May has finally arrived and summer is just behind it! We spent last summer touring Central America for six weeks and then ended it with a three month trek around Europe. We can’t believe we get to spend another summer here, especially since the last one just about wiped us out! But now that spring has eased the winter chill and with the warm weather approaching, it’s time to get outside and enjoy one of our favorite activities: festivals!
Spain has no shortage of festivals celebrating anything from saints to cheese to music and we want to be part of it! Here are some entertaining summer festivals occurring all around Spain that are worth your holiday time. This is by no means a comprehensive list as there are many to choose from. But they’re the ones that caught our eye and are a great way to get the festival season going from beginning to end.
WOMAD: Music meets renaissance at this free outdoor festival that kicks off the summer season in Cáceres. It’s not just musical entertainment though, as WOMAD is short for World of Music, Arts, and Dance. The three day festival will offer plenty of food, music on two stages, children’s workshops, local arts and crafts for sale. Date: May 10 – 12
Fiesta de San Isidro: The second Madrid-specific holiday in May, Fiesta of San Isidro is celebrated in honor of the city’s patron saint. Feasts, bull fights, concerts, and processions are all part of the week’s activities. The main festivities can be found at Pradera del Santo while the streets are alive with celebration. Date: Week of May 15
Sónar: This three day electronica music festival is a leading one of its kind. Known as the International Festival of Advanced Music and New Media Art, it takes place in Barcelona. Note that two main concert locations are Fira Montjuïc for Sónar by Day and Fira Gran Via de L’Hospitalet for Sónar by Night which has the larger shows. Also consider a hotel near the center to enjoy many of Barcelona’s other great sights. Date: June 13-15
La Batalla del Vino: As we mentioned in our previous post about our top five destinations to visit in Spain, this wine battle festival takes place in La Rioja, a popular wine region in the country. It begins with a mass and afterward the people begin tossing liters of wine at each other in a now peaceful celebration originating from a land dispute. Date: June 29
Festival Internacional de Benicàssim: Every summer month in Spain has one, if not multiple, big music festival and this is July’s. Located in the town of Benicàssim, just outside of Valencia this four day festival is headlining this year with Queens of the Stone Age, Beady Eye, Arctic Monkeys, and The Killers. Date: July 18-21
Fiesta de Santiago: This celebration is in honor of St. James, the patron saint of Spain and is a public holiday in Galicia. The main celebration is in its capital of Santiago de Compostela. The days leading up to el Día de Santiago are filled with exhibitions, theatrical and street performances, concerts, and parties. Date: July 25
La Tomatina: Get your pitching arm ready for this festival held in Buñol, Valencia. In the largest food fight you are ever likely to encounter, it’s every man for himself as people chuck tomatoes at one another through the streets. Where this tradition exactly came from is unclear, but a popular theory is that years ago upset citizens launched tomatoes at city councilmen. Really though, what more of a reason do you need than it's just for the hell of it? Date: August 28
Feria del Cabrales: We’ve discussed festivals involving music, saints, wine, and tomatoes but what about the cheese? For that, we head north to Arenas de Cabrales within the Picos de Europa Mountains. Here you’ll find a fair in honor of the best blue cheese in the region. Learn how the cheese making process works and of course do lots of sampling! Date: August 25
What festival(s) are you looking forward to in your area this year? What's your favorite one in Spain? Let us know!