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Best festivals outside of Barcelona

Boy does Spain like a fiesta! Pretty much any week of the year, somewhere in Spain they are lighting the fireworks, popping the cava corks and taking to the streets to celebrate. From saints to bulls to tomatoes to music to dance, the festivals of Spain hold something for everyone to enjoy. Here is a rundown of some of the summer festivals outside of Barcelona.


San Juan

Spain’s summer solstice is celebrated up and down the coastal areas of Spain, most notably in Andalucia. San Juan is an all night beach party usually with bonfires remarking the ancient pagan roots of the fiesta. According to tradition to be cleansed and purified you must jump over the fires three times.

Photo credit: Barcex via Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: Barcex via Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA

Madrid Pride

As one of the world’s most gay-friendly cities, Madrid bursts to life during Gay Pride Week. The typically gay barrio of Chueca is the center of the fiesta with residents and visitors coming together to celebrate everything LGTB. Across the city, over two million revellers enjoy open air concerts, performing arts, cabaret, and a whole range of other activities, which culminate in a huge Carnival-like parade.


San Fermin, Pamplona

Photo credit: Sanfermin Kukuxumusu via / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: Sanfermin Kukuxumusu via / CC BY-NC-ND

This iconic festival that happens from 6th-14th July each year. Each day at 8am, the iconic ‘running of the bulls’ takes place. San Fermin is more than the famous bull run, with plenty of music and dancing to enjoy, but many revellers are here to witness the main event. The bull run starts at Plaza Santo Domingo and winds through the ancient streets, ending at the bullring. Each day six fighting bulls (weighing about 700kg each!) run the route, as well as two herds of bullocks, chasing a crowd of reckless runners. The electric atmosphere of this iconic event is hard to beat.

Benicassim Festival

Spain’s biggest music festival, Benicassim, attracts musicians and festival goers from all over the world. There are more than 100 separate acts every year, performing on four separate stages, alongside art, theatre, cinema and dance. And when the stages close late into the evening, the world’s best DJs will keep you dancing til dawn. The line-up this year includes The Chemical Brothers, Kendrick Lamar and Muse.


La Tomatina, Bunol

Photo credit: RenoTahoe via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: RenoTahoe via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Images of The Tomatina festival are recognisable all over the world. Held on the last Wednesday of August each year in Bunol, in the region of Valencia, this festival sees revellers pelt each other with ripe tomatoes. Festivities take place around the fight but the fight itself lasts an hour and these days, due to the success of this event in such a small town, it is ticketed. Wear old clothes, get there early and get ready for those tomato trucks to unload!

About the author


Londoner living in Barcelona. Writer, editor, day dream believer. Loves good times and great food.

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