Live music, bonfires and Pamplona’s famous running of the bulls…there’s always a lot going on in Spain in the height of summer and this year is no exception.
The GoTimeshare team have handpicked the ones you won’t want to miss, so if there’s one happening while you’re taking a timeshare break in summer this year, go and savour the spirit of celebration, it’s the best way to meet the locals and soak up the flavour of Spain’s vibrant cities.
Mid-June: El Colacho (Baby Jumping) Festival, Castrillo de Murcia, near Burgos
This is the one you probably won’t have heard of! And it’s probably not approved by Health & Safety, either. The locals dress up in colourful costumes then queue up to leap over a mattress with babies less than a year old. The idea is that this ritual rids the babies of evil spirits and guards against illness. El Colacho is one of the Corpus Christi festivals held all over Spain on the first Sunday after Corpus Christi, and this year it fell on 7 June so it’s just been and gone, but if you’re curious you can catch it next year! www.burgos.es.
June 23: Night of San Juan, Valencia region
One of the biggest celebrations is Spain’s famous Noche de San Juan, in honour of the Summer Equinox. It’s the only night of the whole year when locals can (legally) light bonfires on the beach, have BBQs and drink, and some of the rituals include walking backwards into the sea at midnight, jumping over the bonfires and making wishes as you jump over the waves.
This is a late night in Andalucia and Alicante, too, where they also celebrate this custom and make sure you bring your own wood, food and drinks – and a warm jacket, in case it gets a bit chilly in the hours of the morning. The revelry often lasts until the sun comes up! This year it falls on a Tuesday, so, cue a lot of tired Spaniards the next morning…
June 29: Haro Wine Festival
Wine festivals are part of Spanish local life – as they are in Italy, France and Portugal – but one of the best is this one, held in Haro in the place that gave the wine of the same name it’s name – La Rioja.
La Batalla de Vino or the Wine Fight starts with a huge street party on the eve of 28 June and the next day the locals make their way up the mountain and have “wine spray” fights using water pistols.
This is a festival you won’t want to dress up for – so wear old clothes and join in the fun. www.wine-fight.com.
Late June to July: International Festival of Music and Dance, Granada
Nothing beats a fabulous flamenco and classical music festival and this one traces its origins back to the 1880s.
Prepare for a night of Spanish guitars, castanets and flamenco dancers – and if you can stay for a few days, Granada won’t disappoint. One of the world’s most beautiful Arabic buildings – The Alhambra – is Granada’s absolute gem. The gardens are delightful and the place has a tangible, magical feel about it.
More info at www.granadafestival.org.
July 6–14: Running of the Bulls (the Fiesta de San Fermín), Pamplona
This is the festival that ends up on the UK news every year, as unfortunately there are often a few injuries – it’s not an event for the faint-hearted.
By far one of Spain’s most famous summer festivals, it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors not just from Spain but abroad, too.
The participants, wearing white shirts and red bandanas party for almost a whole week – while the real thrill-seekers run through Pamplona’s narrow streets just ahead of the bulls in a mad dash ahead of the wild bulls and occasionally the bulls get the better of one or two of them.
After sundown the excitement continues – no bulls but plenty of food, fireworks and music instead. www.turismo.navarra.es.