Carnival in Spain

Where You Should Go for the Annual Parades

La Taronjada carnival celebration in Barcelona
••• La Taronjada carnival celebration in Barcelona. Francisco Goncalves / Getty Images

Carnival in Spain, like everywhere else in the world, marks the start of Lent, 40 days before Easter, which in Spain is known as Semana Santa.

  • Carnival 2018 February 11, 2018
  • Carnival 2019 March 3, 2019
  • Carnival 2020 February 23, 2020
  • Carnival 2021 February 14, 2021

Best Cities in Spain for Carnival

Not all cities in Spain celebrate carnival equally. These are the top places to experience the event.


The most glamorous of the carnival celebrations, this is the carnival that most resembles the big event in Rio.

As Tenerife is closer to Africa than Europe, the weather will be warm.


The carnival in Cadiz has a healthy dose of music and comedy added to the mix.


The large gay community in Sitges has made their carnival one of the wildest affairs in Spain.

Chueca (Madrid)

Madrid has everything and that includes a carnival. Expect most of the action to be in the Chueca district, which is Madrid's gay neighborhood.

Ciudad de Rodrigo

Very little do with the carnival as seen in other parts of Spain; this is a bullfighting event. The public is invited to get involved and have a fight with a young bull.


Continued to hold carnival celebrations during Franco's rule, despite the fact the dictator banned it. This seaside town's festivities begin with a meringue fight on Thursday!


Barcelona isn't well known for its Carnival, but it does have one big parade each year that is worth heading to see if you're in town.

The venue changes each year but it always takes place on Carnival Saturday. Ask at the tourist office when you're in the city for more information.

Villanueva de la Vera 

Villanueva de la Vera's take on carnival time includes a giant puppet and is called the Peropalo. Lots of drinking in the streets and a donkey is paraded around the town, for some reason.