21 Aug, 2023 @ 13:45
6 mins read

DON’T MISS: The best of what’s on in Spain

TOP events for the week and month ahead in destinations from Marbella to Javea, via Madrid, Barcelona and San Sebastian. See dancing horses, flying acrobats, Pompeii, Spain’s top models and a lot of tomatoes.


Madrid Grand China Acrobatic Circus(August 22-September 3). It’s off to a flying start as 30 acrobats (many Olympic medal-holding gymnasts, others veterans of Cirque du Soleil) get stuck into a story about a fairy and a boy, a marine world, clowns and flying hats. Nail biting family fun nice and central, at Teatro EDP Gran Via.

Torremolinos Andalusian Night (August 23). Starting at 5.30pm, the night of spectacular flamenco action starts with splendid dancing horses at Club Hípico el Ranchitos, followed by a quick transfer to a restaurante tipico for dinner, and an hour of passionate flamenco and some toe-tapping coplas.  https://ranchito.com/ritmo-a-caballo/

Marbella Black Eyed Peas (August 23) at Starlite. Yes! the series of concerts by top artists in the spectacular setting of an old quarry, is still on – but not for long. 

Sevilla El Hospital de la Caridad candlelight visits (August 24 & 31, September 7, 15, 22 & 29). Avoid the crowds by visiting one of Sevilla’s lesser visited venues on one of these nocturnal guided tours. Discover baroque murals, works by Murillo and Pedro Roldán, and history of this gilded charity hospital which still cares for the elderly and infirm. Tickets.

Ibiza BLOOP International Proactive Art Festival (Until August 25) This festival in Elvissa completely free and for its12th year all exhibitions are centred around the theme ‘believe’ which features work from 300 international artists.

Marbella Noche de Cuba (August 25, September 1 & 8).  Take a Costa del Sol beach club – Aüa Playa, and the hot beat and sexy dance vibe of Havana, and you’ve pretty much got the perfect summer night. 

Sanlúcar de Barrameda, horse racing on the beach (August 25-27). The second cycle of evening races on the sands of the Costa de la Luz, Cadiz. This historic event promises more festival atmosphere, spectacular sights and excuses to spend the night eating and driving in the former Capital of Gastronomy.

Tarifa Regata Buda Windsurf Fest (August 26).  Find a spot on the soft sand of Valdevaqueros beach (Cadiz) and lie back for a high adrenaline show. Kitesurfing gets all the attention, but it was windsurfers who first gathered here in the 90s and made Tarifa famous for its winds.

Cadiz The Musical of the 80s & 90s (August 27). The great location of the Baluarte de La Candelaria, right on the sea wall, is the venue for a right old knees up. Starts 9.30pm.

Pollença International Classical Music Festival (August 25 & 27). Last chance to enjoy the classics in the incomparable setting of Mallorca’s Santo Domingo Cloister.

Bilbao’s Aste Nagusia (Great Week) Celebrations (until August 27). Translating as Great Week, celebrations include concerts, shows, theatre, fireworks and children’s activities across the city. 

Santander International Festival (until August 31). This big Cantabrian festival has been a summer staple since 1948. Contemporary and traditional dance, theatre, music, ballet, opera and recitals in churches, gardens, palaces and caves and even concert halls. 

Javea Festivities of Loreto (August 28-September 6). Rites deeply rooted in tradition make for interesting viewing. Seven young couples dressed for a wedding act as the festival kings and queens. Expect a band and dancing in the streets, and Els Bous a la Mar when hundreds of youths run with bulls to the sea, and possibly fireworks over the sea for the finale.

Madrid Veranos de la Villa (Until August 31). More than 200 events in 29 venues across the city, ranging from circus and theatre to dance and concerts, and featuring the gambit of artists from Ute Lemper to the Ballet Nacional de España – and half of the performances are free. If there is a centre, it’s the Centro Cultural Conde Duque. There’s a joy in stumbling across an event by accident, but consult the website if you are a planner.

Barcelona Mas i mas (Until September 3). Culturally explosive with genres ranging from Flamenco to techno funk, the festival has become a classic summer nightlife activity during August. Artists come from all over the world more than 100 concerts take place in three main venues: Moog, Los Tarantos and Jamboree.


Malaga Fashion Week, Photo: Pasarela Larios

Tomatina Festival de Buñol (August 30). The tomato slinging battles have been held annually in this Valencian town since 1945, and like most traditions, it started as a jolly jape that got somewhat out of hand. Now 140 tons of tomatoes get slung by 22,000 people over the course of one hour. If you don’t like it when you get a speck of food on your shirt, this is not for you. Owing to massive attendance, you now need to buy a ticket in advance.

San Sebastian Basque Festivals (August 30 – September 10). It’s not just pintxos, txokoli, and the language euskera, that sets the Basque Country apart. Visit now for an induction into unique and fascinating music, folklore and sports you won’t find anywhere else on the planet.

La Palma Hiking Festival (August 31- September 3). It’s finally cool enough to hike through the great outdoors. If visiting this Canary Island, choose from a selection of English, German and Spanish language guided hikes.

Plasencia International Folk Festival (August 24-26).  Running in Extremadura, western Spain since 1996, long before folk was cool, this festival is now more popular than ever, attracting top acts from around the world, a young crowd and fewer beards and sandals.

Cala Mijas (August 31, September 1 & 2) Arcade Fire, The Strokes, and Florence and the Machine, top the bill on three consecutive nights at this relatively new addition to the Costa del Sol set of summer music festivals.  

Jerez Fiestas de la Vendimia (September 2-17). Nothing more fun and dangerous than the wine harvest festival in Jerez. The city is fuelled by sherry, and celebrations involving gastronomy, theatre, parades, flamenco and horses are wholehearted. Don’t miss the opening night spent treading the grapes on the steps of the cathedral, a religious service and concert in la Plaza de la Asunción.

Manilva Grape Festival (September 2 & 3). A chance to join the harvest festivities on the Costa del Sol. 

Madrid The Last Days of Pompeii (September 8 – October 15). You may prefer to spend your time immersed in the life and culture of the capital, but if you can tear yourself away, take a trip to Matadero Madrid and ultimately, Ancient Rome, via this moving and immersive exhibition.

Madrid Amazônia (September 13-January 14). Another chance to visit Madrid – and escape it. This time to the depths of the rainforest through works by the great Brazilian photographer, Sebastião Salgado. At the Fernán Gómez Centro Cultural de la Villa.

Apertura Madrid Gallery Weekend (September 14-17) For a weekend at the end of summer over 50 art galleries and museums around Madrid extended their opening hours to allow the public to become closer to contemporary creation. There will be a full programme of events and activities within the museums.

Madrid School of Rock, the Musical (September 14-December tbc). The family-favourite Broadway hit does time in the capital. Don’t dillydally over getting tickets.

Barcelona Magical Hour at the Monastery of Pedralbes (until September 15). Visit one of the largest cloisters in the world, its medieval medicinal garden and art collections in the cooler, golden time between 6pm & 9pm on Tuesday or Friday nights. Free entrance. 

Malaga Fashion Week / Pasarela Larios (September 15 & 16). Malaga’s main shopping street, the pedestrian Calle Larios is turned into Europe’s longest haute couture catwalk for two glamorous nights. Starts 8.30pm.

Málaga las Noches del Ingles (Until September 17). The English Cemetery near the bullring is always shaded and beautiful, but throughout summer it’s lit with thousands of lights and hosts a programme of guided nocturnal tours and concerts.

Madrid Open House 2023 (September 21-24) privileged access to unique buildings and spaces across the city in this architecture festival. A regular autumn treat, you can plot your path to take in as much as possible using their maps and good info. Limited spaces at some buildings, so check the site. 

Madrid Sorolla through Light (until September 24). This Génova Galleries exhibition is one of several marking the 100th anniversary of the painter’s death, and includes 24 original works, many of which are from private collections.

Gijón Natural Cider Competition (until August 27). If you’ve ever seen cider poured from a great height in traditional Asturian style and hankered after doing it, you can have a go in a cider pouring contest. There’s more drinking than pouring here at this celebration of northern Spain’s exceptional nectar, culminating in a gathering of thousands on the beach and the distribution of 30,000 litres of it.

Ocean Club Marbella closing party (September 30). Sad but true, the summer season is drawing to an end. Say hasta luego in style at this popular celeb den. Prices range from €250 (with a bottle of Dom Perignon) to €6000 for a Super VIP table for 10 with sharing platter.  

Sorrel Downer

Sorrel is a journalist based in Spain who writes for The Guardian, and whose bylines include The Telegraph, The Times, Financial Times, Conde Nast Traveller, Business Life, Business Insider, Reader's Digest, Evening Standard, and the BBC.

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