Spain is a great summertime destination but that doesn’t necessarily mean it slows down after all the summer fun. In the colder months there's a wide variety of things going on including celebrating pride in the winter, lots of holiday festivals and parties and plenty of parades, both traditional and gay. With so much happening, Spain is definitely a year-round destination and may even be better to visit in the winter to avoid the heat and the higher summer prices. A trip around any one of these events is sure to be worth your while.
If you want to plan a trip to Spain in the winter but would still like some summer weather, Maspalomas in the Canary Islands is a great choice. Every year in November they celebrate the only winter pride in Spain in one of Spain’s most gay-friendly destinations. Now in its third year, it’s expecting a turnout of 35,000 guests from all around Europe. There will be live shows in the Yumbo Center, the center of the gay nightlife with gay bars, clubs, restaurants and cafes. Ticketed events include a men-only boat cruise, catamaran excursion, dinner show and plenty of parties such as Wet & Wild at Amadores Beach Club, a pool party at AxelBeach Hotel and T-dance at Aqua Ocean Club. November 7 – 13, 2016
New Year’s Eve in Spain is typically a family and close friends affair. In Madrid, there is the tradition of going to Puerta del Sol, the main square in the center, and eating the twelve grapes to symbolize good luck for the coming year. For a rowdier celebration, the WE Party New Years Festival is held in Madrid with a week of different theme parties in various locations and venues so you can celebrate the New Year with your like minded family and a thousand of your closest friends. These elaborate and crazy parties are a great way to ring in the New Year with a bang! This years events featuring mega party producers including XLSIOR, Forever Tel Aviv, Matinee and Macho plus a amazing line of 12 world renowned DJ's. Tickets usually start at 20€ for a single party and all-access bracelets start at 150€ – Dec 27th, 2016 to Jan 1st, 2017
Cabalgata de Reyes Magos
For an authentic Spanish holiday tradition, check out Cabalgata de Reyes Magos or the Kings' Day Parade. Beautiful floats head down the streets as participants toss candy and sweets to the children below. There are music and dancers as the arrival of the Three Kings or Three Wisemen is reenacted. This family friendly event is broadcast live and starts in the evening around 6:30pm at Nuevos Ministerios and ending in Plaza de Cibeles in Madrid. – January 5, 2017
This is Spain’s only gay ski week event and will soon be going into its fourth year. The event is hosted by Rainbow Barcelona Tours and the Boí Taüll Resort which is just a two hour drive from Barcelona. Guests stay at the four-star Augusta Hotel or the three-star Hotel Boí Taüll Resort. The package includes hotel, meals, ski pass, spa, ice skating rink and ticket entrance to a private nightclub, which will feature special DJs from Barcelona's popular gay nightlife scene. The weekend is filled with great activities and is a must attend event for all ski and snowboard enthusiasts. – February 10 – 12, 2017
Special Offer – you can save 35€ on your booking by using the code “SNOW35” through December 15th.
Carnival is not celebrated everywhere in Spain so you have to know where to go for the biggest and best celebrations. Carnival takes place towards the end of February during the days leading up to Lent. These wild and elaborate events include lots of costumes, parades and partying. One of the biggest celebrations of Carnival in Spain is in Santa Cruz de Tenerife with the Queen of Carnival crowning being one of the main events. Cádiz in the south of Spain also hosts one of the best Carnival celebrations around having music as a big focus with songs about relevant topics of the time. Not as large as the previously mentioned events, Carnival in Badajoz still holds its own in Extremadura. The five-day celebration is filled with lively floats, detailed costumes and plenty of party in the streets. – Late February
Carnival is an event for everyone looking to celebrate the days leading up to Lent. As such, despite all the excessive dressing up and wild performances, it’s generally not considered to be a gay event. There are however, certain Carnival celebrations celebrated in certain cities that are known to be quite gay-friendly. Carnival in Sitges is an event for homos and heteros alike though it still maintains that Sitges gay flare. In fact, the local gays even organize a gay-specific Carnival a few days before the official start of Carnival with nightly themed parties like Pink Night and Tourist Night. Maspalomas also has a great Carnival on the beach with incredible events like the Carnival parade, Carnival Queen Gala, Drag Queen Gala and the sardine burial. Maspalomas even takes it one step further with Maspalomas Bear Carnival, a week long event that includes a boat cruise, pub crawl, excursions and lots of wild parties – Late February/Early March
This annual event in Valencia is held in celebration of Saint Joseph and involves the constructions of las fallas. These are large wooden structures that are covered with papier-mâché and painted creating hundreds of relevant and often satirical monuments of art. They are created by the individual neighborhoods of Valencia and all except one are burned on the final night of the five-day event. There’s also lots of music, fireworks and a parade all in a general street party atmosphere. This event is a great way to close out the winter and welcome the coming spring. – March 15 – 19, 2017
Which one of these winter events in Spain would you most like to attend? Do you have a favorite Spanish festival?
Note: This article was sponsored by Visit Gay Spain, however rest assured all opinions are 100% our own and we would never sacrifice our integrity for a sponsorship. In fact, anyone that knows us well can attest to our love for Spain – a destination we would recommend to anyone.