Top 15 Events in Spain in August

Barcelona, Spain

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Bullfighting is deeply rooted within global historic traditions. But today, local public opinion leans against the tradition. Though the site includes information for tourists interested in attending the events, TripSavvy trusts its readers to make their own decisions on the ethics of bullfighting as an attraction.

There is so much to do in Spain in August, but the thing that sometimes holds people back is the heat. Don't let the rising mercury keep you from enjoying the festivals—in fact, you can cool down by taking part in the water and tomato fights. Or celebrate the grape harvest and stomping on the fruits at the Noche de Vino event.

Note: Many of these events have been altered or canceled in 2020. Check details below and event websites for more information.

01 of 15

Tomatina Tomato Fight (Buñol, Valencia)

Tomatina, Tomato Festival, Bunol, Province Valencia, Spain

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This event has been canceled for 2020.

Buñol in the region of Valencia is home to La Tomatina, the famous battle of the tomatoes taking place since 1945. Today, about 20,000 people ages 18 and up from all over Spain and the world visit for fun to throw about 120 tons of ripe tomatoes at each other. After an hour of messiness, everyone is hosed down in the streets.

The festival is held the last Wednesday in August. If you plan on coming, wear old clothes and leave your phone and camera at home or your hotel (unless you have protective, waterproof cases for them).

02 of 15

Semana Grande (Basque Country)

Street cooking for the crowds attending Semana Grande

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This event has been canceled for 2020.

In Bilbao and San Sebastian, the two major cities in the Spanish Basque Country, you can enjoy Semana Grande, or Great Week. You may also hear it called Aste Nagusia, which is the Basque name.

The largest festival in the region, the nine-day event features traditional dancing, concerts, theatrical performances, and bullfights. You can watch a funny “ugly competition” where participants are asked to make the ugliest face possible, or pick your favorites in the Bilbao Strong Man contest.

Semana Grande also includes fairs and plenty of other entertainment taking place all over the city. A major highlight is the fireworks competitions that illuminate the sky every night.

03 of 15

Feria de Málaga (Malaga)

Malaga, Spain

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This event has been canceled for 2020.

The Feria de Málaga, or Malaga Fair, is one of the biggest summer bashes in southern Spain. Lasting for a week, the event includes flamenco dancing, bullfighting, fireworks, and partying in the street. Check out the processions, marvel at the majestic Andalusian horses (one of the most powerful breeds in the world), or just take in the sights, sounds, and flavors in the decorated streets of the old quarter.

Developed by the people of Malaga, the festival commemorates the reconquest of their city by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1487.

04 of 15

Gracia Festival (Barcelona)

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

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If you plan to visit Barcelona in mid-August, you can't miss the noisy, colorful Festa Major de Gràcia—literally, big party of Gracia, a storied neighborhood in the Catalan capital. The festival is famous for its classical Spanish, jazz, and rock music shows, artist workshops and exhibitions, street markets, sporting activities, parades, fireworks, theatrical performances, and kid-friendly events.

Held on August 15-21, the 2020 event will be a tribute to health care workers. This gathering usually attracts about 1.5 million visitors each year and coincides with the Feast of the Assumption on August 15, one of Spain's major national holidays. The busiest days of the festival are the first two, so if you're looking to avoid the crowds, catch the latter half.

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05 of 15

San Lorenzo Festival (Madrid)

Madrid

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The San Lorenzo Festival (Fiesta de Lavapiés), will continue this year from July 23 to August 6, 2020, but the event will have only 50 percent capacity and strict hygiene measures taken. Lavapiés, a neighborhood in Madrid, holds a signature party featuring processions, music, dance, fireworks, and more in honor of St. Lorenzo. Keep an eye out for shooting stars during the festival, which coincides with the peak of the Perseid meteor showers—legend says that they represent the saint's tears falling from heaven. 

06 of 15

Catoira Viking Festival (Galicia)

Catoira Viking Festival

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Information on the 2020 event is not available as of mid-July; check the city hall website for updates.

On the first Sunday in August, the residents of Catoira in the Galicia region of Spain typically dress up as Vikings and reenact the time when the settlers attacked Pontevedra to gain control of the western towers of the city. This fortified structure from the 11th century is one of the most important archaeological and historical buildings in Galicia.

During the festival, the fort acts as a medieval market and people taking part in the procession have a seafood lunch feast and red wine. After you watch the battle being fought and won by the Galicians, you can enjoy food, music, and other theatrical performances late into the night.

07 of 15

New Year's Eve in August (Bérchules, Granada)

Mountain village of Bérchules, Spain

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Information on the 2020 event is not available as of mid-July; check the Facebook page for updates.

In 1994, the tiny village of Bérchules suffered a power loss on New Year's Eve. Today, the town in the Alpujarras mountain range outside Granada in Andalusia, Spain, continues to celebrate New Year's Eve, or Nochevieja, on the first Saturday in August.

In the winter, mountain weather is especially temperamental, so the event takes place in August to ensure no party is ever interrupted again. Thousands of merrymakers come to eat grapes, drink cava (wine) at midnight, sing seasonal songs, watch the Three Kings parade through the streets, and even roll around in the (fake) snow.

08 of 15

Noche de Vino (Cómpeta, Malaga)

Competa

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Cómpeta, near Malaga, is a picturesque Spanish town that throws the Noche del Vino (night of wine) party on the Feast of the Assumption to herald the start of the grape harvest. The 2020 event will be held on August 15 in Plaza Vendimia.

Every year since 1974, thousands of people have descended on the village to witness the ritual stomping of the grapes and share in the fun and festivities. There's even a free lunch of migas (fried breadcrumbs), salad, and—most importantly—a glass of local sweet moscatel wine, made from raisins.

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09 of 15

Cuéllar Bull Run (Segovia)

Bull Run

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Information on this 2020 event is not available as of mid-July; check the Cuellar Tourism website for updates.

Considered one of the oldest such gatherings in the country, the running of the bulls in the town of Cuéllar, near Segovia, is viewed as a national treasure by the Spanish government. The event begins on the last Sunday in August and lasts five days with bull runs each day. Festivities include other fun happenings such as concerts, children’s parades, local confections, and traditional dances. 

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International Festival (Santander)

Santander, Spain

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At the Palacio de Festivales in Cantabria, a region of Spain's north coast, you can enjoy the Festival Internacional de Santander complete with theatrical, dance, and musical performances on a global scale throughout August of 2020. It's also one of Spain's oldest musical festivals, where you can experience classical music, the Paloma O'Shea International Piano Competition, and the Orquestra Sinfonica del Principado de Asturias, among others.

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Fiesta de la Virgen de la Paloma (Madrid)

Fiesta de la Virgen de la Paloma

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This event has been postponed until August of 2021.

Joining the collection of August fiestas is one held in honor of the Virgen de la Paloma (Virgin of the Dove) centered around the La Latina neighborhood in Madrid. The area, which is also known for being the center of the city's tapas (small savory dishes) culture, marks the occasion with street parties stemming from the central Calle de Toledo. 

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Somontano Wine Festival (Barbastro, Aragon)

Aragon, Spain

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This event has been postponed until 2021.

The annual Somontano Wine Festival in Barbastro, a town in the region of Aragon, is held for several days in late July or early August and attracts more than 100,000 wine lovers from around the world. You can taste all the prize-winning wines produced in Somontano, go on winery tours, and try up to 100 different tapas. Every night during the festival, international artists perform theatrical productions, comedy shows, or magic stunts.

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Cante de las Minas (Murcia)

Murcia

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This event has been postponed until 2021.

The Festival Internacional del Cante de las Minas —songs of the miners, a nod to the region's heritage—is considered one of the world's foremost flamenco festivals since its conception in 1961. Held in La Unión, Murcia, the event features song, dance, and flamenco guitar taking center stage at La Unión Public Market. The festival includes competitions, gala performances by major stars in the genre, exhibitions, wine tastings, literary presentations, poetry recitals, courses, and talks.

Admission is free for most events, although availability is limited. Gala performances and the final stages of competition require the purchase of tickets.

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Traída del Agua (Canary Islands)

Canary Islands

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This event has been canceled for 2020.

Held in Gran Canaria, one of the Canary Islands, the Traída del Agua (water carrying) in Telde is one big water fight. Dating back to the 1960s, the event honors a time when people needed to go to irrigation ditches and bring water in vessels to irrigate the land. On the festival day, thousands of people carry water in a procession through the town before using it for a huge water fight. After the fun battle, enjoy a popular dance known as La Seca, which means "the drying."

Mobile phones, cameras, and other personal electronics should be left at home or at your hotel. You might also want to bring a spare set of clothes in a plastic, sealed bag.

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Vuelta a España (northern Spain)

Cyclists

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The event has been moved to October of 2020.

One of Europe's bicycling Grand Tours, the Vuelta a España is Spain's version of the Tour de France. The annual 23-day race usually starts in August and ends in September.

The race got its start in 1935. Over time it grew to become a multiple-stage event that takes place in the northern half of Spain, including Galicia, Navarra, the Basque Country, and Catalonia.

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