Where to Go to Find Festivals in Spain in October

Castellers (Human Castles) at the St. Jaume Square for the last day of 'La Merce' Festival in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain 2011.
••• See Castellers at a festival in Tarragona, Spain, in October. Guillem Lopez / Getty Images

If you're visiting Spain in October, you're probably not headed to Spain's beaches because the weather in Spain in October probably won't be conducive to getting a suntan. If you love sunny and warm, but not hot days, October might be the best time for you to visit. There's plenty to do both indoors and outdoors in Spain in October

Many towns, especially on the Costa del Sol, have their annual feria (Spanish for "festival"), so expect street stalls selling food and drink as the locals party all day and night.

This is also the season for film festivals in Spain. The Madrid bullfighting season also to the end of this month.

Whether you're in search of a traditional festival or you want to experience the culture of a large city, there are certain places to go in Spain that have annual events:

Celebrate in Catalonia

In Barcelona, you can hear world-class jazz at the big Barcelona Jazz Festival toward the end of the month. At more than a dozen venues around the city, jazz lovers can enjoy concerts featuring big-name jazz musicians as well and up-and-coming artists.

Around Catalonia, there's a human castle building competition in Tarragona, the Cavatast Cava (sparkling wine) festival in Sant Sadurni d'Anoia, and local celebrations in Girona for Fires de Sant Narcis.

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Party Like a Local in Marbella

Grabbing the last few days of really warm weather, many towns on the Costa del Sol hold their local feria in October.

You'll find festivals in  NerjaFuengirolaCadiar (includes a wine fountain providing free wine), and San Pedro de Alcantara (near Puerto Banus). The San Pedro Feria offers something for everyone. As the location is directly adjacent to one of Marbella's hottest family destinations, you can stroll along and also enjoy great restaurants, cafes, and, for the kids, a carnival.


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Follow the Music in Seville

The Seville Guitar Festival is the main attraction in Seville in October. Listen to world-class guitarists and thrill to an exciting Flamenco guitar competition. 

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Stomp Grapes in the Vineyards

Grape stomping, formerly an integral part of wine production, still takes place in some parts of Spain. Organizing your own grape-stomping experience can be difficult but you can start by booking a wine tour. For example, take a day trip from Barcelona http://www.thespanishtouch.com/daytours_barcelona_stomping_grapes.htm that combines the traditional wine tour and tastings plus the incredible opportunity to press the grapes with your feet. Afterward, have a picnic lunch overlooking the vineyard or lunch at a traditional Catalan restaurant. 

Celebrate Architecture in Madrid
The Semana de la Arquitectura (The Week of Architecture, in English)  combines a trade fair, exhibits, children's workshops, and public events in Madrid's most famous buildings. You can also visit dozens of architecturally and historically significant buildings. Children's activities are also scheduled. 

Experience Local Traditions in Spain
Spain follows age-old Catholic traditions honoring the towns' patron saints.

The majority of these special Saints' Days feature offerings and shows of respect to the images of the saints as well as parades and processions where the statues are carried through the streets. Look for a Feria in a small town to experience traditional Spain. 

Fiestas del Pilar
The city of Zaragoza in Aragon honors the city's patron saint, Virgin Mary of the Pillar, at this annual festival. The weeklong event features shows, contests, and parades. Highlights include the offering of flowers and fruits to the Virgin Mary and the glass rosary parade featuring floats made entirely of glass.

Feria de Fuengirola
Also called Feria del Rosario, this celebration in Fuengirola is held every October 6 through 12 (which is also Columbus Day) at the fairground. Locals bring their carriage horses and carriages and wear their finest traditional garb—flamenco dresses for women and suits for men.

The fair includes rides, live music, flamenco dancing, and fair foods.

Feria de Nerja
Nerja hosts this weeklong celebration honoring its patron saints of the Virgin of Anguish and Archangel Saint Michael. Festivities take over much of the town but focus mainly on the east and west sides of the town center. This family-friendly festival features music, horses, parades, concerts, fair rides, dancing, and children's activities.

Fiestas de San Lucas 
In Jaen, known as the world's olive oil capital, every October the city honors St. Luke, its patron saint. For more than a week, fair-goers can experience concerts, bullfights, dancing, local foods, and cultural and sporting events.

Romería de Valmen 
In Dos Hermanas, near Seville, there is the Romería de Valme religious pilgrimage on the third Sunday of October every year. The colorful processions honor the Virgen de Valme and statues of her are paraded through the streets.

Run Through Bilbao

The Bilbao Night Marathon takes place in October each year. Choose from a 10K, half-marathon, or full marathon to run with more than 12,000 athletes. The run will take you through the streets of Bilbao at night. There's also a non-competitive charity 5K. The celebration continues into the night with fireworks, music, and performances.

Dance in Sardana

The Fires de Sant Narcis in Girona, Catalonia takes place in the beautiful La Devesa park. The event features Sardana dancing, live music, and giant paper mâché figures and heads. You'll also find arts and crafts vendors, film, theater, sports competitions, roast chestnut feasts, and children's shows.

Get Scared in San Sebastian
The Horror and Fantasy Film Festival is an intriguing combination of horror and sci-fi. Started in 1990, this annual film festival in San Sebastian features full-length films and shorts from around the world. Genres include horror, fantasy, sci-fi, animation, and classics. The festival also has street shows, music, exhibitions, and comedy.

Enjoy a Gay Film Festival in Madrid

The International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival comes to Spain in October. The LesGaiCineMad is the most significant LGBT film festival in all of the Spanish-speaking countries. It has a collection of more than 3,000 international films. The festival shows feature-length films, shorts, video art, and documentaries. 

The festival is known internationally for its work in the discovery, subtitling and release of Spanish-American productions making LesGaiCineMad a window for GLBT Spanish film distribution.