Events in September in Spain

Rally in 300th anniversary of loss of independence of Catalonia

JackF/Getty Images

September is one of the best months to visit Spain, particularly because the weather is starting to get cooler and there will be slightly fewer tourists than in July and August. Catalonia is probably the best place to visit in Spain in September, with the Festa de la Merce in Barcelona and the Festa de Santa Tecla in Tarragona.

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    San Sebastián International Film Festival

    65th San Sebastian Film Festival

    Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images 

    Movie buffs should make a beeline for the San Sebastián Film Festival, held on September 21-29, 2018. Besides being Spain's biggest film festival, it's also the oldest and most prominent. The festival started in 1952, at the time only showing Spanish flicks. Now, 66 years later, the festival has grown to international acclaim—comparable to Cannes and Berlin. The grand prize is the Concha de Oro (Golden Seashell). In 2018, the lineup includes films such as "High Life," "Vision," "Illang: The Wolf Brigade,and "Rojo," all created by a medley of European, Asian, and Latin American directors.

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    Fiestas de la Vendimia (Spanish Wine Festivals)

    Fiestas de la Vendimia

    Queseria la Antigua de Fuentesauco/Flickr

    Oenophiles, brace yourselves for a month of wining and dining. September marks the peak season for grape stomping and wine production all around Spain. The Campo de Borja wine region and Andalusia are known for their celebrations—especially the latter, which is home to one of the country's oldest grape harvest festivals. The Jerez Sherry Festival is another favorite; the major events (such as a procession of horses and carriages) occur on the first Saturday of September, but the celebrations continue from September 1–16, 2018.

    However, nothing quite tops the Rioja Grape Harvest Festival (traditionally known as the Fiestas de San Mateo). Between September 15–22, 2018, the city of Logroño (capital of the Rioja region) comes alive with grape crushes, bull runs, fireworks, colorful parades, fountains flowing with Rioja wine, live music, and massive meals with neighbors, friends, and family in tribute to the Feast of Saint Matthew, a religious day on September 21.

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    Bullfighting

    settings Bullfight at Plaza de Toros Monumental de las Ventas.

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    Watching the toreros and bull fighting is one of Madrid's long-standing traditions. Bullfights are held every Sunday from March until October in the Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas (known for short as Las Ventas). There are also bullfighting festivals around the country; the Entrada de Toros y Caballos dates back to the 14th century and is a bull run where men on horseback drive the bulls down the streets of Segorbe, a town near Valencia. It occurs the second week of September every year.

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    Festa de la Mercè

    Festa de la Mercè

     Feradz/Wikimedia Commons

    This annual affair celebrates the city of Barcelona and is its biggest fiesta. The event originated in 1871 as a tribute to the Virgin of Grace, one of the city's patron saints. One of the iconic celebrations involves the castellers, where a group of people pile on top of each other to create human castles that tower high into the sky. The lightest child—called the anaxaneta—climbs to the peak and salutes the crowd as the finale. You'll also see Catalan folk dances, marching bands, parades, and a fire run known as correfoc, where Spaniards costumed as devils run through the streets holding tridents that shoot fireworks. In 2018, Festa de la Mercè will be held between from September 21–24.

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    Bienal de Flamenco

    Bienal de Flamenco

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    For almost 40 years, this biennial flamenco festival has taken over theaters throughout the city of Seville. Spanish dancers, vocalists, and guitarists celebrate the traditions of flamenco as well as perform modern takes on the choreography and music. The festival will run between September 6–30, 2018.

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    Hay Festival

    Gordon Brown, former British Prime Minister, at the Hay Festival on June 3, 2018

     David Levenson/Getty Images

    This world-famous literary festival will travel to Segovia over September 10–23, 2018. International authors and bibliophiles will come together for events including Q&A seminars, book fairs, sculpture and art exhibits, special readings, writing workshops, and more.

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    Festa de Santa Tecla

    Santa Tecla Festival

    Victuallers/Wikimedia Commons 

    Santa Tecla is the virgin patron saint of Tarragona, a seaside city an hour south of Barcelona. To celebrate her, residents throw an annual heritage festival from September 14–23, 2018. Celebrations include the castellers human towers, beachside fireworks, late-night dance parties, and an impressive parade of mythical creature floats and medieval-inspired costumes (dragons, maidens, and the monster Cucafera, which spits out candies for kids). 

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    Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

    Carlota Barrera Backstage - Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Madrid

    Pablo Cuadra/Getty Images

    A-list designers and masters of couture flock to Madrid in September for the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. Here, you'll watch European models sashay down the runway in garments by La Condesa, Jorge Vázquez, and more. Fashion week is held September 15–19.