Spain’s the perfect destination for sun and seaside fun. Yet it offers particular magic during the summer months, when small villages and larger cities alike spring to life with a full calendar of festivals. Many of these celebrate a particular harvest or religious figure, drawing residents out to gather for music and costumed processions. Here are five of the most enjoyable to experience this year.
Haro Wine Festival
If you’re a fan of Spanish wine, then you simply must attend the Haro Wine Festival at some point in your life. This fiesta is held to celebrate the local wine harvest in the La Rioja region, where some of Spain’s most delectable vintages are produced. The festivities kick off with a major street party on the first evening, followed by a wine fight the next day. Water pistols, buckets, and spray guns are all fair game here to drench each other with the local rioja.
International Festival of Music and Dance
For something a bit more family-friendly, take the kids to Granada for the International Festival of Music and Dance. This vibrant celebration has been held since the 1880s, allowing visitors from all over the world to soak in the energy of the art of flamenco. You can expect no shortage of colourful costumes, Spanish guitars, and the clacking of castanets inviting you to join the party.
Festa Major de Gracia
Gracia is a charming residential neighbourhood in the heart of Barcelona. Every August, residents show off their artistic skills by creating amazing themed decorations to transform their narrow streets into living works of art. The days are spent with communal dining and family games, while in the evenings the streets heave with visitors ready to take in the festive atmosphere. Concerts, dancing, and performance art take place each year. Visitors can join in, wearing anything from clown costumes to evening wear.
Get messy and celebrate the tomato harvest at one of Spain’s most famous festivals, La Tomatina. Held in the small village of Bunol to the west of Valencia, the festival takes place each August on the final Wednesday of the month. It’s a great way to close out the summer with a tomato-saucy bang. Thousands of visitors and residents alike pelt each other with ripe, juicy tomatoes. It’s a good idea to bring goggles to keep the acidic tomato juice out of your eyes, and wearing old clothing goes without saying.
Baby Jumping Festival
Get off the beaten path in Castrillo de Murcia. In the middle of June, the townspeople take part in El Colacho, or the ‘baby jumping’ festival. Any babies that have been born over the past year are placed on a mattress, and then the residents take turns to jump over them while dressed up in fantastical costumes. (Don’t worry, no babies are harmed during this process!) This time-honoured tradition is said to protect the babies from illness and rid them of any evil spirits. Afterwards there’s music, feasting, and dancing.
From street art to traditional dancing or feasting, Spain’s summer festivals are a treat for all the senses!