5 fantastic festivals in Spain that you can not miss

There are many cultural events to experience if you visit or move to Spain. We shall take you through various different festivals that you can go to to experience Spanish culture.

Spain has a rich and diverse culture with various different regional cultures, all with their own traditions. There are many festivals in Spain, and it is also home to a large number of music festivals, with Spain attracting global talent who want to perform there. 

If you want to go to Spain for a holiday, retirement, or to move for work, then you will likely want to immerse yourself in the local culture and experience what Spain has to offer. 

Attending cultural and music festivals is a great way to get out and do something new, make memories, forge new friendships, and make your friends at home jealous of how much fun you are having. 

Read on to see a selection of five festivals that you should intend while you are in Spain.

1. Las Fallas

Las Fallas is a festival in Spain that takes place in Valencia to honour San José, the city’s patron saint. Aside from honouring their patron saint, the festival also celebrates the beginning of spring.

The origins of the festival have a few related theories, with it generally seen as beginning as a very old carpenter’s tradition. They used pieces of wood to hang lights from so that they could work during the dark of winter. Once winter was over and spring came, they had bonfires to burn the wood. Over time, this expanded to include other things such as old ragged clothing and other belongings that people wanted to get rid of. 

The wood combined with the ragged clothing apparently gave the bonfire an almost human aspect, which led to the modern tradition of creating ‘ninots’ which are dolls that are usually created for satirical reasons. Ninots are placed on the bonfire and burned as part of the celebrations.

While the event’s earliest stages begin on 1st March, it does not get fully going until the 15th March. You will see days of firework displays, parades, a structure made of flowers, and then  the bonfire. There is much to experience in this unique cultural festival of Valencia. 

Date: Early to mid March from 8am to midnight

Place: Plaza del Ayuntamiento, Valencia

More information: Visit Valencia’s webpage about Las Fallas 

2. Primavera Sound Barcelona

For lovers of music, Primavera Sound is one of the biggest music festivals in Spain, and the world. Primavera Sound brings together artists both new and old, big and small. You can see some of your favourites, whilst discovering new artists to love. 

The genres of music range from indie rock, to pop, hip hop, and more. The line-up is vast, so you will likely find something that you like. 

It is traditionally held in Barcelona, though it has been held at other locations such as Madrid as well. Additionally, there are other Primavera Sound festivals that take place in other countries around the world. Make sure you do not get confused by the different ones. 

Whilst it will not be a purely Spanish experience due to the artists being from around the world, the atmosphere of the crowd and diverse people you will see will be a memorable cultural experience that you will remember for the rest of your life. 

Date: Around the end of May to early June

Place: Parc del Fòrum, Barcelona

More information:  Primavera Sound’s Barcelona webpage

3. La Tomatina

La Tomatina is unlikely to be one of the most populars festivals in Spain or on this list, but it is definitely one of the most unique. 

Every year in August, the small town of Bunol near Valencia with a population of around 10,000 people, welcomes 20,000 festival goers who partake in the biggest food fight in the world. The number of food fighters used to be much higher with there being 50,000 in 2012, but they had to limit the tickets to just 20,000 because of the popularity combined with the strain the masses of people put on such a small city. 

The tomato battle begins as soon as some water cannons are fired, and ends after one hour of food fighting. A lot of mess is left behind, and clothes will be left forever ruined. 

Fire trucks are used to spray the tomato pulp and juice off the roads of the town, but the participants of La Tomatina will need to find ways to clean themselves. It would be a good idea to wear some clothes that are either old, or that you are not fond of. 

Aside from the battle itself, there is also a pole called a ‘Palojabon’. This pole is greased, and has ham at the top of it; the first person to climb the pole gets to keep the ham. A bonus objective for anyone participating in La Tomatina. 

Date: Last Wednesday of August 

Place: Buñol, Valencia

More information: La Tomatina Tours

4. Haro Wine Festival

The name might make you think the Haro Wine Festival is all about celebrating wine and sharing a drink with friends. You will be sharing drinks, but in the less traditional way of firing pistols at each other. This festival has more in common with La Tomatina than wine tasting.

Every year on 29th June, tens of thousands of people arrive at Haro, in northern Spain. They are all dressed in white t-shirts, and are ready to partake in the largest wine battle on the planet. 

It might be a surprise to hear that the festival is potentially tied to events dating all the way back to the 6th century, when the patron saint of Haro, San Felices, died. People would make pilgrimages to the site he was buried, and a church was eventually built nearby. This church then began anointing its patrons with wine instead of water sometime in the 20th century.

The Haro Wine Festival itself also includes events in the days leading up to the wine battle, with there being a firework celebration on 23rd June. 

The 24th is the feast of Saint John, as well as the Summer solstice. Then, the 25th has the actual celebration of Saint Felices to whom the entire event possibly owes its existence to. 

Finally, the 29th sees the culmination of all the celebrations, with there being feasts and the famous wine fight. This day is also the feast of San Pedro. 

This is a uniquely Spanish celebration, and has plenty of history and cultural significance. It would definitely be a time to remember. 

Date: 29th June every year

Place: Haro, Rioja

More information: Haro Wine Fight

5. Aste Nagusia (Semena Grande or The Great Week)

For nine days in August, Aste Nagusia is celebrated in Bilbao, which is in the Basque Country of Spain. 

Whilst it is one of the many festivals in Spain, it is more of a Basque festival than anything else. It celebrates their unique and ancient culture that has survived since before even the first Indo-Europeans arrived in Europe.

It begins with the firing of a rocket called a ‘txupinazo’ which is then followed by days of music, traditional sports, parades, and plenty of eating and drinking. 

You will see stone carrying competitions, parades of giants, a firework competition, and a bonfire on the final day where the mascot of the event, Marijaia, is set on fire. 

There is even a giant that ‘eats’ children called Gargantua. This giant is a slide, so children enter through the mouth, and leave out of its behind. 

This entire festival is a slice of Basque culture, and a celebration of a people who, though small in number, have stood the test of time. 

Date: Mid to late August

Place: Bilbao, Basque Country

More information: Bilbao Tourism’s webpage

How we can help

If this list of festivals in Spain has enticed you to go live and work in Spain, or even just go there for a long period of time, then we can help you get there. 

Our team of experienced Spanish visa experts can help you with every step of your Spanish visa application, so you can experience all that Spain has to offer. 

If you are interested, then you can arrange a free 10-minute assessment which allows us to see if we can help you. Once this is done and we have determined that we can help you, then the next steps can be taken. You will be able to book a longer, paid consultation in  which you will receive advice.

Get in touch with us today if you need our expertise. 

Contact us to speak to one of our friendly consultants

We are experts in Spanish emigration. We understand how the system works and guide our clients through the entire process.

Whether you are simply researching your options or ready to apply, we are here to help.

Contact us