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Photographing flamenco dancers at the Feria de Abril gypsy festival.

A Photographers Guide to Spanish Holidays and Festivals

  |   Barcelona festivals

As any serious photographer knows, being aware of local holidays and festivals when travelling to foreign destinations is invaluable in knowing where and when to capture unique images that may arise only once a year, or even less often. Capturing events, parades, portraits of locals that are part of a festival, as well as spectators, dancers, emphasising colour, details, texture etc are more likely to be found when shooting during important events.

Likewise, it can be just as important to know when to avoid going to a destination because of the local holidays on a specific date. Knowing when a town and all it’s businesses will literally close down can be useful to know in advance. With this in mind, we have added a list of all the Spanish holidays and festivals running for the next 12 months. This guide can be especially useful for travellers planning to visit various locations within Spain.


May:  Bullfights and zarzuelas all month long, Madrid

May 1–13: Córdoba Courtyards Festival (Los Patios de Córdoba; courtyard-decorating competition)

May 2:  Madrid Day (closures in the city, street parties centered on Plaza 2 de Mayo, fireworks on evening prior)

May 5–12:  Feria del Caballo, Jerez de la Frontera (horse pageantry)

May 10:  Ascension

May 10–13:  WOMAD, Cáceres (Extremadura; world music festival, free) as well as Ibiza Medieval Fair

May 10–15:  Titirimundi International Puppet Theatre Festival, Segovia (performances, street theatre)

May 11–15:  Fiestas de San Isidro, Madrid (traditional dancing in squares)

May 13:  Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona

May 15:  San Isidro Day, Nerja (religious festival)

May 17:  Galicia Literature Day (closures in Galicia)

May 20–21:  Pentecost and Whit Monday (closures in Barcelona)

May 21:  El Rocío pilgrimage (Romería de El Rocío), Andalucía

May 30:  Canary Islands Day (closures in the islands)

May 30–June 3:  La Patum de Berga, near Barcelona (religious festival with lively parades)

May 30–June 3:  Primavera Sound, Barcelona (indie rock festival)

May 31:  Castile–La Mancha Day (closures in Castile and León and Castile–La Mancha)

May 31:  Corpus Christi (closures in Madrid and Castile–La Mancha)

June 9:  Murcia/La Rioja Day (closures in Murcia and La Rioja)

June 14–16:  Sónar Festival, Barcelona (electronic music)

June 20–23:  Bonfires of San Juan, Alicante

June 24:  Festival of St. John the Baptist (bonfires and fireworks, closures in Catalunya)

June 26–July 8:  Granada International Festival of Music and Dance

June 28–July 7:  World Pride, Madrid (big parade on last day)

June 29:  Battle of Wine, La Rioja (La Batalla del Vino, literally wine-drenched celebration of Feast of San Pedro)

July 6–14:  Running of the Bulls (Fiesta de San Fermín), Pamplona

July 17–21:  Jazz de Vitoria-Gasteiz, Basque Country

July 19–22:  Festival Internacional de Benicàssim (huge rock concert near Valencia)

July 25:  Feast Day of St. James (Santiago de Compostela, also big in Basque Country and Galicia; some closures across Spain)

July 28:  Institution Day (closures in Cantabria)

August 15:  Assumption Day (religious festival; closures); also Verbena de la Paloma (folk festival), Madrid

August 15–20 (likely):  Gràcia Festival, Barcelona

August 23–24:  Festival of St. Bartholomew, Sitges, with more festivities third weekend in August

August 29:  Tomatina Festival, Buñol, near Valencia (tomato-throwing melee/party)

First week of September:  Festival of Pedro Romero (music, dance, traditional costumes, parade), Ronda

September 1:  Autumn Sherry Festival (flamenco, bullfights), Jerez

September 8:  Asturias/Extremadura Day (street parties; closures in Asturias and Extremadura)

September 11:  Catalunya National Day (closures in Barcelona)

September 15:  Cantabria Day (closures in Cantabria)

September 21–24:  La Mercè, Barcelona (street theater, music, parades, light shows)

September 23:  Festival of St. Tecla, Sitges

September 25:  Little San Fermín, Pamplona (concerts, parades)

September 28–30:  Feria de San Miguel, Sevilla (bullfights)

October 9:  Valencia Day (parades, closures in Valencia)

October 12:  Spanish National Day (closures)

October 26–November 4 (likely):  Fires de Sant Narcis, Girona (procession, human-tower building, fireworks)

November 1:  All Saints’ Day (closures)

November weekends:  Cartagena Jazz Festival

November 3–11 (likely):  Sevilla European Film Festival

November 9:  Virgen de la Almudena, Madrid

November 9–16:  Zinebi International Documentary Film Festival, Bilbao

November 20–December 16 (likely):  Madrid Dance Festival

December 3:  Navarre Day (religious parades and closures in Navarre)

December 6:  Constitution Day (closures)

December 8:  Feast of the Immaculate Conception (closures)

December 13:  Feast of Santa Lucía

December 25:  Christmas (closures)

December 26:  St. Stephen’s Day (some closures)

December 31:  New Year’s Eve


January 1:  New Year’s Day (closures)

January 6:  Dia de los Reyes Magos (Epiphany/Thee Kings Day parades; closures)

February 2:  La Candelaria, Madrid (food festival)

February–March:  Carnival celebrations across Spain; particularly big in Cádiz, Sitges (with an LGBT focus), Madrid, Barcelona, and Santa Cruz de Tenerife

February 17:  Seville Marathon

February 28:  Day of Andalucía (some closures in Andalucía)

March 1:  Balearic Day (closures in the islands)

March 15–19:  Las Fallas, Valencia (parades, fireworks)

March 19:  St. Joseph’s Day (closures in Madrid and Extremadura)

April 14–20:  Holy Week (Semana Santa; processions and passion plays, especially in Andalucía; some closures on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday)

April 21–22:  Easter (Pascua) Sunday and Monday (some closures)

April 23:  St. George’s Day (special flower markets in Barcelona; other events across Catalunya), Aragón Day, and Castile and León Day (closures in each region)

Early May (5 days):  Festival of the Crosses, especially in Andalucía, particularly in Córdoba (processions and parties)

May:  Bullfights and zarzuelas all month long, Madrid

May 1:  May Day/Labor Day (closures)

May 7–12:  Feria de Abril (April Fair), Sevilla