1. San Fermin
This festival honoring Saint Fermin (the co-patron of Navarre) is held each year from July 7-14 in the city of Pamplona.
Best known for the daily running of the bulls (encierro), the week long party always begins with the pyrotechnic chupinazo (a burst of fireworks) and ends a week later with a midnight singing of Pobre de Mí.
2. La Tomatina
Better known as the world’s biggest food fight, La Tomatina, happens on the last Wednesday of August each year in the small town of Buñol just outside of Valencia.
The food being flung is the mighty tomato and after the hour long food fight the streets are paved in red tomato paste.
Because of it’s popularity, capacity is now regulated through advance ticket sales. Day trip packages are available from different cities in Spain and can be purchased through the event’s official website.
3. Semana Santa
Semana Santa is Spain’s holy week leading up to Easter Sunday.
The festival happens in many Spanish cities but is most famous in Seville and Málaga in the south.
Members of local parishes carry ornate decorated floats depicting the Passion of Christ into the city cathedral. Processions start on Palm Sunday and continue until Easter Sunday with the most dramatic and solemn on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.
4. Las Fallas
Valencia hosts Las Fallas each March during the 5 days leading up to Saint Joseph’s day.
Each neighborhood in the city gets together and builds giant puppets, usually of a satirical nature, which are later set on fire. The best puppets as determined by a public vote have a stay of execution and are taken to the Museo Fallero instead.
This festival isn’t all about fire though as there are plenty of street parties also happening throughout the city.
5. Feria de Sevilla
Taking place just two weeks after Semana Santa in Seville, the Feria de Sevilla has something for everyone. There are amusement rides and animals for the kids and all night partying for the adults.
During the 6 day fair there are rows upon rows of casetas (individually decorated marquee tents) erected on the far bank of the Guadalquivir River. Most casetas belong to prominent families while others belong to different groups, clubs and political parties.
Each night the partying crowds make their way from the streets into the casetas to spend the night drinking wine and sherry and eating tapas til dawn.
Second only in extravagance to Rio de Janeiro, Carnival in Spain takes place in February in a few different Spanish cities, most notably in Tenerife.
Carnival is one big street party with people wearing masks and costumes partying into the night.
7. Cristianos y Moros
Cristianos y Moros celebrations take place in different Spanish cities at different times throughout the year.
The celebration is a tongue in cheek re-enactment of the histories of the Moorish and Christian rule of the country.
Centered around a papier mache castle erected in the main square of the city, mock battles take place to tell a 700 year old story of how the Moors took control of the city and then how the Christians took the city back.
8. Semana Grande
Semana Grande (Big Week) happens during the 3rd week of August in the city of Bilbao in northern Spain.
The festival is known for it’s large number of concerts playing everything from rock to classical and jazz.
Along with the music, there’s also nightly international firework shows, a strong man competition and giant puppets around town.
Known as the noisiest festival in Spain the Tamborrada is a 24 hour party happening in San Sebastian on January 19th each year.
The festival is a collection of drummers drumming to their heart’s content. Here you’ll see mass parades of organized processions as well as individuals who are just feeling the beat.
10. Las Cruces de Mayo
Las Cruces de Mayo is celebrated during the first few days of May in many parts of Spain although both Cordoba and Granada are known as the top cities to visit.
In the main city squares huge crosses made of flowers are constructed and displayed. Naturally, a temporary bar is also built in the square where you can congregate each evening for drinks, tapas and flamenco dancing.