December 28th, 2011
You might think with Christmas festivities drawing to a close that once the New Year celebrations are out of the way that you can put away your party hat and whistle for a while. But if you plan a January visit to Spain then you can think again!
This is the country that likes parties, fireworks and music, and lots of loud noise – and January is no different – fiestas are not just for the Summer!
What does Spain have planned for next month? Let’s see…
1st to the 12th January
Okay, so you’re clutching your sore head after all the celebrations the night before for New Year’s Eve, but come on…there’s more!!
Head to the province of Andalucía and to the city of Granada. La Toma de Granada is celebrated from the 1st to the 12th of the month, and is a reminder of when the Catholic Kings Isabella and Ferdinand marched into the city to take over power once the Moors had been defeated and sent packing to the hills of Las Alpujarras….
If you’re driving in to Granada from the coast then look out for the Suspiro del Moro sign. That’s where according to legend Aben Humeya looked back at his lost – and last - stronghold and sighed with regret and tears in his eyes.
His mother, seeing him, curtly instructed him not to cry like a woman for what he could not defend as a man. Tough love, eh?
The name in English translates as the Moor’s last sigh and incidentally there’s a decent restaurant just there on the left, by the same name if you’re feeling hungry.
Don’t forget to visit the Alhambra Palace while you’re in Granada – it has to be the most romantic monument in Europe, and the views this time of year are particularly spectacular. Have some fun in the January snow if you are feeling energetic – take to the hills and try some of the ski runs up at Sol y Nieve – some of the best in Europe and the most southernmost – you can be on the beach by the afternoon!
5th and 6th January
Of course, the Festival of the Three Kings and really the main Christmas celebration for children all around Spain.
The actual public holiday is on the 6th – so expect shops to be firmly closed for the day – but the partying takes place the night before on the 5th. The Three Kings will arrive in every one mule village, town and city across Spain – honestly, they get around quicker than Santa Claus – giving out their bounty of gifts. The parade is called the Cabalgata de Reyes and depending on the generosity of the local Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) the Royal Trio might arrive by donkey or sports car – but there will be sure to be a stage and music and dancing afterwards.
Sweets are thrown to the crowd of children brimming with anticipation and then they are called up for their gifts.
14th to the 17th January
One for the animals! This is the time for the Fiesta de San Anton, or Saint Anthony – the patron saint of animals.
It’s celebrated all over Spain but the best and biggest venues are at Jaen, Las Alpujarras, Valencia and on the island of Tenerife in the Canaries. Pets are brought to the little whitewashed Ermitas to be blessed and the evening is celebrated with parties and bonfires in the streets. ( I guess it’s something like ` Please bless this pig and make it fat so I can have lots of sausages’….or something like that…)
In Barcelona, up in Catalonia, it’s always on the nearest Saturday to the 17th January so this coming year that will be the 14th. While you’re there, follow the Gaudi trail and visit the Sagrada Familia – always worth seeing. Ramble along the Rambla and try some tapas – Barcelona style.
19th and 20th January
Head off to the Balearic Islands, where in Palma de Mallorca you can join in the fun and celebrate the Fiesta for St Sebastian.
Or, better still, why not head to San Sebastian on the mainland but do pack your best earplugs…
This is also La Tomborrado held over a couple of days to coincide with the saints day, and is the largest, loudest, ear splitting drumming festival you can imagine.
Well, we do like a little noise in Spain!
27th and 8th January
If you’re up for a little more music then book a flight for the end of the month. The group The Arctic Monkeys are playing 2 huge concerts – in Madrid and Barcelona.
The 27th is the date for Madrid and the venue is the Palacio de Deportes de la Comunidad de Madrid. The next evening sees a change of city of Barcelona and the venue this time is the Palau Sant Jordi. Maybe hang on to those earplugs!
Stay a little bit longer and explore the capital city, take in some shopping therapy at the sales – rebajas – and stay over for the weekend in some of this accommodation in Madrid.
Just think, a few pleasant hours on Gran Via bashing the credit card – count me in!
30th of January
The second last day of the first month of 2012 sees the party attention turn to the lovely city of Burgos.
Take part and join in with the procession of San Lesmes, and the fireworks and music afterwards.
While you’re exploring this lovely place and cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, look out for the tomb of El Cid, some fools gold and a buffalo Jesus! Intrigued? Read more about it by clicking here...!
So that’s it – never say Spain likes to rest or sit back on it’s laurels after the holiday period of Christmas. There’s always something going on, so don’t pack away that party dress just yet…browse the range of accommodation on the Spain Holiday site and choose where to wear your party hat for the New Year!