Fourteen brilliantly fun events happening in Spain in August

There are plenty of brilliant things happening in Spain in August, from the world's most famous food fight to a town-wide re-enactment of a 13th century conquest. The Local has picked out some great events for you to check out.

Fourteen brilliantly fun events happening in Spain in August
The neighborhood of Gràcia in Barcelona sees its streets decorated and full of colour for the annual Festa Major. Photo: AFP

Semana Grande, San Sebastián, August 10th-17th 

Photo: Donostiako Festak / Flickr

San Sebastián’s ‘Big Week’ offers a wide range of activities for all the family to enjoy, from bouncy castles, to music and dance performances across a range of genres. The main attraction of the week is always the international firework contest which lasts through the duration of the festival, a spectacular display courtesy of entrants from across the world.

Festa Major de Gràcia, Barcelona, August 15th-21st 

Photo: AFP

Every summer residents compete for the best decorated street in Barcelona’s largest neighborhood, Gràcia. Families, students, artists and intellectuals alike are drawn to the area to experience the lively summer nights.

Moors and Christians Festival, Ontinyent, Valencia, August 21st-27th

Photo: Esther Sánchez/ Flickr

Every year since 1860, the Valencian town of Ontinyent has transformed into a dramatic re-enactment of the Christian conquest of the town from Muslim troops in the 13th Century. For one week, the streets come alive with music and colour, with the whole town taking part.

Aste Nagusia, Bilbao, August 17th-25th

Last year, Bilbao’s ‘Big Week’ celebrated 40 years, and this year the city will be host to a variety of cultural, artistic and sporting activities once more. The nine-day festival also involves the unique ‘ugly competition’, in which participates compete to pull the ugliest face possible.

La Tomatina Tomato Fight, Buñol, Valencia, August 28th

Photo: AFP

This infamous tomato battle dates back to 1945 and has been held annually in Buñol ever since. On the last Wednesday of each August, people gather in the town square from 9am to enjoy a breakfast provided by the town hall, but the battle begins at 11 o’clock, at which point the whole town turns red with tomato juice.

Fiesta de la Virgin de la Paloma, Madrid, August 6th-18th 

Street decoration in Madrid. Photo:

La Paloma, in Madrid’s La Latina district, is one of several open-air fiestas held in the capital in August. Traditional dancing, décor, drinks and games for children fill the city’s oldest streets for two weeks in celebrations that are characterised by a strong community spirit and a traditional image of a party-loving, sociable city.

Malaga Fair, Malaga, August 15th-24th 

Commemorating Malaga’s capture by the Catholic Monarchs in August 1487, this fair is celebrated with a range of competitions, performances and concerts held in El Real fairground, with other venues hosting a range of events, functions and parties. The firework display, which marks the opening of the festival, is always a popular attraction.

Cuéllar Bull Run, Cuéllar, August 25th 

Photo: fgp / Flickr

Presumed the oldest in Spain, this bull run is part of festivities held in honour of the saint of the town of Cuéllar, situated 60 kilometres from Segovia. While the running of the bulls begins on the banks of the Cega River, 3 kilometres from the town, celebrations in Cuéllar are enjoyed with music, cakes, sweets and traditional dances. Celebrations continue throughout the day with concerts and children’s parades.


Festival Internacional de Santander, Santander, August 3rd-31st 

Santander is the home of one of Spain’s oldest music festivals. The International Festival, hosted in churches and parks across the city, holds opera shows each year, as well as welcoming performances from orchestras, ballet companies, celebrated soloists and more throughout the month of August.

Starlite Festival, Marbella, July 23rd-August 20th 

Elton John performed as part of the 2017 edition of the festival. Photo: AFP

Describing itself as the ‘best boutique festival in Europe’, Starlite is a collection of concerts from a wide range of music genres, held in Marbella throughout August. This year’s impressive line-up includes The Beach Boys, Sting, Jamie Cullum, John Legend, Jessie J and Luis Fonsi.

Festival Castell, Peralda, July 4th-August 17th 

Seal is due to perform at this year's festival. Photo: AFP

All kinds of musical genres are featured as part of this festival in the town of Peralda, near Girona. Musical and theatrical performances are brought together over the course of a month, ranging from symphony concerts to jazz, pop and opera performances. This year’s line-up includes Seal, Diana Krall and Turandot (Puccini). There are three venues that play host to the festival: the auditorium at the Gardens of Peralada Castle, El Carmen Church and the pavilion in the gardens.


King's Cup Regatta, Palma de Mallorca, July 27th-August 3th 

King Felipe IV often attends the regatta. Photo: AFP

Hosted on the bay of the Balearic Island of Mallorca, this popular sailing competition is one of the major cruiser class regattas in the Mediterranean and has become a top-level fixture on the international circuit.

Perseid Meteor shower, in the night skies across Spain between August 11th and 13th

Shooting stars over Tilde. Photo: Miguel Serra-Ricart / Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias

Wherever you are in Spain, seek out a spot away from city lights and turn your gaze to the night skies. The 2019 Perseid meteor shower will probably produce the greatest number of meteors during the nights of August 11, 12 and 13 when, if good conditions prevail, you could be treated to a spectacular night of shooting stars.

Last Chance

Exhibition: Opera. Passion, Power And Politics, CaixaForum Madrid, until August 11th 

Image: CaixaForum

Taking you on a journey through some of Europe’s greatest opera houses in eight different cities, this exhibition explores the emotional, cultural, political, social and economic histories of the universal language and the complex discipline of opera.

List compiled by Alice Huseyinoglu

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LISTED: The 14 sun creams Spain wants to take off the market

If you're looking for the right sun protection this summer, then you should be aware that the Spanish Ministry of Health has requested that 14 sunscreens be withdrawn because their SPF doesn't correspond to what is advertised.

LISTED: The 14 sun creams Spain wants to take off the market
The Spanish Ministry of Health requests the withdrawal of 14 sun creams. Photo: MYCHELE DANIAU / AFP

The Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) and the Ministry of Health, requested on Tuesday the voluntary withdrawal of 14 sun creams because the sun protection factor (SPF) that they advertise does not correspond to the labelling.

The results were discovered during a recent trial AEMPS carried out to guarantee that the sun protection factor is the one announced by the manufacturers. The trials focused on sunscreens with SPF 50 or SPF 50+, especially those with very light creams, mists and sprays. The agency chose 19 products from companies in different countries, of different sizes and price points.

Only five of the 19 creams analysed provided protection that was consistent with its labelling.

Five of the sun creams had an SPF much lower than that indicated on their labels, always below an SPF factor of 29.9. These are:

  • Abelay Sunscreen SPF50 from Ab7
  • Mussvital Photoprotector Spray Ultra Light 50+ aerosol from Peroxfarma
  • Eucerin Sun Sensitive Protect Sun Spray Transparent Dry Touch SPF 50 High by Beiersdorf AG
  • Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydratation Solar Mist air soft SPF 50+ (High) by Wilkinson Sword
  • Australian Gold SPF Botanical SPF 50 continuous spray by Biorius

Nine of the sunscreens were found to have an SPF of between 30 and 49.9, instead of the advertised 50. These were:

  • Les Cosmetiques Sun Ultimate Sensitive SPF 50+ sun spray for sensitive skin from Carrefour
  • Belle & Sun Invisible Sun Mist SPF 50 by Perseida Beauty
  • Isdin Photoprotector Fusion Water SPF 50 from ISDIN daily use facial sunscreen
  • Farline sun spray SPF 50+ 200 mL Very High Protection
  • Babaria Solar Protective Mist SPF 50 by Berioska
  • Seesee Transparent Sun Spray SPF 50+ by Cosmetrade
  • Piz Buin Hydro Infusion Gel Sun Cream SFP 50 High Protection by Johnson & Johnson Santé Beauté
  • Ladival Sensitive Skin SPF 50+ from STADA Arzneimittel AG
  • Lancaster Sun Sensitive Luminous Tan Comfort cream SPF 50+ by Coty

No incidents of sunburn related to any of these products have been reported, however the Ministry of Consumption has started to investigate possible illicit advertising and unfair practices, and where appropriate, will sanction the manufacturers.

According to Weather Online, the UV Index in Spain and other Mediterranean countries is a lot higher than in northern European countries. Indices of 9 and 10 are common, whereas, in the UK, the UV Index rarely exceeds 8.

If you’re looking for extra protection this summer, a new app, UV-Derma has been released by professors from the University of Malaga, which calculates how long you can stay in the sun before burning. 

READ ALSO: Climate crisis: Spain records hottest year in 2020