February 26, 2024

5 must-see traditional Spanish festivals

*This is a collaborative post*

Spain is renowned for its lively fiestas and rich cultural heritage. Hundreds of thousands of tourists immerse themselves in vibrant parades and celebrations every year, experiencing the beating heart of traditional and modern Spanish culture.

Whether you’d like to make the most of your next visit or you’re heading to Spain for the first time, it’s worth getting to know some of the most prominent festivals in Spain.

5 must see Spanish festivals

5 Spanish festivals worth seeing

1.La Tomatina

Dive feet first into the world’s biggest food fight at La Tomatina.

Held in the normally sleepy town of Buñol, near Valencia, this unusual festival invites participants to engage in a tomato-filled frenzy along the cobblestone streets. The objective is simple: throw tomatoes at everyone else!

Held annually in August, this legendary festival attracts thousands of people from across the globe. You’ll need a ticket to take part, but there are 20,000 spots up for grabs in this huge tomato fight. There are just a few rules to follow if you’re ready. One states that you should always squash the tomatoes to reduce the impact of throwing them.

2.San Fermin

San Fermin is characterised by music, fireworks, and chaos.

Also known as the Running of the Bulls, San Fermin is one of the most controversial Spanish festivals in modern times – but the tradition is stronger than ever. It takes place in Pamplona, capital of the Navarre province.

Starting with fireworks, San Fermin includes religious celebrations and daily bullfights, with bulls running through the streets to the bullring. The festival itself lasts several days, usually starting in the second week of July. Witness daredevils are allowed to sprint alongside charging bulls through the narrow streets of this historic city.

3.Semana Santa

Semana Santa commemorates the Passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

It’s widely known as the Holy Week in Spain, celebrated in the week leading up the Easter holiday celebrated in the UK. This week-long celebration is also called La Madruga, and it’s the most important religious celebration for many Spaniards.

The festival is characterised by processions with ornate wooden floats, intricately decorated with religious icons. These processions take place all over the south of Spain but Semana Santa in Seville is famed for the most spectacular celebrations. At least 58 processions take place during that one week!

4.Fiesta de San Isidro

Every year in the middle of May, the streets of Madrid come to life with the San Isidro Festival. This festival is uniquely celebrated by Madrid in honour of its patron saint, San Isidro Labrador.

San Isidro himself was believed to have a special talent for seeking water, so this festival sees several drinking traditions. Some revellers attend just to watch the matadors dance in the bullring. Attendees can get involved in a rich programme of events, with activities suitable for adults and children alike.

Visitors typically enjoy the local limonada made with wine, lemon and sugar, followed by a sweet treat like rosquillas. From parades to live musical performances and religious ceremonies, there’s something for everyone.

5.Fallas de Valencia

Fallas de Valencia is a lively festival held in March that culminates in the burning of papier-mâché sculptures known as fallas.

Originally intended to commemorate Saint Joseph, the festival now includes fireworks displays, flower offerings, and incredible lights displays too. This UNESCO-recognised celebration celebrates Valencia’s artistic prowess and sense of humour, showcasing the rich cultural variety on offer outside of Barcelona.

Visitors can wander through the streets adorned with colourful sculptures before witnessing the grand finale. At the climax, the night sky is illuminated by the orange glow of these burning sculptures.

Our 3 top tips for visiting festivals in Spain

– Get organised

While planning your visit to these traditional Spanish festivals, check the festival dates in advance, because it’s normal for these to vary slightly year on year.

We always recommend booking your accommodation early, especially for popular festivals. Lastly, it’s worth booking direct transfers from airports across Spain for that extra bit of comfort.

– Keep yourself safe

As always, it’s important be mindful of your belongings in crowded areas.

Cities like Barcelona might have a reputation for pickpocketing, but you can play a huge part in keeping your valuables safe. We recommend wearing a money belt or waist bag tucked underneath your jacket or as close to your skin as possible.

– Stay hydrated

When you’re getting carried away with the hustle and bustle of a lively Spanish festival, it’s easy to neglect your hydration.

However, drinking enough water is imperative for your health and energy levels while you’re on holiday. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to access clean tap water on the move in Spain, so we thoroughly recommend bringing ample bottled water with you.


Getting familiar local customs and traditions is the most effective way to immerse yourself in the holiday. Take some time out to enjoy festivities and leave the daily grind at home, focusing entirely on these new experiences.

Thanks for reading xxx

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Hi and welcome to The Willow Tree. I’m Michelle, also known as Shel and I am a mama to three beautiful crazy kids – I have two handsome boys and a wild and wonderful girl.

I really wanted a concrete place to share my love for travel, in particular Disney and offer my readers a chance to gain some knowledge around what we love to do as a family of 5.

I share our family adventures which include days out, travel advice and tips, holiday reviews, restaurant visits and of course, our love for Disney, including Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney World.

Life is about creating memories, and here we are sharing them with you




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