With a rich and varied history, it is no surprise that Spain has a multitude of interesting historical events to look back on and celebrate.
Many towns and cities celebrate notable moments in local history through fiestas, re-enactments and parades, and we have selected some interesting options to explore.
19th - 22nd July 2018 - Renaissance Festival, Tortosa
To celebrate the birth of this 16th century town, a Renaissance festival has been held each year since 1996. Over a weekend in July, the streets are decorated with tapestries, rugs, torches and banners and locals adorn different colour rosettes representing each neighbourhood.
Open air stalls sell local ware and restaurants offer renaissance-style menus. You can enjoy street performances from a variety of actors and artists and the main event involves the ‘Parade of the Flags’.
Nearest Parador: Tortosa
24th – 31st July 2018 - Moors and Christians Fiesta, La Villajoyosa
A memorable battle fought in 1538 between the Christians and Berber pirates is commemorated with a large and colourful festival each July in the town of La Villajoyosa, north of Alicante. Legend has it that during the ceaseless attacks by the Moors, St Martha came down to the town and caused flash flooding, destroying the pirate fleet. St Martha’s rumoured intervention is why she is the town’s patron saint and the reason the festival is held in her name.
The festival has been held for over 250 years and each year follows a similar schedule. The fiesta kicks off with street processions of the opposing forces on the first couple of days, leading up to the re-enactment of the Moorish landing which is the main event. Crowds collect on the beaches from as early as 5 am whilst the ‘Christians’ prepare their artillery in defence.
The event reaches peak excitement with the approach of 30 Moorish vessels and, on landing, the enemy forces battle between them up to the castle. In addition to this spectacular re-enactment, the fiesta features plenty of dancing, food contests, live music and fireworks.
5th August 2018 - Catoira Vikings Festival
The Galician village of Catoira looks back to thousand-year-old Viking invasions as the inspiration for its annual festival. Held on the first Sunday of each August since 1960, the festival begins at 10 am as thousands head to the village to watch folk group performances through the streets and around the 11th century Torres del Oeste Castle ruins. During the festival the ruins act as the centre point, hosting a medieval market and cooking seafood for those involved in the festival.
The main event is the arrival of the Vikings in replica 11th century vessels. Vikings disembark and attempt to take the former castle whilst locals try to fend them off, culminating in a battle between the opposing forces – though not quite so bloody as the original battle as today’s fighters end up drenched in wine!
Festivities continue into the evening with picnics, plays and celebrations.
26th August – 4th September 2018 - Cantabrian Wars Festival, Corrales de Buelna
This festival celebrates Cantabrian resistance to the Roman Empire in 1 BC - the region was the last of Hispania to hold off the Romans.
During the last weekend of August, locals split up to dress as the Roman legionaries and as members of the Cantabrian resistance. The hostile encounters are re-enacted via parades, a Cantabrian wedding and Roman senate sessions as well as creations of Roman camps and markets.