What’s on in Spain: August 2017

August is a month packed full of summer fun across the nation from music concerts to street festivals, and the world's biggest food fight!

What's on in Spain: August 2017
La Tomatina takes place on August 30th. Photo: AFP


Semana Grande, San Sebastian (August 12th – 19th) 

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 25th – Aug 29th)

Photo: Esther Sánchez/ 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 19th–28th)

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 30th)

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 11th-15th) 

Photo: Antonio Garcia / Flickr

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 27th – 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 (All 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 2th)

A series of concerts held throughout August include The Gipsy Kings, Andrea Bocelli and Elton John. 


King's Cup Regatta, Palma de Mallorca (July 29th – August 5th) 

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 27th)

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..


What’s on in Spain: 14 fun things to do in February

February is the month to shake off the winter blues with Carnival! Or head to a celebration of the most tragic of star-crossed lovers. Failing that how about a festival focusing on food?

What's on in Spain: 14 fun things to do in February
Carnival is celebrated across Spain in February. Photo: AFP

Here are some of the highlights going on across Spain this February.


Madrid Gastrofestival, February 7th until February 23rd

Photo: GastroFestival  Madrid

This is more than just a food festival. The Spanish capital becomes a hub for gourmet cuisine, as well as the art, fashion, literature and films that are inspired by it. 2020 celebrates an extended edition of the famous festival. Foodies come, eat and rejoice.

Calçots in Catalonia (February and March)

Photo by Silvia Martin/Flickr

February and March are Calçots time in Catalonia! You can find the traditional grilled spring onion all around the region. In Barcelona there is a market throughout the period in Parc de les Tres Xemeineies where guests can celebrate the urban edition of the Calçotada to the sounds of Sardana music and a porró of vino tinto.

Recipe: How to make, eat and enjoy calçots



“1939 Exilio Republicano Español“, Madrid until February 29th

Photo from the exhibition of a young Spanish exile by Germaine Chaumel


A huge exhibition of sketches, photographs and paintings records the plight of the 500,000 republican refugees after the civil war.

The exhibition entitled “1939 Exilio Republicano Español” at the La Arquería in Madrid's Nuevos Ministerios has been extended until the end of February. and includes powerful works created by the most famous exile from the Spanish Civil War, Pablo Picasso.

The exihibit also includes documentary evidence chronicling those who took the path into exile, what life was like in the enternment camps in France and how exiles rebuilt their life in the ensuing years.  

ARCOmadrid International Contemporary Art Fair February 26th until March 1st

Photo: Arco-Madrid / Ifema

The International Contemporary Art Fair is one of the main art fairs on the international circuit and a must-see for art lovers and collectors in Madrid. It takes place in the huge exhibition center IFEMA but also look out for galleries in the captal holding their own events.

Cultural Festivals

Spring…and almond blossom!

Blossom in Madrid's Parque de Berlin. Photo: F Govan

February is the month when almond trees burst into bloom with their exquisite pale pink blossom. Some areas, like the Canary Island of La Palma celebrate the blossoming of the almond trees that grow everywhere on the island with a festival that involves lots of exquisite handmade almod sweets, but wherever you are in Spain, you won't be far from some blooms, so get out into the countryside and enjoy that spring air! 

La Endiabla , Cuenca, Castille-La Mancha, February 1st to 4th

Photo: La Endiablada

Every year at the beginning of February, visitors flock to the small town of Almonacid del Marquesado in Cuenca where locals celebrate La Endiablada, or “the brotherhood of the devils”. Since at least the 13th century, locals have gathered for this celebration, dressing up in outlandish “devil” costumes with noisy cowbells and dancing through the town. The festival is meant to honour both the Virgin Mary as well as the town's patron saint, San Blas.


Festes de Moros i Cristians a Sant Blai, Bocairent, Valencia February 1st to 6th. 

Photo: Juan Sanz/  Bocairent Town Hall

In February, the small town Bocairent in the Valencia region hosts the tradtional Moors and Christians festival.  There are re-enactments of the fights between the two groups as well as parades and fireworks – not to mention the perfect opportunity to visit this truly charming town.

Santa Eulàlia Festival, Barcelona, February 7th to 12th

Photo: Santa Eulalia Festival

Once the patron of Barcelona, Santa Eulàlia was more or less abandoned in the 17th century to make space for the city's beloved Mercé. However, the celebration of the former patron now takes place in February and is the perfect opportunity for everyone who missed the Festes de la Mercé in September to encounter giants on the street or risk a scorching in the correfocs, the traditional firework runs. You might also stumble upon the famous human towers and Sardana dances. On the 12th of February, Saint Eulàlias day, visitors can enter the Ajuntament (City Hall) as well as several other museums for free.

READ MORE Els Castells: What you need to know about the human towers of Catalonia


Las Bodas de Isabel de Segura, Teruel, Aragon February 20th to 23rd 

Photo: Teruel City Hall

Believing her true love to be dead, Isabel marries another in Spain’s take on Romeo and Juliet. Every year the city of Teruel revives the tragedy of the two lovers on the month of romance. Celebrate your Valentine’s day with star-crossed lovers and medieval dress in the mountainous Aragon region of eastern Spain.

Flamenco festival of Jerez  February 21st, March 7th.

Photo: AFP

The Andalusian town of Jerez takes its unofficial title of “city of flamenco” quite seriously, and no other time of year is that more apparent than during the annual Festival de Jerez. For two weeks, the city comes alive with dozens of performances of the traditional dance and musical style.


Carnival Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, February 19th to March 1st 

Photo: Depositphotos

Those looking to have the Rio de Janeiro carnival experience without having to fly all the way to South America should head instead to the largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife. Santa Cruz de Tenerife is a twin city of the Brazilian metropolis and its carnival is world-renowned – as much as it is out of this world.

Sitges Carnival February 18th to 26th

Photo:Sitges festival

More than 250,000 people flock to the coastal town of Sitges about 35 kilometres from Barcelona, every February for one of the biggest gay carnivals in the world. The week is packed with parades, parties and shows and the gay-friendly town opens its doors to thousands of revellers. 

Cádiz Carnival February 28th until March 10th 

Photo: Depositphotos

The carnival in Cádiz is one of the most famous in Spain, dating back to the 16th century. These days it’s all about dressing up and poking fun at politicians and people in the news, as well as the usual eating and drinking of course.


Seville Marathon February 23rd

Photo: Zurich Marathon, Sevilla

If hills aren't your thing, why not take part in the flattest marathon in Europe, which takes in some of the most picturesque sights of Seville along the route. You can still register if you fancy taking up a New Year´s challenge. Otherwise, why not lend your support to the runners by cheering them on from the side lines?