We dived into the many existing Spanish summer festivals to select the best ones for you, and found an interesting pattern: throwing food and drinks at each other and building and burning papier maché dolls seem to be a festive-thing over here. These are the 4 national festivals that we we actually want to go to ourselves in June, July and August.
San Juan: Drink and dance around bonfires
20th to 29th of June
Imagine a bunch of people at the beach, dancing and drinking all night around bonfires. That is what the festival of San Juan is all about. The reason for this celebration is the beginning of the summer - a good reason for a celebration indeed, if you ask us. It’s celebrated almost everywhere in Spain, but the celebrations are the most exuberant in the region of Alicante where they call it ‘Las Hogueras de San Juan’. Here they build huge papier maché figures that adorn the city during the week of San Juan and are burnt down on the main squares on the 24th of June - the night of San Juan. Sounds a bit sad right? Apparrently not. The burning of these figures is a big festive event with a lot of music and drinking and dancing involved.
La Batalla del Vino de Haro: wine-fight!
28th & 29th of June
Do you like drinking wine? Then you probably also like ‘fighting’ with wine - while drinking it. Thats what they do once a year in a small wine-producing village called Haro, in the middle of the wine-region Rioja. During this festival thousands of locals and tourists climb a mountain and throw the red Rioja wine all over each other, using water guns, jerrycans, buckets or just their bare hands. The party starts the night of the 28th, when the old and the young, the locals and the tourists, the brave and the bold all come together in the centre of Haro to drink and dance on the picturesque streets and squares of this Spanish village. The next morning, on the 29th of June these same people gather on the main square to climb the highest hill of the regio to while pouring wine all over each other.
Semana Grande de Bilbao - party like a Bilbao’er and throw with eggs and flour
18th of August - 26th of August
Visiting Bilbao is never a bad idea - especially now the city is awarded as the European City of the Year by the Academy of Urbanism. This city attracts the young and urban, but also those who enjoy a more laid-back surfer-lifestyle thanks to its ideal location on the northern coastline of Spain. Besides that, its climate is nice for those who’d like to get to know the less bloody-hot side of Spain. Visiting Bilbao is especially a good idea during one of its most festive events: the ‘Semana Grande’, in the middle of August. This means nine days of Basque concerts, food-fairs with traditional food, local theatre performances and not to forget the Batalla con hues y harina a traditional flour and egg fight for those who don’t mind to get dirty. At night the sky is lightened up cause of the fireworks competitions every night. At the end of the festival the mascot of the festival la Marijaia - (a giant doll made of papier maché) floats downriver while being set on fire - only to return a year later.
TOMATINA!: a tomato soup as big as a village
29th of august
It all began when a group of friends in 1945 started to throw tomatoes at a bunch of people that walked in a dress-up parade. The police came and fined the tomato-throwers, but that didn’t hem stop them to come back the next year and do the exact same thing. Only then with a lot more tomatoes. This went on for a couple of years until people decided that it was a better idea to make the tomato throwing the main event and skip the parade. TOMATINA! was born. A yearly event that wakes up the sleepy village Buñol near Valencia. During the event 20.000 people gather in the small streets of the village and throw tomatoes - that were rejected to sell - at each other. The event is so popular nowadays that it’s mandatory to buy a ticket, so if you’re planning to go here, make sure you buy one in time!
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