Festival fever can be found in every corner of Iberia. Be it in the name of a saint or a season, the calendar is brimming with festivals, both big and small. So whether its witnessing a poignant procession or joining in with a vibrant carnival, following the siren song of a fiesta is the ultimate way to soak up the world-renowned party atmosphere of Spain and Portugal.
Each spring, Cordoba comes to life (and into full bloom) at the Cordoba Patio Festival. Whilst unique, the festival reveals much about the heritage of the city, hailing from Roman times when houses were built with patios to keep the buildings cool in the stifling heat of summer. Every year, locals open their doors, revealing manicured courtyards bursting with colour and flowers of every shape and size.
The annual Dia de Sant Jordi is the jewel in the crown of the Catalonian calendar. In celebration of the patron saint of the region, locals give gifts to their loved ones in a festival that has come to combine both culture and romanticism. The exchange of roses and books has become synonymous with the Dia de Sant Jordi and the streets are abuzz with street stalls and vendors selling the traditional keepsakes.
Spain sure does know how to throw a good party and there is no better place to see the celebratory spirit in full swing than at the annual Feria de Abril in Seville. Over 1000 casetas, or temporary pavilions, line the city streets, belonging to families, local businesses and groups of friends. If you're lucky enough to receive an invite into one of the private marquees, you will be welcomed into a world where flamenco and fiesta reign.
For food lovers and wine connoisseurs, the annual Rioja Grape Harvest Festival is an unmissable date for the diary. Reaping the rewards of the harvest, the region comes alive with the sights, sounds and smells of red, white and rose for one wonderful week.
The festival of fire is Valencia’s most revered celebration. Held in honour of San Jose, the patron saint of carpentry, Las Fallas is an intriguing festival that brings together locals and visitors alike. Huge bonfires are constructed throughout the city, each with their own individual style, during this fiesta that continues long after the flames have burnt out.
Since its inception in 1953, the San Sebastian Film Festival has established itself as one of the most important cinematic festivals in the world. Home to many a premiere, and hosting a glittering array of celebrities, the festival is one of the most important dates on the film calendar in Europe.
Filling the streets of Spain and the Spanish speaking world in the lead up to Easter, Semana Santa is an incredibly important religious festival in the Spanish calendar. On each day of the festival, locals and visitors alike take to the streets to parade or watch in amazement as swathes of cloaked pilgrims march through the streets, making it one of Spain’s most unique and fascinating traditions. Floats are housed in churches and ornately designed plinths are paraded through the streets during this remarkable display of faith and community spirit.