Top events in Spain for the week and month ahead from San Sebastian to Merida via Sanlúcar and Barcelona.
San Sebastian Jazz Festival (July 21-25). Hard to understand how ‘Jazzaldia’ held in venues across a city with a glorious horseshoe beach and world-famous gastronomy has managed to attract top artists and fans since 1966 – but it has. Hot ticket this week is for Norah Jones at Kursaal Auditorioa on July 22. Hurry up to Donostia!
Jesús Pobre Rock ‘n’ Roll Party (July 22 & 23).Does garage, punk and rock ‘n’ roll take your fancy? This free outdoor party can fulfill all that and more. This years lineup consists of 4 bands and 9 DJ’s from across the world; Los Chicos, Flamingo Tours, The Peawees, Real Tears, Los Sustos y Rolando Bruno and more.
Madrid Horse Racing (July 20 & 22). Enjoy, not only the racing on the outskirts of Madrid, but also the delicious food and drinks on offer on the VIP terraces and in the gardens. And don’t worry, kids are more than welcome… they have their own area to explore! The Ponyturf Club is for the youngsters and for only €5 they can face an inflatable area and go on a pony ride.
Santiago de Compostela St James Festival (until July 31). The last two weeks of July are always dedicated to celebrations across the city. It’s action-packed daily fun, from circus and street theatre to performances by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Galicia, with massive firework displays on July 24 and 31, and a carnival on July 25 — St. James Day.
Malaga Nights in the Brenan Garden (until July 28). Nightly talks and arts events from 8pm at the Malaga home of the late writer Gerald Brenan (calle Torremolinos) spanning his relationship with the Bloomsbury Group, his hunt for the burial site of Lorca, and travel writing. Spanish only.
Madrid Noches de Botánico continue throughout July in the Jardín Botánico Alfonso XIII at the University Complutense. It’s an appropriate setting for Joss Stone on July 26.
Nerja Cave Music Festival (until August 12). This series of caverns in Nerja, just outside of Malaga, is the perfect setting for a music festival this summer. The 62nd installment of this event consists of multiple acts including Morancos, Girl Pastori and Vanesa Martin. Why not explore the caves before appreciating the artists on offer?
Merida International Classic Festival (July & August). The Roman theatre in this Roman city is the unforgettable open air setting for 10 classic plays this year. Space is limited and competition for tickets is hot, so book ahead.
Pirineos Sur International Festival of Cultures (until July 29). Regarded as one of the best international summer festivals in Spain, this world music festival returns to the Valle de Tena, in the province of Huesca. This year’s line up includes Coque Malla, The Gipsy Kings, Rubén Blades, La Dame Blanche and Gilberto Gil & Amigos. Spectacular location in the heart of the Aragonese Pyrenees where the higher altitude brings lower temperatures as a bonus.
Castillo de Niebla Theatre & Dance Festival, Huelva (until August 19). The breathtaking Guzmanes Castle in Niebla is the setting for a summer series of performance in Spain’s most southwesterly province.
Sanlúcar de Barrameda horse races, Cádiz (August 10–12 & 25–27). There’s no better time to visit, so try booking a room right now! Called The Greatest Show on the Southern Beaches, the horse races along the beach at sunset are spectacular events in a party atmosphere.
Feria de Málaga (August 12-19) takes place every August in the city of Málaga, Spain. It kicks off with a bang at milliseconds past midnight on Saturday Aug 12 with a firework display launched from the cruise terminal. Head to la Malagueta or La Misericordia beaches or climb to a high point for best views. Events during the rest of the week take place around the historic centre by day, and the Real de la Feria in the Cortijo de Torres district by night.
Barcelona Street Festival (August 15 – 21). Local festivals take place in the different neighbourhoods of Barcelona throughout the summer, and from mid-August, it’s the turn of Gràcia, known for edgy cool and vibrant nightlife. Residents will be competing for best decorated street, transforming them into fantastical alleys of art. Expect more free shows, concerts and exhibitions than usual.
La Rioja Bread and Cheese Fiesta (August 6). One of the oldest festivals in Spain, Quel boasts hosting the Bread and Cheese festival in which over 2000 people come together and celebrate with dances, bugle calls and bands. Dating back to 1479, the festival has its roots in an outbreak of a plague said to have been caused by the inhabitants sinning. After killing most of the residents, they decided to ask for forgiveness by making a procession ending in a lunch of bread, cheese and wine.
Gandia Music Festival (August 17-19). Something for you indie-rock lovers. Surrounded by the beach, mountains, good food and culture there is no better atmosphere to appreciate good music. There’s also space for 5,000 tents if you want to camp out.
Barcelona IDEAL Dali Cybernetics (Until August 21). An immersive trip through Salvador Dali’s dreamy surreal world. Reviews are effusive – and it’s a chance to be inside the cool Centre d’Arts Digitals building.
Alcázar de San Juan Summer Scenarios, Toledo (until August 26). Celebrate a summer of music, circus and dance during this festival in Alcázar de San Juan, outside Toledo. All shows are outdoors and take place at night in exciting venues across town.
Marbella Starlite festival (until September 2). Get your tickets now for this marathon-length music festival, recognised as one of the most impressive in Europe. The old quarry, the Cantera de Marbella, is turned into the magical setting for nightly concerts by the grandees of the national and international music world. The summer culminates in a celebrity gala with Costa del Sol local boy, Antonio Banderas.