Looking for a list of the best Spanish Festivals for summertime in Spain? Here it is my TOP 10 with the pros and cons of each one of them!
10. SAN FERMIN (Pamplona)
Pros: Worldwide known and iconic Spanish Festival made famous by the novel “The sun also rises” from Ernest Hemingway. Distinctive events are the “txupinazo” (opening ceremony) and its bullruns.
Cons: Overcrowded and overpriced. Its popularity is also its own enemy and provokes the city to turn into chaos for a week.
9. SEMANA GRANDE / ASTE NAGUSIA (Bilbao)
Pros: Its “comparsas” / “konpartsak” are groups of citizens who get together to organise a variety of events during the week long festival. It is very “clean” (you pay a deposit for the plastic cups, that is returned to you when you give the cups back). Amazing way to experience the Basque culture: txistularis, concerts, pintxos, etc.
Cons: As any other big city’s festival it is pricy. Some may argue it is not a trully Spanish party as it takes place in the region of the “Basque Country” and sometimes (for instance during the opening ceremony) there are political arguments.
8. SAN LORENZO (Huesca)
Pros: The peñas (cultural associations) energize the popular Festivals of this city. The chupinazo (opening ceremony) means hundreds of litres of wine thrown and a firemen lorry watering down everyone present in the historical Cathedral Square. Its folkloric dancers also known as “los danzantes” are a centuries old tradition in this city located just South of the Pyrenees.
Cons: Huesca is not as well known as other festivals and most events may not be overly crowded.
7. TOMATINA (Bunyol)
Pros: Very well known celebration outside of the borders of Spain it means a lorry throwing hundreds of kilos of tomatoes in the streets of the Valencian town of Bunyol with everyone swimming on the red pulp and fighting with it.
Cons: Once again popularity has meant crowds collapsing the town and the village has started charging to enter the festival (arguably to subsidize the cleaning of the streets afterwards).
6. SAN JUANES (Soria)
Pros: A week long celebration with plenty of shows and events taking place. An opening ceremony in the evening, a pilgrimage to the neighbouring countriside to free a pack of bulls and spend the day in the hills, a day around the bullring wearing fancy dresses, plenty of processions and parades…
Cons: It is very complicated to find accommodation in the city (booked long in advance by regular visitors and the bands working during the festivals). Also the associations in the city are overcrowded and will not allow anyone to join their ranks, meaning a less authentic experience.
5. CIPOTEGATO (Tarazona)
Pros: A tomato throwing festival that starts at noon and where everyone is meant to hit a youngster from the town who is dressed up as a harlequin. It is a very cheap festival because it is not a big town.
Cons: The location of the town is off the beaten path and the public transport connections may seem a bit of a nightmare at first, but it is definitely worth the effort.
4. LA BATALLA DEL VINO (Haro)
Pros: Throwing wine at each other in a wine battle is real fun! When the whole population of the town goes to the surroundings of an isolated chapel it is trully an experience worth trying.
Cons: Haro is also a town away from the main tourism areas of Spain and is not easy to reach it with public transport. Moreover the wine fight takes place 6 km from the town, a way that you need to do walking (first carrying your ammunition in the shape of wine containers and on the way back soaking wet).
3. SANTA ANA (Tudela)
Pros: It takes place in the second biggest town in Navarre after Pamplona. There is also a “txupinazo” (opening ceremony), plenty of bullruns and events and it is much cheaper than Pamplona with less crowds and definitely perfect to experience the local food and traditions.
Cons: It may be hard to find services provided in English such as bars, hotels, shops or transport.
2. FERIA de Málaga
Pros: Perfect combination between sun, beach, traditions and Southern Spanish culture. The casetas are small tents built up in the “Recinto Ferial” (Fair grounds) located in the outskirts of town and very well connected with the city with public transport. Shows, singing, dancing and celebrating take place on a 24 hour basis.
Cons: It may be too hot during the days it takes place in August. Also the accommodation prices rise up during the high season and August is at the very peak of it.
1. VAQUILLAS (Teruel)
Pros: The peñas (cultural associations) organise each dozens of shows including concerts, meals, free bars, snacks, itinerant street bands, etc. The opening ceremony gathers thousands of people to see the statue of a “torico” (small bull) receive the red kerchief as the symbol of the festival. There are also rope-held bulls running in the streets and the famous “recortadores” (bull dribbling) contest
Cons: I have not been able to find any cons other than the small amount of accommodation available in town during the festival, making it very exclusive to make it to Teruel on the second weekend of July.
Do you agree with this list? Any other suggestions? Let me know! I’m looking forward to learning about any othe Spanish summer festivals.