DON’T MISS: The Best of What’s on in Spain

European Hot Air Balloon Festival in Barcelona

Top events in Spain for the week and month ahead from Madrid to Barcelona via Valencia and A Coruña.

THIS WEEK:

Tour de France (in Spain!) (Monday, 03 July, 2023): This is an extraordinary opportunity along the coast of northern Spain to cheer on the best male cyclists in the world in the most prestigious road biking race. The Tour began on July 01 in Bilbao and continues with stage three from Euba, just a 25 minute drive from Bilbao. Catch the excitement anywhere along the Basque coast, where the course will wind 194 kilometers to Bayonne, France. 

Gipsy Kings Concert in Alicante (Friday, 07 July, 2023): Go see the band largely responsible for bringing flamenco music to a worldwide audience in Alicante on Friday (July 07) or Marbella on Saturday (July 08). Whether you’re a flamenco fan, or you can hum along to Bamboléo, the Gipsy Kings will put on an undeniably lively performance in the historic bullring, the Plaza de Toros de Alicante.

European Hot Air Balloon Festival in Barcelona (06-09 July, 2023): This weekend, marvel as 50 hot air balloons from all over the world take flight over Igualada Central Park in one of the biggest European competitions of its kind. Surreal and spectacular, the festival will have thousands of people craning their necks. It will not only include twice-daily balloon launches, but concerts, food and an awards ceremony—may the best balloon win.

Barcelona’s “Two Market” (All For €1 Vintage Clothing Market) (Sunday, 09 July): This weekend, you can thrift your heart out with the change you have in your pocket. Two community spaces, the Black Ovella (Saturday, 10am to 5pm) and Nau Bostik (Sunday, 10am to 7pm), are hosting all-for-€1  vintage markets. Vendors from all corners of the city will offer a wide range of clothing styles and sizes, jewellery, household items and more. Who knows what you’ll find? “Something for everybody” has never been a truer statement.

Mérida Classical Theatre Festival in Extremadura (July – 27 August): The Mérida Classical Theatre Festival kicked off this weekend at the breathtaking Roman Theatre of Mérida (just outside Seville) and will keep up the momentum of its magic through August. This festival is one of the most respected of its kind. The stage itself is an impressive representation of Roman architecture erected during the reign of Emperor Augustus. It is also the oldest functioning theatre in the world. This year, comedy takes centre stage. Go see Las asambleístas performed this week by the group El Terrat (Wednesday through Sunday) for a hilarious, contemporary take of the Aristophanes classic from 392 AD. 

Badajoz Flamenco and Fado Festival (ends 08 July): Music is at its best, perhaps, when it crosses borders, borrows and blends. The Badajoz Flamenco and Fado Festival, which highlights two musical genres part of the world’s Intangible Cultural Heritage, complement the relationship between Spanish and Portuguese cultures in this picturesque border town, just six kilometres away from Portugal. Leading flamenco and fado musicians will alternate daily, so you can find your rhythm with one genre before moving on to the other. 

Vijazz Vilafranca: Oenology, Gastronomy, Jazz and Blues (07 Jul 2023 – 09 Jul 2023): Just 50 minutes from Barcelona, Vilafranca del Penedès offers the perfect pairing of jazz music and wine this weekend. This festival will bring 55,000 visitors to wonder at the talent of top jazz and blues artists and enjoy the extensive program of wine and cava tastings from the best wineries in the Penedès.

Natural Cider Festival, Nava (07 – 09 July 2023): Cider is synonymous with Asturias, the northwest region which produces more than 80 percent of cider in Spain. The festival officially begins on Saturday with the chupinazo — the signal for a free tasting of thousands of litres of cider (just wear a green scarf around your neck to ensure you get your drinks for free) — but there are talks, exhibitions, concerts, theatre performances and more taking place this week, leading up. The festivities peak on Sunday with a competition for Escanciadores, professional cider pourers.  Cider, a fermented and carbonated alcohol made from apples, is growing in popularity around the world, especially as a gluten-free alternative to beer.

Cordoba Guitar Festival (06 – 15 July 2023): Cordoba is an easy trip from Málaga, Seville or Granada and for music lovers, it is worth the 1.5 – 2 hour drive this week. With concerts and shows by guitar masters of all styles, the Cordoba Guitar Festival celebrates the instrument that has been a pinnacle of Spanish culture since its invention in Spain in the 16th century.

COMING UP:

Festival Internacional de Benicàssim (13-01 July): Benicàssim is a beautiful town outside Valencia which will become electric this week in anticipation for the Benicàssim Festival (commonly abbreviated FIB). The pop-rock music festival has earned a reputation as one of the best on the international festival circuit. This year’s lineup includes Franz Ferdinand, Bastille, Zara Larson, The Offspring and Crystal Fighters. Daily tickets are still available from €34.99 and will be sold until Friday, July 07. 

Grand Prix de Carrilanas and ADC Esteirana de Carrilanas Music Festival in Esteiro, A Coruña (14 – 16 July 2023): This Festival of National Tourist Interest is the enlargement of a childhood pastime. In non-motorized wooden vehicles called carrilanas (which share a name with the (smaller) wooden toy car) skilled drivers will race downhill through town. What began in 1988 as informal entertainment in the midst of the Carrilanas Festival fun is now central to its attraction. The Carrilanas Music Festival (which takes place on the same dates as the race) will feature both local and national artists. Entry tickets are free. This is the ultimate weekend of cultural past, present and future in A Coruña.

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Isabel Max

Isabel is an undergraduate student at Princeton University, where she studies English literature and journalism. She is working at the Olive Press for the summer of 2023, gaining valuable reporting experience.

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