Spain's Events and Festivals in September

Vineyard leading up to a village in La Rioja, Spain

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Bullfighting is deeply rooted in 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.

September is one of the best months to visit Spain, particularly because the weather is starting to cool down and there are slightly fewer tourists than in July and August. Plus, it's just a fun month to visit, plain and simple There are a number of festivals and events to check out throughout the country in September.

Top Destinations

Catalonia is probably the best place to visit in Spain in September, thanks to the Festa de la Merce in Barcelona as well as the Festa de Santa Tecla in Tarragona

Grape stomping, the traditional treading on grapes common in wine production, usually takes place in late September or early to mid-October. The Rioja Grape Harvest Festival in Logroño, the Fiestas de San Mateo y la Vendimia Riojana is a top spot for grape stomping.

Other major highlights in northern Spain is the San Sebastian Film Festival, as well as the Euskal Jaiak celebrations. Both take place in the Basque Country.

Ready to learn more? Here's what to include on your itinerary if you'll be visiting Spain in September.

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San Sebastian Film Festival

66th San Sebastian Film Festival

Juan Naharro Gimenez / Contributor / Getty Images

Many actors owe their success in film to this annual event, which was established in 1953. The San Sebastian Film Festival is one of the most important film cinematic celebrations in the world, often drawing iconic household names like Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Deniro, Meryl Streep, and Brad Pitt. It was even the official site of the European premiere of "Star Wars." 

2019 dates: September 20–28

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La Rioja Grape Harvest Festival, Logroño

La Rioja Wine Country Vineyards and church

THEPALMER / Getty Images

Logroño is the capital of the world-renowned wine region of La Rioja in northern Spain. Each year, during the first harvest of the grapes, the city hosts a celebration known as the Feast of San Mateo.

Paseo del Espolón, Logroño's most emblematic plaza, is at the heart of the city. It's here where you can enjoy the main festivities and the ceremony where grapes are carried from the local vineyards by children and poured into large wine barrels. The grapes are then pressed by men dressed in traditional clothing in a large wooden tub. You can join the rest of the town by eating and watching plays, concerts and more.

2019 dates: September 20–27

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Festa de la Mercè, Barcelona

La Mercè - Festa Major in Barcelona

Barcelona Guide Bureau 

The La Merce festival, so named in honor of the Roman Catholic feast day of Our Lady of Mercy, is the biggest festival in Barcelona. It includes numerous live concerts, parades, fireworks, and the famous Catalan human towers known as Castellers.

This festival is Barcelona’s way of ushering in autumn with more than 500 fun activities including music, arts, acrobatic shows, and street processions like the giant's parade, which features enormous effigies of kings, queens, and nobles that are marched through the streets.

2019 dates: September 20–24

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Santa Tecla Festival, Tarragona

The traditional human towers known as castellers in Catalonia, Spain.

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The best way to learn about Spain’s past is to indulge in Tarragona’s Santa Tecla Festival. The celebrations feature rock and jazz music, drama plays, movies, sports, and parties that highlight Spain's history. The main features of the festivities are the regional dances, which are full of flourish and excitement, as well as the gravity-defying human towers known as Castellers.

2019 dates: September 14–24

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Euskal Jaiak, Basque Country

Giant people floats at Bermeoko jaiak

 Marta Sadowska / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

 

The Basque Country is unlike any other place in Spain. The region celebrates its unique culture every year in September with the Euskal Jaiak (literally, "Basque festivities") celebration.

Complete with traditional music and dancing, sporting competitions, and more, the event provides a fascinating look at this proud community's one-of-a-kind heritage.

2019 dates: August 29–September 8

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Catalan National Day, Catalonia

Diada de Catalunya

 JordiDelgado / Getty Images 

The Diada de Catalunya is a day-long festival where Catalonians display pride in their region. Celebrations take place throughout Catalonia, but the biggest events can be found in its capital, Barcelona.

As you walk through the streets amidst thousands of people, you’ll learn a thing or two about why they want independence and listen to people’s opinions first-hand. It's one of the only events that gives visitors an up-close look at what it’s really like to be Catalan.

Date: September 11

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Vuelta a España Bicycle Race

La Vuelta is Spain's answer to the Tour de France

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Though not as well-known as the Tour de France, the Vuelta a España is one of the biggest cycling events of the year in Europe. It usually starts in Malaga, passes up along the Valencian coast, cuts through the Pyrenees, and ends in Madrid. You can enjoy watching hundreds of cyclists at this annual three-week, multi-stage bicycle race.

2019 dates: August 24–September 15

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Taunting of the Bulls, Segorbe (Valencia)

Street in Segorbe, Spain

Josfor / Getty Images 

The Entrada de Toros y Caballos is a festival that features the taunting of bulls by men on horses. The event honors the longtime celebration of bull and horses, which are valued for farming and help with daily life chores in the town of Segorbe. This annual festival starts every second Saturday of the month of September and runs the whole week. 

2019 dates: September 9–15

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Mutiny Festival, Aranjuez

Palace of Aranjuez, Spain

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The Fiestas del Motín in Aranjuez is a yearly outdoor festival that is a dramatized recreation of the 18th-century rebellion of local peasants from the region. It features the witch hunts depicted in Francisco de Goya's paintings, Goyaesque bullfights, and sports activities for the family.

2019 dates: August 4–September 8

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Festival of the Moors and Christians, Valencia and Alicante

Moros y Cristianos, traditional festival

Laura Battiato / Getty Images

Although the Fiestas de Moros y Cristianos is celebrated in most parts of Spain, the reenactment of battles between the Moors and Christians during the 13th century is given more importance in Valencia and Alicante on Spain's eastern coast. Other parts of the country celebrate this event in different months, but for the most part, the event starts around August and ends in September. 

The festival of the Moors and Christians dates back to the 16th century. Streets are decked out reflecting the Medieval time period. There are magnificent processions and exciting mock battles that thousands of people enjoy year after year.

2019 dates: Variable depending on location

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Feria de la Virgen de la Peña, Mijas (Malaga)

Whitewashed street with flowers in Mijas, Spain

amoklv / Getty Images

With a large number of Roman Catholics in Spain, the number of patron saint festivals in the country shouldn't be surprising. The town of Mijas is no different, celebrating its patron, the Virgen de la Peña, every first week of September. Expect various activities such as cultural presentations, sporting events, musical programs, flamenco dancers, and more.

2019 dates: September 5–9

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Hay Festival, Segovia

The massive Roman aqueduct in Segovia, Spain

 SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

In Segovia, the Hay Festival is an international literary event that is annually hosted in multiple locations throughout the world. It is the largest and most respected literary event taking place in Spain in September. The Festival brings together Nobel Prize winners as well as novelists, scientists and politicians, historians and musicians to talk with audiences in a dynamic exchange of ideas that inspires and entertains. 

2019 dates: September 19–22

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