Nobody does a festival quite like the Spanish. The Feria del Caballo Espanol is held annually in Jerez, a city famous for flamenco, fino and horses. The Feria attracts over one million visitors who flock to the region to enjoy the music, dancing, food and fun, as well as the spectacular and colourful horse parade which kicks everything off. Even if you’re not an equestrian fan, there are still plenty of opportunities to join the celebrations, which take place in various locations all over the city and usually last until dawn.
The rest of Spain celebrates its own local fiestas in similar exuberant style, so here’s our run down of the top 3 festivals and fiestas in Spain which simply shouldn’t be missed:
1) La Tomatina
Taking place in late August each year, prepare to get messy at this ultimate festival of decadence and fun! Up to 300,000 people gather in the streets of usually quiet Bunol each year to lob tomatoes at each other in the name of fun. Dating back to 1945, La Tomatina is said to have originated as a protest against Franco’s regime, when running battles took place in the streets of Bunol and people threw whatever they could get their hands on, this happened to be tomatoes in most cases. It’s a wild spectacle with plenty of laughs thrown in, so grab an old t-shirt you don’t mind throwing away and join in the fun. Don’t forget to pack your goggles!
2) Las Fallas
Valencia’s Las Fallas takes place each March and is a riot of colour and sound, with fireworks being let off in every street, alley and open space across the city. Huge cartoon effigies are burnt in the main districts of the city and the crowds gather after the sun goes down to witness the ritual burning. With fire engines on standby, the whole place has a feel of controlled chaos which you just wouldn’t get back home on bonfire night! Make sure you head there early in the festival to see the elaborate figurines in all their glory before the bonfires set in.
The ‘Festival Internacional de Benicassim’ is a four-day music festival that takes place on the east coast of Spain between Barcelona and Valencia. Particularly popular with music-loving Brits, the festival has been attracting tourists from all around the world for years, with its almost flawless beaches, clean water and star-studded line-ups that have included bands such as Radiohead, The Killers, Bob Dylan and Oasis. Perfect for families, the seaside city has a waterpark and plenty of accommodation to choose from.