Published 10th August 2019
If it’s one thing the Spanish know how to do it’s have a party. No surprise then that literally hundreds of festivals are celebrated around the country every year. If you’re living and teaching in Spain, then you should definitely take some time to celebrate with the locals. After all, the more, the merrier!
With so many festivals to choose from it can be difficult to know where to go and what to see, so we’ve compiled a list of our favourite Spanish festivals for you.
La Tomatina, or the Tomato Fight Festival, is probably the most famous of all the Spanish festivals – and arguably the world’s biggest food fight. On the last Wednesday in August in Bunõl, near Valencia, thousands of locals and tourists hit the streets to throw 120 tonnes of tomatoes at each other. The festival is limited to 20 000 people, but tickets sell out almost as soon as they become available.
Another famous (or infamous) festival is the Running of the Bulls. For the first week of July in Pamplona, people are invited to run a course in front of a herd of angry bulls to a bull ring, where a bullfight is held later in the day. While most certainly hair-raising, this festival has come under criticism for being unethical. We definitely wouldn’t recommend being foolhardy enough to run with the bulls, but it’s worth a visit to be a spectator!
A four-day music festival, Benicassim is not to be missed. Held on the beach between Valencia and Barcelona, Benicassim brings together both local and international musical acts. With the likes of Fatboy Slim, Lana del Ray and Kings of Leon headlining in 2019, it’s easy to see why this is such a popular festival.
The Holy Week festival takes place just before Easter. It is celebrated all over the country and usually involves parades of people carrying crosses, banners, statues of their church’s patron saint, and loads and loads of candles. It should be noted that this is a very religious festival and not as crazy as the others, but it is most certainly worth a look. Seville and Malaga are two cities especially well-known for their Holy Week festivities.
Feria de Abril
The Seville Fair happens two weeks after Holy Week. 1 000 tents are set up in an area of Seville and inside each tent there is a lot of food and drink and general merriment. There is also a circus and an amusement park. This festival is definitely fun for the whole family.
Las Fallas de Valencia
The Festival of Fire in Valencia is truly a sight to behold. During this festival, beautiful monuments, or fallas, are constructed by the locals and then burnt at night. These monuments are intricately carved, are usually caricatures of local politicians and can be up to five storeys high and cost millions of Euros. Yes, millions of Euros! This festival is so incredible that UNESCO has declared it an event of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The Wine Battle of Haro
Haro is a town in the La Rioja region, famous for its wine. In late July there is an all-night street party. As the sun rises after the party, festival-goers gather in the main square, dressed in white shirts and trousers and red handkerchiefs around their necks, and throw wine on each other. 40 000 litres of wine is thrown each year. A bit of a waste, if you ask us, but when in, uh, Haro…
Fiesta Mayor de Gracia
In Barcelona in August the neighbourhood of Gracia holds its own festival. Each street is decorated in the hopes of winning the prize for best decoration. As you can imagine, simply walking the streets at this time is amazing, but there are also street acrobats, fireworks and street markets to entertain you.
While of course you are in Spain to teach English, which involves a lot of hard work, there’s no reason why you can’t play hard too. Just remember to take a shower before going to class the next day!