Benidorm is lively all year round, so no matter when you visit, you’re bound to find a festival in Benidorm. Spain loves to party, and the locals celebrate everything from local food to patron saints. We’ve put together our top ten Benidorm festivals so you can time your trip to coincide with your favourite fiesta.
This parade of colourful costumes marks the beginning of Easter celebrations. It begins with lively parades on the Saturday all the way through to Shrove Tuesday and ends with the ‘Burial of the Sardine’. This is a more solemn parade through the town to Poniente beach, where the sardine is buried.
When: Saturday before Shrove Tuesday and Shrove Tuesday
Where: Calle Ruzafa to Town Square and Poniente Beach
With its roots firmly buried in pagan times, this is one of the biggest and most unique of the fiestas. It’s colourful, noisy, and always fun. There are fireworks from the early hours until late at night.
San José (Saint Joseph), the patron saint of carpenters, is the official focus for the festival. Carpenters used to hang up planks of wood called ‘parots’ in the winter to support their lanterns as they worked. At the beginning of spring these pieces of wood would be burned as a way of celebrating the end of dark, winter working days. This is marked by the building and burning of effigies known as Ninots, in a lively celebration.
When: Weekend running up to 19 March
Where: Full program of events throughout the town
It’s quirky, but it’ll give Las Vegas a run for its money any time. This celebration of all things Elvis has top tributes playing at venues across the town, culminating with the grand finale at Benidorm Palace. There’s Elvis themed fun and games, including It’s a Knockout, Elvis at the movies, and The Elvis Gospel Show.
All the venues, including Benidorm Palace, are within easy walking distance of each other. Entry is by ticket or wristband, which gives you access to all the events.
When: Early April. See elvisinbenidorm.com for details
Where: Melia Hotel, Rincon, Benidorm, Benidorm Palace
Now in its fourth year, this soul festival is a celebration of soul music, with live performers as well as top DJs. It’s held over several days, with a grand finale in the 1200 capacity ballroom of the Gran Bali Hotel. You’ll enjoy four rooms of music from renowned Northern Soul DJs, as well as music from international artists, all in the surroundings of Benidorm’s tallest hotel.
Where: Gran Bali Hotel near Playa Poniente beach
Virgin Carmen Festival
Each July, beautiful floral tributes are taken in procession to the port areas of the town. Local fishermen row out and float the flowers into the water, as a tribute to those who’ve lost their lives at sea.
Where: Ports Benidorm, Aleta and Villajoyosa
When: July 16
St. Jaime Fiesta
Held to mark St. James’ day, this festival also honours the Spanish military. Expect lots of cannon fire, and marines in a celebratory mood.
When: July 25
Where: Old Town
In its seventh year, Benidorm Pride is a week-long celebration, leading up to the grand finale parade along Playa Levante and an open-air party. With up to 15,000 revellers expected this year, it’s a fun, friendly celebration and there are events organised by bars and clubs throughout the Old Town all week.
Where: Old Town and Playa Levante
Patron Saint Festival
This is the biggest and best known of the Benidorm festivals. Like many Spanish festivals, it’s held in honour of the local patron saints. In the case of Benidorm, these are the Virgen del Sufragio and San Jaime Apostol. The festival’s origins date back to the 18th century when a ship was washed onto the beaches during a storm. To avoid the spread of any disease, locals burnt the ship. The ashes revealed an image of the Virgin and a re-enactment of this event now takes place every year.
Benidorm Festival Fireworks
The festival’s grand finale is the spectacular firework display held at Poniente beach on Wednesday evening and as a curtain closer, it’s hard to beat. If you’re on holiday in Benidorm with your family be sure to attend the parade that’s held before the fireworks. The floats, beautifully made by locals, are a real joy to watch and the tradition of throwing sweets into the crowd will always keep the kids happy.
Where: Playa de Poniente
Fancy Dress Day
The Brits have been coming to Benidorm for decades, with many now calling it their home. So it makes sense that Ol’ Blighty should have found its way into the festivities and there’s nothing more British than dressing up. Though the Patron Saint festival officially finishes after Wednesday’s fireworks, the past 20 years have seen Thursday become Fancy Dress Day, with up to 30,000 revellers in full costume enjoying a drink or two in the town’s many bars. If you fancy brushing shoulders with Elvis, Papa Smurf, or an Irish Leprechaun, it’s the place to be.
When: November each year.
Where: New Town, Benidorm
The Artichoke Fiesta
Hot on the heels of the Patron Saint Festival is the Festa de la Carxofa. This is a traditional harvest festival, which features a sardinada, a celebratory dinner of sardines. There’s a lively street party and a ceremonial burning of a giant papier-mâchéartichoke. If you’re looking to sample a slice of traditional Benidorm, then this is the festival to attend.
When: Third week of November
Where: Old Town, Benidorm
If there’s something you really want to attend, book early, and make sure you’ve got your flights and accommodation sorted too.
Dates for many festivals will change slightly each year, just follow the links on this page for the most up to date information.
Festivals mean the town will be even busier than usual, so if you’re not a fan of big, noisy crowds, you might want to avoid times when the biggest Benidorm festivals are held.