Spain's Top Summer Festivals

Now that we’re well into the holidays, there’s plenty of time to catch a good festival before back-to-work (and school) September arrives!

We’ve shortlisted some of Spain’s best festivals to really soak up the local atmosphere at – from the Feast of St. James coming up this weekend to the world-famous tomato-flinging festival, La Tomatina.

So if you’re on a timeshare break near one of these festival locations over the next two months, why not stop by and join in the fun…

July 25: Feast of St. James, Santiago de Compostela

July 25 is a public holiday in the Basque Country and Galicia and this important religious event honours the life and work of Saint James, Santiago de Compostela’s patron saint. Plays, concerts and dance performances take place alongside religious commemorations at this very spiritual spot. Those nearing the end of their walking ‘Camino de Santiago’ pilgrimage this week will be able to join the celebrations

July 29: The “near death” Festival, Neves

Probably not the festival you’ll be wanting to see first, this unusual tribute honours those who have had a brush with death in the last year.  They’re carried through the streets in coffins to thank Saint Marta, the ‘patron saint of death’ for sparing them.

August 15–24: Festa Major de Gràcia, Catalonia

The Catalonians know how to celebrate and as ardent eco supporters, this festival could not be more apt.  They spend months in the year long lead up to their Festa Major de Gracia preparing elaborate decorations celebrating the sun, marine life and even local politics, all of which are hung in the streets. It’s all about celebrating the local community, too, with long tables set outside for shared lunches, while at the night the streets are busier than almost any other time of the year, with lots of outdoor concerts, dances and general partying.

Mid-August: Aste Nagusia, Bilbao

Bilbao is the setting for the biggest festival in the north of Spain – this one begins the first Saturday after mid-August when the locals launch a rocket into the sky and the big festival mascot Marijaia appears on a balcony at Bilbao’s Arriaga Theatre.

The partying goes on for a whole 9 days to celebrate the Basque culture with everything from live music and dancing to strongman competitions.  The local men show off their prowess in stone carrying and wood chopping contests during the day and at nightfall it’s time for food, drink, music and fireworks, ending with the symbolic burning of Majijaia – until next year!

August 26: La Tomatina, Buñol, west of Valencia

A dry cleaner’s nightmare, you’ll need goggles for this one! You’ll have seen it on the news but it’s not unless you join in that you can fully appreciate the mayhem that takes place in Bunol at the end of August! One of the region’s most famous festivals, it’s a chance for thousands of revellers to chuck over-ripe tomatoes at each other.  In fact it’s become so popular recently that it’s a tickets-only event now.

Looking ahead…

 Late-September: The 63rd San Sebastián International Film Festival

One of the world’s most revered film festivals takes place in September in Spain’s pretty seaside town San Sebastian, capital of the Basque Country.  Worth visiting because it’s such a delightful place to visit – you’ll recognise the horseshoe-shaped bay from all the travel photos! – it turns into a glamorous red carpet capital from 18 to 26 September 2015.  Screenings take place at various theatres around town and if you’re a film buff, this is the one not to miss!

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