals eat, drink and get merry. Many tents are private and require an invite to enter, but there are a few public ones where travelers can join in the fun.

7. Semana Grande

Semana Grande is one of the most significant cultural festivals in the Basque region in northern Spain. Held every August in Bilbao, this nine-day festival celebrates the uniqueness of Basque culture from traditional music and food to giant puppet parades. There’s also several friendly competitions including wood chopping, strength and firework contests. The end of the festival is marked by the burning of a giant statue of Marijana, the festival’s mascot.

8. Haro Wine Festival

Every summer the Spanish town of Haro in the heart of La Rioja Province explodes into a wine war. Join thousands of wine lovers as unforgiving residents pump thousands of liters of booze out of water pistols, hoses and other vessels in this grand example of wine warfare – don’t worry, the fruit used didn’t make the cut for bottling. It doesn’t take long until the crowd transforms into a sea of purple. Be warned: no one is spared – this is not a spectator sport!

9. Fiesta De La Merce

Barcelona is one of Spain’s most bustling cities, but every September it takes it up a notch with the annual Fiesta de la Mercè​ – a massive street party to celebrate the city’s patron saint, Our Lady of Mercy. Parties, street art, music and puppet parades pop up all over the city, but some of the liveliest fiestas take place in Plaça de Catalunya and Plaça Sant Jaume where you can enjoy brilliant free concerts and dazzling firework displays.

10. Pride Madrid

Madrid knows how to throw a fiesta, and Pride is no exception. As well as a jam-packed week of free concerts, high-heel races and street parties in the bustling LGBT neighborhood of Chueca, the city also hosts one of the biggest Pride parades in the world.

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The Top Festivals In Spain

Spain, the country of fiestas and festivals! Every village, no matter how small, has its own, unique celebrations. But which ones are not to be missed this year? We’ve listed the 13 best events and Spanish festivals for this year! Are you ready to celebrate your holiday the Spanish way?

1. The Holy Week (Semana Santa)

The Holy Week is one of the most anticipated festivals in Spain. It takes place during Easter and is an entire week filled with processions and other religious celebrations. Even if you are not a religious person in any way, it’s an event that you should visit at least once, the most impressive festivities are always expected during the Semana Santa in Seville and the Holy Week in Malaga.

The brotherhoods of the most important churches spend months in advance practising their processions, resulting in a solemn and awe-inspiring experience. Dozens of men and women march through the streets, carrying the statue of their church’s patron saint, flanked by hundreds of candles. This event, though it may sound strange, is one of the top events for everyone in Spain: entire families bring chairs and snacks, and they settle on the sidewalk to witness the impressive processions.

Best for: culture seekers

2. Carnival

Let’s forget the solemnity for a bit and have fun! Colourful and rhythmic carnival is the most extravagant party in all of Spain, but the celebrations in Tenerife and Cadiz take the crown. 

In Tenerife, the carnival capital of Europe, they dedicate the entire month of February to carnival celebrations. The island is filled with fun, colour, glitter and glamour, and the numerous contests, parades and parties offer plenty of entertainment. It’s an event that attracts visitors from all over the world who are looking for an authentic carnival experience.

Imagine a carnival with an authentic Andalusian spirit… That’s the carnival of Cadiz, a party that converts the city into a place pulsing with music, energy and fun. Don’t miss out on this unique fiesta, celebrated every year in February.

Best for: groups of friends, families

3. The Fallas of Valencia

Around the middle of March, an explosive party takes place in Valencia city! Forget everything you have seen before because in no other place of the world do they celebrate an event that is more fascinating than the Fallas, which has actually been declared an event of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

For an entire week, gigantic, colourful statues and figures fill the city’s squares and streets. They are often satirical and reference political or pop-culture events that happened throughout the year, but each and every one of them is impressive. Walking the Fallas route is one of the most interesting ways to discover the city. 

Every day at 2 pm, you can enjoy spectacular shows with music and fireworks, but the real highlight of the festival is the last night when the statues are burnt during a light show.

Best for: families

4. La Tomatina

Ever felt like throwing a tomato to someone? At the Tomatina in Buñol, you can! This crazy tradition started 70 years ago, and now on every last Wednesday of August, thousands of people throw tomatoes at each other during the most fun event of the year.

La Tomatina is probably one of the most famous Spanish festivals, but is actually part of a larger celebration; it marks the end of an entire week of parades, parties, fairs and street markets. It is so original and so fun that people visit Spain just to take part in it. The number of participants is limited to 20,000, which seems a lot but tickets are sold out in a flash. So if you want to go crazy in Buñol, make sure to get your tickets well in advance!

Another crazy tradition of Buñol: during the festivities, a slippery pole with a smoked ham on top is placed in the main square. Whoever gets there first wins the ham. Are you up for that challenge?

Best for: Groups of friends, couples getaway


Festival de Los Patios in Cordoba

May is the month of Cordoba and the Cordoba Patios Festival is the cherry on the cake for all those who choose to spend a few days in this city. The festival takes place every year at the beginning of May. During this time the owners of the most beautiful patios that are normally closed, open up their courtyards for the public to visit.

The festival brings joy, music and a huge amount of tourists to Cordoba, who want to participate in this amazing colourful fair. It’s not just plant lovers that will enjoy their time in this city, Cordoba is known for its great food, very interesting history and numerous places where you can feel the traditional Andalusian atmosphere.

Best for: culture seekers, couples getaway

6. The April Fair of Seville

One of the most amazing events taking place in 2021 is without a doubt the wonderful Feria de Abril. The fair starts with the traditional lighting of the entrance to the fairgrounds at midnight, and for the following week, the city is filled with entertainment, colours, and the best of Andalusian art such as flamenco.

Apart from the fair and all the entertainment, it’s the best period of the year to explore Seville itself. The entire city is drenched in an authentic Spanish, festive atmosphere. When the night falls, you can go out and enjoy the spontaneous flamenco performances that pop up on every street corner. It’s an experience that can’t be described with words, you have to live it to know what it’s like!

Best for: Groups of friends, culture lovers

7. The Feria del Caballo in Jerez 

What can you expect during the Feria del Caballo (the Horse Fair) in Jerez? Joyous celebrations, flamenco performances, the best of Andalusian gastronomy and of course: lots and lots of horses!

During one week in May, this small town becomes a feast for the senses. The festivities start with the lighting of the grand entrance to the fair. There are parades with horses and markets with over 250 stalls, each serving the most delicious tapas. Go for a stroll and enjoy one of many flamenco performances.  

Everyone dresses up for the occasion. Women wear the typical flamenco dress and men wear traditional suits called trajes cortos. But in the end, the most important thing is to go out and enjoy this cultural tradition to the fullest.

Best for: culture lovers

8. The August Fair in Malaga

The August Fair of Malaga is an entire week full of fun activities and events at the heart of the Costa del Sol. It’s the best place and time of year to relax and enjoy a great holiday. The fair of Malaga is one of the best events of the summer. 

Mid-August, the city centre will host the feria de dia (fair during the day), the more traditional part with street markets, music and traditional dances. The feria de Noche (fair during the night) takes place just outside the city, with attractions, food stalls and dance tents.

Best for: Cultural lovers, couples break

9. The Fiesta Mayor de Gracia in Barcelona

During summer, every neighbourhood of Barcelona celebrates its own typical parties, but none are as special, fun and creative as the Fiestas de Gracia in August.  

The emblematic Gracia neighbourhood is transformed into a spectacular place, filled with art and colour. Its streets compete with each other to win first prize for the best and most extravagant decoration while offering visitors and passers-by a truly magnificent scenery. With every corner, you turn you will be transported to a different world. 

And if the decoration on its own is not enough, at the Fiestas de Gracia you can also enjoy street acrobats, correfocs (a fireworks spectacle), exhibitions, parades, street markets… And at night the fun continues with the many concerts that are held at the squares of Gracia.


Best for: groups of friends

10. Saint John’s Eve

There is one night in Spain that is very special to everyone: the night of June 23rd, Saint John’s Eve. It marks the start of summer, and it’s celebrated at the beach with bonfires and fireworks. 

It’s a magical night filled with old customs and superstition. Many people will jump over the fires and in the waves at midnight, believing it will bring them good luck. In some parts of Spain, like Galicia, food is also an important element, especially sardines cooked in the ashes of the bonfires. In other places like Barcelona and Valencia, everyone will be looking for a vantage point to have a good view of the spectacular fireworks shows at midnight.


Best for: groups of friends, couples

11. Boloencierro in Mataelpino, Madrid

Imagine running as fast as you can while trying to escape a giant ball of 3 metres in diameter with a weight of more than 150 kg… That is what happens every August in Mataelpino, a village in the Sierra de Guadarrama. The village decided to replace the traditional encierro (running with bulls) with this boloencierro, where the protagonist is a big, plastic ball.   

Even children can enjoy their own mini boloencierro, with smaller and lighter balls that are painted in bright colours to make them more visible. Are you ready to get an adrenaline rush?


Best for: Adrenaline seekers, groups of friends

12.  The Wine Battle of Haro

On every 29th of June, early in the morning, more than 10,000 people gather in the main square of Haro (La Rioja) for the coolest event of the town: the wine battle!

The uniform for the battle is the typical clothes of La Rioja, white shirt and trousers with a red handkerchief tied around the neck. But when the rocket that marks the start of the battle is fired, there won’t be anyone who can keep their clothes clean! Wine is thrown everywhere and the entire town is coloured red.

There are 40,000 litres of wine reserved for the festival, and until every single drop has been thrown the band doesn’t stop playing. Fun is guaranteed at this messy, hilarious event! 


Best for: Groups of friends, couples, wine lovers

13. The Semana Grande of Bilbao

Going to Bilbao is always a good idea. The city is thriving, constantly changing and becoming for appealing for those who’d like to get to know the less sunny side of Spain.

In the middle of August, Bilbao gets ready for its most important event of the year, the Aste Nagusis or Semana Grande. This festival lasts for 9 days, with concerts, fairs, theatre performances and plenty of other entertainment taking place all over the city. One of the highlights is the fireworks competitions that illuminate the sky every night.

The last day of the festival, there won’t be any fireworks. The closing ceremony takes centre stage instead of when la Marijaia (the mascot of the Semana Grande) floats downriver on a boat and is set on fire, only to return when the next edition takes place.

Best for: Families

Spain has festivals for all preferences, from solemn rituals to wacky celebrations! We’ve just included 13 of the very best events, but there are many more to be discovered.

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The most interesting Spanish festivals

Spectacular processions, colorful masquerade costumes, unforgettable festive atmosphere – these are the Spanish festivals that tourists traveling around this country tend to visit. According to the thematic focus, they are all divided into national, religious and regional. Mass religious festivals include the festivities of Holy Week, on All Saints’ Day. National festivals are held on America’s Discovery Day by Columbus, they also include bullfighting festivals and popular carnivals. Carnivals, festivals and processions are held in Spain all year round, but the most grandiose events take place in the summer.

Carnival in Tenerife

Carnival in Tenerife is one of the most popular Spanish carnivals, in no way inferior to the Brazilian one in Rio de Janeiro. This holiday is held on the eve of Great Lent and gathers thousands of tourists in Tenerife who wish to take part in this celebration of life. The main principle of this carnival is the removal of all moral prohibitions that believers must observe during the rest of the year. The whole holiday lasts a week, the main celebrations, including the election of the queen, are held in the capital of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, but in other cities of the island there are also festive processions, parades and mass celebrations. The holiday ends with the burning and burial of Sardine – a ceremony somewhat reminiscent of the burning of an effigy of Winter in Russia.

Running of the bulls

One of the most extreme festivals is held annually in the quiet and calm town of San Fermin. The Running Bull Festival, which takes place in early July, gathers thrill-seekers in this town. The beginning of the holiday is heralded by a light rocket fired upwards, after which fighting bulls are released into the city streets. Their route lies to the arena in the city center, where the bullfight takes place.

Everyone can participate in the run with the bulls. The runners dress up as bullfighters and try to run away from the angry animals. The originality and originality of this cruel fun became the reason for the high popularity of this festival; Ernest Hemingway himself, who described this festival in one of his novels, made a kind of advertisement for it.

Seville Fair

Two weeks after Catholic Easter, a grandiose agricultural fair is held in Seville, which has long turned into a bright and colorful festival with incendiary national dances and songs to the Spanish guitar, traditional bullfights and other traditional Spanish entertainment.

La Tomatina Festival

In the city of Bunol, which is located in the Spanish province of Valencia, one of the most spectacular and fun festivals, La Tomatina, is held annually. The holiday itself lasts a week, but tourists are especially attracted by its finale – the famous tomato battle, for which they come to this city. More than 100 thousand tons of these vegetables are specially brought to the city for her. Early in the morning they are brought to the central square of the city in huge multi-ton trucks. The beginning of the battle gives a shot of tomatoes from the city cannon. The massacre lasts exactly one hour, after which the second shot signals its end. At this point, the streets are covered with a layer of tomato slurry up to the ankles. All this disgrace from the city streets leaves to clean the special equipment and after a few hours there is no trace of the former bacchanalia.

Fire Festival in Valencia

In early March, the Falla religious festival is held in Valencia, with many rituals and festive processions in national costumes, it ends with the burning of the Falla and the offering of flowers that are brought to the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary from all over Valencia.

Balloon Festival

In the vicinity of Barcelona in mid-July, a grandiose balloon festival is held. Participants compete for speed and distance of air travel. Anyone can ride in a hot air balloon. To do this, you must pre-register with the organizers and pay a certain amount.

Holidays in Tenerife Tomatina Festival in Valencia Historical places and facts

The most interesting festivals in Spain | Planet of Hotels

Festa Major De Gracia © Pergamonteam / Shutterstock

Semana Grande (Aste Nagusia)

When and where: on the first Saturday after August 15 in Bilbao, Basque Country.

The Semana Grande (or Aste Nagusia) festival is held for 9 days and offers the guests of Bilbao a very rich program. It starts on Saturday, after the main symbol of the festival appears on the balcony of the Teatro Arriaga – Marijaia (a large doll in the form of a magnificent lady with her hands joyfully raised up), and a signal rocket takes off into the sky. Immediately after this, a whole series of bright events begins – concerts, street parties, fairs, theatrical performances and parades traditional for Spain. The bullring in Plaza de Toros de Vista hosts bullfights throughout the week. You can admire real strongmen during the Herri Karolak competition (Basque rural sports games). And to try the traditional dishes of the region, it is worth visiting the numerous holiday tents (txosnas), which appear on the streets of the city these days. During the Semana Grande, there is a fireworks show every evening. The culmination of the festival is the solemn burning of its symbol – Mariayi.

Semana Grande © Jarno Gonzalez Zarraonandia / Shutterstock

Semana Grande © Jarno Gonzalez Zarraonandia / Shutterstock

La Tamborrada (Drum Festival)

When and where: January 20 in Basque Country, San Sebastian, San Sebastian Country

La Tamborrada may be the noisiest and loudest music festival in Spain, but that doesn’t make it any less popular. It is believed that the history of Tamborrada began in the distant 1813. Then the inhabitants of San Sebastian, in order to annoy the soldiers of Napoleon who occupied the city, knocked on buckets, imitating their daily solemn processions with drums. The war ended, but the tradition took root. And it has become so widespread that more than 125 groups, including children’s groups, are now participating in the festival.

The celebration begins at midnight in the main square, when the mayor of San Sebastian solemnly raises the city’s flag to start a twenty-four-hour nonstop drumming. Tourists do not need any guidebooks or signs to understand which street the colorful procession is currently taking place on. The women participating in it are dressed in traditional Basque costume, and the men in ancient military uniforms or chefs’ uniforms. You won’t be able to rest from the noise even for an hour during the day, but you will be able to try angulas, a rare dish served in honor of the holiday. These are fry of river eel, cooked in olive oil with the addition of garlic.

La Tamborrada © Alvaro German Vilela / Shutterstock

Jerez Flamenco Festival

When and where: late February/early March in Jerez de la Frontera, Andalusia.

The sparkling flamenco, which combines song, dance and guitar playing, originated in Andalusia. And Jerez is one of the three cities where the first studios dedicated to this unique form of Spanish national art appeared. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Festival de Jerez, the main flamenco festival in the world, is held here for two weeks.

Its participants have a great opportunity to attend concerts of classical Spanish music and ballet within the walls of the Teatro Villamarta and Museo de Atalaya, see the performances of flamenco stars and participate in their master classes. During the festival, an incredible atmosphere reigns in the city – music and dancing are everywhere. Shows take place not only on official venues, but also in every Peña Flamenca (flamenco club), of which there are many. A detailed program of festive events can be found on the festival website. In addition, do not forget that Jerez is a city where they produce excellent white wine named after him. This is another reason to visit here.

Jerez Flamenco Festival © Alvaro Trabazo Rivas / Shutterstock

Jerez Flamenco Festival © Corrado Baratta / Shutterstock

Festival Internacional de Cine de Donostia-San Sebastián

When and where: in the second half of September in San Sebastia, Country Basque.

San Sebastián International Film Festival (SSIFF) is one of the most important cultural events in the Spanish-speaking world and the fourth largest film forum in the world after Venice, Cannes and Berlin. It was founded at 1953, and in 1955 it became international. It was here that such masterpieces as Vertigo by Alfred Hitchcock and Melinda & Melinda by Woody Allen premiered, as well as the first European screening of George Lucas’ cult space opera Star Wars.

The festival is FIAPF accredited and is a competitive event. Its program and all nominations can be found on the corresponding pages of the official website. SSIFF offers viewers a unique atmosphere and complete immersion in the wonderful world of cinema. And collectors of unusual experiences should definitely visit the non-competitive Culinary Zinema section to watch a selection of films about chefs, famous restaurants and haute cuisine during themed dinners hosted by the Basque Culinary Center.

Festival Internacional de Cine de Donostia-San Sebastián ©

Festival Internacional de Cine de Donostia-San Sebastián ©

Fiesta de la Merce

When and where at the end: September in Barcelona, ​​Catalonia.

Barcelona’s biggest and most crowded street party, La Mercè, is held in honor of the city’s patron saint, Our Lady of Mercy (Mare de Deu de la Mercè). This Spanish festival was first held at 1902 and now attracts a huge number of tourists. Everyone wants to visit this bright five-day holiday – a real embodiment of Catalan culture.

Free concerts are held on the main squares of the city at this time, and all kinds of processions are held on the streets. The most impressive of them are the parade of Gigantes y cabezudos (giants and big heads) and the fire run of Correfoc. As for the latter, it is carried out around Via Laietana. Immediately after dusk, its light version for young participants takes place, and later – more extreme for adults. Those wishing to see the castellers – towers of people, traditionally erected during Catalan festivals, should definitely visit Plaça de Jaume during the day. And in the evenings, you can enjoy the famous projection show here.

Fiesta de la Merce © Photo_Traveller / Shutterstock

Fiesta de la Merce ©

Fiesta Nacional de España (Día De La Hispanidad)

When and where: on October 12 Autonomous Community of Madrid.

Fiesta Nacional de España or Spanish Nation Day is celebrated throughout the country. But only in its capital you can see a military parade, which is attended by the king of Spain with his family, the chairman and members of the government, as well as the heads of the autonomous communities. October 12 is a very important date for Spain. On this day at 1492 year Christopher Columbus landed on the land of America. So for the first time there was an intersection of two worlds – European and American, which contributed to the wide spread of Spanish culture.

The event itself begins at Plaza de Colón, when a skydiver with a huge banner of the Spanish flag descends from the sky, and passes along the main street of Madrid – Paseo de la Castellana. The audience’s favorite part of the parade is the air show. Spanish aces perform aerobatics over an enthusiastic crowd and leave traces of red and yellow in the sky. In addition to the solemn component, Día De La Hispanidad is a good occasion to have fun, meet friends and try as many dishes of national cuisine as possible.

Fiesta Nacional de España ©

Noche de San Juan (Saint John’s Day)

When and where: on the night of 23/24 June in Barcelona, ​​Catalonia.

The Fiesta de San Juan or Noche de San Juan festival is a celebration that is dedicated both to the summer solstice and the birthday of Saint John the Baptist, very revered by the Spaniards. It is celebrated in all cities of the country, but most brightly – in Barcelona.

At midnight from June 22 to 23, a fire is lit on the top of the sacred mountain Canigou in the Catalan Pyrenees, which is then transmitted to all the cities and towns of the Autonomous Community as a symbol of unity. In the afternoon, the Flama del Canigó arrives in Barcelona. At 17:00, a solemn procession begins on Arístides Maillol street. The holy fire is brought to St. James’s Square in the center of the Old City, where a huge bonfire is lit with its help. This is followed by dances of giant puppets – Gigantes de la Ciudad, as well as the performance of Àliga de Barcelona, ​​which is part of the historical bestiary of the city and has the status of the highest protocol representative of Barcelona. With the help of torches lit on the Plaça de Sant Jaume, the fire spreads to all corners of the city. A lot of ritual bonfires are lit on the beaches, where the festivities continue until sunrise. And of course, another obligatory element of this festival is the grandiose fireworks.