These Are The Spanish Festivals You Shouldn't Miss In 2024

Spain is an incredible country for many reasons but one of the things that makes the country so fascinating is its exciting and established festival culture. Attending a local festival is a great way to thoroughly submerge yourself in Spanish culture and learn more about the local people whether you live in the country or just want to try something different on your next visit. You'll also find weird and wonderful festivals in Spain that you simply won’t find anywhere else in the world.

So which festivals should you attend and why? Here is a full list of some of the best Spanish festivals that you simply shouldn’t miss in 2024:

The Best Religious Festivals In Spain 2024

Three Kings Day (Fiesta de los Reyes), 6th January (Nationwide)

This is a huge event that is celebrated nationwide and in Spain it is considered to be as important as Christmas day. It celebrates the day that the 3 kings arrived to meetJesus and in anticipation of their arrival towns and cities across the country put on a spectacular parade on 5 January. Families exchange gifts on 6th January and enjoy a traditional festive lunch. It's a great day to be in Spain with your loved ones.

All Saints’ Day, 1 November (Cadiz)

This is a traditional day in the autonomous region of Cadiz that is celebrated by both Roman Catholic and Protestant churches. On this day local people will visit the graves of their departed loved ones and place both flowers and lit candles for them. In Cadiz this celebration is taken one step further as the locals will do unusual things like dress up rabbits and suckling pigs in the market. The festivities last all week and everyone in the region can get involved.

Holy Week (Semana Santa), Easter, Seville

semana santa 2024

Holy Week is celebrated across Spain. It is one of the most important festivals in the Spanish religious calendar and there is no wrong place to be at this kind of year. But if you’re looking for the best spot to celebrate Easter then visit Seville. Here elaborate floats parade through the city containing jeweled statues of Mary and Jesus. The city is packed full of visitors and locals for this special week but it’s worth battling the crowds to be a part of.

The Day of The Holy Innocents, 28 December, Nationwide

In the period between Christmas and 3 Kings Day there is another fun and exciting holiday in Spain. The Day of the Holy Innocents (Dia de los Santos Inocentes) is like April Fool’s Day and is a day where Spanish people play practical jokes and do crazy pranks. On this day you may also find that white paper figures are pinned to your back – this marks you as an innocent and may mean you’re the victim of the next mischievous prank! It’s a lot of fun despite its backstory: the day actually commemorates when Herod killed the ‘innocents’.

Fiesta de la Mercè, September, Barcelona

This is the biggest street party of the year and it is hosted in Barcelona at the end of September every year. The fiesta honours the patron saint of the city and you can enjoy free music concerts in the cities plazas. The best take place in Plaça de Catalunya and Plaça Sant Jaume. Parades take place when oversized figures from folklore are marched through the streets and at night you can enjoy fireworks displays and open-air performances. It is an incredible event with a high-octane atmosphere.

Feast of St. James, (Dia de Santiago), 25th July, Santiago de Compostela

On the 25th July every year the Feast of Saint James will take place and this is a public holiday in Galicia as it celebrates the life of Saint James, the town’s patron saint. To celebrate this feast day the city will through theater productions, street shows, concerts, and dance events. Of course there will also be religious services too. If you’re thinking of walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail then timing your pilgrimage to end at this event is a great option. 

The Best Cultural Festivals In Spain In 2024

Saint Sebastian Festival (Festes de Sant Sebastia), San Sebastian

In the dullest month of the year the city of San Sebastian springs to life with dancing, bonfires, and celebration. Locals come out to party as do visitors who travel from across the world for the festivities. The event lasts for 2 weeks and includes cultural activities, sports events, and entertainment.

Jarramplas Festival, Piornal, Cáceres (19/20 January)

If you don’t fancy the Saint Sebastian festival then in the small town of Piornal you can take part in the rather more unusual Jarramplas Festival. This involves pelting thousands of hard turnips at the devil-like characters (Jarramplas) to drive away evil spirits. And it’s as bizarre as it sounds! Young men from the town take it in turns to dress up in colourful but scary costumes and there is a waiting list of up to 20 years for the honor of playing the Jarramplas. It’s a great event, and characterizes the kind of unusual event that Spain is famous for.

The Arizkun Carnival (Jumping the Bonfire), Arizkun, Navarra

Arizkun carnival 2024

One of the best-known festivals in Spain takes place in Arizkun every February. Thousands of people line the streets to jump over a series of 20 bonfires. This is a pagan tradition that is said to ward off evil spirits and boost fertility. Local people will dress up in costumes such as sheepskin coats or maypole style hats. This is a challenge that isn’t for the faint-hearted but if you’re feeling brave then it’s a lot of fun!

Sitges Carnival, Catalonia

Sitges Carnival takes place in the run up to Lent every year and it is a fantastic, colourful carnival packed full of shows and events. Sitges is one of the most famous gay destinations in Spain so it’s no surprise that the carnival boasts a famous drag queen show as part of the festivities. The names of the two main parades – Extermination and Debauchery Parades – are a clue to the extravagance of the event. There’s a huge feast and plenty of opportunities to get dressed up. People travel to Sitges from Barcelona for the event and extra public transport is put on to make this commute easy.

Las Fallas Festival, Valencia

This is an event so unique that in 2016 it was added to the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List. At the Las Fallas Festival huge, high-tech ninots (puppets or dolls) are shaped into both traditional figures and modern cultural icons such as Shrek and President Obama. They are then displayed across the city, paraded through the streets, and thrown on bonfires across the city while the locals party below. This year there will be more than 800 Fallas monuments at the event, and it is a lively, traditional celebration.

Sant Jordi (Saint George) Festival, Barcelona

Saint George may be the Patron Saint of England but he is also the patron saint of Catalonia. In Barcelona this saints day becomes the city’s version of Valentine’s Day. The city is dedicated to romance and it’s something locals take very seriously. The tradition is for the man to give his lady a rose in return for a book. You’ll also find the city’s national flag decorating the city at every corner.

Near Death Festival, Neves

near death festival

If you’ve had a near death experience in the past 12 months then this is the perfect festival for you. Anyone who’s had a brush with death in the last year can take part in this festival when they’re carried through the street in a coffin as they say a prayer to the patron saint of death, Saint Marta.

 Known in Spanish as Romería de Santa Marta de Ribarteme, this festival takes place in the small village of Las Nieves which is in Spain on the border to Portugal.

Festa Major de Gracia, Catalonia

This is truly a local festival and a real labour of love. The residents of Gracia work hard for months to create elaborate decorations with meaning. Themes such as marine life, the solar system, or even local politics are covered with the decorations that are hung across the streets during the festival. Residents enjoy communal lunches on long trestle tables then play board games or party and dance the night away. This is a true street festival and the hot August weather only adds to the fun of the event.

Aste Nagusia, Bilbao

This is a huge festival that is held in the beautiful city of Bilbao in Northern Spain. The Aste Nagusia, Semana Grande or Big Week starts with a rocket shooting into the sky and lasts for 9 exciting days. This is a festival that celebrates everything wonderful about Basque culture. You can enjoy live music, dancing, parades and competitions. Its a high octane event that isn’t for the faint hearted.

La Tomatina, Buñol, west of Valencia

la tomatina festival 2024

One of the most fun, most famous, and our favourite festival on this list is the tomato flinging festival. This is held in the town of Bunol on the last Wednesday of August. Thousands of people travel from around the world to attend and to fling tomatoes at each other. You’ll need a ticket to get in and you’ll have to pay an entrance fee but it’s worth it. Bring goggles, a change of clothes, and a sense of humour. You’re going to get dirty!

Feria de Sevilla, Seville

seville festival 2024

This is Seville’s famous spring fair and falls just 2 weeks after Easter week. It is a huge Spanish festival packed full with Spanish food, drink, music, and dancing. It’s a huge event for local people who use it as an opportunity to host private parties for their friends and family in private tents around the fair ground but there are some public tents that anyone can access too. This is the party to end all parties and if you’re going to be in Spain in April then there’s no better place to be.

Fiesta de San Isidro, Madrid

This is the biggest festival in Madrid throughout the year. It offer an opportunity to wear the traditional castizo finery and sample tasty delicacies such as thick, steamy broth. Music and dancing are everywhere with flamenco, zarzuelas, and Latin rhythms happening at concerts all over the city. This event never seems to end as entertainment and revelry take over the city’s public spaces.

El Colacho (Baby Jumping) Festival, Castrillo de Murcia, near Burgos

Yes, you did read that correctly! This is a baby jumping festival aimed at ridding babies from evil spirits and keeping them safe from illness. Townspeople dress up in colorful costumes then form a queue to jump over babies. The babies are those born during the previous year and they are laid on a mattress. Its as bizarre as it sounds but quite a visual spectacle!  This is one of the Corpus Christi festivals in Spain on the first Sunday after Corpus Christi.

 Hispanic Day/Columbus Day, National holiday, 12th October

This is an incredible important national holiday that is celebrated throughout Spain. It is also a huge event in America as it celebrates the day when Christopher Columbus set foot in the Americas. There are many events to mark the event including a parade at La Plaza de Colon in Madrid, led by the military and the Spanish royal family. As well as enjoying fly bys, parades, and other special events, Colombus Day is also a day when Spanish families traditionally gather to reconnect, eat, and celebrate together.

The Best Food And Drink Festivals In Spain 2024

Feria de la Manzanilla in Sanlucar de Barrameda

This is the perfect festival for Spanish speakers and sherry drinkers. The Sanlucar de Barrameda festival is only available in Spanish and is a celebration where locals consume significant volumes of their local tipple. It’s something they’re very proud of. They then soak it up with plenty of fish and tapas.   The week officially begins when the lights turn on, but festivities usually start early the previous weekend. On Sunday, there is a spectacular firework display which the perfect end to the perfect week.

Haro Wine Festival

The Spanish wine harvest is a huge cause for celebration in the country and so a huge number of festivals are hosted to mark the occasion. You’ll find these festivals everywhere but one of the best of these is in Haro in La Rioja region.

This event is better know as the Wine Fight and it starts with a huge street party on the eve of 29 June. The next day, the locals climb up a nearby mountain and drench each other with rioja using sprays, buckets, water pistols, or whatever they can lay their hands on. This isn’t an event for your finest outfits: wear clothes you won’t mind being stained with red wine!

San Andres Festival, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife

It’s not just mainland Spain that gets all the fun of the festivals. The country’s islands enjoy the festivities too. The San Andres Festival was originally designed to taste the previous year’s wine but quickly expanded to become a noisy event where locals make a lot of noise in the streets with pots, pans, and assorted objects. Celebrants drag cans and other noisy metal objects tied to string and wire through the streets of the town, and everyone drinks into the early hours. It’s a racuous party and locals and tourists alike can join in the fun.

The Best Film Festivals In Spain 2024

CutreCon Film Festival, Madrid

Are you a film buff with a guilty pleasure for movies that are so bad they’re good? Then you’ll love CutreCon Film Festival. This is a 5 day film festival that is held in Madrid to celebrate everything bad about movies. That’s bad acting, bad scripts, and bad directing. Several thousand people attend every year but be aware that this event is only held in Spanish, so it’s only suitable if you’re a Spanish speaker.

International Animation Festival, Lleida, Cataloni

This is a more serious and traditional film festival but the twist is that it is only open to films that are made using animation techniques. This is an ANIMAC film exhibition that takes place over 4 days. Attendees can enjoy workshops, projections and conferences. There is also the opportunity to see film screenings. Finally you’ll find other special activities in the usual headquarters of the festival which is La Llotja, CaixaForum Lleida.

San Sebastián International Film Festival

san sebastian festival 2024

This is the biggest and most important film festival in Spain. It takes place in the Baque capital in September every year. Films will be screened in several different theaters. Retrospectives are frequently featured, and week-long screenings are also held. People travel across the world to see movies and to attend events with their favourite actors and directors here.

Annual Horror and Fantasy Film Festival, San Sebastian

This film focuses specifically on movies within the horror and fantasy genres. Together with outdoor performances and street theater, comedy events, horror-related exhibitions, and many fanzine festivities you can also watch a huge number of horror and fantasy films in theatres across the city.

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