Semana Grande, San Sebastian (August 13th – 20th)
Photo: Donostiako Festak / Flickr
San Sebastián’s “big week” offers a wide range of activities for children and adults. Besides bullfighting and live music (rock, pop, jazz, classical), the event is largely known for its international firework contest – the main attraction of the week.
Fiesta mayor de Gràcia, Barcelona, (August 15th – 21st)
Barcelona’s biggest neighbourhood festival takes place every summer in the streets of Gràcia, with local residents competing for the best decorated street. Live music stages are set up and at night, the whole barrio welcomes a mix crowd of families, students, artists and intellectuals for some lively summer nights.
Moors and Christians festival, Ontinyent, Valencia (Aug 21st – Aug 28th)
Photo: Esther Sánchez/ Chocolatisimo.com/ Flickr
The town of Ontinyent in Valencia has celebrated the Christian conquest of the town from Muslim troops since 1860. The entire town gets involved in a vivid and colourful dramatization of the conquest of the town by Jaime I in the 13th century.
Aste Nagusia (Big Week in Basque), Bilbao, (August 22nd–30th)
Similar to San Sebastián’s event, Bilbao’s nine-day festival offers dancing, fireworks, concerts and bullfights. It also holds a hilarious “ugly competition” where participants are asked to pull the ugliest face possible.
La Tomatina Tomato Fight, Buñol, Valencia, (August 31st)
The small town of Buñol, 40km from Valencia, probably offers one of Spain’s funniest festivals. Each summer, 40,000 people take part in the world’s biggest food fight, throwing tomatoes at each other. Participants are told to squish the tomatoes beforehand to reduce the impact, take a look at the (messy) result:
Individual tickets are sold out but you can still buy tickets including camping packs and concerts or get some tickets through tour operators.
Fiesta de la Virgin de la Paloma, Madrid (August 15th)
Many towns and cities have fiestas throughout August, one being the celebration of Our Lady of the Paloma, centred around the La Latina neighbourhood in Madrid, renowned for being the centre of the city’s tapas culture. The day is celebrated with street parties stemming off the central Calle de Toledo.
Cuéllar bull run, Cuéllar (August 28th – 31st)
Photo: fgp / Flickr
Considered the oldest running of the bulls in Spain, the bull run in the town of Cuéllar, near Segovia, has been declared of special national tourist interest by the Spanish government.
Festival Internacional de Santander (6th–31st August)
Every summer, the elegant city of Santander on Spain's north coast welcomes one of Spain’s oldest music festivals, including opera, ballet and theatre companies. Churches and parks in Santander will host dance, music or theatre performances until the end of August.
Starlite Festival Marbella – (Until August 20th)
A series of concerts held throughout August include Alejandro Sanz, The Corrs and Status Quo.
King's Cup Regatta, Palma de Mallorca (July 30th – August 6th)
Held in Palma de Mallorca bay on the Balearic island of Mallorca, this popular sailing competition is now a fixture on the international circuit.
PhotoEspaña (Madrid, until August 28th)
Photo: Casa de América/Flickr.
For those interested in visual arts, PhotoEspaña is an incredible opportunity to see internationally renowned photographers display their latest projects, videos, and developments in photography.
Bosch: The 5th Centenary Exhibition, Madrid, until September 11th
The Prado is commemorating the 500th anniversary of the death of Dutch artist Hieronymus Bosch with a comprehensive exhibition. It features some of his most exceptional paintings – including The Triptych of the Temptations of Saint Anthony – and others on loan from leading museums such as the Louvre.
Part of the Last Judgment, a 1450 painting by Bosch. Photo: rocor/Flickr.